A Secret to Keep - Part 2

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I wrote in my last blog about the purpose and power of modesty. It’s all about maintaining the mystery and protecting your secrets. Unfortunately, in our culture, it’s all too common for girls to flaunt their secrets as loudly as if they had a bullhorn. You know exactly what I mean. V-necks framing cleavage galore, tight t-shirts that show off every curve and bra line, miniskirts with just enough fabric to cover your undies, cutsey cropped shorts that show a mile of leg, and that’s just for starters.

So, practically speaking, how can we guard our secrets? It’s hard to pin down an precise line of “how much is too much,” but there are some rules of thumb we can use to help us figure this thing out.

One question I sometimes ask myself is, “Would I want a guy putting his hand on the skin that’s showing?” (Awkward image? I hope so!) Obviously, if a guy’s being creepy about touching any part of my body, that’s not cool, but some areas are clearly deep into the danger zone. When I’m trying on shorts and I notice that practically my entire thigh is showing, I imagine a guy laying his hand on my skin up there—and off those shorts go into the “I don’t think so” pile.

Another question to ask might be, “What is this outfit drawing attention to?” Do I really want my shirt so low that my breasts draw more attention than my face? Hmm, what about words printed across my rear like a billboard? (Yeah, he’s a jerk if he stares, but come on, you were the one who put up the neon signs.)

Wanna get even more specific? Try a few tests with a mirror in front of you to see if your clothes make the cut.

The, Um, Chestal Area

This is one of the easiest areas to lose control of, because today’s fashion is pretty much all about flaunting it—and frankly, you know you want to! (Hey, just being honest here!) So take a deep breath, remind yourself that your secrets are worth protecting, and shield those babies from prying eyes!

Bend over and, in the mirror, check out what’s going on down there. Can you see deep into the “valley,” or even all the way down to the middle of your bra? Not good. (For some body types, you won’t even need to do this. You’ll know right away how much cleavage you’re showing!) Solve this problem with some layering. Try a cami or a tank, but if those are still too low, either tweak the straps to bring the neckline up or go for a t-shirt to layer underneath instead. One beautifully modest girl I know likes to layer two tank tops, one backwards and one forwards, to take care of this problem in a super cute way! Another trick: buy a package of men’s tank tops, which have slightly higher necklines than girls’ tanks.

Here’s another test to try. With your fingers together and palm flat against your chest, hook your thumb into that little hollow place right at the base of your neck. Is there still skin showing below your hand? Can you see the curve of your breasts? Better double think what this shirt is drawing attention to. (Once again, layers are your friend.)

The tightness thing can be the hardest to figure out. Here, the goal is not to look spray painted. Leave some shape to the imagination. There is power in mystery!

The Gap of Death

This is my personal demon with jeans: that evil gap in the back between the pants and your skin that happens when your pants don’t fit quite right. Immodest and just plain uncomfortable! Invest in a simple belt to cinch that in. All fixed!

Even with a belt, though, this gap can spell death in more ways than one when you bend over or sit down. Try it, then reach back to feel what everyone else is seeing. Do you feel skin or underwear or worst of all (cringe) The Crack? Layers to the rescue! Wear a long cami or tank underneath your shirt to take care of this. You can either tuck it in or pull it down over the top of your pants, depending on how cute your belt is. ;)


There’s no getting around it: some skirts and shorts are just TOO short! Try this: Put on those shorts and sit cross legged in front of a mirror. Can you see too far up your inner thigh? (You’ll know how far is too far when you imagine your dear ol’ grandpa sitting in front of you!) Luckily these days Bermuda shorts are in ready supply, so you never have to worry about short shorts being your only option!

Skirts: You could try the cross-legged test again, but you and I both know how that’s going to turn out. So try this instead: Bend over like you’re trying to touch your toes, then feel how much of the backs of your legs is showing. Too high?

In general, miniskirts are out. Look for skirts that are closer to your knee than to your crotch. Anything less is too short!

What about wearing tights or leggings under your skirts? Leggings can be awesome, but remember that pretty much all they do is color your skin. Every curve is still fully on display. There’s a point where too short is just plain too short. I suggest using leggings as a safety net for those borderline skirts that you’re not sure about.

Here’s a cool idea, though: Wear your short skirts over jeans! It’s common enough not to be weird, but it’s unusual enough to be fun and unique and a little bit boho! This isn’t going to save your tight denim miniskirts (but feel free to prove me wrong!) but come on—you’ve got so many other stylish choices up your sleeve, who needs ‘em?

Strappy Days

No one should know what your underwear looks like, and that includes your bra straps. Plus, exposed bra straps are just tacky. Keep those tucked away; you can buy little hooks to attach to the underside of your shirt to help. Take advantage of those removable straps that you can cross and attach in several different ways to keep them out of sight. (The picture at right is a good example of this--although that particular tank is a tad tight to wear on its own.) If you shirt just has really weird armholes and all else fails, go strapless. 

