Are skirts or jeans more modest for women to wear?

My thoughts on summer clothes

For the ladies, I think the first concern is the functional scenario. If the woman is going to be exercising or playing a sport, then I recommend long just-above-the-knee dress shorts with pleats. Those are pretty modest but still provide full movement. Actually, there are these things called skorts that are actually shorts that look like skirts. Those are REALLY modest if you get them in a long enough length – like just above the knee.

For anything not active, then I think that loose-fitting slacks or below the knee length skirts are modest, but functional. Loose-fitting jeans are modest, but I  don’t like jeans because a woman cannot really express herself with colors – jeans are usually blue, and what does that say? Nothing. And jeans don’t look soft and feminine either. I like women to be different than me in the way they look and dress, but the same as me in the way they think and debate. I like slacks better than jeans – they are just as functional and look better.

That being said, jeans are probably the best for doing practical things in. I think the main thing is that a skirt can be immodest if the fit is too tight, just like jeans can be immodest if the fit is too tight. So a lot depends on the fit. I think a skirt is more modest because although it shows the lower leg, it hides the upper leg and behind better.

I was informed when I inquired that jeans can be “low-slung” and that those should be avoided in front of strangers in public. I also don’t think women can show cleavage to just anyone in public. I think the problem there is that it sends the wrong message to strangers. Trying to get attention the wrong way.

For swimwear, I recommend anything with a sarong on the bottom, and without a plunging neckline.

What should women try to communicate with their dress?

Well, I’ll just give my opinion.

If a woman really, really want to get a man’s attention, then wear a full length dress with a style and colors that express something. I like brilliant white, fire engine red and brilliant white, or midnight black and brilliant white in a striking design – something that you might see on a Honda motorcycle. But other colors that have patterns that range over a larger area with a nice contrast are also awesome. I think clothes should be stark and bold and that the colors should be chosen to communicate something about the woman’s character. Anyway, that works on me.

I think that in public with strangers that a woman can always show her neck and upper chest, arms below the shoulder, and the leg below the knee. I think that women can show more in an exercise/sport situation. I’m opposed to showing cleavage to strangers in public. It attracts the wrong kind of attention and in the wrong way. However, in private with people she knows, then the rules can be relaxed. Part of the fun of a relationship is for a woman to reveal herself to a man progressively and to get appropriate compliments and attention, especially if she is working out and dieting and needs encouragement.

Here – this one is perfect:

This is fine to wear in public

Modesty is actually really important. How can a woman attract a man without being too revealing? When can she show more rather than less? What is appropriate? How can a woman communicate to a man with the way she dresses?

Any thoughts from our readers?

Acknowledgements

You may be wondering how I even found out about all of this stuff since I know nothing at all about clothes. Well, I asked a bunch of women I respect, of course. Six of them! All of whom are either famous, or who have commented here, or both. I don’t want to say their names, except for Foxfier, who gave me her permission.

42 thoughts on “Are skirts or jeans more modest for women to wear?”

  1. When we were new Christians and my wife (at the time, my fiancee) was in college, she didn’t dress as modestly as she does now, but she was never as immodest as most girls of the mid-1970s dressed. But she often wears jeans because they are more functional for hiking, and other situation. She loves long skirts/dresses, but she doesn’t have a collar to her neck, no is it immodest. And she prefers the swimsuits with skirts.

    Personally, your description is much more strict, and sounds almost like Mennonite dress!

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      1. I actually like the dress you chose. I’d buy it if the colors were reversed. I like the classic lady-like cute. It’s nice for dinner out and I’d pair it with a sweater for church. And I love the belt! Cinches the waist!

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  2. that’s all fine and dandy, but she’s going to have an awful hard time accompanying me on my Honda motorcycle wearing a dress. Gonna have to be jeans there! (denim is recommended for protective reasons!) And they actually can’t be too loose fitting either! The pant legs could get caught in the sprockets or burned on the muffler!

    However I also recommend full long sleeved covering for the ride as well! A low cut top will be quite risky when oncoming vehicles stir up random stones on the highway! Ouch!

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  3. Thanks for the link!
    I love how you’re getting information BEFORE you form your opinion.

