À LA MODEST :: Conservative Indie Fashion Style Blogger - a la modest - a la mode st. - conservative indie style blog blogger

One of my readers confessed that she was more apt to feel invisible when there were women around her showing a lot of skin. Flaunting your body is such a cheap way of attracting attention in which it takes little to no effort to be successful. Our liking to sensuality, men and women alike, is so automatic that it rarely demands clothing creativity. You can effortlessly accentuate certain parts of your body and receive instant gratification from wandering eyes. It’s easy… and lazy. If you want a real wardrobe challenge, start covering up (especially during the heat of the summer)!

I have to admit that dressing the way I do–a la modest–is not easy. It was especially difficult when I first made the decision to. It was a tug-of-war struggle between what I was used to and what I learned was modest. I still have the nature in me to want to go the easy route of attraction. It’s like preferring the internet over snail mail, a text over a phone call, or mac and cheese over Julia Childe’s beef bourguignon. Easy and cheesy.

We women desire love and attention. That’s just how God created us. It’s okay to want to be noticed and appreciated for the way we look. Nobody wants to feel physically insignificant even when we know our heavenly Father’s attention is what truly matters or that our inner beauty is more important. We can say the mantra of what matters most ten times a day, but we can still feel invisible and unappreciated for the way we look. Although it is true that inner beauty matters most, it shouldn’t be the only thing that does. I believe this idea creates such security around women and is the primary reason for “letting go” of their bodies– especially after marriage.

Dressing modestly doesn’t detract attention. You’re not wearing an invisibility cloak from Harry Potter, thank goodness. Covering up just prevents or lessens the wrong kind of attention. It’s dressing wisely. Doing it creatively with fashion is dressing wisely with a twist, a splash of lemon in an otherwise boring beverage.

To be honest, I think I’ve gotten more attention and appreciation from the way I dress now than when I used to dress like everybody else. I just hope that when other women notice that they realize that I’m not exposing a lot of skin or accentuating my curves, they will learn from what they see and incorporate that image into their clothing lifestyle. As all motives and lessons  learned, I hope that modesty values will eventually sink deep into their hearts. Modesty is ultimately an issue of the heart. I did not decide to dress modestly because I wanted to stand out. The appreciation and attention I received was just a by-product of my personal decision from a hard-earned lesson. I didn’t expect that at all. This is just my testimony, my vouching that you can still be noticed while dressing modestly.

I especially love it when little girls look up to me. It gives me so much hope for the next generation to carry out this modest revolution.

The one thing I will always remember when I think of Rebecca St. James is her song “Wait for Me.” I used to listen to that song constantly on my “I-Want-To-Be-Married-Soon” playlist. Now that I am blissfully married to a darling man (bequeathed the name Rob) and have successfully diversified my taste in music, I think it’s worthwhile to delve back into the mainstream Christian music side of things.

This Aussie beauty is “aussie”ome in more ways than one. To point out the obvious, she writes catchy tunes with heartfelt lyrics about her faith. Another cool thing about her is that she is friends with Joshua Harris. She wrote the foreword to one of my favorite books by Josh, I Kissed Dating Goodbye. That book rocked my world (including my socks) and shook my single mentality to the core. You just have to read it. Rob and I proceeded to read his next book, Boy Meets Girl throughout our courtship. Our affinity for Josh’s dating standards drew us together like a spit high five.

Did I mention that I’ve been on Rebecca’s Myspace top friends for several years now? That may be just a  product of big-bang-proportioned randomness, but that sure is quite an honor! I doubt she remembered meeting me at one of her concerts and decided to move “RACHIE” to the top of her Myspace list.

I bookmarked this neat article on CBN’s website where she talked about true beauty:

I have played the comparison game too. This is an embarrassing confession, but once I recall tearing out a magazine ad that pictured a girl standing beside a car. She looked like what I thought I wanted to look like. She had toned arms, a slim figure, and beautiful, full hair. I kept this picture with me to supposedly help me achieve my goal. But I realized pretty quickly that this was only negative, that it was making me feel even more discontented with the unique way God created me. Basically, I was coveting what someone else had—which amounts to breaking one of the Ten Commandments. The other problem with comparing ourselves to other people—especially people in magazines—is that often these images aren’t even realistic. With today’s technology, most pictures are doctored to erase flaws or even shave off inches. And most models weigh less than what is considered healthy for their height.

