Modesty is the Best Policy…

… At any age! 

Having an almost 13 year old daughter and a 14 1/2 year old son, I’m doubly concerned about modesty.  I’ve actually been teaching them about modesty all of their lives.  {I believe that it’s never too early to teach little girls about modesty ~ I started talking with Abigail about this when she started wanting to dress herself, and even more as she wanted to pick out her own swim suits.} When the children were young, without saying it with a critical spirit, anytime we would be in public and see someone dressed immodestly, I’d point it out to the children and ask them what about that person’s dress was immodest.  Then we’d talk about what that person could have done to make the outfit more modest.  I wanted them to be able to make modest decisions by the time it really mattered.

Which is now.

Especially at my children’s present ages, I’m very concerned that our daughter dresses modestly as a teenager ~ for her own personal value, and for God’s glory not to be hindered by how she dresses.  I’m also concerned that the girls (and women) around my son dress themselves with modesty. I can’t do anything about those not living in my house, but as for Abigail and me, we will serve the Lord by dressing ourselves with modesty.

Modesty doesn’t have to be frumpy!  We love to be stylish. I love to be stylish.  My personal philosophy as I pray that God will help me pick out each day’s outfit is that those who walk with and serve the Lord can be both “Hip and Holy”.

Dannah Gresh, (author of And the Bride Wore White, Lies Young Women Believe, and founder of “Secret Keeper Girls” and “Pure Freedom”) has a wonderful test for us girls to see if our outfits are modest.  In Dannah’s ministry, she provides resources in the form of books and live events to equip men and women of all ages to live lives of purity.  I love all of her websites/blogs.  Her website is, and her (woman’s) blog is Dirty Secrets Cleaned Up.  Dannah has a blog for moms and daughters, with some fun interactive links for the girls called Secret Keeper Girls.  If you’re a mom of a daughter, you’ll definitely want to check out these sites.

Dannah’s “Truth or Bare” modesty tests were developed so that a girl

can go through the thinking process by herself and let her heart be molded into modesty rather than face a legalistic set of rules.  I use these tests, and often find myself making last minute wardrobe adjustments.  Try them, share them with your girls, and let me know what you think…

Dannah Gresh’s “Truth or Bare” modesty tests

“Is my shirt too tight?”

Take the tips of your fingers and press into your shirt right where your ribs come together in the “valley” in the middle of your chest. When you take your fingers away does your shirt immediately spring back like a small Smurf trampoline? If so, your shirt it too tight!

Solution: Get rid of the shirt. It’s not going to get bigger overnight. Try a different bra first as sometimes that can make a huge difference.

“Am I showing too much belly?”

Stand and pretend you are totally going for it in worship and lift your hands up in the air with your arms fully extended to God. Is this exposing any belly skin? Even if you don’t raise your hands to worship, just think of all the things you do every day that causes you to lift them up.

Solution: Go for layers and put a longer shirt under a shorter one. Our secret weapon: a ribbed t-shirt or tank from the men’s department. They’re nice and long and stay tucked in under a cool, trendy shirt.

“Can you see my underpants?”

Can you see a distinct outline of your panties through your pants, skirt or shorts? This can happen if your pants are too tight or because your undies are too bright! And while we’re on the subject, can you see any straps from your bra? That’s not A-O-K! The only straps showing on a girl of God should be the straps from her cute summer sandals!

Solution: Trash your tight pants. For lighter colored pants and skirts, keep a few pair of “Grannie Panties” (big plain white ones) on hand for a safe look. And as far as those bra straps…don’t do it! Make sure your tank tops have nice wide straps to cover your bra.

“How short is too short?”

When you buy either shorts or a skirt, try this test. Sit in front of a full length mirror. Sit both “indian style” on the floor and with your legs crossed in a chair. What do you see? If you see too much thigh or your panties, guess what? So can everyone else. If you really want to up the ante, imagine that mirror is your dear ol’ grandpa!
(P.S. We stole this test from Susie Shellenberger at Susie! Thanks, Susie!)

Solution: Today’s skirts are about extremes. Go for extremely long…extremely full…but pass on extremely short. As far as shorts go…they can be hard to find but keep looking! And check out the favorite places to shop on this blog. It’ll help you find shorts with longer in-seams!


“Are my pants just too low?”

It ‘aint cute on the plumber and it ‘aint so cute on girls either. The terrible…the awful….crack view! Sit “criss-cross applesauce” on the floor. Bend forward as if you’re about to devour a great magazine. Now, reach behind you and get a feel of what might be the featured view if your jeans are too low. (Or ask a girlfriend to check it out!)

