Modest Clothing for Christian Women

Resources for Modest Clothing and Books on Christian Modesty

Updated February 14, 2009

polish20mary20wash-2006863A few years ago, Catholic author Colleen Hammond wrote “Dressing with Dignity” a book about the need for feminine modesty, how to achieve it, and why it’s so necessary. It quickly became a “must read” in many traditional Catholic circles.

For the most part, Hammond was preaching to the choir. Traditional Catholic women already know about modesty. Other Catholic women, however, might sense that there’s something amiss in the way women dress for Church. And they’re right. Many of these women, however, are missing the point. It’s not just about how we dress at Church. It’s how we dress everywhere, even within the home and what we do to convey the feminine mystery through modesty.

We can only speak for our own parish, which is located in a seaside community and some of the fashion choices are truly hair raising. 

I don’t think I will ever forget an adult confirmation during a Sunday Mass. The young woman and her sponsor both wore Indian style halter tops that ended under the bustline. These were paired with see-through gauze skirts that settled low on the hips, leaving the entire abdominal area bare. Oh. I forgot to mention. The young woman being confirmed was about seven months pregnant.

No one said a word to either of them.

While we should always look to Mary as our model of modesty, in today’s world, it isn’t practical to dress in a floor length robe with a veil covering our heads – unless you happen to be a traditional nun or live in the middle east.

We can, however, maintain an appropriate level of modest dress wherever we go, particularly in Church.  Our Lady of Fatima said, “Certain fashions will offend Our Lord very much.”  While she wasn’t specific, we can’t help but wonder how she would feel about women who have completely abandoned feminine dress in favor of a wardrobe consisting entirely of slacks. While they have their place, perhaps, it still makes us cringe to see “extraordinary ministers” dressed in t-shirts and slacks in the sanctuary.

The tide seems to be turning, and young women are beginning to find dresses appealing once again. Girls Gone Mild – Moving Away from Trashy to Classy indicates a trend to modesty among young women.

Nonetheless, until the modesty revolution filters down to the local department stores, it can be difficult finding clothing that flatters while it covers — and doesn’t make you look like someone who has just stepped off a gypsy caravan.

We’ve put together some resources for modest clothing that are affordable and easy to care for. These are not our products, but if you use the links here, they’ll know we sent you.

Resources for Modest Clothing

If you’ve gone shopping recently you’ll know that it’s tough finding feminine clothing that isn’t too revealing but that also doesn’t make you look like you’re wearing a feed sack or your grandmother’s housecoat.  And chances are, if you do find something pretty, it will cost much more than a good Catholic woman should pay.

Here are a few resources that come recommended by friends and family. Be sure to look in the clearance sections of each. You’ll be surprised at the markdowns. These are not our products, but if you decide to make a purchase, please use our links since it will help to support this website.  Check the boxes below for coupon codes.

Click logo above to explore what Willow Ridge has to offer. Reasonable prices – wide range of sizes – and feminine without being frumpy.

You can also copy and paste any of the item numbers below into their search box.

Free Shipping at Willow Ridge Catalog! Use source code 952405 at checkout.


Classic beaded duster and dress is now only $29.99. Item  99010

This cotton patio dress is $19.99. Item # 53078

Simplicity! The Essential Dress Black, pink or lilac. Item # 51071

Feminine Floral Essence dress with jacket also in pink Item # 22520

Mixed Media Jumper works all year round. 50% off. Item # 60337

Riveting Rose a timeless look with embroidered details. Item # 60126

Beautiful outfits with eyelet trimmed T’s and chiffon skirts

Reversible Quilted Jacket is a fresh wardrobe stretcher. Item # 70586


Click on the logo above to explore. Sierra Trading Post is located in Cheyenne, Wyoming. They offer a wide variety of upscale classic women’s clothing that is perfect for the woman who works outside the home and for those who need a professional look – examples are below. They also offer active wear and lots of clothing for the whole family.  Use coupon code ALC29 to save 10% on purchases over $75. Expires 3/4/09.

Don’t miss out on their winter clearance sale with discounts up to 85% off.

Maggy London Paisley Silk Chiffon Dress with Ruched Waist

Orvis Linen weave Pintuck Dress

Pura Vida Tea Party Dress

Renee Dumar Cotton Stretch Shirtdress 98% cotton. Also white

Click on the logo above to explore.  Catherine’s offers beautiful plus size clothing in sizes 14W – 34W that is feminine and flattering.

Use these coupon codesThese expire on 2/27/09 – Look for New codes on March 1st.

  10% Off No Minimum Purchase – Enter 776902207  –  $15 off $100 or more Enter 776902306 –  Free Shipping on $100 or More Enter 776902405

Dotted Pintuck Skirt Set is very figure forgiving while presenting a fresh look for spring.

Embroidered pebble georgette skirt set is beautiful for Church wear and also special occasions

Pick stitch mandarin collar jacket pairs with a classic column skirt

Princess Swim Dress. Be sure to look through Catherine’s swimwear section for others and cover ups.


