Today's Modern and Modest post features Kristina, who blogs over at Kristina J. A stay-at-home mom, Kristina uses her design and sewing talents to create an inspirational style that is all her own. Read her take on modesty below.
- What does "modesty" mean to you? Why do you choose to dress modestly? For me, modesty is a life-style. It is all-encompassing. I don't change the way I dress depending on whether I'm going to a professional meeting or playing at the park. I dress modestly for myself and my children. I want people around me to know I find my confidence in the fact that I am a child of God and not in the shape of my body or what I wear. Through the modest way I dress, I want to teach my young boys that women are to be cherished and respected, not ogled like sex objects. Modesty has become so foreign in our culture that a woman who is creative, confident and unrevealing in the way she dresses is so refreshing.
- What are your personal modesty restrictions? Describe a daily
look. Are there places where modesty doesn't apply or situations in
which the rules change (ie: your bedroom, your home, the beach, with
your spouse, with family)? I’m a busy mother of three children. I’m responsible to make sure they
are clothed and put together for the day, so that leaves a lot less time
for me to think about my personal appearance day-to-day.
I design clothes that are perfect for me aesthetically and fall right into my set of guidelines...and THAT's truly empowering. .Because of this, I stick to a very specific formula, wearing dresses with sleeves or a skirt with a cardigan or blazer. I try to maintain a certain standard of modesty even in my home in front of my two young sons or extended family. The only place where I completely disregarded any form of modesty is in my room with my husband.
- Do you dress in a typical style for your religious community, if you are part of one? If not, how does your style differ? How do you feel about members of your religious community who choose to dress differently? Yes and no. There are always differing standards within any religious group, and I fall somewhere in the middle of mine. There are some of my friends who feel my clothes are not modest enough, that my skirts and sleeves are too short while other friends think my clothes are too full, too layered, too long or too girly. Every one draws their lines at different places, and I only feel a responsibility to dress in a way that is biblically modest and appropriate (as best as my husband and I can interpret it). Of course, I disagree with certain opinions on both sides of my line, but recognize that on many issues, it comes down to personal opinion and preference.
- Have your modesty standards changed over time? How so? Yes. While I was living with my parents, there were certain things they wouldn’t let me wear based on their discretion of what was appropriate for a junior high or high-school aged girl to wear. It was their way of protecting my childhood innocence, which I’m really thankful for now. They wanted my clothes to be age-appropriate. As I grew older, I adopted a style of dressing more fitting for an adult woman than a teenager. After I married, my husband and I used the same Biblical principles to determine what the guidelines were going to be for our home, and while my clothing choices now might differ in manifestation, I still dress by the same principles my parents taught me. My parents were never extreme and I hope I can teach my daughter about modesty with the same wisdom and awareness.
- Do you find modesty empowering, restrictive, or somewhere in between? Is it something about which you feel passionate? Modesty is both empowering and restrictive. Lack of availability feels hugely restrictive when trying to find modest clothing you really love that are also unique and beautiful. I started sewing for myself, then got a degree in dress-making and design because I hated the limitations I felt when shopping. I design clothes that are perfect for me aesthetically and fall right into my set of guidelines...and THAT's truly empowering.
- How do you balance your personal style with modesty requirements? Are the two the same? You have to know your restrictions and how they relate to your clothing choices. I never think "I can't wear that!" but instead I try to think of all the pieces I can wear and ways I can wear them within my personal guidelines. After a while, you learn to tell whether something will work for you by the way it hangs on the hanger. I have a clear set of guidelines for how I want to appear in public, and I realize that because of those standards, certain trends are just not going to be cohesive with my look. In those instances, I try to be spot on with my shoes or accessories to keep my look modern and fresh.
- What role does modesty play in your religious observance, if you are religious? It's everything. The way you see me dressed on my blog is how I interpret Biblical principles of modesty and appropriateness. I apply the guidelines derived from these principles in every situation, whether I’m on the beach, at a ball-game, attending a wedding or at church. I don’t so much have a list of do's and do not's as much as a desire to honor God in the way I dress.
- Do you dress in a style typical for your geographic location? If not, have you ever felt out of place or overly conspicuous because of your appearance? Maybe I need to learn to blend in a little better, because I always feel conspicuous. I live in skirts and dresses…I’m a girl and I want to look girly, so I find it completely astounding at the amount of jeans and t-shirts I see on women out on the streets. I mean, there are so many pretty alternatives. I don’t dress like the people around me and quite honestly, I don’t understand the throw-on-the-first-pair-of jeans mentality that seems to be pervasive in the public mind.
- What role does your spouse/significant other play in your clothing choices? My husband loves that I'm creative in my clothing choices...in his opinion, within the guidelines we’ve established for our home, anything goes. On the other hand, he helps me understand how a certain clothing items or lack of coverage affects the male population. His perspective is invaluable when judging whether my clothes are appropriate or not. When I get criticism about the content of my blog, he helps me determine if there’s any amount of truth in it…adjust, then move on.
- Does blogging or reading modesty blogs strengthen, weaken or somehow alter your relationship with modesty? What has been the impact of going public with modesty? The truly scary aspect of blogging is that it’s so public. Everyone has a strong opinion, which makes you vulnerable in a way. People are free to base whatever opinion of you they want based on the content of your blog, which is unfortunate, because a blog is hardly a full picture of a life. I've received more criticism than you can imagine about the length of my skirts (too long, too short, too this, too that). Every time it gets overwhelming and I’m ready to delete my blog, I read the emails from girls and mothers who say, “Thanks so much for keeping it modest”, and I find the strength to put the next post out there.
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