“So what was it that attracted you to me originally?”
I’d been dating my boyfriend (now my husband!) for a while when I asked him that question. We had been best friends for a year prior to dating. But I wanted to know when he’d gone from friends to something more.
The answer he gave certainly wasn’t what I was expecting.
He thought about it for a moment and then replied, “Your modesty.”
My modesty? How on earth did that attract him?
Thankfully, he explained it a bit more. “Every other girl at this college is trying to show off everything she can. Nothing is left to the imagination. I first noticed you because you weren’t.”
Chances are, the term “modesty” probably conjures up images in your mind of long skirts and turtlenecks.
But in reality, modesty is so much more than physical appearance or a type of style. It involves virtue, value, intention, and love.
There’s a slogan to try and promote modesty with the catchphrase “modest is hottest.”
But that phrase is actually a pet peeve of mine because that idea literally goes against the entire tenet of modesty.
We shouldn’t think of modesty as being the “hottest.” Instead, here’s why modesty can actually be attractive.
Modesty doesn’t mean unattractive
People sometimes assume that being modest means you can’t have a sense of style. That couldn’t be further from the truth! In fact, there are actually fashion bloggers who focus on modesty.
Yes, dressing modestly does mean that clothes shopping can be a bit more difficult, especially if you are blessed with the gift of height like myself (why are all shirts becoming crop tops these days?).
That doesn’t mean you have to be frumpy, however. A handy camisole or undershirt, scarves, and leggings are all ways to keep your modesty while also being trendy.
This is where intentionality becomes key. There’s nothing wrong with dressing stylishly, but wanting to be attractive can’t be the only goal.
Whenever I get dressed, I have to ask myself: What do I want to be noticed for? If the answer is to try to be desired or even to seductive, then I know that’s an outfit I need to adjust or avoid.
Modesty reveals who you truly are
The way we dress tells the world about us. I generally wear professional clothes, so one could assume I work in an office setting and not at a construction site. When I dress up for Mass or a wedding, it shows that this is an important event. When I wear dark colors for a funeral, it expresses the solemnity of the occasion.
In the same way, modest dress tells people about your character and values. So for someone who values chastity, simplicity, and grace, dressing modestly tells them that you share those same ideals.
Modesty shows that you’re thinking about the future
Aside from the benefit of building upon the virtue of chastity, modesty is also a wonderful way to honor your future spouse. Even before I met and married my husband, I wanted to give everything of myself to my husband and him alone, even though I didn’t know him yet.
Did dressing modestly mean I got noticed a little bit less than other women and maybe didn’t get asked out on so many dates? Possibly, but in the end, that wasn’t important.
The fact that I’d been modest for him before I even met him showed my husband that I cared deeply for our relationship before it even began.
Modesty isn’t just about what you’re wearing
Yes, we often associate modesty with dressing in a way that isn’t provocative or overly revealing. But imagine someone who only wears turtlenecks to cover up, but will also make crude or inappropriate jokes or gestures.
Is that person being modest? No. Modesty is an overarching virtue. It isn’t limited to just clothing. In fact, one can be immodest in speech, action, and thought.
Modesty in works and words is also attractive, as it reflects a person’s values and character. It allows someone to fall deeper in love, not just with an image, but with a person.
Modesty isn’t just for women
When we think of modesty, we often assume that it is directed at women.
But men can be immodest in dress, speech, and action, too.
While societal conventions are different about what is appropriate for men and women, men can still dress provocatively, even if it wouldn’t be deemed inappropriate by society in general. Some men choose to not go shirtless at the beach or while exercising in public to keep that part of themselves for their future wives. Even unbuttoning a few buttons on a shirt or wearing low pants that expose underwear can be immodest, depending on the intention.
Modesty allows your qualities to do the talking
I heard a story once about how a man was attracted to a woman who was wearing a pretty dress. The dress highlighted her features, but after a few moments of speaking with her, he realized she was quite dull. There was another woman whom he spoke with whose dress was nice, but not as much so.
However, he remained talking to her for much longer because he was delighted by her wit and character long after he noticed what she was wearing.
The reason my modesty was attractive to my husband was because he was able to see past my clothes to the person I am. The way I presented myself invited him to get to know me as a person, not as an object.
So if you are afraid that being modest makes you less attractive, take heart. Sometimes, it’s the very quality that will make your future spouse notice you from all the rest.