Asking For It



Liz Fearon writes:

M&S now do a curated line of ” modesty clothing” for woman. I’ve been triggered:_)
I’ve written to them (see below) Too early for a response. I’m stunned that they are so out of kilter with, well today’s issues..

Dear M & S,

I find myself genuinely puzzled. Has there been a gap noted by your customers which initated this section in your women’s clothing? Who is it aimed at? As a large company did you really take time to consider how it may be intrepretated, and the inherent message it may be sending?

For years, bought clothes for my Mum regularly, she was definitely modest in her tastes, but we certainly didn’t require a curated section to direct our purchases. We happily shopped and choose for her needs, totally without a section of modest clothing. I have no doubt anyone who wish for more covered clothing could do just the same.

Is this to become a trend throughout other fashion outlets? Are we likely to see this more regularly?

I’m troubled. It seems extremely odd and out of step with our current zeitgeist. Please do not misunderstand, of course woman can choose to dress as they please, immodest, modest, anywhere in between . Modesty is aligned with goodness, purity, being a good girl. Often linked with religious and moral dictates. Don’t dress modestly and you get whats coming to you…..

Curate for modest,,,,is the rest immodest?

Inherently begs the question, should women be dressing modestly? For who? Why? For comfort, great. I don’t call that that modesty, just comfort.

Absolutely a matter of personal freedom, and those with certain faiths, a way of life. I have no doubt a woman who chooses to dress more covered for her faith can browse the aisles, just like the rest of us and find what she wants.

Marks and Spencer does have influence and impact despite what you may think, and curating a section of modest clothing sends a message that I really don’t think has been fully considered.

The concept of modesty is intrinsically linked with immodestly: shaming woman for their clothes choices. Blaming them if a bad event happens….and the question is asked ” what was she wearing”

Why on earth would Marks and spencer invite such contentious politics into your high street shop?

Yours Liz

Modest Clothing (M & S)

53 thoughts on “Asking For It

  1. Tom

    The market that this is intended for don’t really care that you’re upset. This is for muslim women. M&S obviously had to be sensitive with the naming.

      1. missred

        I’m scarlet for Liz. She says women should dress with as little or as much on show as they like, but assumes those who dress modestly are being oppressed, then acts like she is first to discover this. Actually I’d wager they are more comfortable that way and decide what to wear themselves.

    1. Lush

      Yes, that was my first thought too.
      Obviously trying to target a certain market, but being diplomatic about it.

  2. The Ghost of Starina

    Oh where to start.

    Modest happens to be the word for clothing that can be worn by Muslim women. great to see M&S catering for it. If they did a full-on ad campaign about modest dressing being *better* than non-modest, THEN I would have a problem. Otherwise, you’re pretty much just getting upset because M&S are recognising a gap in the market.

    Reminds me of a political cartoon I saw once…A woman dressed in a miniskirt and a boobtube was walking towards a woman wearing a hijab and modest clothes and both of them were looking at each other thinking, “That poor girl, she’s only dressed that way to please men.”

  3. missred

    Modest fashion is big business globally, couture, designer and high street. There are customers who are Muslim and some Jewish women who have money to spend and want to look attractive but covered up. I am surprised at the specific section on a site, but more so that this customer has not realised that not everyone sees modesty as a bad thing.

  4. H

    I imagine that it appeals to the Jewish market as well as the Muslims, and anyone else who’s fashion preferences are more conservative than a lot of what we get in the mainstream these days.

    Unlike Liz, I’m struggling to find anything upsetting about it’s existence.

  5. Anomanomanom

    People like you are whats wrong with the world, triggered over the littlest things. Is a long ankle length dress not modest wear compared to a mini skirt that’s barely below the crotch(I’ve no problem with what people wear btw). But you’d think M&S had made anti-slut clothing and in a devious plan named it modest wear just to sneak it past you. Get a bloody life.

  6. Kingbot

    Don’t worry Liz. It probably went into their spam folder anyway. All your anger and vitriol has gone to waste.

  7. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

    I’d wear a few of those items of clothing.
    I’ll start wearing a housecoat soon. Then it’s end game.

      1. david

        Stunning design and use of fabrics
        Anar design is pretty up there as well
        The Iranians are famous for their textiles and carpets
        Pity their regime has them pretty sanctioned against
        We must remember the Persian empire spanned half the world and took the best of all cultures to assimilate into their culture
        There is a massive movement in the fashion world in Iran
        Their dress code actually is pretty western which fly in the face of what we hear about them

  8. mildred st. meadowlark

    I suspect Liz bunny-hopped her way past thought and straight to outrage. The real question is did she collect €200 on her way?

