Single Men, We Need Your Help!



That’s right, guys! No matter what your age or profession, your contribution to this discussion is very valuable. I want to hear your specific opinion about what you think appropriate attire is for women to wear to the workplace. I want to know the truth about what you find attractive and in good taste versus distracting and inappropriate. You know, when you can’t keep your mind on your work!  


Thanks to the CatholicMatch platform, the issue of modesty gets some great attention by our bloggers. But it all seems to be from a woman’s point of view and I believe the issue needs help from the male perspective. How low is too low? How high is too high?


To be quite fair, fashion trends and celebrity chic these days don’t really help us ladies out much at all. The low-rise waist on pants, shorts and jeans create a host of obstacles to dressing modestly, for example. But no one in charge is willing or interested in bringing back high-rise waists, so we’ve got to deal with it.


However, I believe that as women, we should find a way to transcend the dictates of the fashion gurus and represent ourselves in the workplace with grace and dignity.


Unfortunately, I still run into women who think some level of cleavage is okay and even “classy,” bra straps in plain sight are sexy and form-fitting clothing is a must. And I am constantly appalled by what passes for work-appropriate outfits and fashions that women get away with while at their places of business, whether they work in retail stores, attorney’s offices, banks, etc. 


Even female news broadcasters push the envelope too far in my opinion. Is it the presidential election race that has you glued to the tube, or is it those long legs and the short skirt?


I’m trying to raise my own daughters (who are alarmingly creative and competitive fashionistas) with a true sense of modesty and teach them what’s appropriate for playing around and what’s appropriate for school & going to mass. My own mother was very good about this and helped me to be fashionable, yet modest, but my father always had the last say. Whenever I got new shorts or a bathing suit I had to model it for my father and if the shorts were too short or the swim suit too revealing I was not allowed to wear it.


I went to a Sunday mass once during the summer at a neighboring parish in an affluent area and I gotta tell ya… I saw more cleavage there at that mass than I’ve seen at a pool party. I wish more women would understand how important it is to take men into consideration when they select an outfit to wear, especially in the workplace and especially on dates. So, let’s hear it, guys! Please, let us know what you think!




  1. Dean-1150250 August 12, 2015 Reply

    Distinctively feminine. If it can be worn by a man and he does not look strange then the woman wearing those clothes was cross dressing. If men have standards imposed and enforced on them, and they have many, then women should have the same, although women have zero gender norms imposed/enforced on them.

  2. Edward-1052176 July 23, 2015 Reply

    good article

  3. Lynn-1138772 March 24, 2015 Reply

    I like 1950s and early 60s classic type styles on women (many of these were duplicated by preppie dominated 80s styles, as a second time around). I prefer dresses and skirts on women whenever appropriate. I don’t like that scrubbed clean no/low make-up look except on the beach. Southern women traditionally wore lipstick that stood out and not much else due to the heat, and that’s a great way to be appealing without being overdone.

  4. Dave H. December 1, 2014 Reply

    I often find that if men make comments on modesty they get woman angry. I think Cardinal Siri and Padre Pio would be good people to listen to on how woman should dress. You can do a search and find what they say.

  5. Dean-1150250 November 28, 2014 Reply

    There is a simple way to correct the behavior, negative consequences. In the same way men have to walk on egg shells because so many women file complaints about being offended by men then men need to file complaints about being offended and sexually harassed by scantily clad women. It’s a sad state of affairs but women took the issue of workplace harassment to the level it is at and the aggressor sets the standard. As long as men refuse to meet the standard and keep laying down to be walked on there will be scores of women happy to walk all over them.

    Ladies who don’t like this situation should speak up in favor of normal male behavior.

    Shame on you ladies who use sex to market yourselves and cry sexual harassment when the attention is from a guy you don’t want, that’s MONSTROUS and so typical. Hypocrisy from feminists is just standard behavior.

    Go to You Tube and search for “Sexual Harassment and You”, a SNL skit, really tells it like it is

  6. Andrew-1151352 November 21, 2014 Reply

    I like just about everything a woman can wear except when they are obviously seeking attention. I think women are just as beautiful at work as they are outside of work. Just don’t expect me or anyone like me to show interest. I have never gone out with someone I work with and don’t intend to.

