Monday, March 4, 2013

Confessions of a Closet Conservative

I have been asked many times why I wear skirts "all" the time. There are two main reasons. 1) My husband loves it, and 2) I wanted to communicate femininity to the world. I'm not talking about being sexy. I mean modest femininity. About 12 years ago I decided to wear skirts all the time. My husband never made me do this! I learned that he loved the long flowing ones, and I already knew that he DID want me to look sexy, but ONLY to him. I could do this!

So began my journey. It's been fun and interesting even sad at times. I didn't know I would make enemies. I was just trying to please my Lord. I have learned so much. For instance, now that we are at the farm, it is best that I weed in pants. It truly draws less attention than constantly tucking my skirt around me and checking for bugs on my legs. Then, one day I got a second-degree sunburn across my low back. Because the temperature outside was exactly the same as my body temperature, I hadn't realized that I was exposed. I was pretty uncomfortable at church the next day. I guess it's important to wear SHIRTS that are long enough that they don't pull up. You see, there are several men that work for my dad here, and it is kind to them and their wives, that my daughters and I are covered up as we go about our day. My son had noticed my exposed back and didn't know what to say. He was uncomfortable. My own son had to look away from me.

For some other occasions, I have found pants to be more modest than wearing a skirt: pants that are not tight, but not frumpy, unkempt sweat pants either. For the most part, though, I still try to wear skirts. Other times I wear pants are: when painting (I am just too clumsy in a skirt), when hanging out the laundry if there has been a dry spell (seriously, I'm not into yellow jackets going up my skirt, and that could result in a very immodest situation!), when very cold (I have really struggled with staying warm, and if I'm too cold it makes my bones and muscles hurt which then makes me crabby). I have a pair of pants that are lined and bring so much warmth. I often wear leggings under a skirt and am able to stay warm, but the skirt has to be very full or else the skirt creeps up - again, not a very modest look. So I have also tried wearing a slip with the leggings and skirt, but then, after having a certain number of babies there is discomfort with three bands around your waste! Jumpers would remove one band, but jumpers don't work for nursing and they make some people MAD (I'm not kidding) and label you as legalistic. Actually, one reason I'm putting my thoughts down now is because wearing skirts that are longer makes some people mad.

This makes me sad. I should be able to wear whatever I want, right? No, that's not right. I must first try to please God, then my husband, and then I should consider others.
I have also had people say, "I am not responsible for what others think of my dress."  Yes, you are. When I was a young lady, I did not understand how men think, and what effects my dress might have on them. It was delicately explained to me more than once, and I'm happy that one dear lady never gave up on me; and, once I was really listening, she came over and (with my insistence) we revamped my closet. I still don't understand men, but from what I've been told, and things I've read:  Ladies! We need to wear skirts or pants that fold over our knees when we sit down. Any skirt that shows a lot of leg is a problem for men. They like legs.

"Oh, here come the rules," you say.  Picture this.  You come into a room and sit down. Your skirt which hits AT the knees when standing is now two inches above the knees when you sat down. Now, there is a young man (any man) sitting across from you who can now see ALL the way up your skirt. I have seen this happen over and over. "But I'll keep my legs crossed."   No, you won't, I have witnessed this. You will forget or need to uncross them to recross the other way. Furthermore, you will then lean over to pick up a pencil you or your child dropped and the blouse that covered you "perfectly" is now revealing cleavage and more. You are thinking, “this is so legalistic”!

Here is an example of a time I was at a very, very conservative conference where the speakers were young ladies, whom you would probably label as legalistic, speaking about very conservative things throughout the day- even this very subject.  At one of the sessions, they were up on a stage with some other people.  It was a mixed group and they were all seated, while the mixed audience was below-- seated.  Because these gals were wearing skirts that were at or just below the knee, when they were seated, we had a very uncomfortable view. These "skirts only" ladies would have been better off in pants.  I only hope that someone they could trust was able to sweetly clue them in! That is really all I am trying to do for you.

Now, imagine it’s your wedding day.  This is probably THE most photographed day of your life. Do you want to make your sons avert their eyes from your wedding pictures?  You will have to think 15-20 years down the road for that one.  "But strapless gowns are the only ones available nowadays," you say.  No, honey, where there is a will, there is a way. I have been to plenty of recent weddings where the bride AND her bridesmaids were dressed beautifully and covered, and they did not shop on the Mormon website.  I have pictures!  But I do not have pictures of the naked-shouldered, cleavage-showing, tight-bodice ones. Who would I show them too? I know of ladies that have bought strapless gowns and then made them over to be modest but very lovely. I know talented seamstresses. There are websites all over serving those that wish to make the wedding a special day for everyone.  Do you really want to give a glimpse of later that night to the entire wedding party?  I'm  a pastor's wife.  My husband has to stand up there by you and your future mate. If nothing else has made sense to you, please consider my feelings. Do you want him to look at you when he is admonishing you on how to love each other all the days of your life? He will look your way as little as possible if you are strapless or immodest in other ways.

When choosing bridesmaids dresses, think of the men there who will be standing across from them-- your brother might be up there. Your sister or your best friend is up there. Also, there will be actual creeps there as well. Creeps that will take your body home with them in their mind and lust over it forever after. I was at a wedding once where the groom was standing at the front of the church, waiting for the bride. As the bridesmaids came in one by one, I watched his eyes slowly look one of them over.  Up and down.  I was sickened.  How would his wife fare with this man?  I wanted to stand up right there and object to the wedding!

Now, you are feeling defensive. I'm sorry. I really just want to help you and those men that are going home later to sin. And remember, you keep asking why I wear what I wear. Do you want to be the cause of some poor boy taking his first steps down a very wrong thought life and worse. Your "freedom" could lead to bondage for many men. Does it please God more to have another man think of you as that blessed godly lady, or the lady that makes him feel uncomfortable, and perhaps dirty. I tell you, when this kind of thing was brought to my attention, I changed.  Literally.  I realized that when I entered a room or exited a room, I never wanted ANY man to have to avert their eyes ever again.

Now I am older.  I suppose that I could wear whatever now, and it wouldn't be a problem, but I'm not taking any chances, and I have 5 daughters to teach kindness to as well as many other young ladies in my life whom I hope to inspire toward godliness. I want them to have fun dressing beautifully for God, for their fathers, for their brothers and for their future husbands.

I am not making rules. I am simply sharing some things I've learned. I didn't know I was going to learn anything. I thought that I was going to just start wearing long flowing skirts all the time, for every occasion. Of course, I hope that you have not been paying attention to what I wear because that's really the whole point. Modesty reaches way beyond what a person is wearing. How does she carry herself?  Is she moving about with gracefulness or with an eye catching, swinging of the hips and so on?

I could go on, but I think you get my point. You see, it's not about you or me, is it? It is about God and then others. Now that is a freeing thought! There is no hard and fast rule except this: “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your shall love your neighbor as yourself.’"  Matt. 22:37, 39

The way I dress is an effort to be the woman God has made me, pleasing my husband as well, and encouraging others to do the same. That is not legalism. It is being kind.


  1. Amen and Amen! Well said, friend! Long skirts are the most comfortable, non fuss things we can wear!!! And we don't have to look frumpy! I love it when long skirts/dresses are "in style" because then we can stock up! ;-)

  2. You have said it very well, Carol, and I appreciate all that you have shared.

    Teresa Olsen (I am Metasha Carson's aunt; I talked with you briefly at Westside Baptist Church's ladies' Christmas fellowship last December.