[This week we pass the microphone to Heidi, a fellow cheap-seater. Heidi, it's all yours. . .]
Like many cheap-seaters and feminists, I’m not a fan of the modesty discourse at church. There have already been many great conversations about what’s wrong with four-year-olds worrying about covering up their shoulders, women being told they shouldn’t wear pants to church or how problematic it is to keep telling young women to frame their sense of self based on how they appear to others (attracting men with their bodies or attracting men by covering up their bodies).
In short, I believe that modesty is not about the body parts that are covered, but about dressing appropriately for the occasion and the personality. What feels modest to one individual won’t be modest to another, but bodies aren’t dangerous and I think we can trust women to make decisions about what they want to wear and trust men to be able to control themselves no matter what a woman is wearing.
Still, while I might have opted out of worrying about modesty in the same way I used to, a lot of Mormon ladies still do. And, not only that, but modesty doesn’t exempt them from the societal expectations that all girls must be everything. In a recent vlog, C. Jane pointed this out, rather hilariously, when she and her sister laid out the most basic rules for Mormon women:
1. Be Hot
2. Be Modest
And there it is. Dealing with these twin pressures has led enterprising Mormon women to come up with some creative layering techniques. Cute maxi dress for the hotness rule, halftee for the modesty rule. Except some people don’t care for the results. C.Jane was responding to a reader who had written to tell C. Jane how ridiculous she looks in her halter tops look with t-shirts underneath them. This helpful reader had suggested that the only appropriate way for Mormon women to layer was to pattern themselves after the wholesome Maria Von Trapp or Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. (Because there is only one appropriate way to be hot and because women’s appearances – especially ones who dare to take pictures of themselves and put them up on the interwebs — are always fair game for comment.)
I’m not a fan of this either. Mormon ladies have every right to wear halftees and maxi dresses and they should be able to layer however they see fit. Still, while I might not be a fan of judging women by their appearances and holding them to unrealistic and contradictory standards, I am a HUGE fan of layering. And dressing like movie characters while doing the school run. The crazier looking and more man repelling, the better.
And, so in honor of Mormon ladies everywhere, I put together my best Maria inspired outfits. I hope C. Jane’s critic will approve. The basic principle behind Maria/Dorothy dressing seems to be a blouse under a fitted dress. I don’t have a white blouse with billowy sleeves, but I’m from sturdy pioneer stock and I can make do with things I already have.
My Michelle Obama dress, gift from my mother.
Weird floral blouse (with billowy sleeves), bought on sale.
Thrifted Topshop wedges.
Silk dress, thrifted
Weird floral blouse
Shrug of unknown origin (when two or three layers is not enough).
Husband’s old belt because style bloggers must belt at all times.
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