Help With Keeping Tznius

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  • #592512

    After listening to my teachers and a lot of thinking, this year I made a kabala to upgrade my tznius. No more short skirts, no slits, no denim, no bobby socks or bare legs, opaque tights every day (sleeves and necklines were never an issue). so far so good … but the hot days on sukkos were hard.

    I didn’t tell anybody about my commitment and i am concerned about the reaction of my friends and family. Before sukkos it wasn’t a problem because outside of school I spent most of the time in my robe helping my mother in the kitchen. Sukkos was also not a problem because everybody gets dressed up for yom tov and chol hamoed although I did hear a comment about the tights. Now its back to reality.

    Up until now I wore a uniform in school (typical pleated skirt, shirt, sweater, tights) but changed into a short jean skirt and bobby socks the minute I hit the front door). Today when I wore a black skirt and black tights my family asked “what’s the special occasion” “why do you look so nice today” and “where’s your jean skirt”. I answered by shrugging my shoulders and mumbling that I didn’t feel like wearing it today.

    School starts again tomorrow and I don’t knoow what to do. I thought about just staying in my uniform after school but I don’t want to get bombarded with questions by my friends and family that I am not yet ready to answer.

    I have another problem because I only have 3 skirts that are long enough for me to wear and 2 are for shabbos / yom tov. Winter is coming so I can prob get by with wearing tights by saying that I am cold. I am not sure if that will work on hot days or next summer.

    I am afraid to talk to my parents because I know they cant afford to buy me a hole new wardrobe and I dont want them to be upset with me. I also dont want to have to answer a lot of questions.

    I thought about giving up and forgetting my kabala but inside I know that i am doing the right thing. Any help or advice anyone can give would be apprciated.

    #705239
    missme
    Member

    great going!

    the best suggestion i can offer, is don’t be shy about your commitment and decision. and stick to it. don’t ask for favors, but if asked why be honest. if you can manage with your current wardrobe, that would be awesome.

    perhaps others can chime in with other helpful ideas too…

    keep it up & good luck

    #705240
    Sacrilege
    Member

    I think its important for you to realize that you can be 1,000% tznius without going crazy and without going overboard. If you take on too much before you are ready it will only backfire. Trust me, been there done that.

    I think its great that you want to improve in Tznius afterall as woman, this is a Mitzva special to us. But you cant move to quickly or you will get burned out and resentful.

    “Up until now I wore a uniform in school… but changed into a short jean skirt and bobby socks the minute I hit the front door)”

    Do you realize what a big jump going from short skirt/short socks to long skirt/tights is? Would it be easier if you try taking more gradual steps?

    Also, if you feels that you have to hide it from your family that is just going to do more harm than good in the long run. Tell them about what you are doing and get them on board, you dont have to feel like you are carrying a burden alone.

    Hatzlocha!

    #705241

    Thank you both for your suggestions.

    Missme, I very badly want to stick to my decision but I am worried about what my family will say. My mother usually dresses tzniusly but often goes out of the house with bare legs especially in the summer. She has a couple skirts with slits. Same is true with my sisters. I don’t want to put them in an awkward position and I also don’t want to be ridiculed by them or teased that I am the “frummie” of the house.

    Sacrilege, I am not sure what you mean by “too much” or what you mean by “big jump going from short skirt/short socks to long skirt tights” or what gradual steps you think I should take.

    The truth is that I have had to wear tights to school every day for the past two years so I am used to them except that I always changed when I cam home. Now I just won’t change. The skirt length is probably less of an issue (except that I need more long skirts). The denim is probably a bigger issue as well.

    I have been thinking about this for a long time and decided that if I didnt make a commitment now I probably never would. I aslo figured that getting used to wearing tights all the time is probably easier in the winter than the summer.

    Please let me know if you have any other suggestions, especially bout dealing with my friends and family.

    #705242
    missme
    Member

    just dont make a big deal of it. if asked, answer honestly. if anyone gives you a hard time, try your best to bear with it without answering back. let criticism slide off you as best as you can.

    i think its great you took the leap, and you should keep with it! 🙂

    #705243

    First of all you don’t have to be ashamed of doing what is right even when in the eyes of others wrongdoing is accepted.

