Tuesday evening poll: modesty and being tall

As a tall woman whose garments fall about 4″ above the knee (regular, not petite size), am I obligated to wear skirts or shorts that cover the garment well, or that go all the way to the knee?

My thoughts: the church can’t be bothered to manufacture garments to fit too-tall freaks like me (update: see comments #36 and #38), I get that, totally. But, guess what, neither can any commercial clothing company. Similar economics of mass production are at play in both. If I buy garments that are supposed to be modest knee length, and skirts that are supposed to be modest knee length, and those definitions agree in relation to each other…but these do not agree with the location of my knee, what say ye? Yay or nay?


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  1. I live this hell every. single. day. In warm weather, that is. The rest of the year I’m more worried about how short my jeans can be without me looking like a total fool. That is the real pain I live with.

  2. Starfoxy says:

    I am of the opinion that what is modest clothing is determined by what is appropriate for the setting. The garment defines what is modest only insofar as it is never appropriate to let one’s underclothes show. So as far as I’m concerned, if the clothes are otherwise appropriate and it covers the garment then it is fair game.

  3. The rest of the year I’m more worried about how short my jeans can be without me looking like a total fool.

    Ain’t that the truth.

  4. Important announcement:

    Instant bannination for anyone making a joke about me being tall that I’ve already heard (warning: that’s all of them), e.g., “You must like being tall–you’re the first to know when it rains!” (what is it about yearbooks that makes people want to write that?)


  5. Cynthia (4), duly noted! LOL

    I’m with Starfoxy. The definition of modesty is context-sensitive. In the context of Summertime Cynthia, it sounds like you nailed it.

  6. I’m not tall by any stretch of the imagination, but I have ridiculously long legs, so I have the same problem. I think Starfoxy hit the nail on the head with regards to the intersection of garments and modesty.

  7. Kevin Barney says:

    My garment bottoms also hit above my knee, but not enough so for me to wear shorts with them. So whenI wear shorts I just wear boxer-briefs instead. Problem solved. You see how easy it is when you don’t particularly care what anyone else thinks about your garment wearing practices?

  8. I have no wisdom on the modesty issue. [withdrawn]

  9. They also stopped making maternity tall…so add the normal garment length (4in above knee as noted), then add my 8 month pregnant belly-HA-my garments and my knees are not close.

    I myself have had both knees operated on and multiple children to pull up my skirt or shorts or whatever…I’d rather just wear long stuff.

    I wear stuff below my knee..because when I’m not pregnant my garments are longer and my knees are not pretty (unless you are a cubscout…then they are fascinating and I’ll promise to bring in the staples they took out of my knee to show you)

    just FYI…if you plan ahead they will custom make garments for you-to your measurements.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    They make tall size garments for women. I know, because I wear them and they go down to about a 1/2 inch above the knee. Also, I’m not saying it in a rude way, but if you’re questioning it, it probably means you feel uncomfortable wearing something above the knee. Go with your gut.

  11. They carry tall garments for men; do they do the same for women? In any case, I still buy the tall shirts, but I bought the long shorts once, hated them, and haven’t bought them since.

    I used to have a pair of shorts that were just long enough to cover the garments, and showed a ton of leg. Being very white, and a guy, I’m sure I looked like a dweeb in them.

    And no, I don’t play basketball. And I didn’t play sports in high school. Just because I have the height doesn’t mean I have ever cared about sports. And please don’t expect me to be any good when I do play.

    As far as shopping goes, I buy almost everything online. Much easier to find 38-length pants and 38/39 sleeve lengths. I’m not sure what tall people did for clothes before the internet. Moved to Scandinavia, maybe.

  12. just FYI…if you plan ahead they will custom make garments for you-to your measurements.

    I’ve heard that, but I thought I also heard they were way more expensive. Just like custom-made or specialty clothing, it’s a trade-off with mass manufacturing efficiency.

    They make tall size garments for women. I know, because I wear them and they go down to about a 1/2 inch above the knee.

    How is the waist height on those? I buy petite garments (for some fabrics) because even with regular, the waist is way, way, way too high. (No, I don’t wear shorts and skirts as short as the petite garment–that would be seriously trashy by any definition.)

  13. Tim, men’s pants are sold by the two-number system. Sadly, not so for women. They are either done in sizes (2,4,6,8,…) or in one number (waist, but no separate inseam). Everything having to do with women’s clothing, and appearance generally, must be made as difficult, inconvenient and physically painful as possible, by irrevocable decree from The Man, dontcha know?

  14. aloysiusmiller says:

    Hmm. I thought that we got to make inspired decisions for ourselves.

  15. #10, #14
    I’m thinking Cynthia is in fact not basing her decision on what we say.

