Marylike Standards of Dress



"A dress cannot be called decent which is cut deeper than two fingers breadth under the pit of the throat; which does not cover the arms at least to the elbows; and scarcely reaches a bit beyond the knees. Furthermore, dresses of transparent materials are improper."

The Cardinal Vicar of Pope Pius XI


Mary-like Standards for Our Lady’s Martyrs of Purity Crusade members.

1. Looking to Mary as our guide and model, her dresses in all approved apparitions fully cover her from head to wrists to feet. Should we accept any less for ourselves? Ask yourself – have you ever seen the Blessed Mother portrayed in anything less than this? Have you ever seen her in any of her approved apparitions with even her head uncovered? Could you imagine her in any of the fashions of today even seemingly simple loose fitting PANTS? We should therefore follow her example and not follow any of the worldly fashions.

2. Mary-like dresses have sleeves that extend at least to the elbows, which excludes sleeveless dresses, tops, short sleeves or cap sleeves. (Note: Quarter length sleeves are tolerated, with Ecclesiastical Approval, for the time being until Christian womanhood again turns to Mary as the model for modesty in dress.)

3. Skirts and dresses, following the direction of Blessed Padre Pio, should extend at least 8" (eight inches) below the knee. This would exclude anything shorter than that, such as mini or micro skirts. They are also to be full enough to conceal the figure of the wearer and not reveal. Just because it is a dress, does not mean that it is modest. If the dress is too narrow or is designed in such a way as to emphasize unduly parts of the body, they would be considered immodest and not appropriate for wear. Flesh colored fabrics, giving the example from a distance of ‘flesh’ are improper at all times.

4. Dresses should fully cover the chest, back, shoulders and the neckline should not exceed two inches below the pit of the throat, nape of the neck or sides. They should not admit as modest transparent fabrics, laces, nets, organdy, nylons, etc unless sufficient backing is added. They may be used as trimmings. This would also eliminate tight sweaters and blouses or other shirts.

5. This list would also exclude pants, slacks, culottes, jeans, shorts and such, as they have been proven to be men’s attire, and harmful for women and society at large, and against God’s command in Deut. 22:5. Most unbecoming is also sloppy-looking clothing such as jogging pants and oversized t-shirts and such, for both women and men.

6. Swimwear for women must at all costs be modest. The soul of another could be at stake! Due to the impure society in which we live, all public pools should be avoided. Prefer instead to have your own swimming pool or swim at another Catholic family’s pool. Even in the these conditions, modesty must be kept in check. Unfortunately, women will not find any appropriate swimwear in any store in any Western country. Some substitutes are biking shorts over which a skirt is placed extending to knee level. A loose top is added. Otherwise, one could simply wear a dark t-shirt and long shorts as a substitute. One could also do as I have personally done, simply discontinue swimming as a penance for the immodesty of others.

7. For Men: Loose fitting, long pants or sufficiently long shorts that come at least to the knee. Long sleeves and pants for Church attire. This excludes all tight clothing, especially immodest swimwear, tight exercise clothing, or topless dressing in public.

SUMMARY: Our children need to be taught from the youngest age the importance of proper attire that is modest, that is becoming and feminine for women. These guidelines are designed to instill a sense of modesty in both boys and girls, and restore a sense of femininity in girls and women. Be sure to always sew or purchase clothing that matches these guidelines and you will not be an occasion of sin or source of embarrassment to yourself or others.

Adapted from The Mary-like Crusade by Fr. Kunkel (1944-1969)

©Copyright 1999-2012 Little Flowers Family Press


9 responses to “Marylike Standards of Dress”

  1. - Avatar

    Hi, I hopped over to your post via Twitter. Not some thing I regularly read, however I really like your perspectives none the less. Thank you very much for generating something worthy of reading through!

  2. Summer Avatar

    Hello! I have been following these standards for modesty. It has helped me to focus my attention to the Lord and His Mother more and more. Do you have advice for when you are in a situation where these standards are not being followed? (Like being a family member’s brides maid and her asking you to wear a dress that is very immodest?) How would you approach it without sounding judgmental?

    1. Rita Davidson Avatar
      Rita Davidson

      Hello Summer,
      Thank you for writing. As you may have known about our fire, I’m a little behind in some of these comments. So sorry! But, I didn’t want to leave this go unanswered. Without knowing more about your situation, I would suggest to begin by praying about it. If it is a close family member asking you to wear something immodest that you are uncomfortable, perhaps there is a way you adjust the dress with a small jacket, or bring up the neckline? If this family member that you dearly love, and they are completely unaware of modesty, you might say you are simply uncomfortable with that eg; low neckline, etc. And say you’d love to take part if they could help you be more comfortable? It’s not the time to start preaching about modesty, but a time to perhaps just show your preference and set the example. I hope this helps someone. Thank you for writing and be sure to sign up for my emails now that I am blogging again as we have alot of new content coming soon! God bless you and Mary keep you,
      author; Immodesty, Satan’s Virtue

      1. Dina Avatar

        As you know, this is a topic which can get people very heated! I love the gentle way you answer all the time. Your non-judgmental tone and encouragement to pray first and always is so inspiring . Thank you for all you do!!


  3. nkv Avatar

    we should spread this message with seriousness and strength.

  4. Barbara Sylvain Avatar
    Barbara Sylvain

    The easiest thing to do is to dress as the Amish do…

    1. Rita Davidson Avatar
      Rita Davidson

      Well you would think so, but we are not amish if we are Catholic. So it takes a bit more skill to be modest than that. But that is a great start if you have to start there. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Have you read my book, “Immodesty, Satan’s Virtue”? I pray to have it ready soon!
      God bless
      Rita ๐Ÿ™‚
      Author of the bestselling, “Immodesty, Satan’s Virtue” saved from the ashes, returns in 2015!

  5. Hank Avatar

    I used to drive past a Knights of Columbus family recreation facility. The swimwear worn at its pool was not different from that worn at any pool.
    Tanks and bikinis for the women, and boxers and briefs for the men was what was worn by all I could see.

    1. Rita Davidson Avatar
      Rita Davidson

      Sadly Hank,
      that is very much to state of the Church today.
      That is perhaps why God saved my book, “Immodesty, Satan’s Virtue” out of our fire in July 2013.
      I pray the new 3rd edition is just what our Church needs today!

      Thank you and God bless you,
      Author of the bestselling, “Immodesty, Satan’s Virtue” saved from the ashes, returns in 2015!

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