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Modest Fashion Guide: Summer Edition

on May 17, 2013 by Jami Balmet 34 comments

As the weather warms up, the jackets come off and the itty bitty shorts come out. Sometimes it’s understandable. In 100 degree weather no one wants to be wearing turtle necks and long pants.

As the weather warms up, the jackets come off and the itty bitty shorts come out. But modesty is still just as important during summer. So how do you dress modestly, stay cool, and also still be cute? Here are some great tips on cute and modest summer fashion!

But modesty is still just as important during summer. So how do you dress modestly, stay cool, and also still be cute? Here are some tips I’ve learned through the years for dressing modestly during summer as well as some of my favorite places to shop!

How To Dress Modestly During Summer

Here are  few practical tips to help you dress modestly this summer. Summer modesty guidelines and practice will look differently in each household. So talk to your husband or father about how they can help you dress modestly this summer because gals – sometimes it’s hard!

1) Find Some Good Shorts

Good shorts are essential to me during Summer because other than Church I pretty much live in shorts!! I don’t want to be legalistic {or impost legalistic standards upon you}, so each household needs to decide what their standard is. Personally I have just drawn the line at knee length {you can read more about my personal modesty guidelines}.

According to The Modesty Survey, 64.5% of men said “It is immodest for a girl to expose her legs up to mid-thigh.” This means that over half of the men around us struggle when we expose our legs at mid thigh. This has convicted me that for the sake of not causing my brothers in Christ to stumble {1 Corinthians 8:13}, that I will simply wear knee length shorts…there’s really no harm in that small sacrifice! {Again I am just sharing what I personally feel convicted about}.

Hubby and I at Pearl Harbor on our Honeymoon
Hubby and I at Pearl Harbor on our Honeymoon

2) Find a Good Swim Suit

Ack! Finding a modest bathing suit is essential to summertime but it.is.so.hard.to.do! I will suggest a few swim suit companies below but ultimately, just be wise, discerning, and prayerful when picking out a suit…and get a man’s opinion on it before you take the tags off {such as your husband or father}!!

3) Make Wise Choices

Really the summer is the perfect excuse to “forget” about modesty for a few months and wear what is hip, cool, and not care. But be set apart this summer, girls! Be bold for Christ and show the world that there is something different about you! Don’t give in to the temptation to look trendy at the sake of glorifying God with your body {1 Corinthians 6:19}.

I urge you to spend some time in prayer and discussion with your husbands {or fathers if you are unmarried} and really dig into what Scripture has to say on modesty. Think about what is really at the HEART of modesty and pray that God molds you into a beautiful modest woman. I urge you to dive into The Modesty Survey and find out what over 1600 Christian men think about modesty {find out more information about the survey here}

Modest Summer Fashion Guide

Are you on the hunt for modest clothing this summer? I actually find most of my modest clothing cheap in normal stores and thrift shops, but certain things like modest cami’s and bathing suits I get online.

1) Apricot Apparel

I have tried every cami under the sun and they all are either to low to begin with or by the end of the day they droop down. But my hands down favorite cami I have ever found is from Apricot Apparel. I stumbled upon their site onr day and now my sister’s and I do a new order from them each season! On my next order I intent to try some of their other laying shirts too!

The cami is my very best friend. A whole new world of cute shirts opens up to you when you can add a camisole to your outfit! Suddenly dresses and shirts that were highly immodest become the perfect summer modest outfit!

A favorite dress that would be too low cut without my favorite Apricot Apparel cami!
A favorite dress that would be too low cut without my favorite Apricot Apparel cami!

2) Mod Bod

My sister’s have a few of their layering shirts that I would love to get but my favorite thing from them is their perfect tank!  I wear it under shirts and it’s the perfect thing to wear under most dresses! I have it in white, black, pink, and brown.

Love my perfect tank from Mod Bod!

3) Lime Ricki

For the past several years, Lime Ricki has been my go to place to buy bathing suits! My sister’s and I were actually able to find bathing suits that were high enough and not too expensive! Yay!

While it seems that a few of their swim suits this year might be a little too low cut for me, I’m actually thrilled with this year’s line up of suits!! I’m having a hard time deciding what to order. I really like the Coral Zulu, Cinch-Neck Hibiscus, One Shoulder Mini Dot, and Ruffle Hibiscus {I think this is my favorite but I’m debating whether it will be modest enough :}. And I of course pair these tops with long shorts or skorts.

