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I want a girl with a long skirt and a loooooong jacket.
July 1, 2008 7:51 PM   Subscribe

Apparently, no clothing is more exciting or controversial than an ankle-length skirt and puffed sleeves. The FLDS has launched an online store where members of the general public can purchase the dresses, long underwear, and other ranch-wear "as seen on TV."

Though dressing modestly is a hallmark of the (regular) LDS church, the FLDS goes to the extreme. (See also the Amish and Mennonites.) But they aren't the only fundamentalist Christians to tout modesty in women's clothing. Other sects believe women should dress this way, including wearing dresses only (no, not THAT dress, you masculine hussy), long skirts, even everyday head coverings.

The increase in popularity of this clothing is seen in the explosion of cottage businesses run by women out of their homes. (See the late Lydia of Purple's site for one of the longest URLs you'll ever find.) Not sure whether your clothing is truly modest? Ask the menfolk. (Previously on MeFi.)
posted by cereselle (73 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thanks for some of these links - I wouldn't mind picking up some decent hand-made shirts. They'll be better quality than the crap bought off the rack nowdays.
posted by mrbill at 8:04 PM on July 1, 2008


If that's their honest freely choosen choice of lifestyle, then until the fist of that choice ends up meeting the suspicion of my snout, then I say live and let live. Yet there is still a cynical part of me that waits for the next day story where they find the grenade launchers. .50 cal machine guns, and suppply of cyanide under the altar.
posted by timsteil at 8:07 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


No thanks. The last time I tried on a mormon's magic underwear a dark portal opened in my pants and no amount of banishing would shake the transdimensional crabs from their roost.
posted by bunnytricks at 8:08 PM on July 1, 2008 [5 favorites]


In a world of outrageous suffering, unbelievable poverty, continual exploitation of the innocent and heinous abuses of power I find it difficult to believe that God is truly concerned (if there is one, and God is not indifferent) about whether or not women wear "feminine" skirts that reach below the knee. Somehow I don't think the world's lack of justice stems from the failure of enough women to wear bland and durable clothing.

Writing female dress codes into "divine law" is no less than elevating to the heavens a patriarchal fear of, fetishization of, and desire to control women's sexuality.
posted by MasonDixon at 8:09 PM on July 1, 2008 [23 favorites]


Ummm... If dressing modestly is code for fraking hot count me in. How does it count as modest if it just makes men want to tear that shit off with their teeth?
posted by Science! at 8:13 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can't help thinking the womens' garments would be thin and scratchy, the way I remember the sundresses that my Mom made me felt (akin to the ones that they call the teenage princess dresses).

Totally support cottage industries and people choosing whether they want to be modest in their clothing and what 'modesty' means, but eeg, it makes me squirrelly when people insist that everyone who belongs to their _____ looks the same way.

Yarg.
posted by arnicae at 8:15 PM on July 1, 2008


Great post! I loooooooooove the ladies at "Ladies Against Feminism" and I love looking at the little home businesses of homeschooled fundies. My favorite part of the LAF crowd is that they are forever talking about "modesty" as they swan about in public in homemade Regency Gowns. How do I know what they do? Because they put endless pictures of themselves playing dress up (Jennie Chancey, LAF owner on left) on the internet!
Modesty? I do not think that word means what they think it means.
posted by moxiedoll at 8:18 PM on July 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


Mormon dress style is dictated, in part, by the need to cover their religious underwear. LDS Mormons have a modernized (shortened) version of the underwear that does not extend to the wrist and ankle.
posted by Brian B. at 8:19 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


If I was a woman I'd have a blast slutting the shit out of these get-ups come Halloween.
posted by The Straightener at 8:19 PM on July 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Well, I know what's going to be the hot little number in the Castro this halloween.
posted by loquacious at 8:26 PM on July 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


Ummm... If dressing modestly is code for fraking hot count me in. How does it count as modest if it just makes men want to tear that shit off with their teeth?

Oh, preach it, brother! Call up Mr. Jeffs, we gots us a marryin' one!
posted by five fresh fish at 8:33 PM on July 1, 2008


It's so weird that dressing modestly is now controversial.
posted by nightchrome at 8:33 PM on July 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


Some of those retail sites seem to use modest more as a marketing word than anything else. Modest clothing, as they've put it up there, can be found anywhere by multiple retailers.

