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Excuse me but the “Modest is Hottest” logo on your t-shirt draws too much attention to your chest.

Remember the other day when I said every guy has a different “line”? Well…

According to The Modesty Survey, I am a stumbling block to at least some men NO MATTER WHAT I DO OR WEAR because I might stand, sit or walk the wrong way.

I humbly submit to you that you cannot follow all of these “guidelines” that are meant to be “helpful”. Just for grins I went to a website by a woman who is trying diligently to dress modestly.

STOP HERE and go check it out:

Ar you back? Cute right?

Every outfit on that page is immodest to at least some of the 1600 men who answered this survey.

Here is a simple list of the percentages of men from the survey who either agree or strongly agree that a particular action or garment or way of wearing said garment is immodest.

The Headings are theirs. The underlined comments are mine.


Girls should always wear clothes that show little body definition (e.g., jumpers or loose dresses). 16.9%

Exposing the chest below the collarbone, even without cleavage, is immodest. 26.1%

Denim jackets with faded sections on the chest draw too much attention to the bust.  31.9%

Girls with less curves can wear clothes that girls with more curves should not. 34.2%

Leotards, sheer skirts, and tutus in theatre or dance performances are immodest. 35.8%

Even modest pajamas are inappropriate for a girl to wear in public. 48.6%

Zipping a form-fitting jacket to just below the chest draws too much attention to the bust. 56.8%

Nude colored clothing looks too much like bare skin. 57.5%

A technically modest outfit can be a stumbling block when it has attached sexual associations (e.g. a “school girl” outfit after Britney Spears released a music video where she was dressed as an “innocent” school girl, but acted very provocatively.)  61.8%

Showing any cleavage is immodest.  70.4%

A modestly dressed girl can still be a stumbling block because of her attitude and behavior. 93.8%


A one-piece swimsuit with shorts on top is immodest. 14.3%

A two-piece swimsuit consisting of a long tank top and skort is immodest. 16.4%

A one-piece swimsuit is immodest. 25.7%

It is a stumbling block when swimsuit ties stick out from under clothing (e.g. tied around the neck). 35%

A tankini with shorts is immodest.  41.8%

A tankini with a bikini-bottom is immodest.  62.6%

It is not okay for a girl to wear a revealing swimsuit (e.g., a bikini) if she wears a t-shirt over  it. 55.1%

Halter-top swimsuits are immodest. 56.1%


Halter-top bras (i.e. bras with string straps that tie at the back of the neck) are a stumbling block. 56%

Showing bra straps, even unintentionally, is a stumbling block. 57.4%

It is a stumbling block when a girl reaches into her shirt to adjust a bra strap. 65.4%

The lines of undergarments, visible under clothing, cause guys to stumble. 71.6%


Dresses that are fitted at the waist (e.g. with a belt or waistband) are a stumbling block. 8.4%

Fitted dresses are immodest, even if they do NOT show skin (e.g. a high-neck prom dress). 11.2%

Shirts with floral designs across the front draw too much attention to the bust. 11.9%

Shirts or dresses with chest pockets draw too much attention to the bust. 18.6%

Semi-transparent sleeves are a stumbling block. 19.1%

Sleeveless shirts or dresses (i.e. bare arms) are immodest. 21.1%

Shirts or dresses with cap sleeves are immodest. 21.2%
(Seriously? Cap sleeves?)

Sweatshirts with messages across the front draw too much attention to the bust. 25.1%

Shirts or dresses with empire waists draw too much attention to the bust. 27.5%

V-neck shirts or dresses are a stumbling block, even if they are not revealing. 34.4%

Shirts or dresses that show the shoulders (i.e. more than a normal sleeveless top) are immodest, even if they are not otherwise revealing.  38%

Shirts or dresses (long or short-sleeved) with slits in the sleeves are a stumbling block. 40.8%

A shirt buttoned to just under the bust is a stumbling block, even if a modest shirt is worn underneath.  41.6%

Shirts with messages across the front draw too much attention to the bust. 47%
       (Wait, Even if it says, “Modest is Hottest? I am so confused!)

