Women who dress and act ‘modestly’ conduct themselves in ways that shroud their sexuality in mystery. They live in a way that makes womanliness more a transcendent, implicit quality than a crude, explicit quality. When Peter urged Christian wives to reject the current fashions of the world around them, he didn’t tell them to be ugly. Instead he enjoined them to take on a more eternal kind of beauty: ‘Do not adorn yourself outwardly by plaiting your hair, and by wearing gold ornaments or fine clothing: rather, let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in God’s sight.’
— Wendy Shalit in A Return to Modesty