Suggestion Box: The LDS Garment Part 2

Dec 02, 12 Suggestion Box: The LDS Garment Part 2

In a previous post regarding the LDS garment, we had a lot of positive affirmation that we weren’t the only ones who recognized various issues with the garment. In fact, it is one of  our most viewed blog posts to date. In the first post I merely outlined some of the problems of the garment without giving any solutions.  I did this because I didn’t want to blur the argument that problems do exist with an argument about change. This post, however, will deal with solutions. If there is a problem, shouldn’t we look to find solutions?  Is the LDS Church even looking for suggestions? Yes, it is. Every distribution center has a suggestion box just for the garment. So, if you come across a solution in this post that would make your garment-wearing experience better (and you live near a distribution center), we invite you to put it in a suggestion box!

First and foremost, I would state the purpose of the garment is NOT TO REGULATE MODESTY! This idea needs to be thrown out the window. To regulate a behavior is to take away free agency and this can be problematic in our Mormon theology.

“Wherefore, men (and women) are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man (and woman). And they are free to choose…” (2 Nephi 2:27)

“And it is given unto them to know good from evil; wherefore they are agents unto themselves…” (Moses 6:56)

“…teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.” (Joseph Smith)

“…for behold, ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free.” (Helaman 14:30)

How do those scriptures align with regulating someone to dress modestly?  Regulation goes against everything we believe in all the way back to the beginnings (choice in the premortal world – choosing a plan that would allow free agency, the choice made by Eve in the garden, etc.). Some would argue that there is in fact a choice, but that the choice is whether or not to attend the temple (by choosing to wear garments or not). That may be true, but at the same time, choosing to wear the garments so you can be temple-worthy completely takes away your choices regarding modesty. I can’t think of another instruction/promise/covenant/commandment that eliminates our choice. Is there a lock on your tv remote that only allows you to watch BYUtv on Sunday?  A person covenants to keep the law of chastity in the temple, but no one is wearing a chastity belt to enforce this covenant. Garments cannot be about modesty. If they were about modesty, then tall women have the advantage over short women because they can (heaven forbid) show more leg. If that idea is hanging around, we need to get rid of it!

Let’s talk about how to improve the garments. Here are our goals: less exposure, better comfort, and better fit. We will state the problems or concerns with the garments from our last post and the solution(s) just below.

Note: I want everyone to know that you can go to a distribution center and get measured/fitted for your garments. While they still follow strict alteration allowances (perhaps depending on the person doing the alterations), I believe this needs to be advertised more! I had no idea you could do this until I posted the last blog.

Women

Problem:  Short/petite women, due to the length of their garments, have to wear longer shorts (or can’t wear shorts at all) than taller women.
Solution:  Create a shorter bottom altogether.

Problem:  While wearing a shirt that has a wider neckline, the garment is often exposed near the collarbone.
Solution:  Replace the lace edges on the top with a plain, flat binding. Reduce the shoulder width of the top.

Problem:  Petite women can’t wear cap sleeves without exposure of the garment because it is wide and slips down on the arm.
Solution:  Remove the sleeve on the top and reduce the shoulder width.

Problem:  Any time a woman bends down, sits, or squats, the top waistband of the garment – if not more – is exposed.
Solution:  Provide an option for a “low-rise” waist for bottoms.

Problem:  Any time a woman reaches for something high her garment is exposed.
Solution:  Make the garment fabric look like any other undershirt so if it is exposed it doesn’t look like anything unique.

Problem:  Pregnant women whose shirts are more fitting around the middle expose the navel marking in the garment.
Solution:  Move the marking to a more discreet location on the top – maybe on the side or closer to the hem or even on the waistband of the bottom garment (or silkscreen!).

Problem:  Bigger women will have a bigger waist, and therefore a longer garment length.
Solution:  Create a shorter bottom.

Problem:  Any form-fitting shirt will reveal the back embroidery of the garment through the shirt.
Solution:  Replace the lace edges with a plain, flat binding.

Problem:  Any form-fitting pants will reveal the embroidery of the hemline of the garment (or just the hemline if there is no embroidery).
Solution:  Create a shorter bottom.