    So, of course, I’ve got to give my opinion, too. ^.^

    I’d say that jeans can be used to communicate as well– the form, the cut, how worn they are, how they are damaged by use. There are a lot of different colors of blue, too, and that ignores the brand issue. (I don’t really pay much attention to brands unless they’re on a cow.)

    My usual outfit of jeans and a loose, bright t-shirt, sometimes with an amusingly geeky logo, does express who I am. I’m not very feminine, and comfort/function are major concerns before form. (really doesn’t help that girl shoes tend to be painful or hazardous for me, if they’re not flat ugly)

    A secondary effect of my clothing choice is that it puts me out of the “hazard” zone for my male friends. Guys tend to share my interests more than gals, and geeks are sort of known for being a bit uncomfortable around girly-girls. (Since my husband is on his computer a few feet away, and our daughter is on my lap “helping,” I guess things worked out….)

    All that said, I’d love to be someone who could comfortably and attractively wear skirts. I’ve even found these skirt-pants named “gauchos” that I can wear with laced boots and a nice blouse to look fairly feminine without breaking my dang fool neck. (takes some searching in western stores to find ones that actually look nice on a hobbit)

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    1. Well, I agree with you on girly shoes. They are silly and women tell me that they hurt to wear – why would anyone wear pointy shoes? It makes no sense to me. Women don’t have pointy feet – I looked!

      The gaucho pants get around all my objections to jeans. They’re comfortable, feminine and expressive.

      Oh, and your attire sounds modest, yet practical. That’s good!

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      1. Pointy shoes are horrible. However, you can get girly shoes that aren’t pointy and are comfortable. Really. They’re just usually more expensive. :-( But I think it’s worth paying more for good shoes. Bad shoes are bad for your health because they throw your posture out as you compensate for the pain and they don’t support your feet so you get tired more easily. A few good shoe investments are worth it, if one can afford the extra bit. I got a pair of very pretty Scholl sandals in England that lasted me 5 years. They were pretty and comfortable. I wore them almost everywhere!

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          1. If you’re interested, I can. Because of my illness, sadly, I can’t wear heels. But since I go to work and church, I have a number of feminine yet comfortable shoes. I have a number of ballet flats in different colors, peep toe ones and all out sandals. My husband’s favorite look on me surprisingly is not stilletos but a pair of Audrey Hepburn style black flats. He thinks I look pretty yet approachable.

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        1. When I talk about looking like a Hobbit, I mean my feet, too. >.< Square feet and horrible nails, plus not a lot of balance for heels. I've had folks suggest ballet style shoes, but I haven't found any in "square" size five…

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          1. Yeah, I saw someone in those gaucho pants and they were white with a black shirt and a white top. It looked AWESOME!!! So I think those will work.

            I hear what you are saying about the shoes. Can you think of any other ways to be feminine without using dress? I think if a woman expressing her needs to me and without issuing commands, then I feel like I can serve her. I feel like a man. Any other ideas?

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          2. Slacks and a floral blouse are the traditional solution that I’ve seen. My grandmother’s generation and social group wore them, and they didn’t even let their daughters wear jeans to school until college. (Of course, in a lumber community, jeans meant something, but eh.)

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    2. I have 3 pairs of gauchos. So comfy! I also like free flowing peasant skirts. I don’t really wear shorts, so these are perfect summer options for me.

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  4. Pants can be just as immodest as a skirt. Today there are tight jeans that are very low cut. Yes those are immodest.

    A proper length skirt can be quit modest. Again, tightness is a factor.

    By the way, the things teen girls are wearing, even to church, are pretty inappropriate these days. And they are completely clueless when confronted about it because it has become the societal norm.

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      1. Sadly, I’ve seen this and it shocks me. I was raised Pentecostal, so I’m not truly comfortable with a skirt above the knee at church. And I usually have a sweater or wrap over my shoulders if I have on a sleeveless top.

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  5. In my school, originally girls wore skirts. But since most girls’ skirt length happened to be one inch above the knee rather than the expected one inch below the knee rule, the uniform was changed from skirts to pants for senior girls. :) This post reminded me of those days! I believe my school was the only one which instructed girls to wear pants in my entire country at that time!