  16. PS to my #13: They do have “short” and “long” variants of the sizes (so “8L” is a size), but “long” is never long enough, and only a few brands sell “extra long,” and only online, and extremely budget-busting.

  17. mmiles FTW.

  18. long: 34” inseam
    tall (Gap): 36” inseam (and only available online)

    Me: 35” inseam

  19. [withdrawn by admin].

  20. Kristine says:

    Your only obligation is to not make those of us with ridiculously short, pudgy legs whose (“petite”) garments hit our knees feel worse about our stumpiness. Also to pray for jeans manufacturers to make 30″ inseams as well as 35″

  21. Instant bannination for anyone making a joke about me being tall that I’ve already heard (warning: that’s all of them), e.g., “You must like being tall–you’re the first to know when it rains!” (what is it about yearbooks that makes people want to write that?)

    Mmm. I’ve long been tempted to get one of those shirts that says:

    (1) 6’0″
    (2) The weather is fine.
    (3) No, I don’t play basketball.
    (4) No, I don’t model.

    Haven’t gotten around to it yet.

    They are either done in sizes (2,4,6,8,…) or in one number (waist, but no separate inseam). Everything having to do with women’s clothing, and appearance generally, must be made as difficult, inconvenient and physically painful as possible, by irrevocable decree from The Man, dontcha know?

    This is why I appreciate Vanity’s jeans. They sell inseams up to 37″, cheap, and they use men’s sizes. So I can just pick up my 28″ x 37″ jeans for $20-$30 and call it a day, completely painless.

    Obviously I have no recommendations for you on your garment conundrum, Cynthia, but when I was at BYU, I regularly wore skirts a few inches above the knee and, for the most part, nobody said anything. One of my professors once threatened to call standards on me and I told him to go for it. Nothing ever happened.

    My attitude was, if clothing companies couldn’t be bothered to make knee-length skirts that actually come to a tall girl’s knees, then I couldn’t be bothered to worry about it.

  22. Left Field says:

    I really don’t understand the question. Why is it an issue if your outerwear covers the knee? And why is it a *problem* that your garments don’t reach the knee?

  23. #19- Thank you so much [withdrawn].

  24. Oh, and don’t even get me started on trying to find maternity pants that fit. I looked EVERYWHERE and no one had inseams longer than 33″-34″. I wound up buying some of the GAP’s 34″ maternity pants and adding a 3″ cuff to the bottom. Huge pain.

    I think next pregnancy I’m just going to stick with maternity dresses and skirts, and I don’t care how short they’ll be on me. The world will just have to live with the sight of my pregnant, pasty-pale legs.

  25. StillConfused says:

    Back when I wore garments, I got the petites so that the length was about 4 inches above the knee. I didn’t want them to the knee but that was an annoying feeling. And I didn’t want to have to wear totally dorky shorts. With jeans and dress pants, I wore the long ones that come to the calf because I think the garment lines are gross.

    I say just cover them wherever they end up.

  26. Add me to the -As Long as They’re Covered- pool.

    I wish mine only came to my knee! The new style is a vast improvement- but they’re still too long.

  27. Sunny,

    The #19 you are talking about is gone apparently. I am glad they have found more worthy people to guest post around here.


    Sorry for my comment. It was a very poor attempt at being funny.

  28. I would like to clarify for the general population that Chris H and I are acquainted, so he can be partially excused for being too familiar. None of you strangers should be talking about my legs, sheesh!

  29. Chris,

    Who said I was worthy? When I find out who it was, and as soon as I figure out the difference between slander and libel, I’m suing them for one of those.*

    *Credit to Sue Sylvester

  30. @Chris H
    Well I laughed. Seemed harmless enough.

  31. Natalie says:

    Since tall people look so nice in (or out of) clothes, God must have intended them to show more off when designing the garment.

  32. ust FYI…if you plan ahead they will custom make garments for you-to your measurements.

    I’ve heard that, but I thought I also heard they were way more expensive. Just like custom-made or specialty clothing, it’s a trade-off with mass manufacturing efficiency.

    Because I have approximately a bazillion.2 complaints about the make of the Gs, I asked to have some custom made. It is 10 or 20x the regular cost (can’t remember which, think it must be the former) and they ask you why you want them made. You give them all your measurements and you supposedly get to decide everything, like how long the top will be so that it actually says tucked into your pants (gripe #1). But they don’t HAVE to grant your request. They decide whether they will or not. I guess they decided not to grant mine because it’s been close to six months since I placed my order. The woman at the distribution centre didn’t like me, though, because I dared to hint at criticisms by asking questions, so maybe she just chose to accidentally lose my order, who knows? But I suspect that they didn’t want to custom make my garments just because I wanted them that way.

