When I talk to different groups about fashion there is always one word I refrain from using at all costs. The dreaded M-word… Modesty.
Say the word to most teens and young professionals today and they will immediately tune you out. There is something about the word that is cringe worthy. It brings forth images of shapeless skirts that brush the floor and unfeminine tops that cover from wrist to chin to hips. They see the swimsuits of yesteryear that were anything but functional for an actual swim or they envision baggy muumuus.
Modesty, in its true definition, is to display one’s true worth in speech, dress and behavior. It is not reserve or simplicity as some of the definitions claim, but this is what the younger generations believe the definition to be.
While I would love to revive the proper use of the word, I’ve found it is easier to use alternative words and phrases when talking about modest fashions. I opt for appropriate attire, personal style, dignified clothing… The emphasis needs to be taken off the idea of rules and regulations, which the word modesty supposes, and it needs to be put on turning a girl’s face into the focal point of her entire look.
Do you have any words or phrases that you use instead of the M-word?
I highly suggest reading A Return to Modesty by Wendy Shalit.
(pic from old-picture.com)