GENERAL NORMS OF MODESTY FOR LADIES
(cf. Holy See, Jan 12, 1930)
- Clothing should not be flesh-colored, sheer, skin tight, or cling to the body.
- Necklines should be cut no deeper than 2 fingers-width below the pit of the neck; sleeves should be at least a quarter-length long, and blouses should be long enough to conceal the midriff with raised arms.
- Skirts and cropped pants should drop below the knees when standing and sitting.
Because traditional Catholic teaching on modesty in the area of sexuality requires the woman to keep more of her body concealed than it does for the man, some Catholics believe that it is unfair to the woman. While it is true that traditional Catholic teaching on modesty in the area of sexuality is more demanding of the woman, it is not unfair. Just as the woman is the weaker gender in the area of physical power, so the man is the weaker gender in the area of sexuality… And just as it is wrong for a man to use his physical strength to lord it over a woman, so it is wrong for a woman to use the feminine characteristics of her physical body to dominate a man.Fr Regis Scanlon O.F.M., Homiletic and Pastoral Review, November, 1988.
I wish women to be decently dressed, adorning themselves with modesty and dignity. I Timothy 2:9
“We become like that which we love. If we love what is base, we become base; but if we love what is noble, we become noble.”“The higher [a woman’s] virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.”Fulton J. Sheen, Life is Worth Living
I want to look nice and follow the dress code guidelines. What do you suggest?
Perhaps you think that modest guidelines in this dress code result in frumpy and boring clothing, so included below are examples of how modesty defines what is beautiful. These pictures should give you ideas on how to put together your outfits.
What should I do when I find that perfect fitting dress but it’s just a little bit lower on the top or a little higher on the legs?
Unless you are able to add a piece of fabric to keep within the guidelines, do not bother buying it. It is so easy to break these guidelines, so do be careful to not give yourself excuses.
It may be hard at first–if you aren’t used to looking for such clever ways to dress–but it takes perseverance while hunting around, especially in thrift stores.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.