“Dressed Up!” New Era, May 2003, 45
Young women in California are making a fashion statement.
You see them on TV, on the covers of magazines, in the movies, even at school—girls with bare midriffs, wearing tight clothes and spaghetti straps, short skirts, and even shorter shorts.
Revealing clothes are not in short supply, either. Most stores have shelves and racks full of them, especially in the summer. No wonder that as young women we’re having such a hard time finding something stylish to wear that is also modest. Instead of looking a little harder, we may be tempted to give up.
Some girls may dress in the latest style without giving modesty a second thought because “that’s what everyone is wearing.” Others feel they have to dress to impress. I was interested, though, to hear remarks about how girls dress from some of the adults and young men in my very own Saratoga California Stake.
For instance, a member of our stake presidency was asked, “How would you describe the trends and fashions for young women these days?”
He replied, “More and more revealing, tighter, lower, shorter, anything to emphasize the physical body.”
A recently returned missionary said, “I don’t feel like I should hang out with young women who dress immodestly because I get distracted from what I need to be doing.”
Our ward has spent the past several months working hard to educate our young women about the importance of modesty. We started with an evening devoted to fashion. Our Young Women leaders showed us clothes that cover but still look good and flatter us, and we were told where to shop for modest clothes that are cute and fun. They also taught us how to get a more natural look with our makeup.
One Young Women leader surveyed some of the members of our stake, asking their opinions about how girls dress. For example, one of the young men surveyed said, “I don’t respect girls who dress immodestly.” Another said, “I don’t care about girls who dress like that [in revealing clothes].”
One comment from a priest spelled out what most of the young men seemed to feel. He said, “There’s a line between suggestive and attractive. A lot of young women try to play the line, not just in their clothes, but in their makeup and attitude, too. It’s unattractive when they look suggestive and act stuck up.”
The young men’s responses consistently showed they were unimpressed by and uncomfortable around young women who wear revealing clothes.
At the end of the evening all of the young women signed a modesty oath card.
Each time we dressed modestly for a Church function, we got a check mark on our cards. After the 12th check mark, we got a gift certificate for a juice smoothie, which really gave us something to look forward to. We keep the cards with us now as a reminder to stay modest.
A couple of weeks after our modesty night, one of our Young Women leaders set up a photo shoot for our Young Women activity. It was so much fun! She took pictures of us, and we got to show off our modest attire. It is exciting to look at all the fun pictures we took and the cards we completed and to know that we accomplished our goal.
You may be wondering how well we have been doing with our modesty program. Well, I can say we are sticking strong to staying modest. All of the girls in my ward have completed their oath cards, including one girl who isn’t a member of the Church yet. Though we’ve finished the program, we continue to dress modestly, even at school, which is amazing since my school has no dress code. The students can wear whatever they want. But our girls choose to dress modestly and stand as witnesses at all times and in all things and in all places.
When a young woman dresses modestly she reflects confidence and integrity, one of our Young Women values. President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “How truly beautiful is a well-groomed young woman who is clean in body and mind. She is a daughter of God in whom her Eternal Father can take pride. … Be true to your own convictions. You know what is right, and you know what is wrong. You know when you are doing the proper thing” (New Era, Jan. 2001, 11, 14).
Our prophet knows it is difficult for today’s youth to stay clean and pure. But he says, and I believe, that it is important we do what we know we should and dress in a way that shows we know we are daughters of God and that He loves us.