Last year, I attempted one month of wearing only dresses and skirts. I excitedly jumped on this challenge with my friends over at Defining Beauty, who proposed a “31 Day Dress Dare.” Our mission? To dress femininely during May, the traditional month of Mother Mary, in honor of her perfect and beautiful reflection of God.
According to my Catholic faith, Mary is Our Mother Most Pure. Therefore, I also wore only modest dresses, skirts, and tops. Tucking away a lot of my wardrobe was difficult at first. Finding cute leggings for cold days was annoying, too. But it was all worth it, for my view on my sexuality was changed in a revolutionary way!
The dresses and skirts that I donned would drape gracefully over my curves, and the way that they contoured my body made a striking difference in how I carried myself. I found myself walking more gently and rhythmically, with a slight sway of the hips. Dressing more modestly as well, I soon found myself feeling like I possessed something far too beautiful to reveal for a guy’s five-second stare-down: I had the wonderful gift of femininity!
The one word that encapsulated the entire fashion experiment? Grace. I learned that being a genuine woman meant being “full of grace”—just like my Mother Mary! Wearing modest dresses and skirts day in and day out simply made me feel more graceful on the outside. And I was transformed! I found myself more grace-filled on the inside: gentler and more receptive in my thoughts, words, and actions.
Yes, the confident elegance that I gained soon translated to my interior life. As the weeks progressed, I became more patient while caring for my sickly grandmother and less apt to lose my cool when upset by family or friends. I also learned to listen better to others and to cultivate more meaningful conversations.
During Mass and Adoration, I honestly believe that my more modest outfits enabled me to be a more receptive daughter of the King Most High. Before the Blessed Sacrament, I increasingly told the LORD that I was His “handmaiden.” In my new wardrobe, I felt that I better embodied the Song of Solomon 4:12: “You are an enclosed garden, my sister, my bride, an enclosed garden, a fountain sealed.” “Enclosing’ and “sealing” myself in modest clothes, I felt more open to God’s grace.
I discovered this liberating truth: contrary to being “hot,” which is what today’s media and fashion world try to sell, it is being full of grace that shows that I am a priceless woman that God created. And contrary to popular belief, covering myself modestly reveals more of the gift of my inherently beautiful femininity to the world!
The Dress Dare inspired me to re-word the motto “modest is hottest.” In actuality– and a thousand times better– modest is beautiful! Femininity is about beauty, not hotness. By covering myself more, I have felt that I better reflect my inherent dignity and beauty as a woman.