Fashion, Corruption And Respect Part Two



We continue our series on fashion. To recap Part One click here.

Fashion and the Church

During all of these changes in fashion, the Church has spoken out against immodesty and in defence of purity, but on mostly deaf ears. Sure, at one point Catholic countries banned the bikini, but that solidarity did not last.

Consider this quote from Pope Pius XII in his Moral Problems in Fashion Design:

‘It is often said almost with passive resignation that fashions reflect the customs of a people.  But it would be more exact and much more useful to say that they express the decision and moral direction that a nation intends to take: either to be shipwrecked in licentiousness or maintain itself at the level to which it has been raised by religion and civilization.’

Pope Pius XII continued:

‘An excess of immodesty in fashion involves, in practice, the cut of the garment.  The garment must not be evaluated according to the estimation of a decadent or already corrupt society, but according to the aspirations of a society which prizes the dignity and seriousness of its public attire.’

Prior to the twentieth century it was generally expected that women (and men) dressed modestly. This was for two reasons, the first of which is purity. By covering the parts of our bodies that would cause others to have impure thoughts or be tempted to act against purity, there is not the obvious temptation to sin.

In other words, if a woman dresses modestly she is not putting herself on display in a sexual light and is not tempting men to think impurely about her or want to engage in impure actions with her. One of the shocking ideas that came out of radical feminism was this idea that if men have the problem of thinking or acting impurely when women dress in a certain way, then it’s their problem. Women should be free to wear what they want, when they want.

Instead of refuting this directly, I want to give you the second reason in favour of dressing modestly. This reason is something that is perhaps less evident to many people. That is, the idea that anything precious, mysterious and sacred is hidden from view (para. Dr. Alice von Hildebrand).

Consider simply where we house the Eucharist in our Churches. The Body of Christ is precious and sacred, and a mystery of faith. It is also veiled in the Tabernacle, hidden from sight. It is also hard to get to, as the Tabernacle is locked and opened only by Ministers of Communion – the clergy.

In her book, Dressing with Dignity, Colleen Hammond quotes a description given by Muhammad Ali to his daughter on the idea of the body being sacred:

‘Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You’ve got to work hard to get to them… Your body is sacred. You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.’

Your body is precious and valuable and as such it should be veiled and hard to get too. It’s simple, but very beautiful to think that you are a temple of the Holy Spirit.


Reclaim the dress

If we as women do not realise the inherent beauty and preciousness of our own bodies, how can we expect men too? If we dress immodestly and treat our bodies as nothing more than flesh to be used for self gratification, then we have lost our dignity and respect.

If we dress and act like men, how will we ever appreciate what it means to be women? How will we ever truly appreciate the blessing of children if we abhor our maternity, the very beautiful gift that defines us as women?

And how do we restore our dignity? By reclaiming the dress (which also encompasses the skirt). Why? Because, for hundreds, if not thousands of years, dresses and skirts were the epitome of femininity, a beautiful veil for the Temple of the Holy Spirit and a protector of purity.

Feminine dressing, hairstyles and behaviour are necessary if we want to restore our dignity and be respected by the opposite sex. Dresses and skirts before pants and slacks –though these are practical sometimes. And when I say skirts I’m not talking about mini-skirts or skirts with splits all the way up to the top of your thighs, but feminine skirts that are not too short, tight or fitted so as to leave nothing to the imagination.

Reclaim the dress and give masculine dressing the boot! Restore your dignity as a woman, a Temple of the Holy Spirit, by veiling your precious body and making it hard to get to! And you might just notice how others, but more especially men, will start treating you with more respect.


First published in ave maria



Filed Under: FashionFeaturedJust For Mum

About the Author: Emily is a former ACPA award winning editor and journalist turned stay at home mum and blogger. She lives on a farm in regional NSW with her husband and their five children where she spends the time she should be doing housework reading books and writing posts.

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.