Problem:  Any white shirt will reveal the embroidery around the neck and back.
Solution:  Replace the lace edges with a plain, flat binding.

Problem:  The garment waistband is so skinny it digs into your skin.
Solution:  Create a wider non-band for the band (examples pictured below).

Problem:  When a woman wears a knee-length skirt that is not tight fitting, she will have garment exposure when she walks.
Solution:  Create a shorter bottom.

Problem:  Some tops have bigger armscye (arm hole) causing exposure of the garment.
Solution:  Make the garment fabric look like any other undershirt so if it is exposed it doesn’t look like anything unique.

Problem:  The garment waist is so uncomfortably high it has to be pushed and bunched down (or pulled up to the armpits).
Solution:  Provide an option for a “low-rise” waist.

Men

Problem:  Garment bottoms will crawl up so you have to pull them down almost every time you sit down.
Solution:  Hanes Premium Boxer Briefs have been the only ones that don’t do this to me – replicate this design.

Problem:  The garment crawling up can make things uncomfy around the wedding tackle area.
Solution:  Hanes Premium Boxer Briefs have been the only ones that don’t do this to me – replicate this design.

Problem:  In wearing a white dress shirt, you can see the markings through the shirt.
Solution:  Move the markings on the top to a more discreet location, perhaps on the sides of the garment. You could also silkscreen the markings on which would altogether eliminate the bumps that stand out through the shirt.

Problem:  If you are wearing a thin shirt like a golf shirt, you can see the markings through the shirt.
Solution:  Move the markings on the top to a more discreet location, perhaps on the sides of the garment. You could also silkscreen the markings on which would altogether eliminate the bumps that stand out through the shirt.

Problem:  Short men are left to wear longer shorts or their garments will be exposed at the bottom.
Solution:  Create a shorter bottom.

Problem:  Bigger men will have a bigger waist and therefore a longer length in the garment, usually resulting in exposure.
Solution:  Create a shorter bottom.

Problem:  The garment bottom hemline appears when wearing most pants, especially when sitting with suit pants.
Solution:  Create a shorter bottom which would put the hemline higher on the thigh where the pants are more loose.

Problem:  Sometimes the sleeve can be exposed when wearing a short sleeve.
Solution:  Create a sleeveless top option (see pictures below).

The eternal smile

Problem:  The “eternal smile” top is too low and too thick making it very noticeable.
Solution:  Create different variations of a V-neck and a smaller, more discreet band (see pictures below).

Problem:  Wearing two tops can sometimes make the fit very tight and uncomfortable around the armpits.
Solution:  Create a sleeveless top option.

Problem:  The crew neck is too high. I had a mission companion whose crew neck still showed even when he was wearing a tie!
Solution:  Create different variations of a V-neck or just copy what Hanes, American Apparel, or Calvin Klein has done with their crew necks.

Problem:  The crew neck collar is too wide.
Solution:  Copy designs from Hanes, American Apparel, or Calvin Klein (see pictures below).

Problem:  The crew neck is poor quality and will look like bacon after a couple of washings.
Solution:  Copy designs from Hanes, American Apparel, or Calvin Klein (see pictures below).

Problem:  Material is poor quality and will turn grey and become thin before the garment is even worn out.
Solution:  Copy Hanes, American Apparel, or Calvin Klein fabric (see pictures below).

Cultural issues

Problem:  In Africa, some cultures don’t wear underwear under their dresses for sanitary reasons.
Solution:  Create a short slip that mimics the dresses they wear with the markings.

Problem:  In Africa, some cultures don’t have toilets and garments becomes an issue when squatting.
Solution:  Create a short slip that mimics the dresses they wear with the markings.

 

ILLUSTRATED SOLUTIONS:

Here are different tops listed in this order from top to bottom: LDS garment, Hanes, American Apparel, Calvin Klein

Notice the different neck bands in the image above. The LDS garment is the widest and is wrinkled giving it a “bacon” look. The narrower, better quality necks lay flat. Also, the Calvin Klein top is tagless, making it more comfortable.

 

Featured from top to bottom: LDS garment, American Apparel, Mossimo (Target)

For those who wear the scoop-neck garment top, a V-neck would be the most practical alternative. The American Apparel and Mossimo examples shown above are much thinner than the  scoop-neck garment top.  Also, these two V-necks have different depths, allowing for more flexibility.

 

Sleeveless top for men

To avoid bunching in the armpit, a sleeveless top would be a good option. It would also limit exposure of the garment.

 

From top to bottom: LDS garment, Hanes Premium Boxer Brief

Notice the quality of the waistband in the LDS garment compared to the Hanes bottom. The length of a boxer brief would also make the hemline more discreet. And the tagless feature of the Hanes bottom is more comfortable.

 

Women’s bottoms listed from top to bottom: Calvin Klein and Barely There

These waistbands are made from the same material as the rest of the underwear. Even though the Calvin Klein bottoms have a more narrow waistband, it does not dig into the skin like the LDS garment does. The Barely There bottom features a wider, more comfortable waistband. Both would be great alternatives. Also, notice the leg of the Calvin Klein bottom – this lays flat and is not as noticeable as the LDS garment.

Different options for the women’s top

Conclusion:

Is Ann Romney wearing her garments on the Jay Leno Show? Can you tell? How about this – stop looking! It is none of your business!

So the general complaints about the LDS garments for both men and women are that they do not fit correctly, they are not comfortable, they are made from low-quality fabric, and they are not attractive. Improvements made to address these issues would most certainly cost the LDS Church more money and would therefore raise the cost of the garments. This would be a big issue because the Church already subsidizes some of the cost of the garments to keep the price lower for those who do purchase and wear them. Additionally, the Church is in a little bit of a predicament with cost of production. They have to produce a lot of garments and keep the prices really low so that every member can afford them. When the focus is on creating a budget item of clothing, the quality will be lacking. You get what you pay for.

With a budget in mind, it would be very difficult to initiate all, or perhaps any, of the aforementioned options and improvements. I also think there would always be poor fittings due to the the wide variety of body types and personal preferences regarding fit and fabric.  Maybe it is time to turn back the clock to when members used to buy their garments from retailers like Sears and put in the marks themselves. There are hundreds of different underwear companies that make it their business to find the best fit for all types of bodies – different cuts and  styles – all to ensure that their customers are happy. I personally don’t think the Church could ever compete with that. Maybe each ward or branch could have a lender sewing machine for those that don’t have one so members could put in the marks into their own underwear (“garments”). Maybe they could drop off their underwear at a distribution center and have them marked there for a certain price. Another option would be to have stations at the distribution center where you could sew in the marks yourself or have a silkscreen printing option.

Old LDS Garment Advertisement

In my opinion, choosing your own underwear solves ALL the issues.  The church would save a bunch of money and man power that could be well spent in other places. If members picked their own underwear, would you be able to tell if someone was a Mormon or not? Would you be able to tell if a Mormon has gone to the temple? No and no! How great would that be? Members could choose whatever underwear fit their body the best and put the marks on themselves. What makes a garment a garment? The markings. What helps you remember the promises you made? The markings.

*A special thanks to Martine for helping me with this post!

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Born and raised in Northern California, Paul received his education at Ricks College and BYU with a BA in Spanish, minor in PE Coaching. Paul served his LDS mission during the years 94-96 in Rosario, Argentina. He now runs a skate shop in Provo, UT. He's married and has 4 boys. He is currently inbetween callings ;).

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60 Comments

  1. Stephanie Edwards /

    Loved this! At the beginning I was thinking to myself why not screen print markings on…then I got to the men’s issues and you mentioned screen print. I would wear garments again if the markings were gone or screen printed on the insides and the tops looked and felt like a shade shirt or something similar. I like the boyz fit underwear for women…I know some would not agree with me. No riding up and no hem lines…and they have a comfort band for the waist.
    I for the last year or so have lost weight and feel better about myself by wearing pretty underclothing. Also increased self confidence.
    ( I was disappointed by one thing in your post…no comparison of women’s tops and bottoms) what were you not thinking??? J/K
    Thanks for posting about this touchy subject. Now I need to go read part one.

