Thursday, May 28, 2015

Why to Wear Clothes This Summer

*I wrote this article recently for a local Catholic newsletter and wanted to share it here on my blog!*

By Colette Zimmerman (

“It is often said almost with passive resignation that fashions reflect the customs of a people. But it would be more exact and much more useful to say that they express the decision and moral direction that a nation intends to take: either to be shipwrecked in licentiousness or maintain itself at the level to which it has been raised by religion and civilization.”   -Di gran cuore - an allocution of Pope Pius XII to a Congress of the "Latin Union of High Fashion” on November 8, 1957

So what are you going to wear this Summer?

I ask myself this question every year and possibly more so this year, being heavily pregnant and more sensitive to the heat, with a more limited choice of clothing.  But God is good and I know He will provide.

There are a few vital points to remember when it comes to clothing.

First, identify and express yourself!  The first purpose of clothing in a civilized culture is to express heritage, religion, sex, occupation, position or status.  Femininity and masculinity in dress are a very important apostolate today since they combat such radical trends as subjective “sexual identity” and same-sex “marriage”.  There are many beautiful traditions in different cultures that use clothing to represent identity.  A bride wearing a wedding dress shows her innocence and elegance.  A monarch wearing a crown represents his nobility and power from God.  The habit of a nun shows her modesty and the unique virtue of the order.  A businessman wearing a fine suit shows the respect and seriousness of his work.  The medals of a soldier probably signify his uncommon valor.  Even shoes can and should identify the wearer.

Second, remember modesty.  Modesty in dress is necessary not because we are ashamed of our bodies, but because we are ashamed of our fallen nature and tendency to sin.  Original Sin begets concupiscence and we rise above it by wearing modest clothing.  An innocent soul has an inherent disposition towards modesty that is disgusted by witnessing the scandalous dress and behavior that pervades society today.  Modesty in dress is directly proportional to the values of a society and perusing the fashion progression of the twentieth century illustrates this fact quite clearly.

Third, dress to provide protection from the elements.  Of course it is necessary to wear a coat in the winter and carry the umbrella in the rain.  Wearing an apron is very proper and functional for a cook.  Dressing for the elements has a lot to do with reason.  And as society strays from God, reason quickly becomes perverted.  I noticed a trend this past winter for school children to wear shorts in the snow.  Although it is necessary and right to dress for the elements, it is also important to remember that modesty should never be compromised.

1 comment:

  1. Yes to the shorts in winter... or flip flops in the snow on college campuses. Then again, if these young people don't think to pull their pants up over their underwear, why should we expect them to put on seasonally-appropriate footwear.


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