  33. Natalie says:

    Incidentally, it really bothers me how the idea that the garment is about modesty seems to have eclipsed any of its other purposes (which I can’t remember at the moment since all anyone ever reminds me of is modesty). One can still wear immodest clothing with garments (think tight shirts), and one can wear many modest outfits that don’t work with the garment cuts (sleeveless oxford blouse).

  34. Natalie says:

    I’d strongly recommend that anyone with complaints write them directly. I sent a letter and got a wonderful response as well as free samples of patterns that were being tested. The more people who speak up, the more hope we have of change (a real chemise please??).

  35. [withdrawn]

  36. #12

    Just a gentle correction:

    Custom-order garments are exactly the same price as regular garments. You just need to provide exact measurements, and then they’ll make them for you. You have to order at least two at a time, and they’ll keep your pattern on file, so you can reorder at any time.

    I just recently got my special-order garments – it’s amazing how much more comfortable life is when your underwear fits right!

    I don’t mean to get preachy, but there’s really just no reason to be buying garments that are the wrong length, since they’ll make them to your measurements for no extra cost.

  37. I live the opposite hell every day. My legs are really short and my garments cover my knees and it’s quite uncomfortable. Plus I have to roll up my pants. Doesn’t help that my waist is larger than my inseam.

    Hon, I say just do the best you can.

  38. #36– is this a very recent development? Because I phoned this year and was told that if you want garments custom-made without having any kind of allergy or unusual body concern, it’s 10 (or 20?) times the cost.

    Natalie, I am so much in favour of speaking up that I have wanted to organise a petition (for lack of better word) for some obvious changes that all my friends and I agree upon. What do you mean by “real chemise”?

    Chris, I giggled too. I’d have winked back if they were my legs about which you were speaking.

  39. Left Field says:

    I don’t get the garment/modesty thing at all. Garments have nothing to do with “modesty” except to the extent that they symbolically “cover your nakedness.” So if you’re wearing garments, by definition, your nakedness is covered. Doctrinally, I don’t see any reason why *garments* have to be covered at all. The only reason we do is because it looks funny to walk around in public in your underwear or with your underwear hanging out.

  40. Left Field: Really? I was under the impression that we should keep them covered. However, I’ve wondered with the new cotton chemises for women, that look like tee shirts, if it’s fine to show the top, just like the men show the top of their crew necks. I show mine under shirts and think it’s fine. Because if it’s not, i’d have to double up on shirts and in the summer, yikes.

    Also, i’ve been hearing from a few women who have either asked temple matrons or say that their sisters have, and they’ve been told that women can wear their bras under if they want. I was taught that it had to be worn over the garment, which has always been a thorn in my side. Now, I only do it when the symbols will show embossed through my shirt. (Gripe #3: Why not sew one simple line instead of this big, raised mark that shows through clothing?)

  41. Or silkscreen them inside like on the military garments??

  42. Ooooh! They do that? Why for military garments?

  43. From what I gather, military garments are a different color and (slightly different) style from regular garments because of uniform regulations the military has in place. They’re meant to be worn more like an undershirt than as underwear, so they don’t draw undue attention. Military garments have to be specially ordered: http://www.lds.org/pa/display/0,17884,4878-1,00.html

  44. #36: That’s very useful to know, PS, thanks.

  45. Melynna says:

    #24 — Try this: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=28377

    It’s cheap, it’s fast (less than 30 minutes if you don’t care about perfection, which I personally don’t), and it fits the absolute best. The all-around panel is super comfortable and if you do a french seam in the back and don’t hem the top it looks pretty good, actually. I have a terrible time finding maternity wear that’s long enough, too. The only ones I ever found that were long enough were given to me by a friend; they were made with a folded over cuff at the bottom that my friend had unpicked. Lucky find!

  46. I think the thing to remember is that the knee is pretty much a meaningless measure on its own. The only reason it ever mattered is because that was a good way to measure how clothes would fit in relation to garments. If it came to the knee, you’d be covered.

    But if your garments come to a different place on your body and you’re wearing the size that fits you, I don’t see why it matters. And if you still have to ask at that point, ask the Spirit. It has always been my experience that He answers these sorts of questions when He’s asked.

  47. Anonyma says:

    As I recall you can get the silkscreened on the inside garments in an appropriate military color and there is/was a blue version for police, but I believe the police version was more reserved for SWAT members. These are not available for regular members to order.