    In the Succos issue of Hamodia, a man writes how he walks the street without his glasses to avoid looking at women not dressed in the realm of tznius. He ends stating that he is in the process of converting. Try to get hold of the paper and read it in full.

    There are gemachs that collect only clothing in good condition and give it for free. Perhaps you could avail yourself from some of these.

    The same issue of Hamodia wrote about the problem of tznius at the Kosel and at the same time the same people who come dressed improperly at the kosel would dare not go improperly dressed to places of worship of other religions.

    Kol Hakavod for doing what is right. You don’t have to defend yourself to your loved ones just try to explain yourself that you are following the ways of the Torah and the uniform of Torah is tznius in all matters, including dress, speech and behavior.

    If you really are honest of not being able to afford more skirts, let me know how to get in touch with you and i will be more than glad to help you purchase some more clothing that are appropriate.

    #705245

    Tryingtoimprove: You are amazing! I am so impressed with your awareness and ability to talk about this issue. I don’t have any advice but would like to wish you hatzlacha rabba! Hashem should bemtch you that you should be able to grow in Mitzvos and Maasim Tovim along with your family and Klal Yisrael!

    #705246

    Tryingtoimprove – I applaud you! I live out of town and all of the frum girls that I see (including my own) always wear long skirts and tights, winter and summer. Until I read a bunch of recent posts I never thought that short skirts and bare legs were such a problem. Apparently, I was wrong.

    Many people talk about tznius and about making commitments to improve themselves. Despite being the possible object of ridicule you have taken a giant leap and deserve much praise.

    As a mother of teenage girls I know firsthand the difficulty that teenagers have communicating with their parents about sensitive issues. From experience, I can also tell you that a parent appreciates it when a child opens the line of communication, even if the child wants to deviate from their upbringing (positively or negatively). A few years ago one of my children took on a chumrah that I didn’t keep. My first reaction was negative — are my standards not good enough for you? Later, when I thought about it, I realized that I was dead wrong. My child wanted to improve herself, why should I stand in her way? I apologized for my reaction and encouraged her to follow her conviction.

    About year later, I decided to take on the same chumrah. After all, I needed improvement as well.

    If you can muster the strength, sit down with your mother and have a heart to heart talk with her. I’ll bet that you will be surprised with the results.

    In addition, don’t be surprised if, eventually, your mother and sisters follow your example and enhance their tznius as well. After all, long skirts and tights are not so bad! (I know as I have been wearing them every day, winter and summer, for close to 40 years).

    Good luck and may H’ continue to bless you and guide you.

    #705247
    aries2756
    Participant

    Kudos for making good choices for yourself and not looking to others to make decisions for you. That shows that you have confidence in yourself and that you respect yourself.

    I am not sure what you mean by tights because pantyhose comes in a variety of thicknesses. So if you are going from boby sox to full leg coverings, are you necessarily speaking about heavy dark tights or just full coverage? Aren’t there different thicknesses you can try for summer and winter?

    As far as skirt lengths are concerned, you can ask your school if there are any “extra” uniform skirts available and/or try a gemach or even ebay to get a gently worn longer skirt in good condition. I am sure that if you looked in the back of your local newspaper you might find a gemach or ads advertising “give aways”. Don’t worry about what others think or being teased about being a “frummie” if anyone says that to you say “thank you” and be proud to wear that label. It is so much better than Donna Karan or Calvin Klein.

    #705248
    YW Moderator-42
    Moderator

    “A few years ago one of my children took on a chumrah that I didn’t keep. My first reaction was negative — are my standards not good enough for you? Later, when I thought about it, I realized that I was dead wrong. My child wanted to improve herself, why should I stand in her way? I apologized for my reaction and encouraged her to follow her conviction.”

    I once heard (probably somewhere here in the CR) of a woman who was complaining to her Rav about her son being too frum. The rav told her that all teenagers are rebellious in some way and this is his way of being rebellious and she should be glad he is not going to the other extreme.

    Whether you want to call it improving themselves or being rebellious, the point is that you should think things through before trying to argue with teenagers.

    #705249
    kapusta
    Participant

    Habah L’taher Misayin Oso. You must be a very special person to take this on. Firstly, (as some other people mentioned,) dont bite off more than you can chew. I’m not encouraging doing less, but if you feel at any point that this is too much, then just concentrate on one thing. The same way a person who is trying to increase kavana in davening should concentrate on one Tefilla or Bracha.