Click the logos above to choose your discount.  Monterrey Bay offers internet only sales. You’ll find lots of feminine shirtwaists, jumpers and styles that are perfect for the professional woman, too. Click on the Clearance tab to see newly reduced items at 70% off. Below is a sampling of what you’ll find on their site.

Picture Perfect Dress In washed linen/rayon, its modest V-neckline and full button front create slimming long lines, while front and back darts and a back tunnel drawstring define its feminine silhouette. Mandarin collar, self tape on hem.

It’s a Wrap Dress. This faux-wrap pullover is as fabulously flattering as it is easy to wear. V-neckline, 3/4-length sleeves. Gentle stretch and wrinkle resistance.

Essential Travel Dress. Fluid ponte knit is smooth and never clingy for a perfect presentation, no matter how long you sit, one less hassle to consider in six simple styles that layer as well as they were alone, they’re all you need for effortless outfitting.

Duet Reversible Skirt. Swirly set replays a classic color theme in bias-cut chiffon with a floral/plaid print on one side, and zippy polka dots on the other. Elastic waist.

Free Verse Tunic. Its soft fabric and unique design are pure poetry in fashion. Empire waist has front pin tucks and back tunnel drawstring for a figure-flattering finish. Shirred sleeves with button cuffs and shirttail hem.

Invigorating Tunic. Crisscross details refresh the front, creating its gently shaped design, no wonder this style is such a favorite. Side slits. This one was originally $69.99. Now $11.49

Love Your Style Skirt. When you feel good about yourself, it shows. Bias cut, turquoise floral print with all around elastic waist.

Two Button Cardigan. Comes in several colors. So versatile. It’s a must have in colorful ribbed cotton with side slits. Machine washable.


Click on the logos above to explore.  Old Pueblo Traders is one of my favorites. Lots of beautiful dresses and suits for casual, business and dressy wear. Be sure to visit their clearance department for fabulous savings of up to 70% off their already low prices. Sign up for their credit card and save an additional $20 and get notices of sales, too. Below is a small sampling of what they offer.

Dress with overlay. A spring-inspired print puts a new spin on this flattering silhouette. Sheer 3/4-length sleeves and decorative covered buttons.

Cotton denim dress. Embroidered strawberries and flowers make a sweet statement. Side-seam pockets.

Ponte Knit Pullover Dress. It has a round neckline and shaping princess seams. Godets give the skirt its elegant full sweep. Belt included.

Refined Floral Print Dress. Its classic styling is appropriate for so many occasions. Pullover with crisp off-white trim has buttons to the elasticized waist and self-covered belt with buckle.

Cotton Crocheted Skirt. Our lightweight pull-on is in step with today’s fashion trends. Elasticized waist and full lining.

Cutaway Suit. Only $39.99! This flattering design features a notched-collar jacket and a straight skirt with elasticized waist.

Embellished Suit. Beads accent the rich embroidery on the front-buttoned jacket. More sequins and beads dress up the hem of the skirt, finished with a side elastic waist and back zipper and hook.

Embroidered Skirt. Bold needlework, stitched pleats and scalloped hem make this piece a distinctive addition to your wardrobe. Elasticized waist and Cotton / Polyester Lining

Click the link above to explore Brownstone Studio.  This is a company that offers the most beautiful classic styles. Perfect modest clothing for Church wear, office or special occasions. Be sure to look at their online outlet for sales of up to 85% off. Below is a sampling of what you’ll find.

Trapeze Dress comes with beautiful paisley and glen plaid scarf. Classic!

The tailored jacket dress is a splendid alternative to a suit. It works especially well on long days that linger into the dinner hour.

This ultra-feminine skirt set comes perfectly accessorized by a printed peach skin scarf and detachable floral pin.

Embroidered Dinner Suit. Rich tonal embroidery and a flounced hemline  Back princess seams and front waist darts on the jacket suggest shape without being strict about it.

Click the banner above to explore Lane Bryant.  This is the first time in at least three years that I am including Lane Bryant in this group of clothing stores. Frankly, their clothing was just a little too – umm – trashy – especially for the full bodied women they cater to. I guess they got smart, because this season’s offerings are quite nice without being naughty. They deserve a look just because of this change of heart.

Use these coupons codes to save: Free Shipping on $100 or more Enter Code 006953058 – Save 15% on your entire order – enter code 000155922 Both expire 2/17/09. Check back for new codes.

Circle Print Dress and Jacket Set. The skirt is a little bit short, but the style is fresh and modern.

Ring Print Dress and Jacket. Black and White works anywhere, anytime.

Ruffle Collar Two Fer Dress is nice for the office or Church wear if you pair with a jacket.

Embroidered Hem Dress is a new variation on the classic shirt waist.

Click the Logo Above to Explore Bedford Fair. This is a company with lots of nice jumpers and modern, but modest dresses. A nice selection of cardigans, too. Be sure to check out the clearance section for ridiculous prices up to 85% off! I just bought a pair of Sketchers for under $20!

Enter promotion code 941067 for free shipping. Use 941072 to save 15% on a purchase over $75. 

