"For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light..."

Dress Modestly

by Spencer W. Kimball

Dress modestly. You girls go and find the modest clothes and wear them, make them as beautiful as you can and be attractive and make up to your boyfriends in bright intellect and sweet spirit and attractive demeanor that which some girls can only do with their bodies. It is a pretty weak girl if she has only her body to attract somebody.

Any young woman who conducts herself so as to be attractive spiritually, mentally, and physically, but will not by word, nor dress, nor act stir or stimulate to physical reactions, she is a jewel.

Stylish clothes can be modest. You can always be in style and still be modest. I have never seen a style yet in my many years that one couldn't follow and still be modest. ...

Our girls ... don't need to be backwoods, neither do they need to dress like a harlot. There is a nice medium place where everybody can dress well. When dresses are long, you can wear them long; and when they are flaring, you can wear them flaring; and when they are short, you can wear them short; but you don't need to outdo everybody in getting them short. ...

If you want to stay in the realm of modest womanhood, you keep your body covered and no decent man will ever think less of you for it and every good, honorable man who would think of marrying you would love you more for it. ...

There is no time when a Latter-day Saint woman should wear a strapless gown. They are not righteous nor approved.

Modesty is for men, also. Now just a word to the boys. Sometimes we have young men, they swim scantily clad, of course, when they are in the water, that's all right. Sometimes they play games, basketball, for instance, with very, very little on them. Maybe that's all right on the basketball floor, but certainly it is immodest for them to go around dating before and after the game in those kinds of clothes. It is just as bad for a man to be undressed as it is for a woman to be undressed and that, I am sure, is the gospel of Christ. We have only one standard of morality, only one standard of decency, only one standard of modesty, and I hope our men will remember that. There is no reason why a man should go around half dressed either before the people.

Extreme styles betray character weakness. Our young people should know also that it is hard for them to hide their upbringing, their inner thoughts, their weaknesses. There is nothing criminal about grammatical errors or careless speech or even slang. But such do reveal the character of the user and reflect upon his home life. It may be an unwarranted and weak demand for attention which one feels powerless to stir otherwise. The chewing of gum in public certainly gives no suggestion of culture or refinement and certainly will not build confidence in or esteem for the one who indulges. Inappropriate clothes, extreme makeup, fantastic hairdos, gum chewing, slang, ugly speech, bad table manners, and other such irregularities brand the individual at once as weak, uncouth, cheap or careless, and thoughtless, and his family is judged by his weaknesses. ...

Boys seldom criticize a girl for using too little makeup. Sometimes they say, "She's a nice girl, but I wish she'd dress up, and she uses too much makeup." To be overdressed, to be gaudily dressed, to be dressed to look sexy, to be overdecorated is bad taste, to say the least. The young woman is smart who can don just enough powder and lipstick to convince the fellows it isn't makeup at all, but the "real you."

Perhaps there is no transgression in painted eyelids or dangling earrings or fancy hairdos, but surely all these eccentricities and extremes betray character. Her life is open like a book, and people read it. There may be no harm in the style itself, but it may indicate some weakness, some insecurity, some unsureness.

Young men should keep their faces shaved, their hair combed, their haircuts reasonably conservative, their nails cleaned. Overtight, suggestive pants brand young men as vulgar. Young people can be smart and personable, dignified and attractive by finding an area somewhere less than the extremes and still in good style. ...

There may be nothing wrong with an extreme crew cut or a beard or for one to cover his forehead "Beatle" style and let the hair grow long all around, but he is opening his book for the world to read, and employers and other thoughtful people may bypass the eccentric and the extremist in his distortion and abnormalities to find those who are stylish in moderation and who are dignified, for here is an indication of depth and width and strength.


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The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.285-7
Copyright by Bookcraft