  7. James-981959 October 28, 2014 Reply

    I think part of the reason that many men don’t discuss what female clothing that they like is that they don’t have a clear idea themselves. When we see something a woman is wearing that stands out, we know pretty much right away if we like it or not. But we don’t tend to make a list of all the clothes/styles that we find appealing. And even when we are able to list some, the list feels incomplete, as if we are just barely answering the question. Now I know this is a generalization, but I believe it to be a valid one.

  8. Tim-1001384 November 15, 2013 Reply

    I’m not trying to argumentative here, but I honestly don’t get what is to be ashamed of about the human body that GOD created. Look at all of the indigenous cultures of the warmer regions, they were all naked or near naked for thousands of years and most of them had and still have comparitively good sexual ettiquette. Yes in a civilised society some body parts should be covered as to not show arousal or tempt arousal, but it is just a human body?
    As a “red blooded” male I believe that it is my responsibility to use self control and choose not to entertain sexual thoughts for another person regardless of what that person is wearing unless it is the person i’m married to and at an appropriate time! If I choose to allow my mind to wander by the sight of an attractive female then that is my problem, my conscience not hers! I just think personally for me it is about taking responsibility for my own actions and not blaming others for tempting me. Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating the absence of a little modesty or anything like that.
    I find women beautiful and alluring and I believe God made me that way in order to reproduce. When I pass a beautiful woman in the street I don’t pretend that I didn’t find her attractive, I admire the beauty of that woman and keep walking. We are all made to find the opposite sex attractive just like any animal, but God gave us a big enough brain to know right from wrong and the ability to use self control and choose when it is appropriate to act on our hardwired “urges” and when not to. Self control is what seperates us from animals, not much else. An animal cannot control the urge to mate, eat, attack or whatever it may be, but we all can! I suppose I am just trying to stand up for women and let them know that the vast majority of males take responsibility for our actions.

  9. Pedro-662234 June 13, 2013 Reply

    I’m surprised that you ask “for work or the office”, if you want to be coherent and live with integrity you will dress with decency ANYWHERE, no just in the office or at church, we are 24/7 catholics/cristians not just in some places, and to finish I think everyone know very well what’s too short, too tight, etc. etc., just be honest and sincere with yourselves and be coherent with what you belive, don’t leave a “double” life, one in the office anotherone at night when you go out.

  10. Joan-461057 January 30, 2013 Reply

    I am older than most of the women commenting. I had lunch with Gloria Steinem in the early 70’s, and was there on 5th Avenue when bras were burned. This is what I have learned on the subject:
    1. Women do not cause men to sin by their dress. Men’s sins belong to them no matter what women do, just as women’s sins are their sins to confess. If a woman walks naked down main street and men sin in their minds in response the sin belongs to the man. The woman is to be pitied
    2. It is insecurity and a need to get attention that most often causes women to dress provacatively. It is lack of confidence that respecting herself in the way she dresses will not attract men, and that she must use her body or men will not notice her. When a woman enjoys self esteem and values herself she no longer feels the need to do this
    3. In young women, the reaction of boys and men around her making complimentary and positive comments about scantily clad women encourages her to dress as her “menfolk” obviously like
    4. Yes, how women dress is in response to the men they know – so men, if you dont want your daughters and sisters to dress provacatively, stop being so enthusiastic about women who do
    5. As to the workplace it has been my experience that a woman who is good at her job and dresses professionally, and yes we all do know what that is, gets promoted much sooner and faster than those who dont. The few women who got there on dressing like starlets tend not to make it for the long haul.
    So women, respect yourself and your clothes will show it and men, if you dont approve of short tight and low, stop being so verbally appreciative if women who do.

  11. Garrett-854385 January 28, 2013 Reply

    I see that this is an older blog post, but still am feeling like adding my thoughts to this relevant subject… not trying to speak for for the rest of guys, just myself here: I think the gift should stay wrapped until the wedding night. I don’t need to see it; I know it’s there, and I admit it’s something that I struggle with. So, I’d prefer not to be distracted by someone else’s wife, or future wife and stay pure of mind for my future wife.

    God bless.

  12. Mary-732729 November 11, 2012 Reply

    What about at church? I have seen so many ladies and young girls dressed in attire that if I had tried to wear to church, my mom would have thrown a bag over me!

  13. William-872148 August 19, 2012 Reply


  14. Susan-744709 August 19, 2012 Reply

    From the neck to the knees
    Cover it up so nobody sees

    Women should be asking themselves how many times they have led men to sin because of how they dress …

  15. Jose-475357 August 18, 2012 Reply

    There are plenty of women where I work who wear very low shirts that expose cleavage. In the summer they wear shorts that are equivalent to women models in wrestling or boxing matches. I hate to be explicit in my description but it’s true. However I don’t think it is right to judge these women harshly. It’s not my place to judge them as so and so. I agree that every person should wear clothing that is respectable to everyone, regardless. It’s not just women, but also men who are wearing some really poor outfits these days. I don’t let it interfere with my work. I do think men should be respectable to women even if they do wear such clothing. Both men and women alike, need to show respect for one another. As for sexual harassment, I’d say it happens to decent people as well as those who are indecent. Sex related material does fuel such acts more then if these indecent outfits were not present at all. To summarize it all I think how sex is communicated is so confused it’s like a black abyss that seems endless.

  16. William-864331 August 16, 2012 Reply

    We have very strict dress code for the workplace for men and women. Appropriate clthing for women is not tight fitting, cleveage, short skirts etc. Also,casual dress such as jeans and a tank top are inappropriate. The women do not have to be formal with suits. Although suits do look very professions. Casual business attire is appropriate now a days. By thsi, I mean women don’t always have to wear a dress and sometimescan wear slacks and a blouse. They say dress for success. If you are going to the beach, then it is OK to wear a bikini. If you are going to church, then dress if you are going to meet Jesus that day. If you are going to work, then dress so you can be taken seriously. Jeans are meant for yard work.

  17. Josephine-586127 August 11, 2012 Reply

    Donald, while I agree with most of your suggestions, I do not agree that all blouses need sleeves. I spend some time outdoors in the summer due to my job (traveling from school to school, accompanying classes to the park) and there is nothing attractive about a farmers tan. Spaghetti staps and revealing bra straps- I agree, but a conservative blouse without sleeves seems acceptable.

    I am happy to see that some men agree that women should dress conservatively at work and church. I feel dressing provacatively is disrespectul to everyone- both to men and other wome. I also feel that alot of sexual harrassment and infidelity in the work place can be avoided if women dress covered up. Men do so why shouldn’t women?

    • Marita-847688 August 12, 2012 Reply

      Yes, I also think that women should cover up. Until I recently joined this site I didn’t realize how much of a distraction it was. Although I do agree that perhaps sexual harassment and infidelity could sometimes be avoided if women covered up, there is still no excuse for it.

    • Lissa-307730 August 15, 2012 Reply

      “I also feel that alot of sexual harrassment and infidelity in the work place can be avoided if women dress covered up.”

      This is a completely inappropriate and inaccurate viewpoint. This is perpetuating the “she asked for it attitude.” Attitudes that insinuate that a women provoked the inappropriate behavior, place the blame on the woman instead of the assailant. Even if a woman did wear a sleeveless top, etc, it does not make sexual assault or harassment acceptable. This places guilt on someone in a world of pain, trust me the woman does not need more shame or guilt. In short, it is a secondary victimization of the victim.

      • Marita-847688 August 17, 2012 Reply

        No, I never believe women ask for it at all. I was just agreeing with the fact that women should cover up in the workplace. A statement such as women ask for it because of dress or any other reason) is cold and heartless, and I would not be a good friend if I said that because everyone (whether they know it and believe it or not) has friends who have been victims of harrassment. Everyone who has commented on here. Everyone on Catholic Match. Everyone in the world. Trust me, I agree. There is NEVER an excuse for sexual harrassment.