Apply for one of their credit cards and take $20 off your first order.


Colorific Tee Dress is available in three color combinations. Under $25


This denim jumper is a favorite of moms on the go and college girls, too.


The clean classic look of a hounds tooth jumper doesn’t go out of style. Only $29.99 before discounts


Knit Button Front Dress is so feminine and is the most beautiful turquoise

Click the logo above to explore.  Blair is a famous mail order house that has lots of bargains and a variety of modest clothing. Take a look at their sweater sets in pretty spring colors. A wide variety of jumpers, too. Currently offering 99 cent shipping. Check back for new promo codes. Don’t miss the clearance section.

A beautiful skirt set for only $23.99!

Feminine Floral Print Knit Dress

Pin Tucked Denim Floral Dress

Two Toned Jacket Dress

Click the logo above to explore the beautiful clothing at Soft Surroundings. Fresh and feminine –  modern and modest. The images we’ve placed below really don’t do justice to their amazing clothing line. You must go to the site and see for yourself.

Purely on the basis of style and femininity this one is our best bet!

Oceanside Skirt – Green

Pleated Denim Skirt I – Blue

A-Line Linen Tunic – Blue

Click the logo above to explore the selections.  Modest swimwear is always hard to find.  This company makes them in plus sizes. If you want a little more coverage at the beach or pool, the swim dress is the swimsuit for you. The younger designs resemble the short and kicky tennis dress. These swim dresses are one piece swimsuits sewn together so you don’t have to worry about your swim dress floating up in the pool and showing your belly area. Take a look at the jogger sets, too. Warning – the home page had a rather vulgar lingerie ad when I last looked so just go right to the swim suits. There is a sale going on so we don’t know what will be left when you look, but here are some that we found.

Click on the logo above to find these bargain bags!

Click on the logo above to explore hats!

The travel messenger bag from Lillian Vernon is the perfect companion for moms on the go and career women too. We’re so happy to have found this one in a pretty spring color for $19.98

It’s so annoying when your handbag costs more than your entire outfit! This classic handbag is leather and only $19.98. Click the logo above to search under bags.

Remember when women wore hats? What a pretty and feminine accessory. If you’re not a veil wearer, why not try a hat for Church wear?

We love getting reader feedback.  Here’s a note about modest clothing and a recommendation:

“I enjoyed reading your article on modesty. However, as a young married woman in my twenties, none of the dresses shown in the modesty resources appealed towards me. They all seem geared towards a woman from another generation. There are modest clothing options for young women out there. One good resource is If you search, you can also find modest clothes at many retailers (the Gap, Old Navy, even Macy’s). You just have to look harder (which is very frustrating).

Thank you very much for your website, Caitlyn”

Thank YOU, Caitlyn.  We looked at the fashions offer at this site and we agree. They are beautiful and modest without being frumpy. 

Click on the logo above and decide for yourself.

Secret Keeper With Victoria’s Secret now targeting 18-24 year-olds with the PINK line, and Abercrombie & Fitch successfully selling clothing through a catalog available only to those 18 and over, the need for a clear voice on modesty has never been greater. This bestselling book on modesty gives teens and twenty-something’s actual pictures and examples of modern clothing -a modesty fashion show. Explains the critical nature of modesty as both cool and relevant. ‘How-to’ modest dressing skills. The Look: Does God Really Care What I Wear?  The author challenges Christians to ask themselves tough questions: Who decides what I will wear, and why? What message does my clothing communicate? And, how can I reflect the glory of God in my wardrobe? Biblical, practical and motivating, it challenges women (young or older), parents, and teens to discover the Truth about clothing and modesty, and to make choices based on God’s eternal perspective. A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue  When the 23-year-old author first heard of “modestyniks”–Orthodox Jewish women who withhold physical contact from men until marriage, she was initially fascinated by the way in which they cleave to old ideals, in a sex-saturated  world and was aghast at how they are dismissed as sick, delusional, or repressed by the secular community. “Why,” asks the author, “is sexual modesty so threatening to some that they can only respond to it with charges of abuse or delusion?” Christian Modesty and the Public Undressing of America In the Church today, there are few cows quite as sacred as the right of modern Christians to dress however they please. But in this groundbreaking work, Jeff Pollard challenges us to embrace God’s standard and to understand the historical roots of the rise of nudity and immodesty in modern culture. TOP of Page                                                                     Do you have other sources? Let us know.
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Christine Hirschfeld

I never intended to run a Catholic antiquities and book business. Not in a million years. As a cradle Catholic, I grew up in a house that was filled with Catholic images and sacramentals not to mention an abundance of excellent books provided by family members who worked in publishing houses famous for their Catholic catalogues. The beautiful images and concepts presented in those books certainly had their effect in enhancing my identity as a Catholic. As the years passed, even in the midst of very un-Catholic settings, I became a repository for my friends’ Catholic “found objects.” Eventually, I had a family of my own. We’re a small family. There are just three of us. And two of us were born with the “junk collecting gene.” Garage sales attracted us like a magnet.
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