Well, it’s been a good while since I’ve been active on this blog, hasn’t it? I find, more and more, that I lack the time to work on personal projects when there’s so much other that needs done in a week. Despite a crazy and often times unpredictable work schedule, I really do miss my vaguely 1940s bubble, as well as personal blogging.
So, I’ve decided to give the darn thing yet another try and chat with you, a little bit, about the radically unpopular concept of personal modesty. Yes, I do realize this will likely be a bit unpopular in my current neck of the woods! I’ve wanted to start a blog series about vintage values and this seemed like the perfect topic.
Those who know me outside of work know that my vintage and retro clothing selections tend to fit the waist, hit below the knee and avoid plunging necklines. Modesty is very important to me.
Now, if you’ve known me for any length of time, you’re already aware that my religious beliefs aren’t particularly strict about modesty. In fact, it’s really never mentioned, as most everything about my religion seems to lean more on living a strong and honest life, rather than intimate and personal details.
Because of this, my views on modesty aren’t religiously based but, rather, stem from the views on being properly dressed in societies past. Being part of this global movement to bring some of the values and morals of our prosperous mid-century into the modern day means a lot of research and, ultimately, that research turns up newspaper columns, books, opinion pieces and video that stress the value of dressing modestly and appropriately, as each situation requires it.
The opinion I’ve heard most often, possibly the one that’s affected my views the most, is one that states that modest dress isn’t only meant to cover you up! Like it’s companions, courtesy and manners, modesty is an appropriate behavior that tells those around you that you respect them and care about their comfort.
I live in a time and place that doesn’t just have no appreciation for manners and common courtesy, it flat out views them as a negative thing. They’re not the hallmarks of someone who’s tragically laid back, doesn’t care and isn’t taking life too seriously. If I want to ‘go along to get along‘ to put people at ease I have to adopt a sort of, ‘When in Rome‘ attitude and that sometimes leads to lewd jokes or conversations I’d deem inappropriate if I had any say in the matter. I can tell you it’s taxing on the soul, at times. Still, I am able to control what I wear; Whether I’m covered up, whether I’m modest in dress.
Even adults considered to be very fashionable are rocking a look that says,
‘I can’t be bothered to bathe’.
More than any retro wisdom, modesty and vintage dress seem to inspire those who utilize them to behave more appropriately. Let me explain.
Have you ever noticed that adults don’t dress like adults, anymore? Society has become so very casual that the way male children traditionally dress, in pants or shorts, sneakers, tshirts — that’s the way everyone dresses in every occasion? Grown men in baseball caps and shorts, like they’re going to pitch in a little league game. Women dressed like sloppy men. Nothing fits, worn clothing is rarely clean and it’s all the same, no matter where the wearer is or what they’re doing. It’s now perfectly acceptable to wear slippers and PJs out to eat, to the grocery store or to work. Short pants in a business meeting. Even adults considered to be very fashionable are rocking a look that says, ‘I can’t be bothered to bathe’. Or comb their hair, for that matter.
Now, I’m not judging these people. These are, for the most part, not individual people with individual styles making poor decisions for themselves but, rather, two or three generations who’ve become progressively more casual and cared less for what used to be social norms. They’re just dressing like their peers and you can’t really fault them for that.
Look around you. What else is amiss? Well, it’s inappropriate behavior, of course. It seems that when a person dresses like a child from cradle to grave, the likelihood that they’ll behave like an adult once the time comes is slim to none.
Which leads to one too many beers, lack of work ethic and adults fighting like teenagers.
“When a person dresses like a child from cradle to grave, the likelihood that they’ll behave like an adult once the time comes is slim to none.”
It’s as though society, or the lack thereof, has given them permission to never progress beyond the age of fifteen or sixteen. There are no stewards of the ship, no role models to look up to and no adults who might point them in the right direction because, frankly, no one’s being forced to grow up.
Photo by Allen Taylor on Unsplash
Paying bills makes you feel grown up, I’m sure. Going to work. Those are real measures of adulthood, no question, but I’m here to make the argument that the way you present yourself to the world and the way that you interact with others is important, too. Which is why I firmly believe that modesty, manners and common courtesy (all key elements of functioning societies of the past) are so needed, now.
When we dress like adults, we behave like adults, as a general rule. When we were given the freedom to never grow up, we just didn’t and that’s lead to all sorts of problems.
What do you think? Am I completely off the mark? I’d love to hear your thoughts!