Aren’t we all guilty of that? Especially with the lack of modest magazines out there, we’ve been forced to look up to women who look and dress a certain way. It’s a struggle to maintain purity in our hearts, minds, and closets. The goal of a la Modest is to help weave beauty and modesty together with fashion. Modesty can be cool. You don’t have to look up to the models that make you want to vomit or the celebrities that make you want to cry because of the way they present themselves. There are some stunning women out there who dress fashionably modestly, and Rebecca St. James is one of them. She is a true beauty and a rare jewel.

I was wearing a jean shirt dress that was too short, so I paired it with a jean skirt underneath of the same bleached hue. It actually looked more like a tunic than a dress. This same dress without the jean skirt would look nice with leggings or jeans.

I always try my best to cover my butt and the shape of my legs. The reason to cover up certain areas of your body has nothing to do with whether you think those parts are sexually attractive to others or not. Those parts are probably all in the same category of possible lust factors. I’m not sure if my covered parts are attractive either, but my husband should be the only judge of that!

The dress was also a bit low-cut for my standards, so I got this white ruffled blouse to go inside. I pulled out the ruffles of the shirt so that they would pop out like an accordion, layered over the chest area. You may think that ruffles accentuate the bust. In most cases, they do. In this case, they actually hide the shape of it because they are flat, wide, and spread out . The dress already had vertical ruffles around the top, so the effect was simply beautiful.

Need to live on the ruffled side? Here are some links to ruffled stilts-and-skins:

Ruffled Trenchcoats from Smooph
Ruffled Trenchcoats from Smooph

Pont Neuf by Shabby Apple

Le Coeur by Shappy Apple

Suede Ruffle Heels
Suede Ruffle Heels by Boden

Fabulous Clutch
Fabulous Clutch by Boden

Everybody Women's Scalo Mid Heel Pump Wth Ornament And Matching Ruffle Back
Everybody Women’s Scalo Mid Heel Pump Wth Ornament And Matching Ruffle Back

Fergie Women's Henney Sandal
Fergie Women’s Henney Sandal

Every woman or girl has probably picked up a copy of Cosmopolitan (or Cosmo Girl for teens) at least once in her life. Although the magazine has great fashion editors, it’s hard to endure flipping through the pages or even looking at the covers of this and many other publications like it because of their sexual content. It pains me to even glance at magazine stands next to grocery store counters. Truth is, there is a psychology behind the way items are placed in stores. The items near the checkout are what people usually buy at the last minute such as gum or batteries, because they are small and often overlooked. Magazines, on the other hand, are there to be eye candy (and to entice purchase) while waiting in line. Everybody is in the business of taking something from you, whether it be your money, your attention, or your mental/spiritual well-being.

So, what is kosmios? It’s the Greek word mostly identified with the word modesty. Kosmios means “proper, decent, respectable, and modest.” This word was actually derived from the original Greek word kosmos, which is closely associated with the universe. This word refers to order, adornment, and decoration. I know at this point, you might be getting a little lexicon leary from all these derivations, but I do want to point out something fantastic that I drew from this! After contemplating all of these terms, the three magic words that popped into my head were divinity, design, and modesty.

We are all divinely created by design, mirroring the image of God, and clothed modestly to cover up our sins. Adam and Eve were only naked and unashamed before the Fall of Man, but because of mankind’s disobedience, God provided them with decent clothing. As Jim Hamon of Psychoheresy says, “Contrary to the popular illustrations of Adam and Eve with their fig leaves, God’s covering was not a loin skin for Adam and a fur bikini for Eve.” God fashioned their clothes to cover their entire body.

I’m not going to just say “as Christians, we should…”, because we are all like Adam and Eve, human beings meant to be covered. This should eliminate the perception of the boxed, legalistic mentality that Christians supposedly have. The reason we as human beings wear clothes is found in the history of the covering of our shame. Although obviously not all things that happened in history were wonderful, I do believe that everything happens for a reason—a purpose that we might not fully understand until it is revealed to us by our Creator.