My Sister's and I in Lime Ricki Bathing Suits
My Sister’s and I in Lime Ricki Bathing Suits

4) Mikarose

I love Mikarose clothing!! They have so many adorable shirts and dresses that really are modest! I love that most of their clothing doesn’t require a cami – they are truly modest! And their quality is really high, I can tell the clothing will last for a long time {that’s really important when spending money on modest clothing}! This lace shirt I got last year is actually on clearance right now. I’m really in love with this Julia dress right now…it would be perfect for this summer 😉


5) DownEast Basics

I think I start drooling every time their catalog comes in the mail. I think their dresses are my favorite thing – especially this honeydew dress! Many of their tops seem very modest also although I only own 2 of their dresses and a jacket. I actually did a review of one of their dresses last year! Mind you….I was 21 weeks pregnant with twins in this photo – so not my best photo LOL!

Down East Basics

6) Divinita Sole

I think Divinita Sole might just be among my favorite modest swim suits I’ve ever seen! But I haven’t actually tried them yet. It seems that you have to buy the top and and bottom together and since I cover the bottoms with shorts anyway, I don’t need matching bottoms. So I have yet to try them out although I’m thinking about calling them to see if I can purchase just the top 🙂 They have some really super cute and modest swimsuit tops!!

Divinita Sole Swim Suits

7) Novae Clothing

I have always loved Novae clothing but haven’t ordered from them…yet! I love their dresses especially and just about died when I found this skirt…actually it’s a skirt and dress EXTENDER! I HATE when you find a super cute dress or skirt and it’s too short 🙁 But this dress extender is brilliant. It’s super cute and could make so many dresses and skirts an option! I really need one!!

Novae Clothing

These are just some of my favorite modest clothing companies! But I’m always on the hunt for more. Do you know of any?

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  1. Get tips Jami! I love Mikarose! I am really into maxi skirts right now. I think a maxi skirt paired with a modest tank top is super cute and feels cool in the warm weather.

  2. I would add the tip to wear a dress or skirt in the summer. It’s so much cooler, and you can find modest options in light fabrics!

    I also love Shabby Apple for modest dresses. They are pricy, but SO cute!!

  3. Jami,
    I was wondering what you wear as bottoms for your swim suits… Everything is so expensive – I actually converted a pair of male swim trunks into a skirt, but I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb on the beach so I tend not to wear it, but have gone with just a t-shirt skirt that is icky once it gets wet because it clings sooo bad. Just wonderig if you had any solutions – generally I only wear skirts and knee length or longer so it makes it tricky when I am trying to avoid shorts, but if I could find a pair that was long enough and modest I wouldn’t be opposed to wearing them on the beach (I think, not sure since I haven’t done that before, I might step out and feel too exposed since skirts are what I was raised in and it’s just my comfort zone, but I would be willing to try lol)
    Lindy J

    • Uuug! This is one of those difficulties of dressing modestly during summer!! I have a skort that I normally wear that isn’t meant for swimming but it’s a great material. But I’m feeling like it might not be long enough :/ And since most swim shorts are SUPER short, I have just found knee length shorts in the past and worn them with my cute swim top. Yes, I do stick out a bit since I’m usually the most modestly dressed {because for some reason people think there is a double standard when it comes to bathing suits??} but I know that I am honoring God with my clothing choices so it’s okay with me 🙂

    • I’ve had the same issue with swimwear. I pretty much only wear skirts (just a preferance!) so don’t feel comfortable even wearing modest longer shorts for swimming. For years I wore a “swim skirt” that I made out of denim, and it worked okay… it generally didn’t cling as bad as most other fabrics (cotton & tshirt/knits were the worst for clinging), so that was a positive, but it was heavy when wet & took forever to dry so wasn’t too comfortable for a day on the beach. I recently made a new swim skirt though & this time used swimwear fabric (expensive, but worth it!). I had always been nervous to sew with it because of the stretch of the fabric, but it wasn’t a big deal & I’m so happy with it so far. I usually wear ankle length skirts, but made the swim skirt mid calf length. A caution with longer skirts for swimming is you need to be a little bit careful getting into and out of the water… just need to pay attention & adjust your skirt so it’s not clinging or revealing, but once you’re in the water it’s fine. [A note though, I don’t actually do much swimming when I’m in the water, so if you’re wanting to actually swim a distance or something the skirt may get tangled in your legs & shorts may be an easier option.]

