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I also know that Thomas Aquinas was in favor of make-up, jewelry, etc for Catholic ladies. Of course all in good taste!


I wrote something similiar in my blog. Why are Catholic women dressing like the Amish or quakers?

I believe in modesty but noone should ever be ashamed of the human form.

Here is a link to the piece I wrote.


I dont understand this need to become plain as if to dress with style is a sin?

Excellent piece,


Frumpy Catholic

Here's a voice from the other side of the tracks. I'm the woman you're judging on the basis of my clothes--the frumpy, style-less Catholic mother with no make-up and no particular hairstyle.

I dress like this because I'm just not good at clothes, make-up, and hair, and I don't have the time, money, and energy to fake it.

My husband looks awful to you. He needs a haircut. He wears whatever people give him. You think we're a bad witness to the Faith because of our appearance, but you're only half right: we're a bad witness to people of a certain social class. To our redneck neighbors, on the other hand, our appearance makes us approachable. They don't read "I'm too good for you" in our appearance like they do in yours.

It's not your fault that you come across that way, but you do, and I bet you didn't even realize--you were only thinking about how you come across to people of your own social class.


i have to admit I'm probably a frump most of the time; but not out of any Calvinist disdain for physical beauty.

I admire women who dress snappily and wear makeup well and I agree that there's nothing wrong, certainly nothing sinful, with taking care to look one's best. On the other hand, I resent those who seem to imply that those of us who are not snappily dressed are somehow morally deficient.

On most days I wear jeans and a t-shirt because it's comfortable. Yes, I have some skirts in my closet. I always wear a skirt to mass and take care to dress up when I go to places that require it. But when I stand in front of the closet on the average weekday morning I pass over the cute blouses and pretty skirts in favor of what feels comfortable. I'm still searching for the outfit that is comfortable but not frumpy.

There's nothing immoral or improper about makeup and hairspray; but I hate the feel of stuff on my face and in my hair. I wore makeup during a brief period in high school and not again until my wedding day. I like the face God gave me and think I look fine without makeup. Fortunately for me my husband concurs.

In fact the gallant man thinks I look fabulous no matter what I wear. He even likes the way I look first thing in the morning.

So is my refusal to take time to look my best every day some kind of moral failing? According to some people most of my wardrobe is immodest or unattractive or somehow flawed. My philosophy is that it works for me and I'm not going to get too bent out of shape by how other people perceive me.

Frumpy Catholic

Re: my comment above: never mind. I posted anonymously, but one of my sisters saw it and immediately figured it must be me. To me, that indicates that I'm the weirdo, and the problem is with me and not with the rest of the world.

If someone wants to take me out to Filene's or something for a makeover, you probably know who I am and where to find me.


Personally, I think clothes should be utilitarian and personal. Cleanlinesss is more important.


I think the ladies that have posted so far have missed the point. The author is referring to the growing trend among Catholics to reject personal beauty, to intentionally dress down in order to not draw the eye of others. My teen daughters have a friend who is intentional in her pursuit to be unattractive, as if it were an act to offer up. While raising my girls, I have tried to teach them that it is important to look your best. You can look your best and be trendy and modest at the same time.
In any case, I don't think the author was talking about mommies who spend their days folding laundry and wiping up babyspit, he was referring to the trend in Catholic women to dress in a dour, frumpy, Holly Hobby way at 30 and 40 and so on.


I'm so glad you said something about the teens, because that is exactly what jumped to my mind. My daughter is now 16, and occasionally she dresses up, but I have taken a lot more care with my appearance since she started puberty (she's my eldest) because I noted that she was mostly wearing jeans and T-shirts, and seemed uncomfortable in her appearance a few years ago, which I guess is normal when you are changing so fast, but still, I felt like I needed to model for her that it is ok to be a woman... I worried that I wasn't setting a good example. (And, really, for the record, when you're standing in front of the closet and your day is mostly going to be chasing kids and driving kids and cleaning messes for kids and cooking and cleaning for the kids, and you know that toddler is going to smoosh his dirty face on your shoulder at least five times, what idiot would NOT wear jeans?)

Now, I just try to find different colors of jeans, and permapress things I can easily wash, and swipe a little lipstick on every so often. (Doncha know the toddler finds that tube in a jiffy for his own artistic endeavors) She does wear more flattering outfits now, and enjoys the attention she gets when she wears makeup. So, I guess all is well.

Of course, now the opposite problem is starting to happen. Some old codger at the grocery stopped her yesterday and told her she was the most beautiful girl in the store. She handled it well, but the shewolf in me was starting to bare her teeth....

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    • From Benedict XVI
      “People have realized that the complete removal of the feminine element from the Christian message is a shortcoming from an anthropological viewpoint. It is theologically and anthropologically important for woman to be at the center of Christianity."
    • Anger and Patrimony (from Donna)
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    • Find the logic (from "me")
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