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Modesty for Girls: Where to Draw the Line

mother and daughter shopping for clothes

When it comes to modesty for girls, sometimes it’s hard to know as a parent exactly where to draw the line.

I am raising three little ladies with my husband. We were blessed with little girls… God chose them for us, and now it’s our turn to take that blessing and turn them in to the little ladies that God has planned for them to be.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers, in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. — 1 Timothy 4:12

One of the major challenges in teaching girls modesty and purity is clothing. Who would have thought that clothing would have come so far and, in my opinion, gone so wrong from when I was raised? My parents had it easy raising me and my sister compared to what my 7-year old is facing in the department stores these days. Geesh! Where have girls’ modest clothing options gone?

We are working to keep the modesty and FUN still alive for my girls when it comes to fashion, but it takes a little creativity. I have some tips here, and I hope that they can help you too if you are a parent of girls working on modesty:

  • We limit the glitter and glitz and opt for clothes that aren’t as flashy. This is a personal preference, but we try to stress with our girls that they can express themselves with their actions and their words and not draw attention to themselves through their clothing. Don’t get me wrong, though, we still have some glitter… I mean, they are girls!
  • Leggings go a long way. Let’s say your daughter finds a great dress, but it’s too short in your eyes. Find a pair of leggings that will match perfectly to finish off the outfit. But not tights! Those can still be see-through and show more leg than you might want.
  • Too small and tight it not all right. I remember searching for a dress for my daughter for her first father/daughter dance. I was appalled at the skin-tight “mini” dresses in size 6! And of course, those are the ones that are front and center. Ugh! It’s a battle sometimes, but know you are doing the right thing by making better choices.
  • Invest in camisoles and tanks for layering. Shirts are so low these days but camisoles and tanks can be worn under almost anything, including spaghetti strap dresses and tops that tend to be too revealing.

And here’s a few other personal preferences:

  • I try to avoid commercialized backpacks and t-shirts, especially featuring entertainment figures or sitcom characters whose actions are not God-honoring (either on screen or off-screen).
  • I also watch out for the words and pictures that are on kids’ graphic t-shirts. I don’t my want skulls on a pink shirt or a shirt that says “boyfriend material” or “be a monster.”

There can be exceptions to the above rules and modesty is subjective, but when in doubt I always ask, “Is God being honored by our choices?” The Bible teaches that women should dress modestly and in moderation.

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel… — 1 Timothy 2:9

I also like what Rachel Lee Carter, a profession model and author of Fashion by Faith, writes about the challenges facing young girls today:

Can I—a clotheshorse—and other fashion-forward girls have the freedom to dress trendy and fashionably in accordance with today’s styles and still maintain the virtue of modesty? The answer to that question is a resounding, “Yes!” But I had to learn how… Fashion should be fun, spontaneous, and should enable women to express themselves. But a good model (or role model) does not have to sacrifice her purity, dignity, or worth on the altar of bad taste!

Rachel includes in this book a nine-week study that girls can go through alone during their daily quiet times, with a parent, or with a group of friends, to learn the concept of beauty with a Biblical foundation (I’m planning to do this with my girls!).

It’s quite hard to stick to your morals these days when so much that goes against our beliefs is thrown at us and made to look attractive and desirable. I truly believe God is watching us and wants us to make the hard choices and stick to what is truly important by continuing to teach modesty and other Truths to our children. Our children are watching our every move. We need to do our best and pray that God protects our children when they have to make choices on their own.

Join the Conversation

Do you have any additional style tips for teaching modesty for girls? Leave your comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

Photo by: Hongqi Zhang (