        • Marita-847688 August 17, 2012 Reply

          Or they have been victims themselves

        • Dominic-981542 October 29, 2014 Reply

          But is it not also sexual harassment for a women to dress less to appeal sexy to men . . so how is there no excuse for man to harass when sex in itself is not natural or normal by any standards.
          My understanding through life experiences by the grace of God at work in us is the very reason why two must become one by a true love friendship. . . Through this one saves him self from immoral sickness of perversion & by this respect must come alive in men towards the female agenda , but it has been killed in mostly all men in our modern times of opinions from our free world of to much freedom for women to run freely around like boys .
          Why do women say there is no excuse if they have not lived as a male in a over rated equal rights agenda world of ignorant views

  18. Stacey-101742 August 11, 2012 Reply

    I just want to say thank you to the men who took the time and thought to answer this seriously . Thank you

  19. Lynn-189934 August 10, 2012 Reply

    Oh and I don’t agree with the sleeveless. Sleeveless is fine with wide straps, a sweater or turtleneck, a crew or other high neck top, or, something 60’s like the sleeveless button-front business blouse. I have no issue with sleeveless with a high neck and all areas covered, but then I like Mad Men and 60’s tv and sleeveless was worn year ’round back then.

    • Tara-539245 August 15, 2012 Reply

      I’m on the fence on this, but lean more to “no sleeveless”. I am in the New Orleans area where it’s pretty darn hot, but I do notice a lot of straps sliding out with sleeveless. Many short sleeve shirts for women have “cap sleeves” which are not as long as “short sleeves,” so I think that is fine as an in-between sort of thing. I lean more towards no sleeveless at work, even though I’m sure it could be modest in many situations.

      • Lynn-189934 August 21, 2012 Reply

        Our office only requires staff to dress professionally for outside conferences, or when meeting with outside business partners. So, any casual clothing that would be business casual if upgraded a level (i.e.crew neck jersey knits–i.e. like a colored t-shirt), Capri pants, etc. are fine for the office staff most of the time.

  20. Lynn-189934 August 10, 2012 Reply

    I’m conservative in tastes, but the form-fitted clothing worn in the 1950’s and 60’s is not provocative in my opinion, just by itself (dresses/skirts). It would have to be worn with a low back or front to be sexual in appearance. Pants are a different story; sprayed on jeans and stretch pants are out of place professionally UNLESS worn with a big long top/sweater (but then I think of Beatrice Arthur. Come on, girls, do you really want to look like Bea?). If the hem doesn’t touch the kneeler when kneeling, too short. Other than that, I don’t really have an issue with women’s clothing. I don’t like low-rise pants on either gender. . . I know back in the 80s when we sat down (since no one wore belts with them) our 501’s showed a little more then they should have, but no where NEAR the low pants of the last 10 years. Yuck.

  21. Chris-857999 August 10, 2012 Reply

    Men or women doesn’t matter which. If you want to be treated like a professional, dress like one. If you want to show off your physical attributes, go ahead. But don’t cry foul when you’re not taken seriously. “The Thane of Cawdor lives. Why do you dress me in borrowed robes?”. W Shakespeare. Macbeth. As far as what I see at Mass…wake up everyone. The Devil is not losing the war on spirituality. How fathers can let their daughters where pants that show unspeakable parts of the anatomy is explained only by the Legion who work without rest to keep tearing down the few standards separating us from the wretched.

  22. Lisa Duffy
    Lisa Duffy August 8, 2012 Reply

    Thanks, everyone, for your comments so far. Donald, you hit the nail on the head by stating the workplace is an actual place of professional business and we should dress in a way that reflects this. I know the conversation may seem pointless to some, but these days standards in society are increasingly lowered and it’s good from time-to-time to remember where the standards used to be and hopefully move back toward them.

    The real point of the conversation is that we need to show respect for one another and a lot of this happens (or doesn’t happen) in the way we present ourselves.

    A friend of mine complained to a co-worker that another female coworker’s blouse was revealing too much and the response she got was, “You’re just jealous.” But my friend replied that her concern was not for herself as much as it was for the married man this woman worked for. “I would find it difficult to focus on my job as a CFO if my assistant were dressed like that” was her bottom line.

