Friday, March 19, 2010

Dressing Like a Duggar--Not Laura Ingalls

Just what is "modest modern?" Modest clothing isn't all that a big deal. You wear a skirt or a dress that goes below the knee--the girls lately have opted for ankle-length as a group--the tree trunk skirts were in style so they all went for them in denim. And while they wear short sleeves, a high neck is a requirement. The whole idea is to draw attention to your face, and what's wrong with that?

In the first 1 hour specials the girls were younger--preteen age and were wearing pinafores or prairie dresses and they got some criticism for that. I think it was more their age than their religion that dictated the dress back then. Now that they have hit their teen years they care a little bit more about fashion, they've also traveled more (NYC anyone?) and see what others are wearing. Their parents have no problem with style as long as it's modest and Michelle has said that--modern is perfectly fine. In fact Michelle says the girls pick clothes that are even more modest than even she herself would choose.

Why do they dress alike? Some say cult. Jill was asked that in an interview question on one of the shows and the answer was simple she giggled through the whole thing as if it was obvious---"because girls want to dress like their friends!" Think about it, at any mall or public school look at a group of girls hanging out and they look identical. How is that any different from the Duggars? Are those girls at the mall or public school accused of being in a cult? No they are just "in style." They are all pierced, tattooed, and wearing black shirts and jeans and dressed the same, yet say they are "individuals" and people ask the Duggars why their girls can't dress individually--huh?

I was like Michelle and entered my marriage still wearing pants. I was also into mini skirts. I sold all my mini skirts on ebay. I love the long dresses and skirts and to be honest I don't miss pants one bit. Seriously, it's like wearing your nightgown all day long! Ok so I gave away the secret! It's just more comfortable!

There was a scene in El Salvador where one of the Duggar boys was wearing "board shorts"...the shorts that fall well below the knee. Normally we don't see the boys in shorts. But when discussing clothing Jim Bob did say shorts below the knee for boys were allowed. A few of the girls have worn skirts on film that are higher than ankle length--mid-calf. Again their rule is below the knee. Anna has been wearing mid-calf skirts lately (and from a strictly fashion standpoint UGLY plaid skirts lately what's up with that?) Poor Anna and Josh are having trouble dropping the baby weight--it's ok Anna, I've been there--mine's 3 and I'm just now losing it.

I wrote a little about labels earlier, but name brands have popped up. We've seen them numerous times shopping in thrift stores and of course name brands wind up there. They also travel a lot and it wouldn't surprise me if they'd visit a second hand store while on the road (especially NYC if they had the time--JACKPOT). But these could be product placements. However for younger children it's highly likely they are used. You can find used name brand clothing from yard sales most likely than thrift stores. I was at a yard sale yesterday with piles of boys items from The Gap and we've seen a lot of the mid-size Duggar boys wearing a lot of GAP items. No way of knowing if they are new or used. Josh is wearing a lot of aeropostle and american eagle---new or used or product placement? No way of knowing unless someone can document it.

So, if the girls decided to wear jeans, what would happen? Afterall....Jim Bob does allow them to hang out with cousin Amy, who wears pants, dates, listens to heavy metal, and lives a very vocal non-secular life---so the girls aren't THAT overprotected.


  1. Just a quick point. Cousin Amy appears to be a very Christian girl and lives a Christian life, if being a "Christian is all that important. Pants or music, do not a heathen make. Also around here, girls at the mall are very "preppy" looking, not tattooed or pierced. They look clean cut and healthy.

  2. When the older girls were young they wore prairie dresses, but the younger girls, today do not. They wear gymboree/or other regular type dresses with leggings.

    I doubt anyone in NYC is wearing long denim tree trunk style skirts, really! Especially with polo shirts. There are lots of modest long skirts and shirts around, but this isn't it. I did notice one girl wearing a more swinging type of skirt below her knees, but it looked like a blast from the past, not a bit stylish in any way. Why they dress like identical trees in the forest? I think you are correct in saying they like to dress alike. Usually that is a junior high thing and girls get more into their own style as they hit highschool years.

    Had to laugh at the nightgown comment. I think when one is a little heavier, being in a loose fitting garment is more comfortable. I think slimmer gals enjoy having less fabric flapping around. What is with Anna and her skirt hanging to the ground.

    I think jeans on men are very sexy, and the type that JB and the boys wear certainly emphasis their "manhood". I think they should wear robes. They are "defrauding me". LOL

    More later.