I can think of many reasons why covering myself is beneficial, and those things relate to my wellness and the wellness of everyone around me. Dressing like most scantily clad models and celebrities in magazines, in my mind, really just serves one selfish purpose: to sell through sex.

The pressure to be a Cosmo Girl will keep knocking on your door like a thief coming to steal, kill, and destroy you. You can’t really respond to this using the “WWJD?” method, because Christ was male and this issue addresses females. What you can do is examine your heart to find why you want to dress a certain way. Do you want to look sexy and attract all kinds of men—even the ones who are married? Do you want to stand out from the crowd, compete with other women, and incite jealousy? It’s okay to want to stand out, be unique, and show art through fashionable clothes, but it’s never okay to flaunt your body and contribute to lust.

I am a lover of independent art and the way it is shown through clothes, music, films, etc. I like showing creativity through my clothes, but I do this with respect to kosmios, the way God wants women to dress.

The kosmios girl is creative, godly, wise, fashionable, and modest. She cares for all people. She is unselfish, pure, virtuous, and intelligent, satisfied in the knowledge that she’s beautifully and wonderfully made. She is independently unique and adorns herself with creative cover-up couture, a la Modest. Are you a kosmios girl?


Do you “Like” reading this blog? a la Modest is now on Facebook!

With savvy synchronized moves, perfect dance-punk neo-soul beats, futuristic art, and a surreal sense of style, Janelle Monáe might as well be an ArchAndroid (the title of her newest release, out this week). My husband and I first heard about her through his friend at work. He was intrigued by the way her song “Make the Bus” sounded a lot like Of Montreal’s last three albums and soon found that they had actually collaborated. It was a smooth introduction to Janelle through a band we already loved!

Ms. Monáe was featured in the November 2009 issue of Vogue and the Summer 2009 issue of Paper. Read an excerpt from Paper’s article:

For Monáe, who is no joke about what she wears (currently only black and white—usually a white shirt, black tie, black pants and saddle shoes), uniforms have come to represent her rejection of chaos; they are the anti-chaos—the walls against which her anomalistic mind can push while she goes about creating and maintaining the persona that is Janelle Monáe.

“I have always taken to uniforms,” she explains. “I loved watching the guys and the girls in their post office uniforms. And I was obsessed with Colonel Sanders.”

“I just idolized his outfit, and it was the weirdest thing to people around me, because they didn’t understand. We would go get KFC and I’d be like, ‘Oh, my God, I love his outfit!'” So much that she tried to re-create it as a kid — mostly in her mind, though, because, “when you’re a kid, you don’t really want to go there. I was a little afraid that people would be like, ‘Why is she wearing this all the time?'” Clearly, she got over that. Later on in grade school, she wore a cape for three straight months, and dressed as a pirate for two.

Not too long ago, I was talking about a different kind of uniform, one that I had put on immodestly as a response to too much structure. I was clearly disillusioned by what I thought was setting me free. I killed creativity by flaunting my flesh as a way to get attention through my body and not my clothes. Uniforms can be so much fun after all. Just look at the way Janelle embodies this clean and prim style. She hardly ever looks like she’s wearing something from an adult costume store or a mini-uniform as a sad excuse for a Halloween costume. Janelle is displaying her choice of clothes as the avant-garde expression of her response to chaos. She successfully pulls off the look well, contrasting the rigidness of uniforms with the fluidity of her music.

My birthday is coming up next weekend, and you know what I would really like to add to my closet? A military or band-style blazer. It’s been pounding on my heart like a drum roll.

Although I am not limited to liking bands that have women artists in them (or to only liking female-rostered bands where the women are modestly dressed), I like to spotlight bands with women who do generally and fashionably cover up. What I probably won’t ever do is post about artists who I really don’t rave about musically despite how much I like the way they dress. I guess that sounds snobby, but I think my high standards do not just apply to modest fashion. I credit my copy editor, husband, and favorite musician, Rob, for being the biggest influence on me in this arena. If he were female, I’d probably review his band too for being melodically talented (and modestly dressed)! Also, I wouldn’t be married to him (her)…

Here is the lovely Inara George of the bands The Bird and the Bee, Merrick, and The Living Sisters. Her style of clothing and music can be described as sweet, innocent (not so much lyrically), colorful, ’60’s, Parisian, and mostly modest. Beneath this post, you will find one of her music videos. Don’t forget to check that out!

Inara George

Below is a video for a song called “Again and Again” by The Bird and the Bee from their 2007 self-titled album. Initially, I wanted to post the eccentric video for one of my favorite songs of theirs, “Polite Dance Song,” directed by Eric Wareheim. I thought I’d spare you the eyesore of the conspicuous but purposefully artistic way the director uses oddities in his videos. Rob and I love it, though, so here is the link to that other video.

Uniformity of Fashion

May 12th, 2010

Last weekend, I had a chance to see Christa Taylor at a local fashion show here in Maryland. It was hosted by Mount de Sales, an all-girl Catholic school in Catonsville.

To be honest, I only found out about the event a few hours before it started. Christa sent me an informal invite to come when I asked what in the East Coast she, being all the way from Oregon, was doing in my area. I was so glad to support her by being there. I delayed my plans that night of hanging with my husband, Rob, and his best friend from the Air Force (or his “wing man”), Tim. I did not regret it at all! A visit from an Air Force buddy might be occasional, but meeting Christa was too precious and rare to miss. I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity, especially after Rob’s coaxing (and driving), so I paid the door fee and scurried around to find a good seat. I ended up at the outskirts (a.k.a. bleachers) of a high school gym where it was held.

Let me tell you, this gal is such an inspiration! If I could just live near Portland, I would love to have coffee with her every morning and chat about life, faith, and modest fashion. Talking with her after the show, I thought it was interesting to see that we had such quaint similarities, from being aesthetes of modesty, to our testimonies. She wasn’t at all sententious, being a spokesperson to many but very humble and genuinely amiable. It’s such a rarity to find someone with so very similar a heart and goals. I am tremendously blessed, for she is such a treasure!

She had on one of her own creations from her clothing line and shoes from DSW (yes, I remember details). Bunched-up material never looked more elegant. I wore the “Baltimore Hon” hairstyle that night and told her the history and culture behind the movie Hairspray, the word “hon,” and the beehive hairdo before Bumpits. I will be taking her hint and writing a whole blog post about the origins of the hairstyle soon.

Last weekend’s catwalk wasn’t really meant for modesty. The goals of the evening were raising funds for the school as well as building the students’ self-confidence. It was a godsend that Christa was invited to speak. The message of modesty she presented from scripture added meat to the bones of the fashion show’s frame. I believe you can be beautifully modest and confidently wear your clothes, but you shouldn’t confidently be too “comfortable in your own skin,” because this can be abused. Much like our faith, modesty gives us freedom instead of bondage—freedom from sexual enslavement through media’s fashion and the freedom to have confidence to shine through purity.

Despite being a nondenominational Christian, I went to a private Catholic school similar to Mount de Sales back in my grade-school days. I knew that confidence wasn’t what I really needed. I just wanted it. Being in uniform everyday made me sick of being shut out from the fashion world, and I was just itching to get out of those mundane clothes. I was rebellious and I’m sure I was just like these kids, dying for casual days when something like a fashion show would come up. I’m certain that my thoughts weren’t far off from what others had being in monotonous uniforms all day. I wanted to be literally confident in my own skin, so when given the chance, I wore what pleased the majority by indulging in revealing clothing. I had put on another uniform—the uniform of immodesty. What I really needed was to be modest, preserving my dignity while pleasing God with “lust-busting,” higher standards in clothing. I didn’t learn that lesson until I was in college. It sank in deep, and I wish to have that same lesson learned by the high school students of today.

Hear Christa talk about modest fashion in the video below. This is the view I got because I came in right on time (a.k.a. fashionably late) and wasn’t able to get a good seat. The video is at least audible… and quite inspirational! The rest of the videos from the night are found here.

Creative Commons License
ÀLAMODEST / à la Modest / à la Mode St. / alamodest / ALAMODEST / a la Modest / a la Mode St. by Rachel Dahl is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

This site is about Indie / Conservative / Modest / Modesty / Christian / Christianity / Faith / God / Feminism / Fashion / Style / Indie / Alternative / Clothing / Conservative / Republican / Marriage