    I just think that as a culture, showing respect for each other, especially in the way we dress, has been lost. I do appreciate the contributions to this conversation.

    • Lissa-307730 August 15, 2012 Reply

      “I also feel that alot of sexual harrassment and infidelity in the work place can be avoided if women dress covered up.”

      This is a completely inappropriate and inaccurate viewpoint. This is perpetuating the “she asked for it attitude.” Attitudes that insinuate that a women provoked the inappropriate behavior, place the blame on the woman instead of the assailant. Even if a woman did wear a sleeveless top, etc, it does not make sexual assault or harassment acceptable. This places guilt on someone in a world of pain, trust me the woman does not need more shame or guilt. In short, it is a secondary victimization of the victim.

    • Lissa-307730 August 15, 2012 Reply

      Oops, I meant to reply to Josephine-586127 and Marita-847688. They (not Lisa Duffy) made statements about immodest dress leading to sexual harassment.

      • Patrick-955401 November 21, 2014 Reply

        Lissa, I think you’re blaming men for being men, as in sexual beings men. The fact of the matter is that if a woman shows cleavage, the men will react sympathetically. Look the word up; it means automatic reaction. We are built to respond that way and any man will tell you, he can’t stop it. That’s not ‘bad, wrong, or perverted, (as the Victorians feared),’ it’s the way God made us. So, if women want to trigger the sexual response in men, know that you’re doing it. Personally, work wise, I don’t think I need to be distracted by cleavage in the board room, or at my desk. Dress modestly, and leave the sexiness for after-work, if that’s what you want.

    • Tara-539245 August 15, 2012 Reply

      Ugh, the “You’re just jealous”…. What about, “Get some self-esteem and get over yourself.” lol

  23. Donald-109846 August 8, 2012 Reply

    I’ll give a quick comment. First I like the idea of asking the “men” what we think is right for office wear. I think that have an idea what business attire is appropriate. I came up with a small list of rules that women should follow in an office setting:

    1) Skirts should be minimum knee length. A woman shouldn’t be wearing a skirt that requires her to cross her legs when sitting down.
    2) Any top that exposes skin should not expose a bra strap and should not express any cleavage. I don’t go to work to look down women’s tops.
    3) No low rise pants period. I’m not interested in knowing what the color or type of underwear one may be wearing. I am also not interested in learning about that new tattoo you have on your backside.
    4) All tops should have some form of sleeves. I see the new “in” feature is to wear sleeveless tops. Too often do I see women with exposed bras or bra straps. I’m not interested in seeing that.
    5) Sandals are a no at the office. I’m not sure how this became expectable but it shouldn’t be worn. I understand that women want to show off a new pedicure or new nail paint. It’s not appropriate.
    6) No excessively tight clothes. Too often do women wear cloths so tight that it exposes more of the body than necessary.

    This all comes from a single 31 year old man. I’m not going to a club when I go to work but an actual place of professional business. Women who tend to dress like this are tempting us men. Too often do I see others in my office building “looking” at these women who are dressed like this. They make jokes that I can’t even post. I don’t see how women who dress like this expect to be respected when “exposing” themselves. While they may get a promotion or raise at work dressed like this, it is not because of the work performed but because of this “look”. It just shows how we are all caught up with the modern way of women should look and not that of the ideals of Mary-like dress and proper Catholic Mass attire. Just my two cents. Feel free to persecute me now.

    • Norbert-98169 August 9, 2012 Reply

      There’s a radio talk show host in Dallas/Ft. Worth who does jobs and careers. His name is Martin Birnbach and he’s on radio station KLIF AM 570. He said that would never hire a woman who shows up for an interview wearing excessive purfume and showing off any cleavage. I also remember reading in my church bullitin about dressing appropiately for church. It said that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and if it’s drawing any attention then you might want to reconsider how you’re dressing.

    • James-141787 August 9, 2012 Reply

      Dude, you are taking the bait. Don’t go there.

