Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes - Modest Clothing



"Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" is the chorus of a song many of us sing with our younger kids. For the young it is a fun way to learn the different parts of their bodies; for many of us adults it can help define the guidelines of modest dressing.

Modest clothing is more than just putting faith into fashion.  It is about a life philosophy which presents itself outwardly in the clothing we wear.  Dressing in conformity with religious teachings or personal viewpoints makes the daily act of getting dressed a statement of who we are and what we stand for.

Each different faith and cultural group have their own way of defining modesty. 

So let's explore our Nursery Rhyme.


Many faith groups expect married women to cover their heads, some expect girls also to adopt head coverings from an early age.  Hats, caps, scarves, snoods, wigs all have their part to play.  Look at the upside, for many of us there is no such thing as a bad hair day!


Covering shoulders and wearing sleeves is very much part of the routine, whilst some women would never go out in a strapless top, others would never be seen in anything that exposed their elbows or collarbones. Sleeve lengths and necklines can be positively political.


Wars have been fought over less than the length of a woman's skirt.   Below the knee, not just standing but also whilst sitting, is the norm for some modest - dressing women. Too long is also an issue, whilst for others a glimpse of ankle will not do.

Some faith groups permit, even encourage, women to wear trousers, others forbid them.


Open toed shoes are also a point of contention for some, for others this is really a non-issue.

It is "fashionable" in today's society to portray women who dress modestly for religious, personal or ideological reasons as oppressed by their culture or by male-dominated hierarchies.  Many women who conform to modest dressing will tell you that they find it liberating.  Modest does not mean dowdy, repressed or meek.  It means being seen for who you are as a person. Modest clothing can be fabulous, modern and incredibly flattering.

Kosher Casual applauds all efforts to dress modestly, no matter how it is defined.  They make a range of products that meet the many definitions.  They recognize that there are indeed many perspectives on modesty in the Jewish, Christian, and even secular worlds, each with different modesty guidelines.

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