  3. I think their clothing style changes are a result of a number of things--the growing up, the exposure to big cities, and also having stylists give them some clothes. I think they do receive some clothes for free when they do some photo shoots. As for those tree-trunk skirts they must be a southern thing, because Anna and her sisters were wearing them too in Florida and I think some girls at one of the ATI conferences were too--so maybe it's that? I live in California and have never seen them here, so I'm going with Southern. Or maybe they made them up on their sewing machine and passed them on?

  4. Oh and I want to know about that pink shirt with the white stripes that everyone seems to have. In both families?? Anna and her mom were wearing them at the engagement....then Michelle and one of the Duggar girls were wearing them too...what was up with that?

  5. Marybeth, there is a photo stream on Josh and Anna's site with ALL the girls wearing identical pink shirts. The Duggar girls and Anna's sisters must of been shopping together. The only issue I have with their fashion are the girls blouses. There are some blouses that DO NOT need an extra shirt underneath! It's not like they are showing cleavage! There are times when the blouses weren't even V-neck. Just don't think there is nothing wrong with showing your neck. Do you show some of your neck MaryBeth?

  6. Yes I show my neck, although I wear turtlenecks when it's cold--but only because it's cold. I wear longsleeves year round--but that's because Orthodox Jews go more modest than the Duggars. But I do wear short sleeve shirts with a long-sleeve underneath--modest MODERN--I wear normal clothes but my long sleeve shirts tend to have high necks on them, but no cleavage from this "mama." hahaha

    as for those pink shirts with the white stripes--ok Michelle and Anna's mom have them...Anna has one...and Jana and one or two of the other girls have you think they could have made them? Found them at an outlet mall? You don't find that many at a thift store do you? I am just never going to get those pink shirts with white stripes out of my head!

  7. If you buy in bulk from some of the second hand stores you get better deals...

    I buy one shirt I pay $10.00 for it.

    You buy 10 shirts you pay $6.50 or so per shirt.

    Gasp you can even do that at places like Wal-Mart if you are again buying in bulk and the manager is agreeable. They just ring it up as a price override (I've done em).

    JimBob with all his other faults is a MASTER at getting deals.

  8. Maybe they all bought them together....using his technique of bargaining like he did with the tires....or motel rooms...i totally forgot about that lesson he gave!

  9. That was my point :P

    They have shown us over and over again how BARGAINING will work... But then people whine and moan about the special perks they get... completely forgetting JimBob has been doing this his entire ADULT life, this didn't start because of TLC... we KNOW about it because of TLC.

  10. well i know for Christians one of the epistles of Paul talks about women wearing modest apparel, but the word that is used in the Greek is the word katastole which means long flowing garment (done a good bit of research on it). thats why a lot of conservative christians wear skirts, in addition to the verse in Deut22:5 about not wearing that which pertainteth to a man. so just buy walking to a restroom in a public place, its easy to see what is considered masculine at feminine just by looking at the stick figures. skirts and long hair usually adorn the women... pants and short hair on the men (some tex mex places dont use the stick figures and instead paint on their doors). because if their bible studies, i dont believe the Duggars girls will ever wear pants unless perhaps as pajamas... or the one time jana went sky diving. she had to wear the pantsuit for that (duggs vs bates episode i believe).

    i dont think jim bob and michelle would really care if their daughters wore pants though. i think it would just depend on other factors, like the type or style of the pants they picked out. but i dont think any of them will until perhaps they are married

  11. During the "Ask a Duggar" episode Joy Anna said into the camera that they were allowed to wear pants if they wanted to. Michelle said that after reading the scriptures she decided to wear skirts and dresses early in their marriage and so the girls grew up only seeing her in skirts and dresses so that's what they are used to seeing. So we know they can wear pants if they want to, they probably just don't want to, or at this point would feel "odd man out" if they did--no one else in their peer group is wearing pants, so why would any one of them want to be the only one doing it?

  12. I think what some people really struggle to get their heads around is the whole 'are they or are they not allowed'.
    Because so many of us end up in those lovely teenage years rebelling against parents rules we struggle to understand that it doesn't have to be like that. That parents can discuss and agree with their offspring how they as a family or individual are going to dress, act, etc.
    I collect childrens books from 1920's ish throught to about 1950's (oh they are so different!) and remember one 15 year old who had been begging her mother to be allowed to wear her hair in a ponytail style. Her mother who disliked the style had objected but they had agreed that she could try the style in the holidays.
    No temper tantrums were needed.
    But one gets the impression nowadays that parents have no right to be as controlling, that children have a right to be 'out of their parents control' - until there's trouble and the parent is blamed.
    I think you can actually see the moments in which the older girls start to take an interest in what they are wearing and think out for themselves what they like to wear and what they believe is appropriate. Perhaps as they make more friends outside the family (we know they do have them) they get exposed to more styles but once the older ones create their own style the others follow.
    We also know that the trend for wearing similar colours has two practical purposes, firstly they saved having to sort laundry as much, and secondly the safety when out and about issue. The Bates also mentioned that one.
    Interestigly I take very little interest in my clothes - I like to be reasonably modest, I wear what my husband likes me to wear because I like it too - comfortable and casual always. My girls (3 and 5) take an enormouse amount of interest in what they wear - dresses are a favourite at the moment but colours too and they like to match. Drives me scatty but it is actually very natural.
    Ooops I've rambled on again - sorry Marybeth