Solution: Some low riders are just too low. Find a pair that won’t cause viewers to blush for you.

“Tell me now…is my shirt too tight?”

When wearing a button down shirt, stand sideways and look in the mirror. Is the space between the buttons gaping open, even just a little bit? If it’s pulling enough to cause a gap you’re in danger of exposing way too much and in danger of losing a button!

Solution: NO Brainer. Shirts that are too tight are a totally bad idea if you want to dress modestly. It’s not JUST about how much of our beautiful epidermis is showing, but how much of our shape is showing! Try buying a size or two larger. (If that bugs you cut out the tag when you get home.) Or, try a t-shirt under the button down and leave it open for a layered look.


“Is it cold in here?”

OK, girls…hate to bring this one up but when we get cold or nervous sometimes we can “get nippy”…if you catch my drift. When this happens, it is visible to others IF our bras are not thick enough. There’s no test for this really…at least not one that I want to take!

Solution: Keep in mind that when you’re wearing thinner shirts, wear a thicker bra to avoid this problem. When you have on a sweater or a thicker shirt, go for a thin and cute bra if you want!


“Is my shirt too low?”

Place your thumb on your collar bone and your had on your chest.  If there’s cleavage below your hand, it’s time for a secret weapon! A men’s tank – worn backwards!

Solution: Slip this backwards men’s tank under a button down that exposes cleavage below your hand when placing your thumb on your collar bone. You can also try a trendy layering technique by putting a button down under a polo or rugby shirt that plunges too low.

Pure Freedom, founded by Bob and Dannah Gresh, provides resources in the form of books and live events to equip men and women of all ages to live lives of purity. Dannah provides a special emphasis on equipping moms to raise their tween girls to be sexually pure, modest and emotionally whole teen girls. From there, the resources of Pure Freedom offer frank and transparent books and events for teen and college-aged students.

So girls of all ages… what do you think about this?

About SmellingCoffee

I'm a Jesus-loving, husband-loving, family-loving minister's wife and mom to two college kids, making our home and serving our Lord in the Mississippi Delta. I study, teach, speak, and write for the greatest Boss in the universe. "Faith, Family, Food, Fun, and Living Life brewed in the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place": That's what you'll find at


  1. Smelling Coffee says:

    Grammy, God bless you as you speak these truths into the lives of those 6th grade girls! That's a perfect age to drive this important topic home in their hearts.

    And, maybe through the daughters, the moms will be challenged… That's my hope and prayer~

    Blessings of the Lord on you as you pour into the lives of these tender hearts…


  2. You'll be getting referrals from a blog I'll write on this subject. We have just promoted girls from 6th grade into our Sunday School class and that one of our early lessons — modesty. I just wish a couple of our moms would catch on!

  3. Smelling Coffee says:

    Kay, it is hard, isn't it? But I'm so very thankful that "layering" is the style, so our daughters don't look strange when wearing tanks under tops, and leggings under skirts, etc.


  4. Excellent points made here. My girl and I work on this all the time. She is naturally very modest anyway and we both comment on clothes when she goes in the fitting room. Very nice not to have to fight her, but it's just plain old hard to find clothes that aren't "weird" in juniors.

  5. Great tips, and I'm so glad you're teaching your children about modesty. So many young girls out there have no idea what skimpy clothing does to men, and their parents are afraid they won't be considered "cool" if they try to teach them. Hopefully your children will be a good example to others out there.

  6. Smelling Coffee says:

    SO true!

    Several years ago when my husband and I were teaching a Sunday School class, a very sweet lady would sit in the front row each week with TIGHT and LOW tops on. I don't think she (nor her husband) even thought a thing about it, but James said it was very distracting!

    I eventually started sitting in "her" seat and she had to move a row behind. That way, at least it wasn't what he saw each time he looked across the classroom. 😉

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  7. This is great! I wish we could get women to heed this advice, too — even (or maybe, especially) women in the church!!

    My hubby and I had to sit through an hour meeting with someone (from our church) the other day whose shirt was way too low. We got an eye full, for sure! 🙁 I honestly don't think she was purposely trying to tempt the pastor, but it was still very uncomfortable! I'm not a prude by any means, and I'm not a frumpy dresser, but we don't all need (or want!) to see everything the next woman's got!! We struggle enough with our own self-image and feeling inadequate standing next to a woman who's thinner, prettier, dresses better, etc., than us!!

    Sorry, I got off on a rant, but it really bugs me when we encounter a woman and have to see nearly as much skin as her husband sees!!