The Real Reason the Duggar Family Follows a Dress Code

We remember the Duggars back when 19 Kids and Counting was the newest and boldest show on TLC. Now, the Duggars are growing up fast — and many of the oldest members of the family have courted and married into families of their own. While some of them have grown to be more modern as the years have passed, we recall when the Duggar dress code from their younger years was a major deal. And for the kids still living under Jim Bob and Michelle’s roof, we’re sure they’re still abiding by those strict rules to this day.

So, what is their dress code, and why do they follow it? Here’s what we know.

The Duggar women are to wear long skirts or dresses

The Duggar family has been open with their rules from the very beginning — and their dress code states that the woman are to only wear long skirts or dresses that go down past the knee, Romper notes. Their necks are supposed to be covered by their clothing, too. As for the men, they’re to dress modestly in pants.

While many other kids may reject this notion of modesty, the Duggar children never seemed to mind their parent’s rules. In their book, Growing Up Duggar, Cosmopolitan notes they talked positively about the way they presented themselves. “We avoid low-cut, cleavage-showing, gaping, or bare-shouldered tops; and when needed, we wear an undershirt,” the Duggar women wrote. “We try to make it a habit to always cover the top of our shirt with our hand when we bend over. We don’t want to play the peekaboo game with our neckline.”

Michelle chose a modest dress code because it’s her personal preference

Michelle Duggar wasn’t always one for over-the-top modesty. In fact, Cosmopolitan notes in the book Growing Up Duggar, the family noted how Michelle was actually a cheerleader in her younger years — and yes, she wore a short skirt while participating in the sport. Over the years, she changed her tune, however, after she welcomed religion into her life.

In Touch Weekly notes she explained to TLC that after she was “born again” and “became a Christian,” she gave her wardrobe a total overhaul. “I felt like the Lord was saying to me, ‘You know what, you probably shouldn’t be wearing that. It’s a little bit low cut, or a little bit too high, you know?’ I just really felt like I needed to obey what God was saying to me first and understand later.” After that, Michelle went through her closet and got rid of everything she felt wasn’t modest. She headed toward her local thrift stores to find skirts and dresses she deemed more appropriate. Later, she then passed this idea on to her children, as we’ve seen on TV.

The Duggars fear a modern dress code would ‘defraud’ them

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So, what are the Duggars so afraid of when it comes to modern dress? In Touch Weekly notes the family is afraid of “defrauding,” which is a term coined by the Duggars themselves. As Michelle said, “My kids are taught the definition of defrauding as stirring up desires that cannot be righteously fulfilled. We don’t believe in defrauding others by the way we dress.”

It seems some of the Duggars have grown more lax when it comes to the way they dress, however. We can’t forget when Jinger and Jill both caused a stir when they were seen wearing pants. And Jinger has even taken it a step further by wearing skirts and dresses that are above the knee. The rules state that once the women are married, they can dress how they want as long as it’s deemed appropriate by their husbands, so it appears Jinger’s husband, Jeremy, may be more lax than the others.

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