  13. Chris Ramble pleaseeeeee

    Makes me feel better knowing I'm not the only one :P

  14. Put on a pair of pants again. You won't believe how free you will feel.

  15. i've actually worn some of my husband's sweat pants around the house a few times when i've been sick and it's been cold (we don't have central heat in our 1800s farm house) and frankly they just feel uncomfortable and binding....the think i love about the skirts and dresses (all my skirts have elastic waists) is that it's like wearing your nightgown all day even if they are nice looking and fancy...soooo comfy

  16. I agree with the comfort level of wearing skirts!
    When its hot even though the skirts I own quite often have 2 layers they are os such light cottom muslin they are cooler them shorts which cling(breezes are real niceas they flow up the skirt) Same with the shirts I am slowly collecting(trying to learn to sew too) they are nmice light muslin so even though they are 3/4 length again they don't cling and the material is featherlight compared to a TShirt. When I wear jeans to work I feel constricted around the waist, much warmer and I find I get friction on my thighs! I even find myself designing outfits in my head that could be made for women who want to dress more feminineand yet have coverage so no accidental OOPS (I am a pet groomer) One day I just might put them to paper and find out if they work!

  17. Celtic Morla--yes I have no more pants and won't wear the colder months I wear lycra long johns that have lace trim :) so I'm still warm...I love dresses and that i've lost about 50 lbs and have more of a waist it's even more fun...just 20 more lbs to go and i'll be at my pre-baby weight! i wear only long sleeves so i do wear shirts under t-shirts ....but i have a lot of 3/4 sleeves to wear under them that are light weight...and dresses!!! it's like wearing your nightgown all day long! :) why wouldn't you want to wear them?

  18. I like your post. I have been thinking of wearing long dresses or skirts because of a verse in Deuteronomy 22:5 that says: "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth to a man." As soon as I get money to buy a dress or skirt, I, too, will follow so many of you who commented. Thanks. I enjoyed what you had to say.

  19. I love dresses, but my main problem is that it's impossible to play sports, or go horseback riding, or climbing while wearing a dress. Also, if there is a God, I feel that he may care more about what kind of a person you are, and how you treat others, over whether you wear skirts or pants.

  20. I spent most of my childhood climbing trees and the monkey bars in dresses... it's not hard. We watched several of the girls climb on climbing walls in skirts. They wore leggings under the skirts.

    Side saddles were invented to ride horses in dresses and or a full enough skirt and riding a horse is again no problem. And we have seen the girls riding horses in skirts.

    As for sports we have seen them playing all kinds of out door games in skirts and dresses...

  21. I think that what a person does or doesn't wear is a personal choice. Why do so many people think they have to put their opinion or viewpoint on someone else. Especially when someone is trying to please the only one that matters ultimately? People who choose modesty for themselves and their family have no one to answer to but God. It's not about pants vs skirts at all. It's about what that person believes is modest for themselves....through God's eyes for them as an individual that particular time.

  22. Elly, I agree with you. What matters is in your heart, not what's on the outside. In grade school, I went to private Christian schools and wore modern modest clothing as part of our dress code. I understand the desire to be modest but still look nice. But in all my time in that environment, everyone was dressed very poorly - pretty ladies wore extremely outdated and frumpy dresses, making it VERY hard to look past the horrid floral prints and massive lace ruffles. I dressed like this well into my teens, and struggled a lot with body image. I felt like I hid every single part of myself, and it actually made me embarrassed about my body. I'm a busty, curvy girl, and long skirts and loose tops made me feel FAT. But I'm not. I choose lower cut tops to decrease the visual impact of larger breasts and broad shoulders, and shorter just-above-the-knee length A-line skirts to accentuate the waist and even out the hips. I'm not being immodest. I'm being confident about who I am and what I look like.

    I think those poor girls are starting to have negative body image, even if they neglect to mention it. The younger girls dressing more modest than mom is a huge indication of that. They just need to do some googling. There are much better ways of being modest than looking like a tree trunk.

  23. I am disgusted when boys wear pants that are really short or tight, just as they would be if I did. I think that we each have to find our own balance of modesty and practicality.