    My wife hates garments. They have never worked for her. This has very much to do with physical/medical reasons. She has tried everything and nothing works. She talked with the bishop who referred her to the relief society president who referred her back to the bishop, since neither feel empowered to sort out a compromise or exception that recognizes the realities of the situation. We even got some custom ones, that cost the same as regular I recall, just had to order at least two. We were helped by a sister who had sat on many of the committees regarding garments. I know the custom ones have been a godsend for many, but they ended up being even worse for my wife than the off the shelf options. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back for her.

    Personally I take the approach that the garment was made for people, and not the other way around. I’ve seen modest dress that would not cover garments and I’ve seen immodest that would.

  48. I believe the cost of the custom made garments is dependent on why you need them…talk to the people and they will let you know. Medical reasons are always approved.

  49. Yeah, military g’s are tan, and they are worn as a t-shirt and not an undershirt, as approved by the American military. Don’t know how that translates across country lines, but I would expect it does in some manner. Thus, in order the keep the markings private, they are silkscreened inside.

    You must show an active military ID to get them, however. Ditto police blues and ID.

  50. JC Penney now sells extra tall jeans: 36″ inseam, for completely normal prices. I think they also sell very short.

  51. Molly_MW says:

    I think garment length is quite arbitrary. I’m 5’10 with unusually long legs and have the same issue. I don’t thing the Lord has at any point decreed exactly where the fabric should sit in relation to the knee so my two cents is don’t stress about it.

    The bottoms have never bothered me too much, but the tops have given me no end of trouble. A few years ago I finally gave up on church manufactured garment tops, and just started making my own. I bought a bunch of undershirts that fit just the way I wanted them too, and embroidered the symbols in. I recognize that this is not necessarily approved by church HQ, but I personally feel that the Lord is fine with it. I am much more comfortable, and thus much better able to be cheerful and Christlike.

  52. Mark B. says:

    Just be glad that you’re not having to explain why you are wearing white underclothes on a hot summer day, when any blouse that’s thinner than denim shows every line against your beautiful black skin. A good friend from Trinidad said her friends would look at her with that “Girl, what did your mama teach you?” look, and she didn’t really want to answer their unasked questions.

    But try getting garments in a color other than white–outside the military. Knees are easy, in comparison.

  53. I’m only 5’7″ and my garments (regular, not petite) fall several inches above my knee. I don’t feel obligated to cover my knees. Never have, never will.

    Re Mark B’s #52 – I would be very interested in an official church response to that concern.

  54. Add a short waist to extremely long legs and the garment thing gets even more fun. I have a 35″ inseam but have buy petite garments to avoid pulling them up over my chest/shoulders/head. (Seriously, who are these made for?). As long as my G’s are covered (7 inches above the knee), I don’t care what anyone else thinks.

    Just don’t visit BYU campus.

  55. Natasha – I’m an “bra under” girl and it works great for me. I was always told that it is a personal preference.

    Cynthia – I dream of your problem. I’m short… and they just redesigned the carinessas – the smallest size, in petite, falls to my kneecaps. I hate it!! So I switched fabrics – and the smallest size in the cotton is super short!

    So I think it comes down to covering your nakedness, reminding us of our covenants and modesty.

    Also – are there even women on the garment committee? For some reason I figured it would be an all male thing because 1) they fit so horribly and 2) priesthood. Good to hear – and I have a few words for them!

  56. Mark B, a friend of mine who is in the very high echelons of fashion merchandising industry recently told me that she has been writing letters to Salt Lake for years begging for ivory, nude and black garment tops. She mentioned it more in the context of layering, but she does have dark olive/brown skin, and I immediately thought about exactly that problem. There is little contrast between the garment and my pasty whiteness, and I see many many even very conservative women at church wearing garments under somewhat sheer blouses that take advantage of this. I can very easily see how this would be a huge issue for darker skinned women. I get that we don’t want to start offering garments in a rainbow of shades from Magenta to Lime just for fashion reasons, and the woman didn’t make the race connection herself (I just thought about it listening to her). But the race issue is a sensitive one, obviously.

    BTW, no response yet to my friend’s letters.

  57. I can only dream of 7 inches above the knee. My first time through the temple, I put my brand-spankin’ new g’s on, and the bottoms his my calves. They were NOT the long ones. They were the size the crazy ladies at the DS said I needed. Not to mention the “pulling them up over your shoulders” gig. WHO has a 27″ rise?? Ridiculous.

  58. de Pizan says:

    #53 It’s interesting how they fit so differently, I’m 5’7″ with fairly long legs and a short torso. My regular length garments fall below the knee, and I can still pull them up to my ribcage. The petite length comes down just above my knee, but roll up quite a bit, so I’m constantly pulling at them; so I generally just wear regular length and my knees never see the light of day. And then the pre-formed cups on the top have never fit right, whatever size or length I’ve gotten on those.

  59. Mark B. says:

    I suppose it depends on how much “bend” there is in that rise.

  60. You’re obligated to follow the dictates of your own consious. If you feel a bit of concern or uncomfortable, I’d consider that an impression you should act on. If not, do what you feel is acceptable.

  61. Swiss garment that was sold a few years ago was much shorter – I’m 5’6 and they were about mid-thigh in length. They were great, because I wore business knee/just below knee length skirts and didn’t have to worry about my garment being just a couple of inches above my skirts. These Swiss garments were designed and manufactured by an Italian company, but they started charging too much, and the Church discontinued using them.

    Now garments for the whole Church are designed by 2(!) Utah designers (they are female, at least). One is older and more conservative (that must be the reason why new carinessa II bottoms are so ridiculously long and come in regular, long, and extra long (as if there are no short women). So, Cynthia, you are really lucky that you have garments in the normal length. After all, length of one’s underwear has nothing to do with modesty. It’s what you wear on the outside.

    Natalie, you said they sent you samples of new patterns. Was there anything like Swiss garment there? (All cotton, rib-knit, flat finish on the legs – no lace, no stitching (not like new carinessa II)). And were they all as long as carinessas? Thanks!

  62. Garments and modesty have little to do with each other. I’m tall so I don’t get the question.
    I wear garments. They hit where they hit. I wear clothes to cover them since I think it is appropriate to cover my underwear.
    I try to dress appropriately and modestly. While I realize BYU has a “dress code” (they are a private school) it doesn’t mean that BYU’s dress code is the one and only definition of modest clothing. It is a dress code for a school!!!!!
    If a dress/skirt is too short, I won’t wear it. If it isn’t too short I will.
    I have a pair of shorts that I feel are completely modest but they are shorter than my garments. So I don’t wear them except to sleep or the gym or something. But I would feel they are entirely MODEST even though they don’t cover all of my garment. Does that make sense? I would happily have teen daughters wearing them and feel that they were completely MODEST.

  63. #21

    Add a #5 to your t-shirt list:

    Are you a jockey?

  64. anon for this one says:

    Oh boy! I was actually going to call our temple matron this week about some questions, I’ll let you know how it goes.

    I have a non-legs-related problem: I have a long skinny torso from my dad’s side and what we shall term robust pioneer b00bs from my mom’s side. (Disclaimer: I know there’s no use complaining about this one, ’cause nobody feels bad for you. “Cry me a river,” they all say. But with the garment situation you still come out ugly in the end, so don’t bother sending hate rays. ; )

    So women’s garment tops are in effect a barrel with a drawstring about 1/3 of the way down. In order to get ones that are long enough that they stay tucked in (sometimes), I have to size up considerably; so I wind up with a big squat barrel. This leads to big wads of fabric cinched down ever-so-comfortably under one’s armpits and around one’s chest with a sports bra (to uphold the sturdy pioneer b00bs). Combine this with a job that has me running around doing things outside in the Florida heat– and not in one big stretch per day so you could ostensibly shower and change afterwards– no, occasional stretches where you get kinda sweaty, come back in, do it again several times– and not only is it crazy uncomfortable and bad for mobility… but you start to think this can’t be good for your skin’s ability to maintain non-fungus-infected status.

    I’m getting pretty sick & tired of this situation, so my mom (an RS president in another state) recommended I talk to the matron about alterations (getting large-sized garments and putting a dart in the bust, taking in the side seams, etc). I’ll ask her about wearing the bra on the inside and getting custom-fitted garments while I’m at it. Thanks for the tips guys, and I’ll let you know how it goes.

  65. Natalie says:

    38: I basically want a tank top that looks like the kind that every other woman wears under shirts. I want it with thin, spaghetti straps so that I can wear whatever shirts I want without worry about the garment showing through, and I want the symbols silk screened on so that they don’t show through shirts. A nice cotton as opposed to one that turns gray would be icing. And, absolutely no lace.

    Good luck! I’ll fully support you.

  66. Lulubelle says:

    I went through the temple, put the garments on for the first time, and cried the whole way home. I found them horribly impractical, uncomfortable and unsanitary. After six months, I just gave up on them all together. I don’t think the Lord cares if the garments cover the knees or an inch above, or an inch below. I also don’t think he cares if a partial shoulder is covered or not. And I can’t imagine He cares if the bra is worn over or under the garment top. I did ask if it would be OK to get the marking tattooed on my skin. That didn’t go over well. Alas, I can hope some day they will, cuz then I’ll become a “garment-wearer” again. Until then, I love my normal panties, wearing tanks, and never ever worrying if I have garment-peak under my shorts.