    • Tara-539245 August 15, 2012 Reply

      Hey Donald! I agree with everything except the sandals. 🙂 My toes are cute. lol

    • Mary-1099765 November 24, 2014 Reply

      So perfectly said Donald! And thank you for taking the time to do so.

  24. Jim-397948 August 7, 2012 Reply

    I keep my mouth shut on how women should dress….. Let get onto the 2016 Presidential Election… If a woman can be Prime Miniter of the United Kingdom and President of Ireland, let’s look forward.

  25. Christina Ries
    Christina Ries August 7, 2012 Reply

    You raise a good question, James. We try to have a productive discussion on that topic regularly here.

    Check out this post, which has 12 comments, and add your own:

    • Stephen-725391 August 7, 2012 Reply

      Christina, Read and commented on this Blog and went to and read the one you referenced and I read the Blog sometime ago on the Crisis of Singles in the Catholic Church and the Report thereon which was to be made available to CM for the asking – WELL, I’m still waiting for that report and I suspect the it will REVEAL something that is NOT complimentary to the Church and it’s attitude toward SINGLES. That information may be MORE useful than all the wishful thinking that is so prevalent on CM. Send out that Report and give all of those out here the help that St. Augustine was referring to in the second part of his famous quote “… . Work as if everything depended on you.”

    • James-141787 August 7, 2012 Reply

      Yes. I asked for the Crisis of Singles report too and I never got it. The Georgetown CARA study said that marriage rates are down for everyone but that Catholics are getting married at only about half the the rate of the general population. So wake up, there is truly a serious systematic problem out there.

      We don’t need to have the dumb pants/modesty/what should women wear discussion that is a hoary staple on this and other Catholic blogs.

      We need to find out why so many single Catholics can’t get married, no matter what they try (online dating included) and and do something credible at the institutional level to fix the problem.

      • Stephen-725391 August 7, 2012 Reply

        I’ll bet it’s the annulment thing and the hypocrisy surrounding the “do as we say, not as we do” attitude of the Church (American, can’t speak to the rest of the Catholic world).

  26. James-141787 August 7, 2012 Reply

    Please, no. We don’t need more comments from men about what women should wear. We don’t need women making men listen to more comments from men and women about what is appropriate attire for women to wear. We don’t need to have the pants debate. We all know what is reasonable and appropriate–even in the case of young ladies who know what is appropriate and still go over the edge. All that need be said, for men and women, is that your clothing is an advertisement for who you are. Consider the message that you send by being ill-kempt, sloppily dressed, overweight, and inappropriately dressed for the occasion. And please, please, please dress just a little more nicely than the minimum possible for mass, especially for Sunday mass, but even for daily mass as well. That’s it. Instead of a silly discussion about what to wear, we could be having a productive discussion about why practicing Catholics have such a hard time finding and meeting prospective spouses.

  27. Stephen-725391 August 6, 2012 Reply


    For those not aware, I’m 63 years old and for the last 7 years I have taken my daughters (2) into downtown Portland, Oregon to attend St. Mary’s Academy (an all girl Catholic High School). It is located on the north end of the Portland State University. While waiting for school to get out during the spring, a VERY ATTRACTIVE woman, who was VERY DISTRACTING, walked by. Heidi Klum in the skimpiest of what Victoria Secret’s has to offer HAD NOTHING in the DISTRACTION arena over this woman. And what was this woman wearing – a BURKA!
    However, OMAR the TENT MAKER didn’t sew that one together.

    My point (I always have a point), clothing as well as politically correct language, and body piercings and tattoos and hair coloring and hair cuts and hair-does and the cars we drive or don’t ARE ALL SYMPTOMS!

    Symptoms of what – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once was asked: What happened in Russia (the Soviet Union)? and later after leaving the United State going back to Russia after his exile here ANSWERED : Russia turned her back to God and gave the same reply about the United States.

    When people lose respect for and turn their collective back on God, they have done that to themselves and ALL the Sister Linda’s (Asst Principal and Cleavage Monitor at St. Mary’s Academy) of the world won’t and can’t effect the turn-a-round. Hard, hard times will and they are a-comin!

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