As I write this, we in the U.K are currently in the middle of a summer heatwave not seen since 1976!!
With summer temperatures skyrocketing, it can feel very tempting and even justified to shed layers of clothing and bare as much skin as possible.
However, as Catholics, we have a duty to dress in a dignified and modest manner…..even during the hottest of the summer months.
The subject of Catholic dress code and Marylike modesty seems to be a hot topic within traditional Catholic circles and don’t even get me started on the issue of wearing pants.
Modesty is a respectable manner of adorning one’s body and carrying oneself, born out of a freedom from a worldly definition of beauty and worth, and motivated by a hatred of sin and a desire to protect our dignity, whilst also drawing attention to God.
Now, this can be an almost impossible task to achieve as modern day fashions, especially summer wear, are very provocative and flesh-baring.
It was Pope Pius XII who said: Style must never be a proximate occasion of sin.
Yes, a lot of modern-day fashions are immodest, but it is still possible to dress attractively and fashionably without being immodest.
Dressing modestly does not need to compromise our beauty. In fact, being modest enhances both your beauty and femininity.
As Pope Pius XII also said: The more elegant you will be, and the more pleasing, if you dress with simplicity and discreet modesty.
There is no point dressing modestly for Catholic church Mass on Sundays and immodestly everywhere else. God is everywhere and lust can be stirred within the men in the church as well as outside of the church. We do not wish to be stumbling blocks and tempt our brothers to sin.
Pictured is Maddie of the Short and Sweet Style Blog.
EDIT – It seems her blog is no longer active and i am not able to find her. Please pray for her that she is okay and still actively Catholic.
Now, here are my top tips for staying cool AND modest during a summer heatwave:
Avoid necklines that are too low and hemlines that are too high.
Anything that shows your cleavage is immodest as well as anything that shows your cleavage when you bend forward. Your skirt or dress should not ride up your thigh when you sit down.
Go white or light
Wearing white and lighter colours help to deflect the heat.
Go airy or roomy
Wear airy, roomy fabrics like lace, chiffon, organza or even cotton. Avoid denim, wool and other heavier fabrics.
Nude-coloured underwear will help to protect your modesty. In addition, a bra that is slightly padded can be very helpful during chilly summer evenings.
Clingy is not sexy
Avoid anything overly fitted or clingy. Not only is this immodest, but as you sweat, the fabric will cling and stick to your sweaty skin and can look very unsightly. Lightly fitted, yet airy-type outfits like maxi dresses, shift dresses, A-line or swing-style dresses etc will allow circulation of air to keep your body cool and odour-free.
Accessorise with style
Sunglasses and sun-hats are practical, protective and stylish, so do not hesitate to wear them as you see fit.
Be sure you don’t skimp on sunscreen and re-apply every 2-3 hours.
Stay hydrated. Drink water throughout the day….even if you are not feeling thirsty. Dehydration can happen fast and can be very dangerous to your health.
Spritz and Spray
Carry a little spray bottle in your handbag. A sweaty, frazzled look is anything but feminine, so keep a little 50ml spray bottle in your bag to lightly mist yourself. In my bottle, I have equal parts of unsweetened aloe vera juice, alcohol-free witch hazel and alcohol-free rosewater. You can usually get these ingredients from your local drugstore or on Ebay. The spray will keep your makeup (if wearing any) set, calm any sun-induced redness, take away shine and sweat, and also keep you cool. It’s a win-win all round.
This book can also give you great ideas for modest fashion and styles – Dressing With Dignity
I sign off this post with this quote from St. Ignatius of Loyola:
‘In your dress permit nothing unclean or slovenly, but at the same time avoid a studied elegance, which is not free from daintiness or affectation.’
ad Jesum per Mariam
17 thoughts on “Summer Heatwave: Keep Cool and Stay Modest”
All glory be to God, I just noticed I commented this post back in 2018; asking how to modestly dress in everyday life, leaving behind jeans. And I have to say, been using dresses and skirts every since. Still learning how to work certain things, and honestly, modesty is beautiful and humble. Simple and loving.
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That is amazing progress!! so proud of you and thank you for sharing!
Ok so why are sleeveless shirts immodest? im in highschool and it seems hard to understand… i have prom coming up and was wondering if wearing a sleeveless dress would be a sin… please help! i only want to know why its “immodest”
Cos your arms are exposed
Using sleeveless shirts or dresses may lead to possibly showing another trait of the body (ex chest: when raising your arms, one can probably ser your bra). Now a days sleeveles shirts are either loose or too tight allowing the body to show more. So its better to avoid close occasion of sin.
Suggestions for prom may be using your hair up and a loose dress.
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As a 79 year old Gentle Man, may I have a little input regarding pants, don’t wear jeans to rough for a girl, if you must wear pants then without the boys front, close at the side or back
Great article I wish a lot Aussi Catholic women should read it when December comes.
Where are the quotes from Pope Pius XII from, if you don’t mind me asking? Great article. Here in Canada, it can get to temperatures of up to 20-30 C… obviously we live in colder climate so I’m not used to hot weather, haha. Pax Christi!
Not entirely sure? But if you Google the quotes, something should come up. God bless!
I have read some bible passages on dressing and I just wanted to ask if it’s okay to dress like a tomboy. Also is it okay to wear short outfits in your own space or around other girls, And I came across a biblical passage that stated that we shouldn’t wear expensive clothing.
Dressing like a tomboy isn’t biblical or feminine.
Wearing shorts is immodest.
Never heard of a Bible verse that talks about not wearing expensive clothes. Feel free to send it to me.
Modesty doesn’t entail dressing like a hobo. Vulgar ostentatious dressing isn’t the same as wearing expensive clothes or even quality clothes.
I always wear dresses and skirts, and usually I wear short sleeved dresses and blouses during the summer months. If the church is too warm in the summer, is it ok to at least wear short sleeves for Mass? I would not wear sleeveless garments as a matter of course, but I’m speaking of summer days when it might be too warm to wear long sleeves even indoors.
Short sleeves for Mass in summer are DEFINITELY okay x
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I was introduced to modesty by my boyfriend, he being the one who introduced me to the Traditional Catholic Church and our way of approach in the world.
I have had a little trouble more in the area of dressing. I am wearing skirts and dresses (something not found back then in my closet) but I can not let go of the jeans out of the Church. It’s really hard to visualize, especially when I am more of a jean, T-shirt type of girl. I can wear loose jeans as well as ajusted jeans – I was one that thought that dresses are for special ocassions. And don’t get be wrong, Iove the modest look, its the fact that I just can’t visualize myself going to the supermarket real quick, in a dress.
And I am also stuck on the part of swim wear. I bought a one peace bathing suit, but I can’t picture myself with a bathing suit dress type.
How was your experience in this chang?
Perhaps you can begin with little changes?
Try wearing a dress just two days out of the week for the first month; 4 days out of the week for the 2nd month and so on.
Before you know, it will become natural to you.
Regarding swim wear, there’s range of modest swim wear n various styles and designs below, which you are free to check out. Hope this helps.
Thank you for this post. Are short sleeves considered immodest? Or do you have to wear 3/4 sleeves always, even during Summer? What about T-shirts and thick-strapped tops? If one has sheer/semi-see through blouses, or blouses with long necklines, is it OK and enough to wear a tank-top underneath for coverage?
Short sleeves are okay for summer, but perhaps not suitable for Mass
T shirts are fine and yes, when I have sheer or semi-sheer tops/outfits, I would layer underneath with a vest, cami or light T-shirt.
Hope this helps. God bless!!