If you spend any time on the modest fashion side of the internet, you're sure to come across the term "Modest is Hottest". It rhymes, it's cute, it seems like a harmless way of promoting modest fashion and assigning it value. Maybe it isn't harmful, but is it helpful?
I've never liked the term. I know the point is to draw some positive attention to modest fashion, but even beyond its irreverence, it seems inconsistent with modesty. Is hotness the point of modesty? Me thinks not. Modesty should not mean dressing badly. It should not mean looking frumpy. It most certainly should not mean making oneself less attractive. But it also shouldn't be about hotness.
Hotness connotes sexiness and attractiveness to the opposite sex. An attempt at hotness is an attempt to draw attention to one's body. I don't think that's what modest fashion is or should be about. It's not that modest fashion is antithetical to hotness -- I'm certain that my husband finds me "hot" regardless of how covered up I am. Rather, modest fashion is simply not about whether or not I look hot. To me, the point of dressing modestly isn't whether or not I'm hot; it simply has nothing to do with my level of hotness. It's neither Hottest or Hot-less, if you will. They are unrelated factors.
I dress modestly to create a boundary between me and the rest of the world. I dress modestly because my body is sacred and I protect that sacredness by keeping it private. I dress modestly to set myself apart and I dress modestly to express my inclusion in the frum community. I dress modestly to communicate my bond with Hashem and my commitment to His mitzvos.
It has zero to do with hotness. It has nothing to do with men. The point isn't that I try to avoid looking hot, the point is that where I lie on the hotness spectrum doesn't matter. Hotness is is simply not part of the equation.
And to me, that's actually what modesty is about. It's about forging a connection with Hashem by following His rules. It's about dressing for myself in a way that doesn't take men into account. It's about saying that I don't care whether or not you think I'm hot.
That's my modesty. What's yours?