What about spaghetti straps, like on a cami? I say avoid them. It’s not a good idea to wear a cami by itself. Not only do you often have cleavage issues, but it leaves your upper back and shoulders bare and is really no better than a tube top. That’s just way too much skin. Remember, the more skin you how, the more it just invites guys to complete the picture in their minds. Go for a tank or tee underneath. Play up that color contrast!

If you’re feeling iffy about any outfit, ask your dad or an older brother. They can help you understand what a guy sees so you don’t go causing guys to stumble if you can avoid it.

My goal isn’t really to give you rules to follow and a dress code to obey. I only hope you realize the importance of guarding your secrets, saving every glimpse for the one man who deserves them. With that in mind, use your best judgment. There is power in mystery. You will feel more confident when you choose not to give your secrets away, and that confidence will only heighten your beauty. When you choose to hide the full beauty of your body, the glorious beauty of your heart can be revealed.

PS- If you're interested in more specifics on what's modest and what isn't, check out the Modesty Survey, where a bunch of Christian guys answered very detailed questions on what they consider immodest. You probably won't agree with all the results - I didn't - but it's a very interesting read nonetheless.

GIVEAWAY: Congratulations to A Hopeful Romantic for winning last week’s copy of Secret Keeper: The Delicate Power of Modesty by Dannah Gresh!

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!! Luckily for the rest of you, I’m actually giving away another copy of Secret Keeper today! Just leave a comment below sharing one of your favorite modesty tips and tricks (How do you decide what's modest? What do you do when an outfit gets iffy?) along with your email address, to be entered. One week from today I’ll announce the winner!

If you don't want to post your email on the internet, that's totally okay; you can still enter! Go ahead and post your comment here, then also email me (abeautyglorious@gmail.com) a copy of the comment, just so I know which address goes with which comment. :)

ALSO, to get more entries into the drawing, tell your friends to enter! Have them leave a comment sharing their trick with your name, like this: "When a shirt is too short, I like to blah blah blah... and YOUR NAME sent me here." Each friend you send to the blog will earn YOU an extra entry into the giveaway!


Brit said...

Oh the finger trick for cleave check. I remember that one! Thankfully, God blessed me with a mole right at that location of "too much" If the mole shows, I don't wear it :D

warrior_princess said...

For me when ever a shirt is to short or cut to low I layer it with a undershirt or cami.

Josiah said...

Just so you know. Us guys appreciate what you're doing. Modesty is one of the great moral collapses in the world today. Thank you so much. Keep up the good work.

Kailey said...

For jeans, I always sit down when I am trying them on - both to see if they're too tight and to see if the gap in the back is going to be an issue. If they're comfortable to sit down in and I don't notice any problems in either area, they're good to go!!

Shirts- I have become more and more careful lately about shirts. If I am going to be doing active things or am going to a party, I make especially sure that I won't be showing too much. If I bend over and there's cleavage showing, I change or add a cami or tank underneath. If I am just going to be at school or somewhere I won't be doing a lot of moving around, I just make sure the shirt is high enough to not show any cleavage. Also, I tend to wear longer shirts, just in case my jeans are a bit low cut. And if the shirt isn't long enough, I wear a cami to give it the layered look and add to the modesty factor! ;)

For shorts, I usually stick with bermudas, because I have LONG legs. But if I am going to a pick-up soccer game with some friends, or an outdoor, casual event, I will wear some sporty shorts. Those always are no shorter than where my fingertips are when I hang my arms down.

I don't wear tank tops very often, but when I do, I make sure no straps are showing - cami or bra. And if they are, I take a small piece of yarn and tie them together at the center of my back.

All shirts - I make sure that they are not skin-tight. They can be "form-fitting" in the sense that they don't hide my figure, but they do not accentuate my figure. Usually that means I have to get a size bigger than what a normal girl my size would get.

I don't wear many skirts except for church or a special occasion, but if I do - and with my dresses as well - I make sure they are at least knee length and if they're shorter, I wear leggings! I never get skirts or dresses that are any shorter than a few inches above the knee.


Anonymous said...

growing up we always used the 3-finger rule. Place three fingers at the bottom of your neck, and anything past those three fingers, it's too low-cut.

The skirt rule wasn't mid-knee or longer was not allowed to be worn.

Any skirts that acted more of a suction cup than a skirt was not to be worn either.

T-shirts with writing across the bust weren't allowed either because it draws attention to that area.

Shirts could be form-fitting if they were modest. Meaning, anything that fit like it was your 5-year old sister's shirt was too tight.

My e-mail address is:
growup318 [at] gmail [dot] com

I'm looking forward to seeing who wins this week!

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to thank you again for the Delicate Power of Modesty book...it arrived yesterday, and I am already loving it! Thanks again!

You have done a fabulous job tackling the subject of modesty! =D