    • I know this question wasn’t geared toward me, but I struggled with this for a little while. I do wear pants, but I wear skirts or dresses about 90% of the time (pajama pants aside). I found a pair of shorts that are the same material as the really expensive board shorts that surfers wear from JC Penney’s last Spring. When I am standing, they go past my knees, and when I am sitting, they go to my knees. They are not too loose, which is good because the water in the pool and ocean would make them come up and show too much of my legs for my comfort. They are comfortable and dry fairly quickly after getting wet. I hope this will help you! Here is a link to something very similar: http://www.jcpenney.com/dotcom/women/petites/shorts-capris/made-for-life%25e2%2584%25a2-pintuck-capris/prod.jump?ppId=pp5002322057&catId=cat100250100&deptId=dept20000013&N=100260325%20%201734&extDim=true&topDim=Categories&topDimvalue=shorts+%26+capris&dimCombo=Categories%7CSize+Range%7C&dimComboVal=shorts+%26+capris%7Cpetites%7C&currentDim=Size+Range&currentDimVal=petites

      They are actually a petite athletic capri pant, but even though I am not petite (I am 5’7″ and wear a size 6-8), they are a great length. Not sure if you would like them or not, but just thought I would share what had worked for me! I wear basic swim suit bottoms underneath.

      Blessings to you!!

  4. Thank you so much for your post on modesty. Especially as American women, we can be selfish in this area and can be very touchy on this subject. 😉 I struggle w/ surrending in this area sometimes, but I want to glorify God in everything I do so I’m working on it & asking God to guide me. My rule of thumb is to never show a part of me publicly that I’m uncomfortable w/ another woman showing in front of my husband. When I’m honest about that question, it takes care of a lot of wondering, “Is this modest?”. Anyway, just wanted to thank you 🙂

  5. I think I have a lot of trouble, as probably many women do, finding modest clothing. I’m kinda tall and thin which makes finding longer shirts (not longer AND larger!) hard to find. I also have a tailbone issue right now which is making it hard to wear jeans or anything tight–which is probably a good thing since I don’t need to be wearing tight anyway. I thought I could get away with wearing comfortable leggings with a tunic or long enough shirt to cover up my hips n such, but apparently even that is not helpful to men. Yep, I checked out “The Modesty Survey” which was helpful in knowing some opinions of men. For me, I’m on the mission to find what’s comfortable, but modest, yet not frumpy etc.. I think knowing how to sew and alter these days would be extremely helpful. In home economics in high school we just learned to sew pajama pants. Thank you for your article, Jami 🙂

  6. I love promoting this company because I love their products, I think I have 6 different colors now. I wear one almost every day in the summer and with some of my tops in the spring. They are similar to Modbod only shorter but still make a lot of my clothes more modest for the office. http://www.shopsecondbase.com/

  7. Lands End is my go to for swim suit that can offer good coverage. One of my friends like them also because they offer suits with built in support. Swim suit bottoms I’ve started to go with sport shorts that u can find in any active wear section, for low price u can always look at consignment or bargain areas. I recently went on a cruise in February (the last time of the year you EVER feel attractive) and was comfortable this way and didn’t feel naked either.

  8. I found this to be very, very informative and helpful.
    Thank you…so much!! 🙂
    -Alison, first-time commenter

  9. You are such an inspiration! I have never been a scandalous dresser, and modesty has always been an important aspect of dress to me, but summertime is a test. I always thought that modest dress would be impossible in the heat and humidity, but you have convinced me otherwise. 🙂

    What is your opinion about jewelry? My friends and I have different thoughts about it. I believe that jewelry can be lovely and isn’t immodest by itself, but that wearing excessive amounts or certain kinds (body piercings, etc) make it immodest because it can be used to draw attention in a deviant way. But that’s just me. 🙂

  10. I happen to find this post to be insane. What do you think of those of us who do wear shorts above our knee? (By the way, those aren’t shorts, they’re capris.) Ask your husband or father? Why? Why does a male have to determine what is okay for me to wear? God isn’t shaking his head at me for showing my thigh.

    • I have to agree. I dress modestly for my OWN reasons, not for a man. My husband could care less what I wear because he knows I’m his. And I naturally dressed modestly when I was young so my father had no problems with it. But when a day at the beach or pool rolls around, I wear a one piece or tankini, with shorts. THAT is not immodest. If other men “stumble” then that’s their problem and THEY need to get right with God and work on themselves. Also, I’m not vain enough to think anyone is paying attention to what I wear.

