The first time I read this quote by Rachel Zoe, it rang so true in my heart:
“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.”
Rachel Zoe summarized perfectly what I learned during an experience I had a few years ago. In the fall of 2009, I moved to China to teach, and when I stepped off that plane, I was abruptly in a different, but beautiful and new world. As I went about my life, interacting with the people there, something began to bother me. Walking through the crowds of people day after day, I realized that I could not tell what a person was like by the way they dressed. I was too new to the Chinese culture and had not yet learned the social cues in their dress. Here in the U.S., I am able to almost immediately to pick up certain characteristics about a person (e.g., what a person is interested in, who they are or what they want to be, and what they think of themselves) just by the way they dress. “I bet he likes country music” or “She’s a Soccer player” are common examples of the fleeting thoughts that go through my mind as I interact with new people from day to day. I do not think that we, as a society, realize that the way a person dresses sends us subtle information and messages about them. Picking up on these small cues is something we do on a regular basis, and had I not been dropped off on the other side of the world and immersed in a foreign culture, I’m not sure I ever would have noticed. Even though I have always had a fondness for fashion, the idea of having a unique and personal style identity had not resonated with me so strongly until my experience in China. Since then, I have come to realize that the way you dress is really the first thing you tell someone about yourself, and as such should be treated with importance. So, I want you to ask yourself this…
What do you want to tell the world about yourself?
I want to inspire girls to see the best in themselves; to see their strengths and not their flaws. I was to inspire girls to respect themselves, and to expect to be respected by others. I want to inspire girls to show these traits through the way they dress, so when they interact with others, they will have declared from the very beginning who they are, what they stand for, and how they expect to be treated. I truly believe that what we wear and how we carry ourselves has the power to do just that.
So why Modesty?
I am aware that by the world’s standards, I am greatly outnumbered on topic of modesty. However, I believe that by dressing modestly, you are having the world see you as a person, not as property or as a “piece of meat”. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (for more information on this, please visit www.lds.org), I have grown up with standards of modesty. I do not mean to say the following in a “preachy” way, but I just want to share with you what I have learned and what has influenced me to get to where I am today. On that note, I love how my church words the following:
“The way you dress is a reflection of what you are on the inside. Your dress and grooming send messages about you to others and influence the way you and others act. When you are well groomed and modestly dressed, you invite companionship of the Spirit and can exercise a good influence on those around you. Never lower your dress standards for any occasion. Doing so sends the message that you are using your body to get attention and approval and that modesty is important only when it is convenient.”
— “Dress and Appearance,” For the Strength of Youth: Fulfilling Our Duty to God, (2001)
Dressing modestly does not mean you have to dress “frumpy” or look like a pioneer or nun (not that either of those are bad). I believe that one can dress beautifully, lively, and vibrant while still being modest. I believe that modestly shows the world that you respect yourself and that you demand to be respected by the world. Modestly is classy, elegant, and becoming. Jessica Rey of Rey Swimwear says it so eloquently:
“Modesty is not about covering yourself; it is about revealing your dignity.”
I want to help girls and women see who they are; beautiful, strong, and a force to be reckoned with. I want girls and women to grow to their full potential. I hope, that through my own experiences as a young woman in today’s society, I can bring you the inspiration you are looking for not only the fashion industry, but in all aspects of your life.