Q&A: Questions and Answers


Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

I know it’s immodest to wear clothes that are too revealing, but my parents still won’t let me wear some styles that are popular at my school. If it’s not immodest, shouldn’t it be okay with Church standards?

New Era

Modesty is not just a matter of having your body covered. Modesty also has to do with dressing and acting appropriately. That’s why printing a list of exactly which clothes are okay to wear is useless. Clothes are much more than that. They tell people, even ones you haven’t met, about your attitudes and how you feel about yourself. In the For the Strength of Youth booklet it says, “Because the way you dress sends messages about yourself to others and often influences the way you and others act, you should dress in such a way as to bring out the best in yourself and those around you.”

The messages that clothes send could be causing the difference of opinion you are having with your parents. Styles that you feel are just cute or fashionable, your parents may see as indicators of bad behavior or attitudes that could lead you away from the Church. You need to talk with your parents about your choices in clothing. Perhaps your parents can explain to you what worries them about some of the clothing styles you want to wear.

Your parents want what is best for you. It is also likely that they want your outward appearance to reflect the lovable good person they know as their daughter or son. They don’t want the world making wrong assumptions about you. They don’t want a little thing like the clothing you wear to cause others to have a poor opinion of you. They don’t want a bad first impression to stop opportunities from coming to you.

Clothing fashions come and go. Parents know this. All you have to do is drag out a copy of their high school yearbooks. They will probably laugh over the hair styles and the clothes they wore then and thought were so important. They also know that one item of clothing, no matter how important to you now, will not make or break your teen years. During your talk with your parents, stay calm and try to listen. See if you both can come to an understanding.

Church standards for dress are based on both modesty and appropriateness. For example, shorts that would be worn appropriately while playing sports such as basketball would be inappropriate for attending a Mutual activity. A modest swimsuit would be the right thing to wear while swimming but would be immodest anywhere else.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we want our beliefs to shine in everything about us. What we choose to wear can be a way of showing respect or lack of it. We should choose to dress appropriately for Church meetings and all activities. Your ward leaders, your bishop, and your parents can guide you.

Readers

My mother has always taught us that “Styles change; standards don’t.” The real reason some styles are not a good choice to wear is that they don’t look like what the gospel teaches us. Many of the people who wear those styles act in ways that are opposite of what we believe to be “virtuous, lovely, or of good report” (A of F 1:13).

Brittany Nichols, 13 Golden, Colorado

When you dress modestly you show respect for God and yourself. The way you dress sends a message about yourself to others and often influences the way others act toward you. You should dress in a way that will bring out the best in yourself.

Edward Hunt Garrison, Utah

As we all know, we should honor our parents (see Ex. 20:12), but if you really think the clothes are not inappropriate, you should try talking to your parents about it.

Angela Tran, 12 Brooklyn, New York

Dressing according to Church standards will help you to prepare to enter the temple because you won’t have to adjust to a different style of clothing afterwards. If Jesus Christ were to come at this moment, would you feel comfortable receiving him in the clothes you are wearing?

Dolcie Thompson, 16 Phoenix, Arizona

We are warned not to get caught up in the fads and fashions of the world. Jacob 2:13 says, “ye are lifted up in the pride of your hearts, and wear stiff necks and high heads because of the costliness of your apparel, and persecute your brethren because ye suppose that ye are better than they.”

Lori Fisher, 18 Rexburg, Idaho

The Church’s standard of dress is for your own good. It really isn’t asking too much when you think about it. Remember, you don’t have to go along with what everybody else is doing to be accepted. Stand up for your beliefs.

Ryan Holloway, 16 Mount Pearl, Newfoundland, Canada

According to society what you wear is what you are, regardless of what your purpose may be. Let’s not forget the sacrifice that was made for us and focus more on the gospel of Jesus Christ. Be unique. They will remember you for it.

Sabine Jeune, 20 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Even if it’s hard, your parents know what’s right for you. Use their guidance and wisdom as a tool to a happier future.

Nancy Frederick, 13 Spring Valley, California

If our clothes give the slightest inkling of not being of Jesus Christ, then that is not good. We need to remember who we are and try our best to portray a Christlike image to everyone around us. A scripture helps me decide which clothes I wear. In 1 Thessalonians 5:22 [1 Thes. 5:22] it says, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

Christina McArthur, 15 Oceanside, California

[photo] Photography by John Luke; posed by model

[illustration] Beginning with coats of skins given to Adam and Eve (see Gen. 3:21), clothing has been important in the scriptures—with many references to modesty, cleanliness, and appropriateness. (Painting Adam and Eve at an Altar by Del Parson.)