      We should dress modestly because thats how WE want to dress, or because God speaks to you and gives you that conviction for your own life(and not everyone will have that conviction) or because you RESPECT yourself too much to go around showing everything off as some girls who are desperate for attention do. Not because men can’t control themselves. I assure you they can. Men don’t get enough credit. They CAN control themselves, but many CHOOSE not to. That’s nobody’s fault but their own.

      Aside from that, I love this article. Lots of great shopping options!

      • We should dress modestly because the scritptures tell us to. Unfortunately, it is a topic that is not preached very often because it angers women. Men should control there thoughts, but women also need to be careful not to be a stumbling block. We are to be an encouragement to our fellow brothers and sisters. Jesus first, others second, and ourselves last. It is not about what we want but how we can best honor God and help others to honor God.

  11. Thank you so much for posting this. I’ve recently felt convicted that I need to dress more modesty in order to glorify God. Thank you for breaking down where I can go shopping it’s a great help. It’s so refreshing to read of women who don’t “let it all hang out”. I absolutely respect that.

  12. Good tips, thank you. Another trick I learned is to use safety pins to attach camisole straps to your bra straps so that they stay high enough and don’t fall by the end of the day. It works really well for me. 🙂

  13. This is an excellent post! I am a 43 year old mother of 7 and I was doing a search for “modest clothing” “women” “40s” “summer” and you popped up! I loved this, love the suggestions, your sweet photos, the websites. Thank you very much! You have taught me a little and given me tons to consider! Just want to give you a hug 🙂

  14. I appreciate sites that speak on the subject of modesty. I notice that people have different standards for swimuits. Shouldn’t our modesty standards be the same always? The swimsuit you posted covers more than the normal swimsuit, but the bottom portion is like panties. Although the swimsuit is a step up from what you normally see, I do not think it is modest. I understand that we all have different standareds; however, if you will not expose thighs in day to day clothing because it is a stumbling block, surely swimsuit where does not make exposing your thighs less of a stumbling block. My 2 cents.

  15. I’ve recently come to the conclusion that when we focus so much attention on dressing in a way that won’t “cause men to stumble” (I have MAJOR issues with that wording, but I won’t get into that right now), we are trying to please men rather than God. The modesty passages in the New Testament are describing the way temple prostitutes dressed. Basically it’s saying, “Sisters, if you dress like the temple prostitutes you send a confusing message to the surrounding community about the message of the gospel. Dress in a way that honours God.” Those passages NEVER talk about dressing modestly because men will lust. It’s about the GOSPEL. Not men. Not lust. Not other people’s sin issues. We not only don’t need to dress for men, we SHOULDN’T. After all, are we men-pleasers or God pleasers? Also, when Jesus talked about lust, he told men to pluck out their eyes if they couldn’t control themselves. 1, that means Jesus expected men to control their thoughts. 2, Jesus put the responsibility on the men. He never gave a disclaimer like, “However, if you see a prostitute, it’s understandable if you lust after her. That’s what she was trying to make you do anyway. You can’t be held responsible for her behaviour.” Does this mean we can dress (or not dress at all) however we like? No. We dress to honour God. Period. Dressing modestly is good and right, but ladies, let’s please stop encouraging each other to commit idolatry, we serve God, not men. Don’t worry about what men will think of you. Even if you wear a burka, there will always be a man out there who will lust anyway. It’s not your fault, it’s his. Please, let’s encourage one another to be free from the cares of men-pleasing! Honour God with your clothing and leave it at that.

    • I think the burden of responsibility for men lusting is 100% on men. We don’t cause them to sin. However, we can love our brother’s in Christ by covering up a little bit. I have four sons who are going to one day all be teenagers. The temptations for them will be huge in trying not to sin when it comes to lust. If their sister’s in Christ take just a few minutes to think about them while getting dresses for Church, it will make it a lot easier for them. It’s not about serving men, it’s about loving our brother’s in Christ. If someone put on a movie at their house that you were not comfortable with, the loving thing to do would be for your friend to turn off the movie. It’s not about serving man. And I agree! It’s 100% about serving God and dressing modestly for Him. However, he also didn’t give us any specific guidelines in Scripture. So knowing what is generally deemed as immodest by the men folk, can be a helpful guideline for women.

  16. Great article!
    Personally, I wear maxi dresses or stiffer knee length skirts (don’t wear shorts/pants or other men’s attire out 🙂 )

    Nice to see somebody posting this!

  17. I’m 5’7″ and a half inches tall with a 35″ inseam. When summertime is here I wear men’s knee-length swim shorts with a tee-shirt from the ladies department.