I was at the park this Shabbat with my little sister. There was another sweet little girl there of about seven years old. She started talking with us, and after a few questions, then asked, “Are you religious?”
“Yes.” I answered. “Why?”
“You look like it.”
It should be mentioned that I was wearing pale lilac sneakers and a subdued floral baseball cap. (It was a park, and quite sunny out, requiring both.) I was also wearing a tunic and ankle-length black skirt in contrast to a more typical short one.* My glasses were neither notably stylish or distinctly plain.
To her, the dress of a religious girl is exactly as it should be– a long skirt, a long sleeves, and a high neckline. Since most of the other girls in the park were goyim in tank tops, she saw me as being dressed exactly as I should, with no need to contrast me to anything. It was really refreshing.
And who knows? Maybe somehow, deep down, she recognised and acknowledged the effort that it had taken me to get to this point. With G-d’s creations, you never know.
*This was said with a disclaimer. If your minhag or community standard is to wear skirts that are totally tznius but not conspicuously long, then kol hakavod. That is tznius for you because it davka doesn’t draw attention and you should got for it.
In my community, most non-Jewish stores sell three types of skirts– really short, really tight, and really long. Far from being attention-getting, they really are the most modest option.