Duggar Family Rules: Michelle Duggar Once Said She Didn’t Force Her Daughters to Dress Modestly

There are no dress code rules in the Duggar house, at least according to mom Michelle Duggar. The Counting On family is known for its conservative fashion sense — girls grow up wearing modest clothing and are always seen in skirts and dresses, not pants. But Michelle has said she doesn’t force her kids to dress a certain way, claiming they choose less-revealing clothing of their own accord. 

Michelle Duggar explained the Duggar family’s dress code in a blog post 

Michelle Duggar and Jim Bob Duggar at the Values Voters Summit in 2010
Michelle Duggar and Jim Bob Duggar | Kris Connor/WireImage

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These days, the older Duggar daughters often wear pants, shorts, and other slightly more revealing items of clothing. It’s a far cry from what they wore when the family’s first show, 19 Kids and Counting, was on the air. Back then, the girls typically wore loose-fitting tops and longer skirts and dresses. Tight-fitting clothing, pants, and bathing suits were definitely no-nos. 

The Duggar family’s modest dress code definitely certainly drew people’s attention. But in a 2012 blog post on the family’s website, Michelle insisted that it wasn’t a standard she imposed on her children. Instead, she said she had conversations with her kids about her “missteps as a young lady,” when she dressed in more revealing outfits, and about how what a person wears can affect how someone sees them. 

“Because our family is so open and honest in our discussions, I find that my daughters are even more careful with their appearances,” Michelle wrote. “Their modesty is their own. They own it themselves. I’m not the one telling them what to wear … They have to work it out in their own hearts and do what they feel is right.”

In their 2014 book Growing Up Duggar, Jill, Jessa, Jana, and Jinger Duggar explained that they preferred clothing that was “modest and cute” and that they felt they had “a responsibility not to dress or act in a way that builds up sensual desires in guys.” 

Jinger Duggar has talked about her decision to wear pants

The Duggar daughters followed Michelle’s suggestions regarding modest dress when they lived under their parents’ roof. But as they’ve gotten married and started families of their own, most have loosened up a bit. Jinger Duggar and Jill Duggar frequently wear pants. Jessa Duggar has also been spotted in the supposedly forbidden item of clothing, as has Joy-Anna Duggar.

In a 2019 episode of Counting On, Jinger talked about her decision to wear pants. 

“I know a lot of people have had different speculations or ideas or whatever about conflict between us over the matter of pants,” Jinger said. She explained that her decision to add jeans to her wardrobe didn’t cause a big conflict with her mom and dad. 

“We had conversations before I started wearing pants. I just shared my heart with them about where I saw the Lord leading me,” Jinger shared. She added that Jim Bob and Michelle encouraged her to still be modest in how she dressed and to continue to honor God. 

Michelle says she’s fine with Jinger’s clothing choices 

In the same episode, Michelle said she trusted her children to make their own choices regarding clothing. 

“It’s OK that my kids may have different convictions than me,” she said. “I know that [God is] leading them and that’s the most important thing — their walk, their relationship with God. And they really love the Lord. And I can honestly say I can have no greater joy.”