Girls should not wear thin shirts or dresses since they tend to be clingier. 48.3%

Lace-edge camisoles sticking out of the top of shirts look too much like underwear. 50.9%

Shirts or dresses that are gathered around the chest draw too much attention to the bust. 57.1%

Tank tops are generally immodest.  57.6%

Shirts or dresses that are low in the back are immodest, even if the fronts are modest. 58.8%

Shrugs, the short shirts and jackets that just cover the chest, draw too much attention to the bust.  59%

Spaghetti-strap shirts and dresses are immodest. 60.9%

Shirts with a low crisscross in the front draw too much attention to the bust.  61.2%

The same standards of modesty should apply to wedding and bridesmaids’ dresses as to everyday attire.  65.1%

Strapless dresses are immodest.  65.9%

The lacy, lingerie look of some tops is a stumbling block. 66.1%

A camisole is immodest if worn alone.  67.5%

Seeing even an inch of skin between the bottom of a girl’s shirt and her pants is a stumbling block.  71.3%

Halter-tops (shirts or dresses) are immodest. 73.5%

Tube tops are immodest. 85.6%


It is not a stumbling block if a girl’s shirt creeps up, as long as she has a camisole tucked in underneath so that no skin shows.  15.8%

Wearing spaghetti-strap tops over modest shirts is a stumbling block. 24.7%

Seeing a girl take off a pullover (i.e. a shirt that must be pulled over the head) is a stumbling block, even if she is wearing a modest shirt underneath. 37.3%

Wearing a very low shirt (e.g. a shirt with a neckline that reaches the belly button) is a stumbling block, even if a modest shirt is worn underneath. 42%

Wearing a tight shirt under an open button-down shirt or a jacket is immodest. 48.7%

Wearing a semi-transparent shirt over a sleeveless shirt (e.g. camisole, tank top, etc.) is immodest. 52.8%


It is immodest for a girl to expose her calves (i.e. knee downward). 6.8%

Jeans are generally immodest, even if they aren’t tight. 14.4%

Nude colored nylons are a stumbling block. 14.5%

Wearing nylons is more modest than having bare legs, regardless of the length of the skirt or dress. 24.1%

Wearing short skirts or mini skirts over jeans is a stumbling block.  27.4%

Skirts are more modest than pants (even loose fitting pants).  28.6%

Any shorts that are shorter than knee-length are immodest. 34.2%

Tights with designs (e.g. polka dots or stripes) draw too much attention to the legs. 38.8%

Decorative stitching and designs on the back pockets of jeans draw too much attention to the rear. 44%

Jeans with worn marks across the bottom, on the thighs, etc. are a stumbling block. 47.6%

It is immodest for a girl to expose her legs up to mid-thigh. 64.5%

Miniskirts, long shirts, or short dresses over leggings are a stumbling block.  64.9%

Fishnet stockings are a stumbling block. 66.8%

Skin-tight jeans are a stumbling block.  76.2%

Any shorts that are shorter than mid-thigh are immodest.  83.8%

Wearing pants with words across the backside is a stumbling block. 84.3%


Sparkly, shiny skirts are a stumbling block, regardless of length. 9%

Skirts with slits are immodest. 29.1%

An ankle-length skirt with a knee-high slit is more modest than a knee-length skirt. 31.6%

Form-fitting skirts are a stumbling block, regardless of length. 32%

Seeing a girl’s slip through the slit in her skirt is a stumbling block. 34.3%

A skirt that is tight around the hips, but loose below the hips, is a stumbling block, regardless of length. 36.8%

Skirts made out of many layers of semi-transparent material to form an opaque skirt are a stumbling block, regardless of length. 38%

Full skirts are more modest than narrow skirts. 48.1%

Skirts that fall above the knee are immodest.  58.3%

Slits that go above the knee are immodest. 71.8%

Miniskirts are immodest.  93.1%


It is a stumbling block for a girl wearing pants to sit cross-legged (i.e. Indian style). 14.3%