  67. Well, Natalie, none of my garment tops or bottoms have lace. So, improvement there. And they lowered the rise on the carissina bottoms (not by much) and added a wider band that doesn’t get folded in half and dig into my body. I roll the waist down a couple of notches.

    I want cotton/lycra garments with no seam on the inside of the leg, and a lower rise. I want a top that is a thin cotton/lycra and long enough to stay tucked into my pants and doesn’t have wings for capped sleeves, and with silk screening or some other less conspicuous method of printing the symbols.

    I know Salt Lake reads this blog (and sometimes clicks over to check out mine) so I hope this accomplishes something. I’ll definitely write a letter, though. And add some other signatures to it.

  68. anon for this one says:

    Followup to #64….

    So I just talked to our temple matron, and she still has to call me back to confirm, but as far as she knows it’s a-ok to modify your garments to fit an unusual body morphology. (Her example was a sister she’s talked to who was large and rather short, so her garment bottoms wound up coming down to her ankles. Something had to give.) In my case it would be buying them large, putting some darts in the bust, and taking in the torso so I’m not swimming in a barrel. Note that this being ok is related to altering to fit the body, as opposed to expanding wardrobe possibilities.

    When I asked her about wearing the bra outside vs. inside, she basically said it’s personal interpretation of after you’re clothed with the garment and then told “Ok, now put all your clothes back on.” It appears there’s no specific direction on outside vs. inside as far as she was aware.

    She also said “There are certainly some circumstances where you need to make slight modifications. For example, a nursing mother certainly needs to wear that nursing bra right next to her skin.” WHAT!? Wow, I’ve only been nursing for 19 months and NOBODY ever said anything about that. That would have totally changed everything and I really wish someone had told me. It’s not like it’s not obvious that women are about to give birth….

    So that’s the good news for today, everybody. Enjoy.

  69. When I asked her about wearing the bra outside vs. inside, she basically said it’s personal interpretation of after you’re clothed with the garment and then told “Ok, now put all your clothes back on.” It appears there’s no specific direction on outside vs. inside as far as she was aware.

    I don’t like this very tentative “personal interpretation of putting something on after something else” business, because it makes it seem like the right way to do it is on the outside, but if you’re a sinner who puts it on the inside we’ll just not condemn you, but only out of pity, but we all know the REAL way to handle it [wink,wink–bra on the outside]. I want to wear my garment the right way. If sacrificing and wearing it on the outside is required, I’m prepared to make that sacrifice. But I don’t want to be blindsided by finding out that all along my struggles were meaningless because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it being inside. That’s the kind of emotion I get from this: “WHAT!? Wow, I’ve only been nursing for 19 months and NOBODY ever said anything about that. That would have totally changed everything and I really wish someone had told me. It’s not like it’s not obvious that women are about to give birth…. ” Women shouldn’t be made to feel that way. There needs to be an unequivocal, widely/loudly announced policy one way or the other.

  70. “Ok, now put all your clothes back on”

    These words are not part of the ordinance. It’s only saying that you are done and can now get dressed.

    “It appears there’s no specific direction on outside vs. inside as far as she was aware.”

    This confirms that you can wear it as you want to. No explicit prohibition to wear a bra on the inside, and no explicit requirement to wear it on the outside. It’s been like this for several years already.

  71. It’s been like this for several years already.

    I guess, but two things:

    (1) why do so many people still subscribe to the old view? I’ve been chastised by someone in a dressing room over this issue, and I’ve never met a woman who didn’t feel at least slightly bad or questioning themselves about putting it outside, and I’ve met many who really just had no clue whatsoever that it was even debatably ok to have it on the outside. It’s obviously a question that comes up a lot, indicating a lack of widespread awareness about it.

    (2) Why didn’t the Matron just reply to “anon for this one” saying “Sure, wear it on the outside” or “I’m confirming that you can wear it as you want to” or “Either way–it’s up to you.” The big long explanation seems to me to convey a tentativeness, which hints that there is a right way but we’re leaving it between you and the Spirit to realize it because I’m not going to tell you. That kind of thing. She could have been direct. She chose to go out of her way to not be direct. Why??? Again, whether she intended it or not, people will start looking for “hidden messages” when you aren’t direct, since being direct is sort of the default and you need a *reason* to be indirect.

  72. To clarify, Lana, I’m not arguing with you that “wear it as you want to” is the policy. I think that is the policy. I’m just underscoring the fact that “anon for this one”‘s matron did a poor job of communicating that policy, and that in general there is no awareness of this policy. And the matron’s explanation and the lack of awareness are not unrelated, because indirectness leads to confusion as I explained in (2) above.