    Is it possible for you to do something after school? Like get involved in a Chessed, maybe through a program in your school, help a friend/neighbor who has young kids/had a baby recently, find someone who needs extra help with homework. The point is if you cut down on your time at home, maybe everyone will “forget” you’re doing something out of the ordinary if you are in a rush to eat supper, finish homework etc. Even study by your friends houses, if that will get you out of the spotlight.

    Another idea (if this is your thing) if you have a black skirt which you aren’t wearing, maybe do something with it. Make a belt, a headband, even something to cover your notebooks.

    Hatzlacha!

    (sorry, that was very wordy!)

    *kapusta*

    #705250
    HadaLXTP
    Member

    pascha bchochma wrote

    You are amazing! I am so impressed with your awareness and ability to talk about this issue. I don’t have any advice but would like to wish you hatzlacha rabba! Hashem should bemtch you that you should be able to grow in Mitzvos and Maasim Tovim along with your family and Klal Yisrael!

    It should go good and sweet.

    #705251
    tzippi
    Member

    Hatzlacha!

    Are there any teachers or madrichos you have a rapport with? Sounds like you could benefit from having some ongoing IRL support.

    (And I do think you took on a lot at once myself, but if it’s working for you, fantastic! One example: you want to stop wearing short denim skirts, I personally think that’s great. But all denim? Having someone who knows you, your community, etc. to bounce things off of will be very helpful. For the rest of us there are missing variables.)

    #705252
    Moq
    Member

    A positive tzinius thread! Hurray!

    #705253
    trak443
    Participant

    i’ll sponsor one proper tznius skirt.

    email me name and number of local frum store where you live and your name or other way for the store to identify you.

    @hotmail.com">trak443@hotmail.com

    #705254
    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Mod42, a friend of mine rebelled against her MO family and became yeshivish. They all followed suit.

    She admits that it was a rebellion LOL. And that if her parents had forced these things on her she would have gone in the opposite direction.

    #705256
    Josh31
    Participant

    “no denim”

    What is the problem with denim material?

    #705257
    missme
    Member

    its against many community standards, perhaps including the OP’s. as you know, community standards play a very important role in tznius.

    #705258
    kapusta
    Participant

    its against many community standards, perhaps including the OP’s. as you know, community standards play a very important role in tznius.

    Key word is “community standards”, not Halacha.

    (missme, I wasn’t trying to make an example of you, just trying to defend the other side)

    *kapusta*

    #705259
    missme
    Member

    kapusta, i was simply explaining the likely reason of the OP in particular. after all, that is who we are talking to. thanks

    #705260
    ckbshl
    Member

    missme- are u confusing community standards with societal norms?

    For example wearing of sandals in a arid environment may be permitted, but in a society where it is abnormal it isnt. However, denim is a material, not a standard of what defines dress!

    #705261
    missme
    Member

    all i am relating is the fact that denim skirts goes against many community standards of tznius. other communities not. but we are talking about the OP.

    #705262
    ckbshl
    Member

    What is the relevance of “community standards”? Standards are usually not products of daas torah!

    #705263
    missme
    Member

    the standards im talking about are those set by daas torah.

    #705264
    kapusta
    Participant

    Hmmm, IMO I would say more likely the dress codes of certain schools.

    About the idea of denim, I definitely laud anyone who gives it up, and I definitely agree that denim is maybe not the best best clothing for a Bas Melech to be wearing, but according to Halacha, denim is not assur, and we tend to forget that sometimes.

    *kapusta*

    #705265
    missme
    Member

    the Halacha is that one must follow/maintain a community one is in/part of’s community standards of tznius.

    #705268
    Josh31
    Participant

    “community standards” are generally based upon some logic.

    What is the logic of banning denim, a practical cost effective material?

    I realize that denim is not exactly the material of royalty, but financially most of us are not there.

    #705269
    missme
    Member

    that’s more of a question for the daas torah that implemented the standards.

    many people understand why bnei torah don’t wear denim pants. is a bas yisroel any less? (that’s my pshat btw. daas torah may have other reasons for whatever standards they implement in their communities.)

    #705271
    ckbshl
    Member

    Do you really think daas torah was consulted when people started shunning denim?

