As a mother of five daughters, I am constantly looking for ways to help them dress modestly while still looking fashionable. My sewing skills have been invaluable in converting sleeveless prom dresses into modest ones. I’ve also found that if we can’t find long-enough shorts, we’ll convert pants into shorts or capris. I’ve made sure that I’m passing down these values and skills to my daughters through the Personal Progress program so that they can, in turn, adjust their clothing to meet the standards of the Church.
Other things we’ve done include deciding that if a skirt does not meet the suggested length, we just won’t buy it. I also know that prayer works. Before shopping, I often say a prayer that we will find the item we’re looking for at a price that will fit our budget, and it works! The Lord is mindful of even our smallest desires to be obedient to His commandments.
Adrienne Vanderkooi, Ontario, Canada
My sister served as a Young Women president in Alaska for several years. I have loved and followed her advice for modesty for girls and women. She used the “Head Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” method. We all know the song, but it works very well for modesty as well.
Head: Put your hands on your head. If any skin shows around your middle, your clothing is not appropriate.
Shoulders: Put your hands on your shoulders. If you can feel bare skin, the clothing is not modest.
Knees: Put your hands on your knees. You should not expose anything at the neckline of your shirt.
Toes: Put your hands on your toes. You should not be exposing any skin on your backside.
I have found this to be a good exercise for checking my modesty and hope that it can be helpful to others as well.
Linda B. Fielding, Utah, USA
In a world that is ever pushing the boundaries of modesty, I have watched my mother set the example for not only my sisters but for me as well. While most often we think of modesty as only applying to girls, guys can choose to be modest also. Mom always evaluated what my siblings and I were wearing using the “arms held high” test—if skin was showing around our waist when we lifted our arms, we would choose another outfit. In addition, Mom had to approve any clothes we wanted before we bought them.
While my mother was always making sure we were modest in dress, she quietly set the example for us to follow. When my sister got married, for instance, my mother couldn’t find a modest dress. She looked for weeks, but in the end, her sister made a dress for her a week before the wedding. It was probably the most beautiful dress I had ever seen. Another aunt, trying to teach her five-year-old daughter about modesty, said it best: “Look, Honey, you can be pretty and modest at the same time.”
Stephen Larson, California, USA
I like to keep up on the current styles, but I always add my own modest twist to them. If I see an outfit in the store and think it’s cute but it just doesn’t cover me up enough, I find a T-shirt in a coordinating color to wear under it. A friend who is not a member of the Church once told me that she likes how I can stay both stylish and modest. There is no reason to dress immodestly when you can make your own modest style.
Devynn Bohn, Florida, USA
As members of the Church, we have covenanted to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ and to “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9). Whenever I face a question or issue, I try to think of how the Savior would respond or act. When it comes to modesty, I believe the Savior’s clothing was simple and plain, never detracting from His special message or attracting attention to Himself.
For us to be modest, we can dress and act in the same manner. Is what we’re wearing or doing detracting from the Spirit? Is it putting other peoples’ attention where it ought not to be? These are some questions that I ask myself when selecting my wardrobe. I do enjoy looking nice, but I always strive to stand as a witness of God, even in what I am wearing.
Brian Fleming, Arizona, USA
The Principle of Modesty
“Some Latter-day Saints may feel that modesty is a tradition of the Church or that it has evolved from conservative, puritanical behavior. Modesty is not just cultural. Modesty is a gospel principle that applies to people of all cultures and ages. In fact, modesty is fundamental to being worthy of the Spirit. To be modest is to be humble, and being humble invites the Spirit to be with us.”
Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Modesty: Reverence for the Lord,” Liahona, Aug. 2008, 18; Ensign, Aug. 2008, 34.
“Dress and Appearance,” For the Strength of Youth (2001), 14–16.
“Modesty,” True to the Faith (2004), 106–108.
Silvia H. Allred, “Modesty: A Timeless Principle for All,” Liahona and Ensign, Jul. 2009, 28–32.
Joseph Walker, “More than Hemlines and Haircuts,” Ensign, Feb. 1992, 22–25.
Share Your Ideas
An upcoming Questions & Answers feature will focus on the following question:
I haven’t been active in the Church for years. I have sometimes felt like coming back, but I’m afraid of not knowing anyone or not knowing as much about the gospel as other people. I’m so intimidated. Where do I start?
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Illustrations by Dilleen Marsh