    As for your question, it all boils down to how fitting your clothes are. No matter what you wear, if it’s a size or 2 smaller than your proper fit, it is going to look immodest. I personally prefer jeans to skirts simply because I don’t wear my skirts without wearing stockings. Jeans are more comfortable that way and blue is definitely not the only colour out there!! I certainly have seen jeans in various colours including hot pink, orange and purple!! I wouldn’t touch them with a 10 feet barge pole but just saying!

    I certainly don’t wear jeans (or even slacks for that matter) when I go to church. I prefer feminine clothes then. And boy do I have an option!!:D We Indian women have plenty of option when it comes to dresses but then again you are talking about western women here so I guess I’ll just shut up! :-l

    And I agree with LWA about the dresses girls wear to church these days! Disgusting!!

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    1. “I wouldn’t touch them with a 10 foot barge pole” – LOL!

      I think women should wear feminine clothes to church – it makes sense then. You won’t have to do any hard work in church! I think that Indian dresses are really elaborate and modest, and they look great on women.

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    2. Indian dresses are beautiful! A lovely combination of femininity and modesty. Modest doesn’t have to imply frumpy.

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  6. High heels are probably the stupidest fashion for women. When I see women wearing them I feel sorry for them for ruining their feet just to be someone’s idea of “sexy.” At our outdoor ministry in the Iowa City pedestrian mall, we see lots of women in heels who have lots of trouble walking in them. Impractical for everything.

    As for nice looking femine shoes, my wife loves to wear “Mary Janes,” currently either Danskin or Earth Shoes. Some styles of MJ are really ugly pretenders, but most are nice.

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  7. In something else I read earlier this year, some Christian males claimed that a woman who is not getting attention from males, should dress more provocatively. They particularly mention short skirts, high heel shoes, and long hair.
    http://voxday.blogspot.com/2010/01/mailvox-whats-woman-to-do.html
    (I do get somewhat more male attention following some advice there, but not a single one of them was at all serious about Christianity- this far, and none of them ever got into one good conversation with me.)

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  8. I now understand why there are more and more lonely people. It’s because women had no freedom in the old days, men even instructed them what to wear! The man chose a woman and that was the end of it. Now is much more complex…

    “Too many skin makes us with unpure desires” they say… Conveniently forgetting that men also inspire desire on women.

    Ah! but when Adam and Eve were completely naked in the Garden of Eden! Those where the days!! The damn fruit ruined the lust

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    1. ….Huh?

      I know neither of my grandfathers told my grandmothers what to wear. (other way around, really)

      A discussion on how to be more modest in feminine clothing doesn’t mean that guys can’t be immodest, it just means Knight wanted to talk about a very specific subject.

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      1. Of course they didn’t. When you know exactly your limits you dont even have to discuss it. I was just being sarcastic… I find this discussion trivial. Each one is free to wear what they like. I leave it there.

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        1. …of course folks are free to wear what they like. Has nothing to do with trying to figure out what they should wear if they’re trying to look like X, or avoid Y.

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          1. Sure! But modesty fashion is purely personal, in my opinion… If John Doe thinks modesty is a skirt not showing skin above the knee, Mary Jane may think it’s until 15cm above…

            It is context dependable also. I mean I go to the beach and I see lots of babes in bikinis! A nice view indeed! :)

            To Muslims modesty is a burka.
            I don’t mind; dress as you see fit. I love women for what they are and represent, not for what they dress. A good taste in dressing as nothing to do with modesty but with sensuality.

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          2. If you don’t want to make rational arguments for your view, no-one is forcing you to do so. That you think it’s purely personal means nothing to those of us who think that it can be described.

            Muslim modesty doesn’t actually translate the same as Christian modesty….

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          3. “A good taste in dressing as nothing to do with modesty but with sensuality.” How convenient – for you. Liberal men like to encourage women to dress immodestly for their own selfish reasons. Wise women, however, will choose to frustrate such men by dressing modestly. Chastity is empowering for women.

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  9. BTW Wintery. That dress suggestion is terribly sinful. It’s got that construction right over the breasts that draws attention like a magnet.