    #705272
    missme
    Member

    absolutely.

    but don’t just take my word for it. consult daas torah yourself from one of the communities where denim is not acceptable, and ask the rov if its okay to wear it.

    #705273
    ckbshl
    Member

    I think u may have a misconception of how much daas torah is actually consulted.

    Do you also think it is daas torah for women to only wear black, like the prevailing custom seems to be?

    Surely our mothers and grandmothers werent against daas torah?

    #705274
    missme
    Member

    i suggested you contact daas torah directly in one of these communities, if you have any doubts. you will find what i related to be correct.

    heavyweight (stonewash) denim, which is a course denim with a faded pale blue appearance, that looks even worse in the hem and seam areas, is unfit for the clothes of men and all the more for the clothes of women and girls. (in some specially refined circles, women and girls do not wear any type of denim, although it is hard-wearing and practical, because it is related by name and basic appearance to the rough types of denim which stand for uncivilized and outlandish styles of life. they do not wear denim skirts even when the skirts are quite different from those worn by the lower classes, being dark colored rather than a light faded blue, and sewn with unobtrusive stitches instead of the usual prominent and coarse stitches.)

    the Ben Ish Chai writes in his Sefer (and this is a constant theme in the various meforshim):

    “True a woman may wear garments that suit her well and enhance her appearance. She must, however, not wear a garment that local Jewish women feel should not be worn.”

    #705275
    tzippi
    Member

    Re the local or community standards: this is why an IRL mentor is so important.

    #705277
    mw13
    Participant

    Tzniyus, in many regards, follows what is and what is not considered dressing decently in the setting that one finds oneself. Obviously there are some lines that cannot be crossed no matter what, but after that it’s all relative. Dressing a certain way in an MO community may be fine and accepted, but dress the same way in a Chassidish community and you’re being inappropriately provocative.

    #705278
    leahb
    Member

    Tryingtoimprove wrote:

    “After listening to my teachers and a lot of thinking, this year I made a kabala to upgrade my tznius. No more short skirts, no slits, no denim, no bobby socks or bare legs, opaque tights every day (sleeves and necklines were never an issue). so far so good … but the hot days on sukkos were hard.”

    I read through the entire thread and being somewhat new to this I am a little confused. I understand why short skirts and slits are inappropriate and, after reading the posts, I can even understand why some people want to avoid denim. I am not sure I understand why bobby socks, bare legs and opaque tights are an issue. I know that in some chasidic communities many women wear black tights. Is this required for everyone, especially with a long skirt? Am I doing something wrong by wearing short socks, knee highs or pantyhose?

    #705279

    Tryingtoimprove, Hatzlacha Raba! Speaking from my perspective as a mother of a teenage girl I would encourage you to be upfront with all your family members, yes your sisters might call you “frummie” for a while but then they might just join you.

    Try to take it one step at a time – socks(even short ones)or knee highs under long skirts.Being from out of town I don’t really get the “opaque” part all the girls and women know(not chassidush) wear regular sheer pantyhose/knee highs. Check out the resale/thrift shops you might have to travel out of your neighborhood & they won’t be “frum” stores but for a few of dollars you can buy some nice skirts.

    #705280
    bpt
    Participant

    This is really not a domain I should be commenting on, but I did just read a great thought from the Vilna Gaon. He said that tznius to a woman is the same challenge as learing with hasmodoh is to men.

    And let me tell you, learning with hasmodoh is a REAL challenge, beacuse the distractions are always right on the edge of your field of vision. So if women feel the tznius challenge, its with good reason (so says the Vilna Gaon).

    #705282

    Thanks to everyone who offered advice and to the people who offered to help sponsor clothing.

    I used my babysitting money and found 2 skirts on sale, so I have 3 to alternate during the week. My mother agreed to supply the tights (which I need for school anyway), so I think I am set for now.

    Thanks again to everyone who offered suggestions and encouragement.

    #705283
    tzippi
    Member

    Thanks for the update. You did good – handled it very well, the right way, IMO which will go far in helping you maintain your convictions. Hatzlacha!

    #705284
    WIY
    Member

    tryingtoimprove

    It warms my heart to hear that you have stuck to your decision to change. May Hashem help you ocercome all of your challenges.

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