I really like the modest wedding fashion -- the aesthetic, I think, is very pleasing. I like the simplicity.
posted by Gular at 8:35 PM on July 1, 2008


Can anyone explain to me in good faith why these women so often seem to dress identically, right down to the odd wall of hair over the forehead? I am sincerely curious about it. It doesn't seem that desiring to dress modestly logically means everyone dressing alike, but maybe there's something I don't know about this tradition.
posted by loiseau at 8:43 PM on July 1, 2008


There's dressing modestly, and then there's having a Little House on the Prairie/Holly Hobbie fetish.

This seems less about clothing, and more about celebrating a bygone era when women 'knew their place.' Or am I reading waaaay too much into this?
posted by brain cloud at 8:47 PM on July 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


nightchrome: "It's so weird that dressing modestly is now controversial."

Nah, this is beyond "dressing modestly" - normal people don't dress like this, it's a fringe. But I know what your saying, womens fashion in particular quickly moves up and down (dress/skirt/shorts length) - a big shift from 1920s to 1930s, another shift 1950s to 1960s, etc..

(and what brain cloud said)
posted by stbalbach at 8:50 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


And so fashion rediscovers what it knew a century ago. More is Less. Or maybe More is More. I'm not sure. Give me another century to think about it.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 8:56 PM on July 1, 2008


Can anyone explain to me in good faith why these women so often seem to dress identically, right down to the odd wall of hair over the forehead?

Uniforms are often part of a cult.
posted by Brian B. at 8:58 PM on July 1, 2008


I recall seeing Mennonites visiting Monterey, Calif., around every New Years; they seem to have a group outing of young (e.g. 16-18 year old) men and women every year.

The boys dress like typical, if overtly clean cut, boys. The girls are all in the same Mennonite dress and head-covering. Except that each girl has a different fabric pattern to her dress -- this one in yellow with stripes, that one in lavender with flowers. I guessed it was the one bit of creativity they were allowed to show. So, so very sad.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:59 PM on July 1, 2008


Why would anyone want an entire wardrobe of polyester? In fact, why aren't these garments cheaper? I could understand the pricing if everything was made of quality fabrics, but come on!
posted by sunshinesky at 9:05 PM on July 1, 2008


I'll be ordering some outfits for Halloween...
posted by matty at 9:13 PM on July 1, 2008


I work near Mount Morris (the Katie's Mercantile/"women" link). The cheap-cheap gas is in a nearby town. I was at said gas station last week and I saw a youngish Mennonite woman and her friend filling up the Volvo they were driving. The friend was in jeans and a tee with plain sneakers, while the young woman was in a light-colored modesty dress and bonnet. But she is wearing spangly, sequined flip-flops. Like, loud, white, spangly flip flops.
posted by oflinkey at 9:14 PM on July 1, 2008


Apparently, no clothing is more exciting or controversial than an ankle-length skirt and puffed sleeves.

I'm definitely more excited when people wear no clothing.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:16 PM on July 1, 2008


Good Lord!! Who can afford to be modest? $65 for baby overalls? I'll stick to the slutty, sinnin' Gap!!
posted by pearlybob at 9:25 PM on July 1, 2008


OMG! The crazy religious compound controversy in Texas was entirely made up by marketers as a stunt to promote these new fashions!

It makes total sense: Ladies' fashions have, over the last century or so, been trending towards baring more skin. Skirts have been getting shorter, necklines going lower. Marketers are running out of scandalous new clothes for rebellious teens.

So, this is an attempt at a fashion buffer overrun: now modesty standards are going to snap back all the way to the Victorian era, whereupon marketers will be able to slowly release scandalous clothes again, starting with revealing the ankles.
posted by JDHarper at 9:29 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


American hijab.
posted by dhartung at 9:48 PM on July 1, 2008


It's just another form of cosplay, IMO. Maybe their customers can add these "Christian Domestic Discipline heirloom intimates" to complete the ensemble. [SFW]
posted by mosk at 9:51 PM on July 1, 2008


In a world of outrageous suffering, unbelievable poverty, continual exploitation of the innocent and heinous abuses of power I find it difficult to believe that God is truly concerned (if there is one, and God is not indifferent) about whether or not women wear "feminine" skirts that reach below the knee.

