I apologize for my absence. Things have been really crazy this past week and a half or so, starting with events surrounding my husband’s graduation and the fact that after a busy week I usually need some time to recover. Also I haven’t really figured out how to write what comes next chronologically speaking, so I’m going to address an issue I’ve been dealing with recently.
Growing up, I had very mixed up views of modesty. To this day I still have trouble trying to determine what is modest or not. I very much want to dress modestly, as I feel that a Christian woman should, but what is the definition of modest?
Unlike some homeschooled girls, I was allowed to wear jeans. No pants to church, of course, but I was allowed to wear pants on a normal day. However over the years it seemed that my family wanted me to hold to a higher standard, especially at church. Eventually at church I was pretty much required to wear ankle length, flowing skirts (the skirt could not show the form of bottom or hips) and loose blouses. I could wear a mid-calf length skirt if I covered my lower leg with boots or thick stockings. At all times I had to wear shirts that were so large on me that they barely hinted of any bust at all, and they could not show past the collarbone. Back when I could have fit a size medium I was forced to wear an extra large. Eventually my own thinking became so warped that I believed that was my actual size. According to that logic I would currently need to be wearing a XXL, or about a 20-22.
Then there was this sense that to be “modest” one should wear clothing that would not stand out. But the very fact of how loose my clothing was and how much I had to be covered was, by this definition, immodest. Eventually this was lifted and I was allowed to dress in whatever style I wanted, as long as I could find it at Goodwill, and could buy it myself (kinda hard with 10 cents a week allowance and no job.) I don’t remember having an item of clothing during my teen years (except for undergarments and shoes, and shoes only because I had gait issues) that was brand new.
I think this is part of the reason why I am so intent on buying the clothing I like and having my own crazy style now that I am 30 years old… until I was 27 I wasn’t really allowed to. I remember sometimes being sent away from home only to find that certain items of clothing that I had bought for myself had disappeared once I got back (I had a summer job when I was 18, and had saved up money from that… mysteriously all $3,000 of it had disappeared by the time I was 21… I had over $2500 of it left the previous year. My mom stole it.) See, they were the tiniest bit rebellious. One, a green peasant blouse, a little clingy but did not show cleavage. Another, another kinda clingy shirt with a narrow deep V neck that also did not show cleavage. But both were well under the collarbone “rule” and both mysteriously disappeared from my bedroom regardless of the fact that I had bought them when I was an adult.
I still struggle with picking up clothing that is too large for me and taking it to the fitting room. I have found myself surprised how in some brands and styles of tops I fit a size 12-14 rather than the 18-20 that I THINK I need. While I have recently lost about 10 pounds for no apparent reason, that doesn’t justify two sizes smaller.
Granted, for modesty’s sake there are styles I do need larger sizes in, or I can’t wear them at all because I am busty. But usually what happens is I need like a 20 to cover the bust but I have 8 inches of extra fabric on the waist. This is plainly ill fitting, so nowadays I don’t even bother getting the top. My mother would have said that was a perfect fit.
I try to use my husband as a gauge to see if something fits correctly. I’m pretty sure he hates this job, but I like him sitting outside of the fitting room, because then I can see his reaction. He is able to tell me if something is clearly too large for me. If his eyebrows raise, it might be the proper fit. If he looks like he just wants to grab me right in the middle of the store… well then it might be too tight or too revealing, etc.
Have any of you struggled with the same issue? Are you still struggling? Do you have any suggestions? Think my style is too whacky for being 30?