Since Living in Zion brought up garment folklore, I want to discuss another aspect of it. Modesty, so one can wear the garment, to the extreme.

Being a military wife I get lots and lots of perks. People thanking my husband for his service every waking day (he’s a glorified janitor saving the world one dust mite at a time), discounts that every once in awhile cover tax, and not to mention the many formal events we’re invited to. For this post I’ll be focusing on my first military formal event. My husband and I had been married for roughly nine months at the time.

I spent 3 months trying to find a dress, this formal affair was one of those “every __ number of years” deals which lead to people knowing about the date six months in advance. Since it’s easier to add sleeves to a dress that’s sleeveless, I eventually found a blue dress with black lace around the bust off of eBay for a fine price of $15.

I was blessed with a mother who enjoys sewing, and due to having three kids she happened to have quite a bit of skill. This mother volunteered, or was assigned I can’t remember, to sew some sleeves onto the dress for me. I didn’t have time to work on the dress by myself. Instead mom and I spent quite a few phone calls going over sleeve designs before we settled on a jacket. The process of finding a pattern, fabric, and thread along with a nice shiny trim for the sleeves took roughly a month. I don’t remember the exact cost, but I remember being at JoAnn and seeing a pretty penny at around $50. Mom was charitable enough to cover this debt.

By the time mom started sewing we had three weeks till the event. She finished the jacket just in time with a weekend to spare. The day of though while I was getting dressed we discovered an unfortunate side effect of using snaps to keep the jacket from moving—snaps wear out. So I took off my garment top and went to the dance wearing just the bottoms and a bra underneath the dress and jacket.

We got there a little bit late, which turned out to be early, and saw a few couples from our ward. The women were wearing garment appropriate outfits that seemed more appropriate for church than a formal prom-for-adults environment. Tickets for this thing were $60 a couple at the lowest rank. Though I’m sure they found my outfit equally insulting. In the end we left right after dinner because I was not used to staying up passed ten; skipping the speech and dance which were the main events of the evening.

Looking back I feel like all the hoops I jumped through in order to wear garments, only at the last minute for those hoops to fail, was extreme. Those who did wear garments also went to extremes by wearing clothing more casual than other attendees.

This year I’ve decided not to bother with fixing a dress I like to make it garment-approved and instead aim towards modest in general. I found a dress that won’t show my cleavage, stomach, or back but will show my shoulders. Luckily for me I don’t think I look very attractive with a front crack (breasts that touch each other), stretch marks, or possible underwear showing anyway.

Since we’re told to not go out of our way in order to avoid garments, should the same rule in reverse also apply? To look at Marie Osmond, should she have ordered her dressmaker on Dancing with the Stars make everything garment appropriate? If not, what’s the difference between working in front of the camera and going to a work-related dance?