I suspect people oriented this way probably see it something like this verse in James Ch 4:
"From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
One answer to this problem is to make love and not war, to quit being conflicted about your desires and get laid so you can relax. There are problems with this approach from some spiritual points of view; a Buddhist might say you're not going to get away from the problem of desire this way (feed the beast and it gets hungrier), a number of christians would probably agree and additionally assert that there negative spiritual/psychic consequences to this approach.

So the alternative approach? Try to constrain/master desire in some way. One way to encourage this in a community context might be clothing. I personally think there's a law of diminishing returns here and given ability of the human mind to fetishize a wide range of things, a limit to this kind of effectiveness, but there's certainly some effect, and this is probably the line of thinking that puts dress standards on some level of importance.

This seems less about clothing, and more about celebrating a bygone era when women 'knew their place.' Or am I reading waaaay too much into this?

To some extent, I'd bet this is accurate if you explore it more fully. Having a society where people in general understand their place and their role and this meshes simply with a meaningful cosmology probably has real benefits for average human psyche. This is both at the level of individual concern (Where do you fit in your community? How do you know you have their approval? How do you get a sense that you contribute and receive benefit? How do you identify and distinguish yourself? etc etc) and social concern (How do you know if society is running well, if the group as a whole is doing things that keep society healthy and blessed?).

So I think this kind of stuff probably starts somewhere inside of genuine human needs and impulses. Like a lot of other things that start this way, the results can go badly wrong (so this isn't to say the FLDS have it right) -- but I wanted to point out this probably isn't the intention from the start.

In short, I suspect the dresses do have an attachment to an era when women's roles were much more specific and limited, but I doubt that they were designed specifically to oppress.
posted by weston at 9:54 PM on July 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


fashion buffer overrun

I just want to say I love this phrase. :)
posted by weston at 9:54 PM on July 1, 2008


All politics aside - I thought their dresses were really pretty, and the fact that they made them themselves made them even nicer. I would totally buy one - and despite the fact that to them I'm the Whore of Babylon - I would really appreciate the effort they put into it and would wear it with pride.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:07 PM on July 1, 2008


Huh. I did my own browsing and whatever pointing and laughing felt appropriate (100% polyester dresses, mmmm) but, you know, if these came in all black, I'd wear one. For real. They look decently practical and I think I could walk around in it without feeling body-conscious. But the flowery material-- no thanks.
posted by jokeefe at 10:11 PM on July 1, 2008


but, you know, if these came in all black, I'd wear one. For real.

On a related note, we dress our kids in these (note: not an endorsement of that site, they just have a good picture of the swimwear) for the easy UV protection without having to slather sun tan lotion on every inch of their bodies, but reading this thread made me realize they're also very much appropriate for folks trying to be modest without looking retro -- or they would be if they were available for adults.
posted by davejay at 10:30 PM on July 1, 2008


> "the young woman was in a light-colored modesty dress and bonnet"

I have no idea why, but I find something intensely creepy about the phrase "modesty dress", when used as a noun to describe a particular piece of clothing. I can't put my finger on exactly why, but somewhere in there is the source of my discomforture with the whole ultra-Orthodox/FDLS business.

Okay, well that and the child rape. That's part of it, too.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:38 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Can anyone explain to me in good faith why these women so often seem to dress identically, right down to the odd wall of hair over the forehead? I am sincerely curious about it. It doesn't seem that desiring to dress modestly logically means everyone dressing alike, but maybe there's something I don't know about this tradition.

Part of being modest is not drawing attention to yourself - everyone dressing the same helps with this, at least within a group. It gets more complicated when you're out in public. Orthodox Judaism is quite a bit different from the LDS church, but as an Orthodox kid I was taught that overdoing the modest apparel wasn't a good idea either: follow the modesty rules, but try not to go overboard in a way that will draw attention.
posted by needs more cowbell at 11:21 PM on July 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


My peeps is all big mo's from South Eastern Idaho — yes, a long line of Mormons. Mostly Jack Mormon. So being sacrilegious Jacks it used to be an inside family joke to dress like Polygamous folk for Halloween. When my wife heard about this she thought that would be HI-larious for us to do it a few years back. I was ambivalent. Halloween is my birthday and I HATE dressing up.

But we did. So we enlisted our friends Kristy and Kaycee as sister wives and went to a few parties. The gals wore the 44-button pioneer dress, apron, and bonnet. I wore short sleeve crisp white collared shit, black slacks and a clip on tie adorned with the a print of the Temple. I brought a BOM.