    I really wish we could just have a letter read from the pulpit in Sacrament Meeting someday saying “Sisters: bra on the inside is A-OK. Do whatever you want. You have official permission, and in any case, don’t need official permission on an issue like this having to do with your bras, which are none of our business. Sincerely yours, the FP.” Ok, I’d settle for having it read in RS, even though I’m in Primary so I would miss it.

  73. (1) why do so many people still subscribe to the old view?

    Cynthia, come on. We’re Mormons. Old habits die hard. For further evidence, please see any of the 3,364 previous posts here at BCC.

  74. There is a larger issue at work here too, I believe. There has recently been a trend toward “it’s none of our business, that’s between you and the Lord” on several issues related to personal decisions about how you keep the commandments. This is true of birth control, tithing, and other commandments that impact personal private areas of our lives.

    Some members have been unsettled by this. They want certainty that what they are doing is A-OK, but the Church has recenlty been reluctant to provide that sort of information and I don’t blame them. If it’s really between you and the Lord (and I believe it really is), then the Church has no business saying what is A-Ok and what is not. You’re entitled to personal revelation, wouldn’t you rather have the Lord tell you than the FP? I think you hit the nail on the head, Cynthia, when you said how such a letter from the FP would be worded:

    “Sisters: bra on the outside is A-OK. Do whatever you want. You have official permission, and in any case, don’t need official permission on an issue like this having to do with your bras, which are none of our business. Sincerely yours, the FP.”

    I mean, can you imagine anything more comical? Should they add a PS that says your marital sex lives, family planning and personal finances are none of our business either?

  75. MCQ, Absolutely agreed on the analogy between this and, say, tithing or contraception.

    BUT, there is one huge difference, which is that I *do* frequently hear from the pulpit and in official curriculum that these things are between the individual and the Lord. There is no concrete policy yes or no, but there is etched in stone CHI that there is no policy.

    As far as I know, this bra issue is between you and the Lord thing isn’t written anywhere. Nobody talks about it. It’s not in the Sunday School lesson titled “Temple” like the net or gross thing is in Tithing. There’s only one time in our lives when we get direction on this, and that is at our own endowment. The “instructions” portion is not repeated when you visit the temple regularly. Maybe they ought to do refresher “instructions” on a regular basis, if they can’t bring themselves to say the word “bra” in the CHI or sunday school curriculum or in a FP letter in Sacrament Meeting. I don’t know.

    What I do know, is that this is an issue that actually drastically harms many womens’ relationships with the garment, and that’s a shame. It’s not a tiny issue.

  76. Cynthia, there have been other instructions given at one point. I don’t know if you had this happen to you, but several years ago, in a temple recommend interview, the bishop read to me a letter from the FP that said something like:

    “The way you wear your garments is your own business. Beyond asking if you wear the temple garment night and day, we are not going to inquire further and the rest is between you and the Lord”

    I don’t know if that letter exists in written form somewhere that someone knows about, but it was read to members in TR interviews at one point. Now, I know it didn’t say the word BRA all straight out and legal or anything, but do they really have to spell it out that explicitly?

  77. BTW, it didn’t mention “JOCK STRAP” or “CUP” either, but if I were to don such articles, I would consider it my own personal choice (as guided by the Spirit) how and whether I wore them with my garments.

  78. Or perhaps I would consult my gentleman’s gentleman on the matter.

  79. For the woefully uncultured:

  80. MCQ, I was going to say exactly the same thing about new “it’s your personal choice” trend. It’s like going from Old to New Testament times.

    Cynthia, I agree with what you say. I just thought that you, personally, were not sure whether it was ok or not. It is sad, that those who received endowment long ago were never told that the instructions changed. I knew it because I specifically asked, but there are many who never ask and still don’t know.

    From what I’ve heard, new temple matrons are instructed to tell women that it’s up to them how they wear their bras.

    Unfortunately, there is still some possibly misleading information. Here http://www.ldscatalog.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/LDSSizingWomen?catalogId=10151&storeId=10151&langId=-1 it says, for example:

    “Tops made of cotton or a cotton blend help keep the bra and bra straps in place.” Of course, by that they are not saying that the bra will not stay in place unless you have something underneath. All they are saying is that your bra straps will NOT stay in place over DriSilque tops, but then, Drisilque tops will not stay in place if you have no bra to hold it in place.

    Here is another quote from lds.org:

    “Garments made from silky synthetic fabrics allow outerclothing to slide more easily and do not move up the leg as readily as the cotton or cotton-blend fabrics. However, cotton-blend fabrics help nylons and outer clothing stay in place.”

