It looks like most parents started out with no sleeveless clothing from when their kids were very young but some allowed sleeveless shirts, etc. Lots talked with their kids as they got older about preparing for the temple and not needing to throw out clothes after starting to wear garments. Many altered prom dresses or sewed them altogether. Some mentioned distinguishing between uniforms and costumes and regular clothing, covering up before and after swimming, etc.
|Anna (and Gerry)|
From time to time we did discuss how important it was that they didn’t have to purchase new wardrobes after they had been to the Temple. Saved a lot of money!
|Samantha (and Thomas)|
When we talked about it, I shared a story about an experience in the Singles Branch when my husband was the Branch President. I was sitting behind someone in Relief Society and heard her say that she wasn’t planning to get married in the temple, because she didn’t want to “give up her shoulders.” I was stunned! I explained to our children how sad it was to think of giving up something as important as a temple marriage, to be “in style.” Styles set by people who do not share our values and whose lives have often been scrambles because of it. In essence, selling our birthright for a mess of pottage.
When it came time to shop for Prom dresses, we had to make them ourselves almost every time, though on occasion we found modest dresses on the Internet that were affordable.
Most often, they chose a pattern I had for many years that had simple princess seams down the front and back (so it was easy to fit well) and we changed the sleeves, neckline and length to suit the style of the time. The fabric was the most important consideration in making them not look like each other. This particular style is slimming and classic, so they always looked better in it, than the “frilly, foofy” kind.
All our girls had at least one dress though that was more complicated and unusual. They never like them as well when they were done, because usually all those swags, gathers and petticoats only added weight (making them look heavier), scratchiness and discomfort.
One year, our newspaper did a story about prom and chose our daughter and her date as one of the couples. They included a budget of the expenses. I was glad the fabric we chose was $25 a yard (making the dress one of our most expensive) so our budget was a little less eye-popping in comparison. As it was, her outfit cost ¼ what the other girls spent.
One final thought: the most important thing is building a sense of being a “style leader” not a “style follower.” Finding ways to start something new or be unique because you’re more modest, not more immodest. (One time our daughter and her friends made all different colors of long skirts and wore t-shirts with them—just for fun!) At the heart, it’s helping kids feel like they’re as good as anyone else, and if they’re true to gospel principles they can stand for truth and be a light for others.
|Marianne (and John)|
|Jane (and Samuel)|
|Marsha (and Richard)|
President Packer encouraged us to teach principles, which would alter behavior more effectively than teaching behavior. As we taught our children who they are, their relationship to their Heavenly Father and a love and reverence for Him, the values of modesty were more easily implanted in their hearts. They then were pretty good at governing themselves. This seems to me to be an issue of principle rather than practice.
We set the example by how we reverenced our garments, removing them only for short periods of time when absolutely necessary and becoming appropriately dressed as soon as possible. We believe our own example was one of the greatest influences. We feel that their individual self-respect is a major issue also. As they valued themselves, they were more inclined to resist inappropriate draws from the world. We have been blessed to live in an area where friends shared our standards of modesty, making it much easier for our children.
We did teach modesty but were not that concerned about modestly sleeveless blouses for our girls until they approached their later teens. We then encouraged them to discontinue buying anything that would not be worn with garments, for practical reasons as well as modesty. At first, my husband didn’t want them to wear shorts to school, but considering we live in a very warm climate, that didn’t prove to be practical and created some rebellion. We realized we needed to be realistic and that wasn’t realistic. Their shorts were modest which sometimes took some shopping. Prom dresses required a lot of shopping, altering, etc. but we were able to keep a standard, which was comfortable for all. We experienced no real resistance.
One of our daughters was a diver and spent a lot of time in her swimming suit, which concerned us some. We were afraid that she would be used to being in that attire and it would influence her sense of modesty. However, her modesty was internalized and has never been a problem.
We are most grateful that our daughters have all grown to be very modest women and do their best to teach their own children to be modest. Much time in our climate is spent in swimming pools in the summer, but I notice they encourage their children to get dressed or put on a shirt or cover up when out of the pool. I appreciate knowing the principle of modesty is being valued.
|Karen and Lance|
|Rachel (and Bennett)|
|Cynthia (and Brad)|
|Kenneth (and Catherine)|
Next week's question: How did you enforce bedtime if young kids didn't want to stay in their rooms?