Welcome to Ask Me Anything. The concept of the series is to help foster and nurture an open and profound bond between father and daughter, that transcends the awkwardness of puberty (I wrote about it in more detail here.) In this week’s instalment, my husband asks why do women wear revealing clothes?

Hubby: For the most part I’m not complaining, but – why do girls wear revealing clothes? Why do some young women put all their wares on display? It usually tones down with age, but the youngsters seem oblivious to the notion of wearing a coat when it drops below 15°c. I say ‘for the most part’, because obviously I want to understand so I can discourage our daughter from this apparent rite of passage…

Me: I make you right, it’s far more classy to leave something to the imagination. I wish it’s a behaviour I could say I’ve never participated in. Ahem…

Of course, I can only speak for myself, but if I had to answer based on my own personal experience – why do women dress provocatively? – I’d say it’s rooted in novelty and self-esteem, or lack thereof.

I’d felt pretty invisible growing up; and then when I turned fifteen or so, I suddenly developed a cleavage which had no decent right to be appended to my frame. The attention came, and naturally I capitalised on it by wearing immodest clothes. This lasted for perhaps a couple of years.

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Why Do Women Wear Revealing Clothes?

In hindsight, I’m quite sure that once the novelty of my new womanly figure had worn off, the plunge of my necklines was directly proportional to the degree of interest men showed me:

Basically, the harder I thought I needed to try, the more I exposed my décolletage; conversely, the more attention I received, the more I covered up.

I think this is relatively normal – and thankfully, with maturity, the behaviour tends to move towards classier wardrobe choices. (Usually) the more respectably a young lady conducts herself, the better the class of suitor she attracts; and so the cycle continues and improves. Or so we with daughters hope…

How to Stop Daughter Dressing Provocatively

As I seem to conclude in most of these posts, I think the onus is once again on us to educate; to foster, instil, and promote self-respect; to observe and guide when necessary or appropriate.

Ultimately, it’s our responsibility to ensure our daughters’ sense of dignity and pride flourish sufficiently that they don’t feel a need to look to the opposite sex for validation.


Relationships, Self-Care

An award-nominated blogger and author, Kate is an experienced breastfeeding advocate, and expert baby sleep chaser. Her writing has appeared on Mothercare, Huff Post, and BritMums.


  1. As a girl in my late teens I was attracted to your page while studying linguistics in college. What enticed me to your page in the first place was your fantastic ‘Jedi post’, and the way you write is absolutely beautiful. Clearly a born writer.

    I however disagree with the above post so much that it left me desperate to comment, it also left me disappointed.

    As a girl in my late teens, I disagree with the level of ‘class’ being about what you wear. We don’t need an extra person in this world judging women on the clothing choice that they wear; “The more they wear the more respectable they are”. Sadly we have enough of these already. “They brought it upon themselves because of how they were dressed with their ‘classless’ outfit”
    I applaud the mothers out there who are teaching their daughters to value themselves naturally and teaching them that the perception of the ‘perfect body’ in magazines is far from real life. You teach morals to your children, to be polite, to be kind, to be thoughtful, to be caring and to be whoever they want to be. It has been difficult growing up with social media because you are judged every day and it is easy for bullies to put you down.
    But the message that my mum taught me is to wear an outfit because it makes you feel comfortable, or because you love the way your body looks. Don’t wear it because a stranger, or a loved one, has convinced you it’s the only way to get respect. Every person is different; they wear an outfit to feel good or to embrace their own individuality. If I went out in a dress my mum fetched me my coat and gave me £2 for the cloakroom. If she had told me what I was wearing was “classless” it would have made me question myself, and depending on how vulnerable I was, would have made me hate myself for dressing in a way that made me feel good.
    An overweight friend of mine use to dress in baggy clothes, she was unhappy with her weight but she did something about it. She worked hard at the gym for a year and lost 4 stone. She now feels good about herself and she now wears bodycon dresses, not because she is, as you put it “classless”, but because she is happy with herself. She loves her dresses and she loves the journey she has come through.
    You have the right to be treated with respect, no matter what your size or shape, no matter what you’re wearing. A Trouser suit, a Dress, a Burka, a T-shirt, a Bikini, whatever you wear you are all of the same class, you are all beautiful in the outfit that you choose. Make a difference with your personality, be someone who changes the world in a positive way. Never put people down, you don’t know their story and you don’t know them as a person.

    • Kate Reply


      Thanks for your comment, I’m always interested in hearing other views, open to having my views challenged, and having discussions. (The only time that is untrue is if someone is disrespectful, but your comment is articulate and deserves a response.)

      First of all, I’m sorry for offending you. I actually agree with a lot of what you say. I can’t agree with it all, but I’ll come to that.

      I’m disappointed to be labelled ‘judgemental’, because it has negative connotations; but perhaps that’s what I’ve been here. I’ve written whole posts dedicated to the subject of judgement, and it’s something I feel strongly about.

      In this scenario, I fear you may have taken my post somewhat out of context.

      To be clear, I would NEVER suggest a woman has ‘brought it upon herself’, if you’re suggesting an attack of some kind, which is what I infer from your comment. Quite simply, I do not believe that.

      However, I do maintain that class/elegance/poise – call it what you will – are diminished when a woman wears very revealing clothes. I don’t think many would disagree with me, but perhaps I’ll be proven wrong…

      Of course every woman has the choice to dress as she pleases. That’s sort of my point actually: I’m specifically referring to girls wearing immodest clothes to impress men. THAT is what I object to, because it’s unnecessary and I find it quite sad.

      From experience, I believe it’s a symptom of poor self-esteem. And therefore I don’t like what it represents.

      I’m sorry if I didn’t express this sentiment very well, or if you still disagree with me. It may be crossed wires, perhaps it’s differing values. Either way, thank you for taking the time to comment and I hope my reply better explains my position.

  2. Thank you for your kind reply, and I totally agree with what you are saying. I agree that it is sad and unnecessary for a girl to dress immodest just to attract the attention of men. I know that I’ve taken your comments the wrong way and slightly too sensitively and I look up to write like you one day. But my aim in life is to also promote girls confidence, to show them that as long as it’s morally right and it makes them happy then do it. Do what makes you happy, be that person you want to be and value your right to be who you want to be. And if you want to wear a short dress because you feel your happiest that way then girl you do just that!
    Thank you again for your reply and as always I’ll look forward to reading your next post.

    • Kate Reply

      Hi Claire,

      Firstly, I must apologise for the dreadful typos in my previous comment! (Now fixed.)

      I really value and appreciate your feedback – the good and the bad! 🙂 So thanks for giving me the opportunity to clarify my position.

      I didn’t get into specifics of what constitutes classless for me, but I guess this is a good benchmark: if a girl would be embarrassed to dress a particular way in front of her dad, then it may be veering towards inappropriate! I’m certainly not condemning short skirts – I was wearing one myself today, albeit with thick tights and boots. It’s simply about having a little decorum – that’s what class means to me.

      But I too promote confidence, and I agree with you there. That’s actually what this series is all about. So your comment has been a useful learning curve for me – I sometimes need to consider my words a little more carefully!

      Thanks for your lovely compliments. X

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