Skip to content

That’s Not Appropriate.


Just a little over a year ago, Khaled and I were invited to an event where I would need a formal dress.  Never having been invited to something like this in the 20+ years apres prom, I went to the advise of my family and friends on Facebook.  The opinions varied, and during the shopping trip I posted photos of the contenders.  Not being able to decide, I brought 2 dresses home.  One was a full length ball gown, the other, a knee-length cocktail dress.

I ended up wearing the ball gown, because it is always better to be over dressed, than under.  At the event, I was 1 of 2 women in a floor length gown.  It didn’t matter, I felt proper and we had a nice time.

I kept the cocktail dress because I thought I’d have an event to wear it to within the next year or so and it was a great dress that fit perfect.

About 2 weeks ago, Khaled informed me that we had been invited again to the event.  I was unruffled this time around because I knew that everyone would be wearing knee-length cocktail dresses and I already had one.  I was set!  The only thing left was to get some jewelry to go with the outfit, and figure out my hair (I’ve been growing it out, so I have options now!)

Last weekend, I tried on the dress to make sure that it fit the way I wanted.  It fit amazing.  I felt confidant, I felt like I was owning that dress.  I put on my shoes, I walked downstairs, and I heard “ooohs” and “ahhhs.”  Kate told me “Mom, You look so pretty!”  Khaled gave me ‘the look’ of approval.  I was chatting away about how all I had to do was figure out the jewelry and the hair and I didn’t have to worry this year.

Then a small voice spoke up. “Mommy, that dress isn’t appropriate.”

Pea spoke up.  “Mommy, you can’t wear that dress.”

I, looked at Pea, shocked…then upset.  “Why?”

“Look Mommy, it doesn’t go past your knees.”

Then I looked, and sure enough, it didn’t cover my knees completely.  In fact, it hit just at the top of my knees.  Still appropriate for my age, but not appropriate for the mother of Muslim ladies.

I then told Pea, “Well, it’s appropriate for me.”  And I went to change.

The next morning, I was getting dressed and the conversation played over and over in my head.  I developed a sinking feeling in my gut.  I’m not okay with this.  I’m not okay with this double standard.  This is not what I want to be teaching my ladies.

I texted Khaled.  “I’m not going to be able to wear my dress.”

It still brings tears to my eyes.  Not that I often wear dresses like this.  Most often, I will choose the longest skirt, the longest dress and then layer it with a sweater or a button up shirt, jacket like.  But every once in a while, when the stars align right and I feel good about my body, and confidant enough to rock out a sexy number when I’m on a date with Khaled, I do.  Over this last weekend, with Pea’s small but mighty voice, I feel like I’ve lost that part of me.

I don’t know where to go with this.  I’m not sure what to do now.  I don’t know how much of my date wardrobe is now unacceptable because I can’t bring myself to go through it.  I don’t know how this will bleed into my every day clothing choices.  I don’t know how this will change my sense of style and …SIGH.  I don’t know how to explain it.

I told the ladies that Pea was right.  I would not be wearing the dress to the fancy party.  I apologized to them for snapping at them, saying it was okay for me.  I explained that I was so very disappointed that the dress was inappropriate because I really, really, really wanted to wear it.  I thanked Pea for telling me.  I hope that they have learned something from this.  I know I have.

Happy Tuesday.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. askmoxie permalink
    03/06/2012 12:33 PM

    Can you add a layer of lace to look like a petticoat sticking out from under to make it long enough? This is making me sad.

  2. 03/06/2012 3:08 PM

    Awe I hear your struggle and ache for you as well.

  3. permalink
    03/06/2012 3:43 PM

    I’m sad for your kids… it doesn’t sound like the dress is really inappropriate, wouldn’t it be better to wear it? Wouldn’t that be a better example to them than teaching them to be deferential to some arbitrary knee-glimpsing standard? Of course the dress is appropriate for you… and for them, too!

  4. 03/07/2012 11:08 AM


    Welcome, and thank you for your comment. In case you are new to reading my blog, I just want to clarify that my children are being raised with Islamic beliefs. Even though they are growing up in an American household, they are being taught that they must be modest in their clothing choices. It is very likely that one, if not both of my daughters will choose to wear hijab at some point in their lives.

    In my home, shorts must be knee length for not only my daughters, but also my son and husband. Skirts follow the same rule, and so do dresses unless they have leggings or opaque tights under them. We also do not wear skimpy bathing suits. The ladies and I have tankinis with skirts, and we often wear rash guards over the tops.

    What is good for your family is fine. I have no problem with how you teach your children. In my house, these are the rules for my family. Every family has different rules and that is OK. Just don’t feel sad for my children. They aren’t missing out on anything.


Share Your Thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: