st. catherine qoute

(St. Catherine of Siena)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Modest is Hottest

Every time I open my cell phone, I am greeted with the smiling face of the Mother of God, Mary and this wonderful, catchy little saying, "modest is hottest." And today in opening it to answer a phone, I was inspired to run with this happy little phrase.

These three words symbolize a truth that is not always respected or even valued in our culture today. We have all seen it, you know what I am talking about...mistaking really short skirts for a wide belt or shorts that are so super-duper short that they look like tight panties. Seriously, more is less! In working with teenagers, I have a rule with the young ladies called "The 3 B's." At any Youth Group/church outing or social event, the "3 B's" must be covered...butt, breasts, and belly. They always laugh at it and sometimes it makes several of the young gentlemen turn slightly red, but seriously these are things that our young women need to be reminded of and taught about.

We as women have A LOT of power. I am not talking about in some crazy feminist way where we are taking over the world. But, we hold so much power in what we can ask and command of men. The way we dress is a way which really is telling the world how we view our body/sexuality and self-worth. The way you dress could say, "Come here boys, check out what I got," or it could say "I respect and love myself enough to where I don't have to show it all."
I am not suggesting that women wear turtlenecks and long skirts 365 days a year, but let the way you dress be modest, elegant, and classy all rolled into one. Lose the tight booty shorts. Dump those skirts that have huge slits. Pitch the low-cut tops that let everything fall out.

God made women mysteriously in the world as co-workers in creation with man. The physical body plays a beautiful and unique role in the creating of a new human person through the marital act. Woman is made for the sacred; she is Heaven's instrument on earth. However, in our culture, sometimes our beauty is clouded and dimmed by the de-meaning of a woman's value by merely physical features. Women need to re-caputre their dignity and mystery by recognizing that less is really more.
We are so blessed to have so many wonderful witnesses in our Catholic tradition that challenge and affirm the true beauty, modesty, and dignity of women. The Blessed Mother, our mother and Jesus' mother. Our Lady is the perfect example of what it means to be a real woman and is here to pray for each of us and help us claim back what society has taken.
Pope John Paul II. People who say the Catholic Church doesn't love, support, or affirm women is absolutely crazy. And this Pope is an example of the Church's respect for women. Pope John Paul II wrote the most beautiful letter called "On the Dignity and Vocation of Women" in 1988. In this document, he paves the way for a "new feminism" based on the dignity of women as women and human persons (I challenge all women in the Lord to take a look at this truly amazing work!)
There are some amazingly awesome books I have read that I highly encourage young women to read and explore to help re-claim the idea that "modest is hottest!"
  • "The Thrill of the Chaste" by Dawn Eden
  • "Mulieris Dignitatem" (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women) by Pope John Paul II
  • "Sex God" by Rob Bell
  • "Theology of the Body for Beginners" by Christopher West

These are some of my favorites that inspire me and constantly remind me of what my first job as a woman of God is...and that's holiness. So the next time you are walking through H & M or Forever 21 looking for something cute to buy, remember...modest is hottest :-)


  1. Patty...This is an amazing, wonderful and beautiful post! I hope that the young people that you work with realize what a precious gem you are.

  2. Patty, very well written! I think what you said it perfect! Modesty is so often confused for turtlenecks and long skirts, but you are's about presenting a beautiful package that doesn't need to reveal ever available inch of skin. Awesome!

  3. This is a really great post. I'm a little late to the conversation. Mind if I share a few thoughts about modesty? I'm not trying to be a troll, I'm just sharing. Sorry if I come off sounding harsh.

    1. I agree with you entirely that the modesty issue is primarily about power. Women's bodies are incredibly powerful, and women can use that power unrighteously. The issue of modesty is about who is trying to influence whom with their bodies. The problem with a woman wearing revealing clothing isn't that she's showing body parts, it's that it's often a reflection that she's trying to use her body to manipulate people (men and women).

    2. As such, I'm not really a fan of characterizing modesty as a reflection of a persons self-worth. Some women with a poor sense of self-worth may resort to using their bodies to get what they want, but it's not fair to characterize all persons wearing revealing clothing as having a low sense of self-worth. They might just be wearing revealing clothing because, you know, it's hot out or something.