    Not cool.

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      1. Interesting.
        Why do you say it doesn’t matter?
        I also thinks it draws a bit more attention than what is modest.
        So I’m curious at you answer, Wintery.

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          1. The dress is disgusting, and I really do agree with Matthew. The picture of the dress is something I would NEVER wear. It is not modest at all… not to mention it pulls the attention not to the ladies face, but to her chest.

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  10. But if sin is not simply what you do but what you dwell on mentally, then clothing that highlights and enhances certain curves which ought not be highlighted or enhanced can be as sinful as clothing which reveals that which ought not be revealed.

    The claim that because everything is covered it must be modest is incorrect, as I’m sure Mara and many other women can attest to (I’m assuming you’re a woman, Mara. And I’m very interested to hear about your name.).

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    1. Hey, Wintery, I think Matthew alluded to the fact that he thought Mara might not be my real name.

      And yes, Matthew, I’m female.

      One of the reasons I never really jumped into this topic is because it is a difficult one. People can get so legalistic and just plain silly.

      Sex and attraction between the sexes, when done right, is a beautiful, powerful gift from God. A gift that is another expression of us being created in His image. Because — besides being loads of fun and an awesome and deep way to connect with another person, we get to create human beings in our image. God gave us this power. It’s not a frivolous toy or a human right. With great power comes great responsibility. This power should (MUST!) be contained within the confines of marriage for it to be used correctly.

      I said all that to say this.

      Sin so distorts this gift, it has become just plain sick — with human trafficking, pedophilia (sp?) and all.

      In fact, so many of us are so screwed up, we honestly don’t know the line between divine and base. We live in a porn culture that reduces women to objects and men into animals with no self-control and gives both sexes the right to follow their impulses without restraint.

      What is tantalizing for one man may not even register on the radar for another.

      When is it healthy attaction and when does it turn into something unhealthy?
      I’m only asking the questions. I’m not a man. I don’t know the answers to them.

      Then there is also a tendancy to translate a man’s sin onto the woman. Jesus called men into account for this saying that if a man looks at a woman in a lustful way, he has commited adultery with her in his heart already. Often times men will blame the woman for their own lust based on the way a woman is dressed. And I tell ya, even if some young, ignorant thing dressed provocatively, men must still take responsibilty over their own lust and not say, “It was the way she dressed.”

      Again, I don’t know. I’m just asking. Each man will have to answer for himself, honestly, before God. God knows our hearts better than us.
      At what point does looking at a woman and admiring God’s creation start down that slippery slope of lust?

      The picture above does concern me on this. I would encourage my daughters NOT to wear such a thing.

      My poor daughter found an absolutely adorable top in a store. But I wouldn’t buy it for her because it did the same thing to her breasts that the dress above does. Brought too much attention.
      She cried, but I told her that we must have mercy on the adolescent boys in her school and their developing sexuality (not in those words). But I didn’t want it to be a punishment for her. So to make it up to her, I bought her one more pair of jeans than what I origianlly intended.

      Modesty is a responsibility but should not be a trap. Women should neither be ashamed of their bodies nor flaunt them.

      Now you see why I didn’t jump in here before. My first comment was really only meant to be small talk. I wasn’t wanting to get all involved.
      But gosh darn it, when someone asks me a question I feel a compulsion to answer it. And for some stupid reason, I can’t keep my answers short.

      Oh, and Wintery, in case you think that I think you are wrong to look at and admire a woman dressed as in the picture, I’m not. I don’t know when it’s okay and when it becomes lustful and I don’t want to become silly and legalisic over it. I want to walk in the freedom of the Spirit and I want to give my brothers and sister the same freedom. I don’t ever want to be in the position of the modesty police. I just want every individual to exercise wisdom in all things and am willing to give them space to work it out.

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    2. Matthew, if you are interested in hearing about my name than you must know what it means.

      My full internet psudonym is Mara Reid.

      The Reid part is symbolic of the Bruised Reed that didn’t break. And the Bruised Reed alludes to the Branch of Jesse, which in turn alludes to the Branch that Moses threw into the waters at Marah to make the bitter waters sweet.

      Does that explain it?

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