June 16, 2017

This is why Modesty is the New Sexy.

A post shared by Carlee Tesh (@carls51) on

What makes a woman truly sexy can’t be found within the depth of her cleavage—but in her mind.

I’ll admit it—I am guilty of using my body to get what I want.

However, somewhere along the way, I realized that if I treat myself as currency, then that is also how I will be treated by others.

A woman’s body is beautiful; as a female myself, I love checking out the curves of other women in appreciation, so I get why men love watching us. The way that we dress and move—and how our hips sway as we walk—it’s like living art.

But there’s a fine line between owning our sexuality and also realizing where our greatest worth is.

About a year ago, I had a close friend make a comment about buttoning up my dress, and that it was his pet peeve when women had it all hanging out.

We talked a bit, but it also stayed on my mind for months afterward, as important topics tend to do. I questioned why exactly I thought that it was acceptable to display my body for anyone to see, rather than saving certain aspects for the person I was involved with.

This isn’t to suggest that we should wear a burka or any other type of full-coverage clothing—but in truth, I do respect and understand where different cultures come from on this aspect of modesty in relation to women’s bodies.

In everything, there is a pendulum that swings from one severity to another. I get it—as women, we were repressed in the past. We were told what we should wear in a time period where we didn’t have the same rights as men.

But…then the pendulum took a swing the other way.

I’m not saying that isn’t a good thing, but I’m now considering the value of a certain degree of modesty. For me, this newly appreciated concept of modesty does not mean that I won’t ever go skinny dipping in the cool water of a mountain river—because that’s just a promise I cannot make. But, it does mean that I am choosing to be more conscious of the neckline of my shirts—and not because I don’t love my body, but because I do.

However, I suppose we all have to grow up at some point, and I’ve just realized that I don’t need to have my cleavage on display or wear dresses short enough to flash my panties in order to be thought of as sexy and attractive. And actually, if that is all a man sees about me, then he’s really missing the entire point.

For me, I feel sexier now being modest.

Some say it’s impossible if you have curves—and while even I’ve used that as an argument at one point, the truth is that it’s always possible to be modest—it just depends on if it’s a priority or not. I think it simply comes down to what we want to advertise the most about ourselves.

Are we advertising our bodies or our minds?

Some might say that we have the right to dress however we want, and I agree—but I also think it goes deeper than that. See, as women it’s been (perhaps somewhat subconsciously) ingrained into our minds from such a young age that we should dress in way that highlights the sexuality of our bodies in order to be deemed “attractive.” Many of us may not even be fully aware that this is why we do it.

In reality, why does having our breasts hang out make us feel sexier?

I have done a lot of changing in the past year—and while part of that is perhaps spiritual in essence, it’s not just an issue of morality that has me changing the way I dress.

I have two daughters, and while I want them to be proud of their bodies and dress in a way they love, I also want them to never cheapen themselves because of what society dictates as attractive.

The best part of a woman is never her body—and if we continue to let that be the only thing a man sees, then he won’t be able to see past that into our souls or our hearts.

It’s ironic, as I write this today, that I am wearing a dress I got years ago, but never wore until today. It’s a simple sundress with lace and polka dots, and I love it. It feels cool on a hot day, and I feel beautiful in it.

It’s also quite modest.

The dress has a high neckline, so no cleavage is shown, and the hemline is at my knee; I’ve received more compliments on this dress than I have on any other outfit in a long time. My hair is pinned back, because it’s wavy and messy from swimming yesterday, and I just dressed for comfort today. Yet, it seems I’m radiating something else to others.

Maybe it is old fashioned, but if I want the man I’m with to know he has something special, then I have to also behave that way as well—which means that others shouldn’t be able to see the same parts of me that he gets to enjoy.

I think it just comes down to realizing that there’s nothing wrong with being modest—with making sure your breasts aren’t hanging out if you bend over, or that your butt doesn’t show if you’re in a dress and need to raise your arms above your head.

Honestly, if we want to be respected, we have to show others that we respect ourselves—and that includes our bodies.

I’m all for empowering women, but when did equal rights and being strong equate to booty shorts and having our breasts hang out?

The truth is that I feel sexier being modest, because a heart that shines is what truly makes me the woman I am. I don’t have to “show it all off” in order to receive attention.

In fact, I don’t much like trying to get attention from my body; I’d rather be told my heart or the way I think is the most beautiful thing about me.

Because beauty is so much more than just skin deep.



Author: Kate Rose
Image: Author’s own; Instagram @carls51
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Supervising editor 1: Travis May
Supervising editor 2: Caitlin Oriel

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Lucas Layer Jul 8, 2018 11:14pm

How about not constantly looking for ways to define sexy in women? You're saying modesty is the new sexy. That's just as bad as people trying to dress slutty for validation. You're still confining yourself in a man's world when you're concerned with what makes women sexy. You should try to define intellect, bravery, ambition, strength. You probably think this article is a step forward in the women's movement towards independence and justice, but I find it extremely naive and dumb.

Kassandra Brown Jun 17, 2017 12:56am

I really enjoyed this article and see it as encouragement to let the pendulum have more room in its swing. Neither having to dress super sexy or you're having to dress super modestly and order to be feminine and attractive

Jennifer Evangelista Jun 16, 2017 8:57pm

Interesting article. Not every woman who shows a little cleavage is seeking attention from others. Personally, I believe there is a difference between dressing the way one likes for herself as opposed to trying to attract attention from others. To blame the male dominated definitions for why some women wear panty showing skirts or tops that spill out "their girls" fails to recognize that for whatever reasons,, they choose and feel good about revealing those parts of their bodies. Who are we to assume or to judge a female's choice, whatever age, of fashion? I personally, show a little cleavage for the same reasons that I choose to wear a thong or anything else...its for me. If a male is such a pig that he can't see past this then that speaks more about him, not the female. Perhaps I'm being naive, but who really wakes up and chooses her clothing on how much attention that she might attract? Even so, people are different. There is no right or wrong way and a guy who told me either to button up or unbutton regarding my fashion, Id ignore. It's great that you like your curves and choose to express that appreciation in your own way. In my opinion, if I see a female wearing something that perhaps I wouldn't choose for myself, I admire and resoect that female's appreciation for her own body. If she has some subconscious, under-developed sense of self (as implied herein) and is truly trying to capture men's attention, that is neither my business or for me to judge. Again That's just my opinion.

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Kate Rose

Kate Rose is an artist, free thinker, lover, writer, passionate yogi, teacher, mother, rule breaker, and rebel. She can usually be found walking barefoot in the moonlight between worlds with the dreams of stars still hanging in her hair, swaying her hips to the music of life and smelling of sweet bourbon and honeysuckle. She lives for adventure and wakes each morning with the excitement of a new day waiting to unfold at her feet. She truly believes the best is yet to come and waits, with bated breath, to see what it may hold. Follow her on TwitterFacebook or Instagram, and find more of her words on her website.