This is how it went:

"HEEEEY... Little House on the Prairie? Right? And you? You work for IBM."

"No. We're SLDS."

"Who?"

"That Polygamous Mormons sect in Utah... these are my wives"

"Ohhhh... yeah. I guess."

One person, for some insane reason, thought we were making fun of Muslims, and got mad. I said "no polygamous MORMONS..." And they told me we shouldn't make fun of any religious beliefs.

Ironically then the guy dressed as Tom Cruise, complete with a copy of Dianetics and JUMPING ON THE COUCH every damn time somebody asked him who he was, got all these laughs and nobody got mad at him.

Sigh. Going as a Polygamous Mormon. It was a failure.

Even afterwards drunkenly trying to un-button those 44 buttons on my wifes dress so we could get biz-zay (I could not talk the sister wives into also doing their wifely duties unfortunately) took so long she passed out.

Failure.
posted by tkchrist at 11:22 PM on July 1, 2008 [13 favorites]


We still have a long way to go as humans. Just because women can't kick men, we are treating them like our subjects. In this part of the world, it's much more in the system than in the US, so, I am in totality for women wearing less or no clothes than dress modestly, my argument is they enjoy more freedom and are less susceptible to suppression/violence of any kind than the one who is being recognized as modest. And Yes, wearing less clothes translates to more freedom for women.
posted by nikheal at 11:24 PM on July 1, 2008


I'm going to ignore the gender politics and general WTF of the Lydia of Purple types in favor of pointing out that the Mika Rose dresses linked in the first article are kind of awesome.
Seriously, super cute. Perfect for the office and reasonably priced.
posted by thewrongparty at 11:40 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Where can I get those missionary nametags? The Mormons are on their high horse about gay marriage again, so my partner and I want to start hitting the gay/bear clubs dressed as LDS missionaries...but you have to get the nametag just right, and I'm having a hard time finding them online.
posted by troybob at 12:18 AM on July 2, 2008


mosk: "It's just another form of cosplay, IMO. Maybe their customers can add these "Christian Domestic Discipline heirloom intimates" to complete the ensemble. [SFW]"

Short and Sassy Crotchless Pantaloons! There's "confused" for you, right there...
posted by benzo8 at 12:23 AM on July 2, 2008


I was really looking forward to a Romney campaign this year, since it would have led to so many fun discussions. But alas.
posted by rokusan at 12:37 AM on July 2, 2008


Can anyone explain to me in good faith why these women so often seem to dress identically, right down to the odd wall of hair over the forehead? I am sincerely curious about it. It doesn't seem that desiring to dress modestly logically means everyone dressing alike, but maybe there's something I don't know about this tradition.

why should mormons be any different than cheerleaders, who dress not modestly but alike? or girl scouts? or any number of other non-sex specific 'uniforms'? (blue jeans, polo shirts, crocs, military, etc.)

uniforms promote uniformity. and a sense of belonging. and once you're a member of a group, whether it's lds or tau beta gappa fwee, you tend to follow the mandates of the group. because if you don't, people begin to ostracize you. you're told that you're a weak link who is threatening the fabric of the group. it's used as a means to control people. there's the added dimension that women are somehow responsible for controlling the sexual behavior of men, and the way they dress is directly tied to that. the subject of another post.

and next time you put on a mini skirt and fuckme heels, don't think for a minute that you're asserting individuality. that's every bit as much of a uniform as the little house on the prairie fraulein is sporting.
posted by msconduct at 3:58 AM on July 2, 2008 [5 favorites]


Here's what I find interesting -- there's a similar site being marketed to Jewish women called Funky Frum. Same principle -- clothing for women who wish to dress modestly for religious purposes -- but WOW, the clothes are way better, to the point that that site totally derailed another "let's look at modest clothing sites" discussion I was on a while back because everyone actually started shopping.

But it did raise a good question. It IS clearly possible to dress modestly without looking like Laura Ingalls -- so is there something else going on there?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:56 AM on July 2, 2008


See also
posted by mattholomew at 5:01 AM on July 2, 2008


As a parent of a 12 year old girl, I usually end up exhausted and depressed from clothes-buying trips where we have to dig through piles of midriff-baring low-cut halters and short shorts with the word "hottie" written on the ass in sparkly glitter letters before finding anything that won't make my kid look like a stripper in training. I totally approve of this "sleeves and modest skirts" fashion trend.
posted by Cookiebastard at 5:10 AM on July 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


But it did raise a good question. It IS clearly possible to dress modestly without looking like Laura Ingalls -- so is there something else going on there?