  9. Frilly Keane

    Ah go ‘way
    Overpriced mass produced year late clothing

    That’s all that needs t’ be said about that crowd

  10. Murtles

    I’m also outraged at the use of the words loafers, relaxed slim and 3 for 2 knickers on their website. Outraged!!!

  11. Father Filth

    If I was a woman, middle bottom would appeal to me. I don’t kow, shrug.

    I’m outraged at the removal of the walnut from the Walnut Whip, will you give me a soapbox for that Broadsheet, well, WELL!!1?

    #outrage #blessed #ninahartleyfleshlight #broadsheet #nazigermany

  12. SOQ

    Personally I think they way a lot of muslim women dress is very stylish. I mean if you are flashing more than you are hiding then you are trying too hard.

    1. david

      Many of them come from the middle classes and we see especially the more moderate very well-dressed
      And talking about beautiful dress, my Indian half sister in law is from Durban, when a young woman, came over to Ireland because of the south African apartheid system to study medicine like all her siblings in trinity
      Her sari’s are absolutely stunning

  13. emmy b

    I actually like this! And I’m not a muslim or a jew, just a young woman in a male-dominated industry and office. I’ve found myself googling ‘how to dress unsexy for work’ on more than one occasion. It can be hard to find office skirts that aren’t tight, or tops that aren’t cut a bit too low. I know that’s kind of missing the point of everything going on right now, but it’s a pragmatic solution for someone who’s had enough hands on knees in taxis.

    1. mildred st. meadowlark

      I completely agree! Lately I seem to prefer higher necklines and looser, more comfortable skirts and trousers. Jeans that look sprayed on and tight low cut tops just don’t do it for me. I’d rather be unattractive to men and comfortable in my own skin any day.

    2. Moz

      So, your solution to a man putting his hand on your knee is to cover your knee?! Do you not see that your response is classic victim-blaming?
      You’re making the writer’s point for her!

      1. emmy b

        I know! It’s not right. But I just want less attention from my male colleagues and this seems like the best solution I have for now..

        And more of a reflection of how unnecessarily sexualized women’s office clothes are than anything else.

    3. SOQ

      The air con in most office buildings is as cheap as possible because they usually have already overspent the budget so; bring a few wraps.

    4. rotide

      I’m going to get a lot of grief for this, but in light of all the metoo stuff, wouldn’t it be a better idea to actually say ‘don’t put your hand on my knee please’ rather than try and make these men take an arcane hint by dressing differently?

      1. emmy b

        Better for the cause, yes. For my career, less so. I’d like to say that I was that brave, but the specific hand-knee situation just made me freeze and stare ahead until the taxi ride was over.

        Its almost the more subtle stuff that’s the real issue. I’m not going to call out a colleague for looking at my boobs in a meeting. But maybe if I was wearing a loose jacket and scarf, they wouldn’t look in the first place. Maybe.

        1. Cian

          I’m torn on this one. (the rest of this post relates to *my* experiences in the *office* environment in Ireland)

          Men dress conservatively. In the office they don’t flash the flesh. They wear trousers and shirts. I’ve *never* seen a man’s knees or thighs (even if they were shorts). Never seen toes (no bare feet/sandals). Never seen bare shoulders (no vest tops). Never seen much chest (‘worst’ case was a shirt three buttons undone). And even while covered – their clothes are never figure-hugging.
          The only exception to this is cyclists before they get changed – they wear lyrca shorts – and you might see their knees.

          Women, on the other hand, would wear a much greater variety of clothes. Some (a minority) would be the same league as men but even then – even in conservative offices – most would be wearing less clothing and more revealing/figure hugging. Trousers are tighter – and usually short enough so ankles are visible (shoes are slip-on – no socks). Blouses tend to have 3/4 length sleeves, open neck and, again, are tighter-cut/more revealing.

          And when you get to skirts they can show a lot! When you include some of the tops that are worn the difference is striking.

          There is such thing as “woman’s privilege” when it comes to office clothes… and like all privileges there are positives and negatives.

          1. Cian

            Sorry. This post wasn’t intended as a reply to Emma b. I don’t mean to imply that anyone should touch your knee because of how you dress.

  14. Always Wright

    I hope you asked somebody to take a look at it and correct the spelling and punctuation before you sent it off. You’ll look like a half-baked loony if you sent it with made-up words (interpretated?) and multiple commas instead of an ellipsis.

    1. Optimus Grime

      That is so true! I saw that horrid show on Channel 4 the other night where the prospective dates are all naked and their faces are obscured. I was sitting there thinking “God he HAS to pick one of them!”.

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