Modest Mamas

I wanted to do a post on modest nursing-friendly mom outfits, but I realized modesty is one of those things that might be defined different for everyone. Clothing shopping seems like such a minefield these days!
How does one define nakedness in these modern times? The Bible makes it clear that we are to cover our nakedness, but how does God define this? We can get some context of God’s idea of covering from two categories of text in the Bible: how God dressed His priests (Exodus 28), and descriptions where God refers to nakedness (for instance Isaiah 47).

“You shall make holy garments for your brother Aaron, for honor and for glory.
And you shall speak to all the wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, and they shall make Aaron’s garments to sanctify him, so that he shall serve Me.
And these are the garments that they shall make: a breastplate, an ephod, a robe, a tunic of checker work, a cap and a sash. They shall make holy garments for your brother Aaron and for his sons to serve Me.
And you shall make a showplate of pure gold, and you shall engrave upon it like the engraving of a seal: Holy to YHWH.
And make for them linen pants to cover the flesh of their nakedness; they shall reach from the waist down to the thighs.” (Exodus 28:2-4, 36, 42)

“Come down and sit in the dust,
O virgin daughter of Babylon;
Sit on the ground without a throne,
O daughter of the Chaldeans!
For you shall no more be called
Tender and delicate.
Take the millstones and grind meal.
Remove your veil,
Take off the skirt,
Uncover the thigh,
Pass through the rivers.    
Your nakedness shall be uncovered,
Yes, your shame will be seen;
I will take vengeance,
And I will not arbitrate with a man.” (Isaiah 47:1-3)

Based on the passages I have found, the thigh seems to be something that needs to be covered. How does this translate today? This is where every Christian must search their hearts and earnestly pray and seek the counsel of God. To me, and this is no one more than me speaking. God handed us the Torah, and those are the matters fixed in stone. Clothing is something each child of God, I believe, must pray about themselves. To me, this covering of nakedness looks like:
– a covered shoulder
– a higher neckline
– a covered thigh: and by covered thigh I mean more than just leggings; some thickness and looseness to the material.

In practice, for me, this means: jeans that are not too tight, paired with long, tunic like shirts that cover the bottom, shorts that reach just above the knee, skirts or dresses that reach just above the knee.

However, because longer skirts, shorts and dresses are so hard to find (and by long I’m not referring to maxi skirts since maxi skirts would trip me up running after my children and God’s definition of nakedness seems to be thighs not legs) I usually have to modify. For wearing under dresses I take black yoga pants and cut them off just above the knee. This is a comfy solution for wearing dresses and running after toddlers. I can fearlessly manage the monkey bars at the park!
Bermuda shorts – shorts that reach just above the knee – I find are difficult to come by so I generally make them from jeans I find at the thrift store. To make jean cutoffs, I take comfy jeans and cut them off a few inches below the knee, fold them up to form a nice cuff, and then I sew the cuff in place. If there are some rips that are too high, I patch them.

Jeans I’ve turned into Bermuda shorts. Rips across the thigh I have patched. Saucony Jazz sneakers. Tunic length button up.

Tommy Bahama loose linen tunic dress with black yoga pant cut off shorts underneath. Paired with metal and elastic belt.

For skirts or dresses that are too high, I layer skirts that are longer underneath.

Merona sundress with a longer knit skirt underneath. Free people knit top.

What about you fellow mamas? How do you navigate the issue of modesty? And what are your go-to outfits that tick off all the boxes like comfy, breastfeeding friendly, and active mom friendly?

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Lydia says:

    Thanks Anna! I really am appreciating your blogs. I thankfully stumbled upon them when I did a search for Tzitzits. I am a Christian who has, within the past year, had her eyes and heart enlightened to following Torah. I also am a mom of a 22 month old with a baby brewing, and so I enjoy your posts about nursing, cloth diapering, motherhood and how to transition into becoming a mother of 2 under 3. I have a ton of questions for you, but regarding this post about clothing I am wondering what your take is on swimsuits. Also, how do you deal with the heat during the summer? I have always been a huge fan of tank tops, but now as I’m questioning this practice, I’m wondering if you have any suggestions for battling the summer heat. Thanks in advance!

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    1. annah77 says:

      Hi Lydia! Congratulations on your pregnancy!! As far as swimsuits go, our family sticks to the same guidelines for the pool as well. I use a high neck Nike tankini top with wide shoulder straps, and over my swim bottoms I wear Hurley mid length board shorts. The great thing I’ve found about this combo, besides that it is modest and I feel completely comfortable walking around in it, is that I am able to wear it through my pregnancies too since the board shorts have a low set waist and the tankini top is long enough to cover my baby belly. For my daughters, it is the same thing: either boardshorts or quick dry running shorts over their swim bottoms. Short sleeved rash guards are also a great option. As far as tops go, to beat the heat I just stick to really light-weight materials like gauzy woven cotton or lightweight breatheable knits, and I go with shirts that have capped sleeves or the nearly-sleeveless blouse kind where the top of my shoulders are covered with ruffle sleeves. I pair it with lightweight cotton skirts that hit just above the knee, and under it, leggings with the legs cut off also just above the knee. Amazon has some inexpensive, all cotton super lightweight leggings that I crop into shorts that are great for wearing under skirts in the summer. I find it has more to do with the type of fabric (cool cotton versus thick synthetic fabrics), and the fit (loose tunics or blouses rather than body-hugging knits) that keep me cool, and the sleeves aren’t the issue. I hope this helps! Suuuper long reply so I better stop now haha 😀

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      1. Lydia says:

        That is extremely helpful 🙂 I really appreciate your response and how thorough you are in your blogs. Fortunately this August in Maryland has been very cool and is getting cooler. I don’t think I have to worry about buying any additions to my wardrobe until next year, but I will definitely try out your suggestions then. I already tried out your idea to give my toddler his own spray bottle filled with water and he absolutely loved it! What a great idea. And I am going to try to use rags more often, instead of paper towels. I also plan to break out the prefolds and flats I got from my baby shower and try them out. I had just assumed the snap-up cloth diapers were way easier but I might as well try them both, especially since I’ll be doing this for at least another 2-3 years!

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      2. annah77 says:

        Yes, cloth diapering is definitely not a one size fits all kind of topic! I’ve changed it up some over the years using a mix of prefolds and cotton fitted diapers with wool covers. There are so many great options out there!

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