Good question -- my take is that the radical elements of the LDS church see themselves as returning the religion to its 'true roots' and this clothing style hearkens (sp?) back to the time when the church was in its formative years. That's why the ladies don't dress like Ahmedinejad's smokin' hot wife.
posted by mattholomew at 5:11 AM on July 2, 2008


What are you clothes saying about you, sister? What are they supposed to say to your brothers? "Hey, look at this?" Well, they actually are trying to look at the Lord; it's not good for them to be looking at that. No, it's not your fault that they have a problem. We established that. And it's really great that God has made you beautiful. I hope your husband (present or future) shows you how grateful he is for that about you.

But you can help the brothers who aren't your husband, or you can not-help them.


My brothers, all three of them, have no problem keeping their eyeballs to themselves where I am concerned, to say nothing of the fact that I don't need to describe any of them as "the brothers who are not my husband".
posted by orange swan at 5:24 AM on July 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


and next time you put on a mini skirt and fuckme heels, don't think for a minute that you're asserting individuality. that's every bit as much of a uniform as the little house on the prairie fraulein is sporting.

When can a clothing style ever escape from being anything other than a uniform, becoming an assertion of individuality?

Not a snark, seriously. Wouldn't it be relatively simple to associate almost any style of clothing from the last century or two with a stereotype, ethnicity, religion, region, socio-economic level, (insert your own group here), etc?
posted by michswiss at 5:40 AM on July 2, 2008


I'm going to ignore the gender politics and general WTF of the Lydia of Purple types in favor of pointing out that the Mika Rose dresses linked in the first article are kind of awesome.
Seriously, super cute. Perfect for the office and reasonably priced.


You have got to be kidding, thewrongparty

I've just peered at your links with a (relatively) open mind.

Seriously, super ghastly!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 5:50 AM on July 2, 2008


Really authentic modest clothing. Also, how come g-d missed telling these folks about the whole no-pants-on-women modesty thing.
posted by nax at 5:55 AM on July 2, 2008


Thanks for the FunkyFrum site, EmpressCallipygos. I sew, so I could copy most of those cute dresses, but damn, I WANT this hat. Like, I would do something quite immodest to get it.

I have no fault to find with the concept of dressing modestly for either gender. Where a lot of religious orders go off the rails is that the principle of dressing modestly and plainly becomes a mandate to wear a specific dress code. This happened with the Quakers, who began wearing a plainer version of what everyone else wore, then evolved the custom of wearing a specific dress (think a dress and bonnet and the guy on the Quaker Oats label). In the early 20th century they did away with this specific dress code and went back to wearing a plainer version of mainstream society wore (although individual and older members continued to wear the Quaker dress). They realized that by making it mandatory to wear a specific modest dress that no longer bore any relation to what non-Quakers wore they'd lost all the orginal purpose of the principle and were simply isolating themselves from the rest of the world.

The Amish and more conservative order Mennonites, of course, did not go in this direction. I've known a number of Mennonites at least who complained about the absurdity of the rules handed down every year for dress and other things. One year it's wrong to wear certain colours, the next year it's okay.
posted by orange swan at 6:14 AM on July 2, 2008


interesting how it always seems like the women get the raw end of the deal when it comes to religious-mandated dress. Men get stuck with beards, funny hats, or sideburns (and sometimes have to wear suits), but there is no where near the religious control of men's ankles.

Almost makes you think that the religious strictures are more about control over property than whether or not the all-seeing god notices that your ankles are showing.
posted by jenkinsEar at 6:16 AM on July 2, 2008


why should mormons be any different than cheerleaders, who dress not modestly but alike? or girl scouts?or any number of other non-sex specific 'uniforms'? (blue jeans, polo shirts, crocs, military, etc.)

uniforms promote uniformity. and a sense of belonging. and once you're a member of a group, whether it's lds or tau beta gappa fwee, you tend to follow the mandates of the group.