It is a stumbling block to see a girl lying down, even if she’s just hanging out on the floor or on a couch with her friends.  22.5%

Lifting a long skirt any higher than the knee in order to step over something is a stumbling block. 47.4%

It is a stumbling block for a girl to sit with her legs spread apart. 51.3%

Seeing a girl stretching (e.g. arching the back, reaching the arms back, and sticking out the chest) is a stumbling block. 56.8%

A girl bending over and exposing her lower back is a stumbling block. 63.6%

The way a girl walks can be a stumbling block. 74.9%

A girl’s physical posture and/or position can be a stumbling block. 84.7%


Necklaces that create a “V” are a stumbling block. 14.8%

Playing with jewelry, such as a necklace, is a stumbling block. 18.6%

Anklets draw too much attention to the legs. 23.2%

High-heeled shoes (2″ or higher) are a stumbling block. 24.5%

Putting lip-gloss on in front of a guy is a stumbling block. 27%

High-heeled black boots are a stumbling block. 29.3%

Wearing heavy perfume is a stumbling block. 32%

High-heeled shoes cause girls to walk in a suggestive way. 35.8%

Wearing heavy makeup is a stumbling block. 37%

Shoes with straps that lace all the way up to mid/upper-calf are a stumbling block.  40.6%

A purse with the strap diagonally across the chest draws too much attention to the bust. 47.5%  (yes your purse strap is immodest!)


And before you say well some of those statements are only approved by less than 10% of the 1600 guys who replied, remember that is still 160 dudes!

I have a query in to the creators of the survey as to denominational demographics of the men (aged 12-50+) who participated. I have not received a response as of yet. You can read all the available demographic information here:

The Modesty Survey grew out of The Rebelution website’s gender segregated chatrooms. The Rebelution was created by Alex and Brett Harris of “Do Hard Things” fame. Their older brother is known for writing “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and their father was one of the catalysts behind the modern homeschooling movement.

The folks behind The Modesty Survey describe it this way on their website:

The Modesty Survey was not intended to serve as a scientific measurement of what the average man thinks about modesty. In the strictest sense, it isn’t a survey, but a discussion between Christian guys and girls who care about modesty. Over 200 Christian girls submitted their questions. In less than twenty days, over 1,600 Christian guys (12 and up) responded. Close to 200,000 separate pieces of data were collected, including 25,000 text responses.

After presenting women with all of this they are kind enough to say that the ultimate responsibility for lust lies with men…Oh good. Thanks for making that clear.

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20 responses »

  1. Having been part of many discussions about modesty, and after having read some of the responses to the Modesty Survey, I am convinced that most of the people responding are Mennonite/Amish/Quaker. I have a fairly modest sense of dress, and I would never consider jeans to be men’s clothing that reveals the shape of a woman’s bottom. Sheesh. I think we need to read the survey with a grain of salt… And then move on to discussing modesty with our peers, whose opinions we respect.

    • I doubt most of the respondents were Mennonite/Amish/Quaker given the statistics on schooling and the geographic location of respondents. It would be convenient to think this so we could write this off as a smaller fringe group. My guess is most of the respondents are evangelicals. Given the popularity of the Harris brothers books with the SBC, SGM and main stream evangelical John Piper. The Modesty Survey was also endorsed by Shannon Ethridge, best-selling author of the Every Woman’s Battle series, and Fred Stoeker, best-selling author of the Every Man’s Battle series among others.

    • Er-

      I am a Quaker. Look at my blog to see about Quakers. Or google “Friends General Conference”.

      • Clare, I certainly didn’t mean any disrespect. :-) My experience has been that Quakers are generally more conservative in dress than the typical evangelical Christian. If that assumption was incorrect and offensive, please accept my apologies.

      • I see where you are coming from, and do not now feel disrespected, but the Evangelical’s attempt to coerce women into “modesty” arises from fear. We do have a traditional respect for “plainness” in dress, going beyond modesty to include practicality and lack of display, but it comes from self-respect rather than that fear. And we do not impose it on each other, but choose it for ourselves. Here are men who would like to control what women wear, and I did not like Quakers mentioned in the same breath.