    So, if you want your nylons not to get down to your knees, you should wear cotton bottoms, but they will ride up. Choose silky ones, and they will not ride up, but nylons will not stay in place. It’s complicated.

  81. Cynthia L. says:

    “but do they really have to spell it out that explicitly?”

    Mcq, I think the evidence (near universal lack of awareness of this policy) would rather objectively indicate existing measures were ineffective, wholly independent of what I think.

    If you feel there is near universal confusion and considerable widepread pain associated with the jock strap issue, feel free to advocate for official clarification on that issue.

  82. “considerable widepread pain” effectively sums up anything jock strap related, actually.

  83. anon for this one says:

    Yeah. Um, I think the temple matron handled it just fine. The thoroughness of her reply– reading out the FP directions– was to make it clear that there is indeed NO policy on this. As Cynthia L. mentioned, it would be really nice to have a letter from the FP stating “It’s none of our business.” We effectively already have one– it’s just publicized poorly– and she was letting me know about it.

    Also, she did seem a little taken aback by my question at first, and I think that may be because people who have problems with garments typically decide to take matters into their own hands on way or the other, rather than let somebody know there’s a problem. She may not get this question very often, and that’s not her fault.

  84. Come on ya’all! Plz tell me Mormonism isn’t so flippin’ petty about such triviality! Are you all serious that you need your church to come to the pulpit and tell you where to wear your bras and jock straps? If this is Mormonism, dear heaven up above, I think I can’t deal! Please tell me your church doesn’t care that much about your under clothes. It ain’t their business, right?

  85. I didn’t see this mentioned yet, but my garment buying experince shows that even when you buy one size, the actual results vary wildly. I don’t know if this is labeling error or different production runs, or the way different fabrics wash over time, but I had huge variation in leg length and tummy height with bottoms that were suposedly the same size.

    PS – nursing garment tops are flat-out ridiculous. they ought to take a cue from actual nursing tops. I ended up skipping the openings and just pulling the neckline down.

  86. The lady at the desk when I went through for the endowments told me to buy them 2 sizes smaller than what they’re labeled.

    So (in my case) M in regular clothes means an XS in garments.

    I can’t say I’ve had any problems so far. My bottoms do come up higher than my knee, but quite frankly I find this to be more comfortable anyway.

  87. #84, it’s not the church that’s obsessed with underwear. It’s all the members that are obsessed with what the church thinks of underwear.

    Personally from this past General Conference I’ve gotten the message that everything you do is a personal choice. Asking for the church’s stance for everything ranging from ‘Best Political Candidate’ to ‘Butter side up? Or down’ is ridiculous. We all have the ability to receive personal revelation, and thus the answers to ANY and ALL questions referring to the gospel standards. So instead of sending a letter to Monson, maybe you should send one to God.

  88. Steve Evans says:

    God’s Address:

    1 Kolob Circle, Suite 700
    Heaven V2S 7J9

  89. Steve Evans says:

    That’s just His mailing address though.

  90. Cynthia L. says:


    Oh, Steve.

  91. Scott B. says:

    It’s “Oh, Canada,” not “Oh, Steve.”

  92. Aaron B says:

    Would the namby-pamby Canadians please get off the fence and finally decide if their freaking zip codes are to be composed of numbers or letters? Sheesh.

  93. Yes ‘rules’ change. In the 60s, the symbol was to cover the knee__period.

  94. Isn’t it “O Canada”?

  95. Left Field says:

    In the ’70s, I remember my mother telling me that women’s garments weren’t designed to necessarily reach all the way to the knee.

    What is it about the knee? If it’s so important, why aren’t we obsessing about how many inches the other marks might stray from their designated body parts?

    I really don’t give a moment’s thought to exactly where my garments come in relation to the knee, but I think when they get old and stretched, they tend to hang down well below the knee. Somehow, I’ve always managed to ascribe the same symbolisim to the mark.

  96. Mommie Dearest says:

    Just reviewing comments (I can’t keep up with y’all) and #79 is my favorite. I think anonym in 84 needs to review it carefully.

  97. #95: They use to go to the ankles and hands.

  98. Left Field says:

    #97: Yes; though I’m not quite sure what point you’re making. My mother was obviously referring to the short-legged garments that had been in use for several decades at the time. She didn’t seem to think there was any issue about the exact placement of the mark or the length of the garment, and I understood her to say that women’s garments at that time were deliberately designed to fall several inches short of the knee.

    If there was ever a rule (either with short- or long-legged garments) that the mark always had to be exactly over the knee, I don’t know how you would even make that happen, given that underclothing shifts around as you move. Super glue? What about the other marks?

  99. #98: I am not comfortable with giving you anwers on this knowing how others feel about the topic. But you have handled your questions in a fair way.

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