There is a huge difference: when not cheerleading (or scouting) the group member is free to wear whatever she wants: shorts, skirts, cargo pants or string bikini. On the other hand, the Mormon Fundamentalist is never free of the constraints of her religion. Cheerleaders can cut their hair, but Warren Jeffs' wives cannot.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:40 AM on July 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


When can a clothing style ever escape from being anything other than a uniform, becoming an assertion of individuality?

i suppose that's when you wear the lds getup to the bar on saturday night or when an amish woman busts out in a bikini. i don't really know. but when you're dressing for an audience--whether your judgemental religious peers or for your potential hookup--you're not dressing for yourself; you're dressing for expectation and effect and that e&e comes from time-tested & proven mores and conventions.

have you ever watched that wretched america's next top model show? one of their mantras is 'fashion isn't meant to be comfortable.' wonder what guy was the first to say that?

my own opinion--and it's only that--is that one never completely escapes the mindset of conformity. perfect examples are hippies, goths, punks, and any other subset that sets itself apart by looking exactly like everyone else in its peer group. finding one's own comfort zone is a personal journey that starts with questioning or dispelling beliefs one was born with in favor of beliefs one actually *believes.* that can be a wide chasm to leap.
posted by msconduct at 6:44 AM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Modest clothing is all well and good, but when will they sell me some nice sheets with a blood streak from a 12-year-old bride?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:48 AM on July 2, 2008


i agree to an extent, secret life of gravy. i'm willing to bet, though, that the cheerleader who wears nothing but teen princess dresses or who bows to the east three times a day isn't going to make the squad cut next year.
posted by msconduct at 6:53 AM on July 2, 2008


the Mika Rose dresses linked in the first article are kind of awesome

Agreed. Some of those dresses are teh sexy.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:00 AM on July 2, 2008


Oh god. It's like no one is moderating the MSNBC comments. Okay, I'm not surprised, but still. It's like youtube with a couple of fundies sprinkled in.

Count me in as one of those women that is actually really into "modest" dress. That Mika Rose wrap dress is pretty fabulous.
posted by giraffe at 7:05 AM on July 2, 2008


CNN is predicting the prarie dress as the next (anti-) fashion craze.
posted by Brian B. at 7:13 AM on July 2, 2008


I was really looking forward to a Romney campaign this year, since it would have led to so many fun discussions. But alas.

Report: Romney top choice for McCain's VP.
posted by ericb at 7:18 AM on July 2, 2008


Nunderwear.
posted by thivaia at 8:44 AM on July 2, 2008


I think there is a fatal flaw in all of these modest clothing movements.

Skirts and dresses are inherently immodest. I knew this was six, and I freaked out whenever I had to wear a skirt that somehow, someone might see my knees or even (gasp!) my underwear. Maybe I should have stopped sitting cross-legged on the floor or doing somersaults, but, hey, I was six.

Trousers are way more modest than skirts. No one can ever see your legs in trousers. You can never flash any skin, and as for the hanky panky - well, that's a lot more awkward too. Skirts just make it easier to do sinful things you shouldn't do.

In fact, trousers are so modest that a couple hundred years ago, women could pass as men by wearing men's trousers. How's that for taking mens' minds off your woman's body?
posted by jb at 9:01 AM on July 2, 2008


Wow, that CNN clip is just cruel.
posted by arcticwoman at 9:15 AM on July 2, 2008


interesting how it always seems like the women get the raw end of the deal when it comes to religious-mandated dress. Men get stuck with beards, funny hats, or sideburns (and sometimes have to wear suits), but there is no where near the religious control of men's ankles.

I do agree with your larger point, but I will point out that men in religious-mandated dress wear trousers, which shows less ankle and leg than any dress or skirt length religious dress codes allow. Trousers, however, while not showing any skin or even stockinged leg might outline a woman's rear and crotch and legs. Can't have that, of course.
posted by orange swan at 9:17 AM on July 2, 2008


That's why the ladies don't dress like Ahmedinejad's smokin' hot wife.

I can see her nose! Immodest harlot!

I actually like the Mika Rose dresses too. I dress in long skirts generally, and I avoid jeans and most pants, but it's because... I like wearing skirts. Not for my husband, not for God and my country, but because they're comfortable and I like the way they look. I'd certainly never demand that all women have to follow my fashion choices, though. I have friends who never wear dresses, and who would look ridiculous in them.

