Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dressing With Dignity - Colleen Hammond

What a pleasant surprise when I logged on to my blog this morning to see that Colleen Hammond (YES-The Colleen Hammond) stopped by and made a comment! I mentioned a few postings ago that I just finished reading her book called Dressing With Dignity. It was very interesting and really refreshing to read from someone who is concerned with societies fashion trends and the disintegration of femininity. I know this is something that I have lamented myself and I shudder to think what will be the next "popular" fashion must-haves for our 'tweens and teens. The dramatic change in fashion has really occurred over the last 100 years. When I blog next I will show you some pictures of how dramatic this change has been.

In her book Colleen said,
It is pretty obvious that the women's fashions of today are often geared toward destroying a women’s sensitivity for her femininity... When you look around at society today, you can't help but notice the disintegration in morals and values. And we know things don't just happen by accident, so it would not be unreasonable to think that clothing styles went down the tube this far and this fast just by chance. Most of us have heard that Satan's biggest deception is convincing us he doesn't exist. He has been extremely busy, especially since the 1800's, working behind the scenes to oppose all that is beautiful, sacred and holy.

In our Gospel Principles we learn:

Satan attacks the standards of modesty. He wants us to believe that because the human body is beautiful, it should be seen and appreciated. Satan’s plan is to deceive as many of us as he can to prevent us from returning to live with our Heavenly Father. He is cunning and powerful.

And in the scriptures we read:

1 Timothy 2:9
9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

I think it is pretty obvious that the desire toward immodesty is not a God-Inspired feeling. Our kids are sucked into what is 'popular' and what is 'cool' or 'Sally has one-why can't I?!', etc. One of the reaons that I feel nervous about sending Kayley off to public school is the issue of immodesty. Of course, public schools do have dress codes, but their standards are so much lower than schools that require uniforms, or homeschooling.

A couple of weeks ago we saw a little girl in the playground at ChickFilA that had on a Madonna, 80s-inspired-meets-Amy Winehouse kind of outfit. She couldn't have been more than 7 or 8. It was a hot pink/black zebra stripe mini skirt with a tight fighting tank with a see-through bolo jacket. To complete her ensemble, I kid you not, it had fingerless gloves (yes, like hooker-gloves) that went up past the elbow. You are kidding me right? She walked by and my husband just made the comment that sounded something like, "whoa." you want your 8 year old daughter to be dressed like a call-girl?

Colleen continues,
In the 1950s Pope Pius XII cautioned women that, if certain styles were an occasion of sin for others, it was their duty not to wear them. He also warned mothers to make sure their children were dressed modestly. Tragically, some mothers today are enabling their young daughters to dress in "hooker chic.". Have parents become desensitized to today’s fashions? Have they been duped by the fashion industry? Manipulated by wanting their children to be "popular?"

Other Moms are stressed over the same issue. When shopping for modest clothing, it can be a challenge to find outfits that are appropriate for your childs age. The majority of childrens clothing on the market is designed to make your little angel look like a little devil.

Check out this link to see what the top 6 immodest fashions are for lil' girls:

What are we setting our daughters up for when we allow them (and our example shows them) that dressing immodestly is OK?

Let me finish with my favorite part of Colleens book:
Do low-cut skin-tight jeans on women and teenage girls present an allurement to unchaste thoughts and desires for the average male? YES! ... For us gals, our emotions are tough to control...especially when we add in hormones! For men, their hormones automatically react to changes in their environment and can be tough for them to control too! They see a female dressed in a provocative manner and their autonomic nervous system kicks in. They're aroused. Not because they WANT to be, but because their bodies automatically release hormones that cause arousal. Why do you think men treat women differently when they are dressed femininely? I believe it is because, subconsciously, men can read women’s body language. If they see a woman who dresses with dignity and who carries herself with grace and femininity, they pick up on that. They take it as a sign to approach her with the respect, reverence and honor a woman ought to have. When a woman dresses with dignity, men tell me that this appeals to their chivalrous nature. Her femininity helps them to elevate their thoughts (not to mention their eyes). It allows them to uphold a woman's honor, to respect truth and beauty, and to grow in their role as a "gallant knight". On the other hand, if a woman is dressed in an unfeminine manner, men are more likely to treat her like "one of the guys.: If she is dressed immodestly, then they may view her as a sexual object and may even treat her in a crass manner. They certainly won't treat her with respect and they may even verbally harass her. I would guess that most women would rather be treated with respect.

I know I would much rather be treated respectfully. I am so grateful that I have a 'gallant knight' who supports me in all that I do and has been encouraging me on my 7 Day Modesty Challenge.

Very Special Thank YOU to Colleen Hammond for stopping by my blog!

If you are interested in learning more about Colleen or purchasing her book (a signed copy for only 10 bucks!) hop on over to her website at:
Her blog is awesome and you can also find her on FB!
Sorry friends, the book is NOT available in the Springfield library system although the library graciously tracked down a copy for my use from St. Louis through their inter-library-loan program! You just have to request it.. Hmmm...maybe I should add this book to my wish-list for Christmas?


Danny and Sherry said...


Dana Cheryl said...

I was raised by parents that were very busy people. They believed in God but did not want to necessarily follow Him. Because of that I was allowed to make my own choices regarding most things.

For instance, I never had a curfew. I've never been grounded. I was free to pursue any school activity whether it be marching band or cheerleading or chess club with the understand that it was MY thing and that my parents were not going to be "band parents" or "cheer parents". They weren't going to go to competitions or events.

Their parenting policy extended all the way to my education... I could even choose not to go to school so long as I mainted a 4.0 gpa. I would take days off of school and read the classics, go to science centers, and really pursue my interests and I did keep my grades up.

I could choose what religion I wanted to be. I could also choose what clothing I wanted to wear.

During that time 1 Timothy 2:9 became a guidepost for me. I remember reading it as a 14 year old and pondering it and then praying about it.

I credit this verse in large part with leading me into the deep & dynamic relationship I know share with my Heavenly Father.

I learned so much about God as I pondered what this verse meant for obviously it didn't mean I couldn't braid my hair so what was it all about. I mean I lived in South where it was hot and muggy and braiding my hair kept it in place. So what did that really verse mean? (You can tell that the hair braiding thing was a big, big deal for me. lol!) Was the Bible still applicable to me as a child in the 20th century?

I dug deeper and learned about the culure of the time. Then realized that this verse was teaching me what God places value upon. He desired me to live a grateful, humble lifestyle. It didn't mean that I couldn't be stylish but He didn't want me to put value to value-less things. Gold, pearls, costly array could be translated to be Dior, Chanel, Armani, or Gucci which was one of my step-moms favorites. (I even called her "Gucci mom" with affection.) This verse taught me what God valued and thereby what I should value.

Sure I could have a nice, well-decorated home but it should be a home designed to meet my needs not impress the neighbors. If 2,300 sq ft met our needs then why build an 9,000 sq ft home. (My folks were buidling at the time.) Of course, I could dress stylishly but within reason. In essense, this verse taught me the value of money & fine things is only found in how it can meet the NEEDS of people not the WANTS. It taught me how many people waste their blessings trying to impress themselves and others.

I've used 1 Timothy 2:9 to help build the foundation with my life stands upon. It's helped define my own personal value system regarding money since my early teen years.

p.s. I also want to add that I mean to no way disrepect my parents. I just wanted to give some background. Their parenting style wouldn't work for many and while I won't exactly employ it for my own family it did help me become the independent, adventurous, well-grounded, responsible person that I am today. :)