Ask Angela: Are my leggings modest?

By Angela Trusty, For the Deseret News

Published: Tue, July 22, 2014, 5:00 a.m. MDT

 Angela offers advice on modesty. Share your voice, too!

Angela offers advice on modesty. Share your voice, too!


Dear Angela,

I hate to bring up the modesty “debate” again, but my parents are insisting that my leggings are immodest. My mom claims they’re see-through (they aren’t) and that I’m disrespecting my body by allowing everyone to “see me like that!” People wear leggings all the time. They’re just as tight as skinny jeans, which my mom wears herself! I don’t get what the big deal is. Am I being immodest by wearing leggings? Or is my mom being totally unreasonable?



Dear Leggs,

Modesty is a virtue — not a fashion statement. The important thing is not what you’re wearing, but your attitude. Ask yourself these questions before you do anything, including getting dressed: Are you representing yourself as a child of God? Are you representing yourself as a member of his church? If you can answer these questions positively, then you’re acting with modesty in mind — whether you’re wearing leggings or a poncho.

If you’re looking for specifics, there are guidelines about what to wear and what not to wear in pamphlets like For the Strength of Youth. At the same time, it doesn’t mention everything. That’s why having an attitude of modesty is so important. With an attitude of modesty, you can use your own agency to decide how to dress and behave.

With that said, you’re living under your parents' roof, and they’re paying for 50 percent or more of your living expenses. Therefore, they get a say in what you wear. So, if the rule of the house is no leggings, then no leggings.

Reasonable or not, modest or not.

If it’s any consolation, at least someone cares enough to make sure you’re not wearing see-through pants.



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Angela Trusty is a millennial writer who lives and writes about the young adult Mormon experience. Twitter: askange_column

1. alleycatrn
Lilburn, GA,
July 22, 2014

Leggings are basically open footed tights. A decade or two ago No one would have dreamed to be walking around in just a pair of tights. Yet here in 2014 they do, not only teenagers, but grown women. My grandmother always said, always present yourself as if you were going to a job interview.

2. Paul in MD
Montgomery Village, MD,
July 22, 2014

As a father of 3 daughters and 2 sons, here is my 2 cents. I don't pretend to be an authority on modesty, but this is basically the rule in our home. If leggings are sheer at all (I know, most aren't), then they are treated like hose. If you wouldn't go outside showing that much pantyhose, you can't go outside showing that much leggings.

If they aren't sheer, then it depends on how clingy they are. Completely skin tight up to the waist? You cover up as much of the leggings as you would your own skin.

I ask my daughters to reflect on what impression they are trying to give people of themselves, especially guys they may be interested in. If a guy won't look at you unless you leave little to his imagination, he isn't worth your time. You are better than that.

3. Sandee Spencer
Longwood, FL,
July 22, 2014

One of the problems with wearing leggings is that they can be tight and revealing. I think they are best paired with a long loose over top or dress-- something that covers your body nearly to the knees.

That said I personally don't think leggings are dressy enough to be considered "our very best" or approriate be worn to sacred meetings. They are more of a sporty trendy look.

It might be a good exercise to sit down with your mom and look through some fashion sites on-line (Polyvore, Shabby Apple, DownEast, ASOS) and together point out ideas and outfits you like and share what type of event you think they would be appropriate to wear them to and what you think the wearer is trying to express through her outfit.

We do speak about ourselves by what we wear so it's always good to double check if what we feel we are expressing is what others are receiving!

4. BYUalum
South Jordan, UT,
July 22, 2014

I really don't have a complaint about leggings, but rather what is worn with them. Young mothers make up most of our ward. The trend (set by the RS Presidency) is to wear tight leggings and a long over-blouse that just comes mid thigh or even barely covering the rear end of the individual. I guess they think that is a "dress."

I think it is immodest and crude looking!

5. shadow01
Edwardsville, IL,
July 22, 2014

Oh, come on now! Leggings? Is this what we have degenerated to? Wondering if your leggings are immodest?
Are you next going to ask if your hair is too short, your make-up to overwhelming, and your skirts too tight or short? Is it OK to only pay 9.9% tithing?
The immaturity and self-indulgent attitude of the question is more affronting than the question.
Perhaps you should ask. "What are my personal standards and do they agree with my personal worth?"
"Are my personal standards in conflict with what I know or have been taught?"
We have been taught that we should not need to be instructed in every little thing. If we were, there would be no personal growth.
Ok, let us look at your parents’ standards. There is no law that says the children can't set the example for the parents. If you feel that your Mom's skinny jeans are too tight or not what they should be, tell her but not in connection with a conversation about what you want to wear.