I fell in love with these slips. I think that's a great look.
posted by cereselle at 9:42 AM on July 2, 2008


Okay, I'm back again being thinky about religious-mandated dress. Someone above suggested that cults usually have uniforms. But I live near a very Hasidic neighbourhood, and I don't think anyone considers Hasids a cult. (Do they?) Yet they all wear black suit/white shirt/black hat/curls (men and boys) or long skirt/long hair (women and girls). And I just don't get this kind of thing. It's probably because I'm not religious, but I don't get it.

A couple of the Mika Rose dresses were cute, but they were like 95% polyester. Plus when I look at the pictures I know I'd want to shorten them just a bit, like two or three inches. They're just that side of too long, for me.
posted by loiseau at 10:54 AM on July 2, 2008


and don't think we didn't get that Cake reference in the page title
posted by troybob at 11:01 AM on July 2, 2008


But I live near a very Hasidic neighbourhood, and I don't think anyone considers Hasids a cult. (Do they?)

They're given a pass for reasons including:

-with very limited exceptions they don't proselytize.
-they've existed for a long time.

Other than that if you consider the FLDS a cult and not strictly because of polygamy and teenage brides, the Hasids are pretty much in the same boat.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:31 AM on July 2, 2008


Metafilter: being thinky
posted by nax at 12:12 PM on July 2, 2008


brain cloud: "There's dressing modestly, and then there's having a Little House on the Prairie/Holly Hobbie fetish.

This seems less about clothing, and more about celebrating a bygone era when women 'knew their place.' Or am I reading waaaay too much into this?
"

Well, there can be elements of that. Submitting to one's husband comes up a few times in the Prairie Muffin Manifesto, here.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:23 PM on July 2, 2008


Just to back up what I said above -- I see nothing fundamentally wrong with dressing modestly. Rather, it's that category of what a certain subset of the modest-dressing movement is using as their standard for women's dress, namely the long skirted long sleeved shapeless prairie dresses or variation thereof (plus or minus some type of required headcovering), that worry me. It is, in a sense, the American christian burka.

A woman (or a man, for that matter) can dress in a way that is respectful towards the beliefs they hold about outward appearance without setting the calendar back 100+ years, don't you think? A few of the links for modest clothing were totally nice, modern, full-coverage-type apparell that few would ever pigeonhole as being "modesty dresses" because they look like they would actually be worn in this era. Wearing something that's so obviously a throwback to times that no longer exist is, to me at least, a coded message to anybody who sees the clothing that modern clothing isn't the only current standard that's being bucked here.
posted by brain cloud at 4:43 PM on July 2, 2008


I think all young ladies should dress modestly.

And by "modestly" I mean like a stern librarian or teacher. Only the kind of librarian or teacher in 1980's hair-band videos.

And when they "shush" you, grab you by the ear and take you back to the stacks to take off their glasses and let down their hair, they are instantly transformed into porn stars and can instantly resort to a strobe lit pole dance on common furnishings.
posted by tkchrist at 6:09 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


And by "modestly" I mean like a stern librarian or teacher. Only the kind of librarian or teacher in 1980's hair-band videos.

But, what about the timid, reserved librarian (...and don't forget the monkey. The Monkey!)?
'Tears for Fears' -- Head over Heels
posted by ericb at 10:46 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


What brain cloud said.

I'm an atheist, liberal, sexually active, child-free woman who is gainfully employed outside the home. My ethos is probably 98% in opposition to any fundamentalist religious thought. However, a lot of the women's clothing linked here are the kinds of clothes I tend to buy and wear. (But not the prairie uniform.) I work in an office, and I'm a little tired of seeing everyone's boobs, legs, underarms, tattoos, bellies, toes, etc. There's nothing wrong in women and girls dressing in a way that shows a bit of respect for themselves and their professional environment. There is a time and a place to dress less modestly, and I've seen hookers who dress with more class than some of the 19-24 year old women who come into our office as clients. (Our employees are a bit better, but there's more skin than I think is appropriate.)

Sometimes it's sexier when you have to use your imagination, and when women leave something for the imagination to work with. And sometimes it's more creative and striking to use your flair for fashion and self-expression with actual clothing, and not how much skin you can show and get away with it.

I am really, really tired of seeing pre-teen and young teen girls dressing like junior porn stars.
posted by Savannah at 12:06 PM on July 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


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