Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Book Review: Dressing with Dignity by Colleen Hammond

Dressing with Dignity by Colleen Hammond is a challenge to women to dress modestly and in a feminine manner.

Hammond's basic premise is that modest yet attractive dress is not an impossibility. Furthermore, our culture encourages women to dress in immodest ways. And as any parent and teacher knows, we act according to our dress--and others respond to us according to our dress. My experience certainly bears that out. Just go to any school where uniforms are normally worn on two different days: a uniform day, and a day on which students are allowed to wear "regular" clothes. Note the difference in behavior. It will be dramatic.

Just as students behave according to their dress (and do better in school when they are dressed for the job) so do the rest of us. Hammond asserts that dressing in attractive and dignified ways will help women feel better about themselves and help them be treated better. In addition, it also shows a greater respect for God.

I agree with all of these points. I do not like to dress in skimpy clothes that don't provide enough coverage, or clothes that are too tight. And my kids have learned that, just as they have "school clothes," they also have "church clothes." In our family, we don't wear jeans to church. We don't wear our Phillies T-shirts, and we don't wear shorts. For church, we make the effort to dress at least as nicely as we would if we were going to work (for the grownups).

However, I can't buy into Hammond's idea that pants or trousers are inappropriate for women. I do not agree that all pants or trousers are automatically immodest. While Hammond's book is well-written and thoroughly researched, she hasn't convinced this reader to move beyond what I already feel is a very conservative manner of dress.

This review was written as part of The Catholic Company product reviewer program. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Dressing With Dignity. I received a review copy of this book, but no other compensation, for the purposes of this review.

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