      • Clare, I so respect Quakers. They stood up for equal rights for women and equality in marriage at great sacrifice to their families and lives. George Fox was one of my husbands ancestors and I so appreciate the fact that he has always believed and stood up for the rights of women.

  2. Omg….so what are girls suppose to do? Print this out and put it in their closet? I would have to throw away all my clothes seriously! Exhausting

  3. Eyes are immodest. They should be covered up with a grille. Or the only judge of whether something is immodest should be the wearer.

  4. Sounds like the only option might be a burka

  5. Do evangelical guys realize that there’s a difference between noticing that a woman has breasts, legs, and a crotch, and lusting after her? Or that feeling attracted to a woman or noticing that she’s sexy is also different from lust? Lust is a mental state deliberately entered into in which you think of a woman as an object for sexual self-gratification.

    And what is a “stumbling block”? If it means that they can’t help but fall into sin upon noticing a woman’s body– nonsense! If it simply means they feel tempted to sin, guess what? I’m feeling pretty tempted to sin right now too– by slapping some of these guys upside the head and telling them to grow up! But that doesn’t mean I have to act on it, does it?

    • I agree that ultimately we, men and women, must take responsibility for our own actions and failings, even as we strive to exercise love and compassion toward other people (Romans 14). But in the end, I feel like there might well be guys who’d lose self-control if they so much as saw a woman’s face, while there might be guys who can treat a girl as she deserves no matter how she’s dressed or if she’s dressed at all. Let us, then, endeavor to ask and keep asking how we can bless others through our conduct and, when we ourselves fail, to not blame them for our failings. Take care! =)

  6. If I was a guy taking this survey I’d be tempted to call everything immodest just for laughs. Clare, I love your response about the Quaker approach to modesty. Thank you :)

  7. Pingback: Modesty | Clare Flourish

  8. I think it might be important to look at the age range of the men taking the survey 12 – 50 beinging a women im not sure but as far as i understand a cardbord box could be a stubling block for a 12 – 16 year old boy if he thought there was a girl under it. Take it as this with a graijvof salt. i belive most women if being truly honest with herself can tell when shes dressing and behaving modestly vs dressing in away that would have men lusting after her.

  9. Pingback: Christianity and the “Male Gaze”

  10. The survey is truly exhausting! Jesus answered it when He said when ‘you’ look at a women to lust after her ‘you’ have committed adultery.” Took the blame off of the woman and put it on the man. However, the Bible does preach modesty so let’s not throw the ‘baby out with the bathwater’ on the women’s side. That is why I appreciate Amanda’s comment.

  11. So, basically, men think about sex all the time, and that is somehow women’s fault and responsibility. Totes not the guys’ fault at all. My bad in expecting men to behave like adults and take responsibility for their own thoughts and persons. (also, it’s really weird wordpress showed me this entry like it was your latest one, and i see all the comments date to july. odd.)

  12. As a guy, I don’t understand it either. I don’t think a woman should be disproportionately held responsible for a man’s sins or vice versa, and while none of us should act in ways that make right and wrong difficult for those watching us to discern, I also don’t believe that certain body parts are inherently “dirty” or “immodest” or what have you. I do believe that we are all responsible for our actions and our thoughts, that we will all have to answer for each, and that wrongdoing ultimately has no excuse (e.g., “I couldn’t help myself; she wasn’t wearing enough” isn’t acceptable).

    Furthermore, I don’t understand where the “modesty” lines fall, for example. Is a woman allowed to show any part of her chest, or (if I may) are only the nipples forbidden? Or the collarbones too? And on and on. And who decides this? As someone who’s read through the Bible more than once, I’ve never been able to find specific guidelines, and thus I can’t help but wonder if these people, who in my personal experience disproportionately limit women’s dress without much of a mention of how men should dress or behave, are as likely to start fighting among one another as they might against people who don’t believe the things they say.

    I wish you the best.


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