Library book stacks have been home to fashion, beauty and health books from thousands of authors. The viewpoint that seems so often missing from these books is one of modesty. In that light, this online collection of entries about modest style, taken from blog posts on the Fashion Belle website, serves to help fill the gap. Check back from time to time to see new entries. Also, if you have not yet seen our shopping guides for modest clothing and modest sewing patterns, then you'll enjoy taking a look through those and other resources for modest style provided on the Fashion Belle website.
The word "modest" holds different meanings for people of various cultures and religions. Noah Webster, in his 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, defines "modest" and related words in a manner that is still applicable today, " . . . Unaffected modesty is the sweetest charm of female excellence, the richest gem in the diadem of their honor." Complete definitions are as follows:
- Properly, restrained by a sense of propriety; hence, not forward or bold; not presumptuous or arrogant; not boastful; as a modest youth; a modest man.
- Not bold or forward; as a modest maid. The word may be thus used without reference to chastity.
The blushing beauties of a modest maid.
- Not loose; not lewd.
Mrs. Ford, the honest woman, the modest wife.
- Moderate; not excessive or extreme; not extravagant; as a modest request; modest joy; a modest computation.
- Not boldly; not arrogantly or presumptuously; with due respect. He modestly expressed his opinions.
- Not loosely or wantonly; decently; as, to be modestly attired; to behave modestly.
- Not excessively; not extravagantly.
- That lowly temper which accompanies a moderate estimate of one's own worth and importance. This temper when natural, springs in some measure from timidity, and in young and inexperienced persons, is allied to bashfulness and [reserve]. In persons who have seen the world, and lost their natural timidity, modesty springs no less from principle than from feeling, and is manifested by retiring, unobtrusive manners, assuming less to itself than others are willing to yield, and conceding to others all due honor and respect, or even more than they expect or require.
- Modesty, as an act or series of acts, consists in humble, unobtrusive deportment, as opposed to extreme boldness, forwardness, arrogance, presumption, audacity or impudence. Thus we say, the petitioner urged his claims with modesty; the speaker addressed the audience with modesty.
- Moderation; decency.
- In females, modesty has the like character as in males; but the word is used also as synonymous with chastity, or purity of manners. In this sense, modesty results from purity of mind, or from the fear of disgrace and [infamy] fortified by education and principle. Unaffected modesty is the sweetest charm of female excellence, the richest gem in the diadem of their honor.