Something’s been weighing on my heart over the past few months. Although it’s not always a popular opinion among body positivity advocates, I decided it was finally time to write a post about it. Ladies, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with choosing to embrace modesty. I read an article the other day entitled, “How Purity Culture Made Me Ashamed of My Body,” and its message made me cringe. Unless we’re talking about cases of gross cultural oppression or religious abuse, this is such a warped narrative for young men and women to read. If this so-called purity culture involves teaching your teenagers to dress age-appropriately and to value humility and self-respect over vanity and succumbing to peer pressure, I’m terrified at the prospect of raising a daughter in today’s cultural climate.
Your mom hopefully told you when you were young that you don’t need to have a particular body type or wear a particular style of clothing in order to garner respect and develop self-esteem. Confidence can come from so many wonderful places, and a revealing ensemble doesn’t need to be one of them. I refuse to buy into the excuse that young women, specifically celebrities, who choose to pose provocatively on social media or the cover of magazines are doing so to celebrate self-expression and spread a message of body positivity and empowerment. I say that because I did the exact same thing and used the exact same excuse when I was battling my eating disorder.
At the height of my body dysmorphia, I posted dozens of bikini shots with borderline self-righteous quotes about confidence and courage. I’d be heartbroken (and triggered) when a photo failed to garner an arbitrary amount of attention. Like so many women and men who are struggling to accept their bodies, I relied on validation from strangers as a fix. This is such a dangerous process, y’all, and it’s one of the many reasons why anorexia nervosa remains the most deadly mental illness. Our society is becoming so obsessed with how we physically look (and in some warped way, manipulating that obsession into bravery) that we forget what’s actually empowering. Degrees as empowering. Running a half marathon is empowering. Standing up against injustice is empowering. Dressing in a way that exudes dignity and self-respect is empowering.
The point of this rant is that if you’re looking for a genuine way to feel good about yourself, I promise you can do it without crop tops and plunging necklines. If you’re feeling insecure or experiencing negative thoughts from an eating disorder, overcompensating under the pretense of body positivity will not help you find peace. So what can you do? See a counselor. Talk to your friends. Stop comparing yourself to the models in magazines. Just do something constructive that’ll push you further along on your journey to self-love and acceptance.
Oh, and if your style does lean conservative (like mine admittedly does), don’t forget that you’re in amazing company. Think about Kate Middleton, Audrey Hepburn, and Jackie O. They’re three of the most well-known style icons of all time, and they’re famous for being elegant, classic, and modest, not sheepish followers of purity culture.
Okay, rant over! In the spirit of reserved style, I wanted to center today’s style feature around cheap modest clothing for women. This particular look is one of my favorites ever. It’s chic, colorful, and totally appropriate for all occasions, from old-fashioned family gatherings to late night cocktails. I’ve had this kelly green a-line skirt for a few years now, and it’s still one of my favorite spring pieces. I paired it with this new calico print top, whose trim I folded under and secured with clear fashion tape for a more fitted look in leu of tailoring. Full outfit details are listed below!
Shop the Look: Kelly Green A-Line Skirt, $20 (also available in 8 other colors)| Calico Print Blouse, $14 | White Sam Edelman Pointy Toe Pumps, $120 | Green GiGi New York Monogrammed Clutch, $250 (exact style is no longer available; a similar style linked) | Emerald Statement Earrings, $16 (similar style linked) | Photography by the fabulous Catherine Rhodes
I want to leave y’all with of my favorite quotes on the importance of modesty– “Confidence is quiet. Insecurities are loud.” Have a great rest of your week, y’all!