How do I explain to them that sleeveless isn't always innapropriate!

I love to wear my sleeveless dresses jumpers and tank tops and alot of other things that either don't have straps or have spaghetti straps. Well I went to my friends house and they are the really hardcore christian family. We were talking and i came on here and showed her the retro nautical dress and said "I think I might make one of those." Suddenly she got all upset and said "Oh that's so innapropriate you cant wear anything like that ever that's just so suggestive. Well then while I was helping babysit her sibs we did an art show. Her little sister made something exactly like the dress out of paper but wouldn't "enter" it because it was innapropriate to her. Then we were talking about clothes or something and I said yeah I have this "strapless evening dress I found at a thrift store that I really like," (I never actually wear it though)and they all attacked me by saying that the shortest sleeve thing any woman should wear is a t-shirt. But summers on the way and I wanna start wearing them all SO really how do I tell them it's not suggestive and they should just calm down.

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8 replies since 13th March 2011 • Last reply 13th March 2011

We feel the same way about the dress code at school. How are shoulders even suggestive or sexy in any way? They're bumps. Corners. They're about as unsexy as knees, or feet, or ears. It confuses me that wearing showing shoulders in public is risky business. I know that women are 'supposed' to be conservative, mysterious blah blah blah, but they're just corners!

I don't know what you can tell them, I'm not good at that. My only suggestion is get some shrugs to wear with your summery shirts and start wearing them less and less ... yeah that wouldn't work. I dunno.

Also, pics of the dress? Happy

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It's how you wear it or think of it. If you wear it like you're trying to be "sexy" then it's inappropriate. If you wear it as just a shirt or dress then there's nothing wrong with it. We also have our own opinions and thoughts, others can't tell anyone not to wear something. With the exception of schools. Happy

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well some businesses find it innapropate(like working in retail or in a salon) because who wants an armpit in the face.

but its not suggestive to me at all, maybe sleeveless with belly showing and a short skirt is suggestive, or too much cleavage??? but no sleeves is suggestive?? colour me confused

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When it comes to school- the reason why it is not appropriate to wear anything sleeveless or spaghetti strapped at school is because school is a place of business. Students tend to see it as this horrible place they have to go but they get to see all their friends there so they act like it’s a fashion show. But the way that their teachers, principals and staff at the school want them to see it, is like their job. We want children to take going to school seriously and dress in appropriate ways. With girls wearing clothes like that there is the risk of showing undergarments (not appropriate) or having an accident (could you imagine if that dress or top fell down?). Dress codes go both ways- boys are not allowed to wear baggy pants or shirts. Certain logos on shirts are inappropriate. I can’t tell you how many times I got onto a girl- if her shirt was low cut, mid-drifted, open backed (oh yea there were girls who did that) spaghetti strapped or sleeveless. I got on boys whose pants were too large or who wore the wrong shirt. I was pretty strict on the dress code thing. I didn’t understand it when I was a teenager either to be honest- I thought the whole thing was a total joke. But once I worked for the school district, it really became clear why it was important for the things on the dress code to be upheld.

That said- when it comes to your friends who are scandalized by the thought of wearing a sleeveless dress- I’m afraid that changing their opinion isn’t going to happen. You can do one of two things, explain to them that it is your choice what you wear and ask for them to respect that as you respect their choices in what they wear. Or the smarter thing, don’t wear anything sleeveless when you are hanging out with their family. I would recommend the latter as it would be showing their family respect and letting them know that you value their friendship despite not sharing their beliefs.

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i would not change the way i wore clothes because of these friends. No, i dont think that their views will ever be changed but I do think that you should explain to them that you do not think it is innaproprite at all, its simply clothes
they in the 21st century.... not the 15th
if for some reason you reeaalllyy care about what they think the only solution is to wear other clothes
but I would never (just my opinion)

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you ask them to respect that you have different opinions on the matter and kindly ask them not to shove theirs down your throat Happy

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I would suggest that you respect their wishes and don't try to argue against their beliefs. You shouldn't have to wear anything differently unless you felt convicted to. They have no right to try and tell you what to wear. Just as you should respect their wishes, they shouldn't try and force their standards on you.


If you are really concerned with offending them I wouldn't wear sleeveless outfits around them. Especially if you were going to church with them. In a society/setting where sleeveless outfits are not worn, shoulders do seem more suggestive than you would realize.

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If you are at their house or maybe even around their parents I think you should respect their religious beliefs, maybe as Sarah D suggested you could wear a shrug to cover your shoulders. However, anywhere else it is totally up to you what you wear and your friends beliefs should not change that!

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