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    • Paul Jensen /

      I agree, when taking style, comfort and overall looks, there is an even greater argument to update the ladies’ garments than the men’s. It would be an excellent addition to this already compelling assortment of solutions.

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    • Thank you for your comments Stephanie. I put up some new pictures of some women tops. I didn’t even think about doing a comparison!

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      • I recently went to the temple for my endowments and I’m more athletic shaped and never had the hourglass shape. And being short with a high waist and thick waisted, the bottom garments are so hard to accommodate. I still wear them but I’m all for wider waist bands and low rised options.

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  2. Beautifully articulated.

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  3. Great conclusion. Garment problems are among the things that “create a hedge about the law.”

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  4. Paul Jensen /

    There is definitely no reason at all why members who are trusted to wear the garment and promise to wear it couldn’t be trusted to buy underwear that suites them (within certain guidelines, I doubt a thong would be deemed acceptable)and then purchase an iron-on kit from the distribution center to add to them. The garments are nothing more than a reminder of the promises made and the sacred teachings learned in the temple; like a cross to a catholic/protestant or a yarmulke for the Jews. The design has nothing to do with faith or level of testimony, so why not allow the members to use their judgement and apply the markings as they deem appropriate.

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  5. Stephanie Edwards /

    Paul Jensen,

    I am all about fashion and comfort. I may not wear garments anymore, but I have continued to remain faithful to my spouse. I really don’t like how others judge whether you have been to the temple or not. Garment shouldn’t define you, but remind you of the promises you made. A lady at church a little over a year ago asked me WHY I don’t wear them anymore?seriously….

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  6. Stephanie Edwards /

    Paul Barker,

    Lucky for me I was taking a child to the bathroom and the child said “I need to go really bad”. I walked away. Since then I can feel her examining me when I see her at church and out and about shopping. I have purposely have worn shorter cap sleeves and tighter shirts. She treats me like I have some contagious disease. Who’s business is this anyway? It is between me and my Lord. My underwear don’t define who I am my morals and integrity do.

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  7. Paul Jensen /

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  8. Mike Gilchrist /

    I agree that there are a lot of things that could be done to make garments more comfortable and/or fit better. I’ve seen some of your posts dealing with the concept of modesty, and I agree with a lot of your points. I’m not ready to throw out the idea that there is a component of modesty associated with garments, because the wording of the endowment ceremony suggests, in my opinion, that there is an element of modesty associated with the wearing of garments.

    I may be misunderstanding the scriptural justification used to support your argument, but I’m not sure I’m on board with you. it may just be a matter of the semantics of what you mean when you talk about “regulating behavior”. You speak a Latin-based language, so you know the word regulate comes from the Latin word that means “rule”. The fact that there are rules in life doesn’t mean that we are unable to choose to obey or disobey those rules. In fact, I would say that when a law or rule is created, you are actually presented with a choice to obey or disobey the rule (recognizing of course that there may be varying degrees of obedience and disobedience).

    If the city I live in posts a speed limit of 30 mph on a given street, my ability to drive faster than the speed limit is not taken away. No one comes and puts a device in my car that will prevent me from driving over 30 mph. If I choose to drive faster than 30 mph, though, I may get a ticket or suffer some other undesirable consequence.

    If my employer requires me to wear certain safety/protective clothing or other gear at work, no one can force me to wear the protective gear. If I choose not to wear the protective gear, I might get injured, or my employer may fire me, but I still have the choice of whether or not to wear the equipment according to the rules established by my employer. (This is the idea of choosing “liberty and eternal life” or choosing “captivity and death”, described in 2 Nephi 2:27, which you quoted).

    That’s how life is. There are rules and consequences when we break those rules. The fact that a consequence of a choice may be undesirable doesn’t mean that I am forced to make a choice–it means that, if I want to achieve a certain outcome, my range of choices is limited. If I want a temple recommend, I have to choose behaviors that make me worthy to have one. That doesn’t mean I no longer have the option of not paying tithing or breaking the law of chastity–it means that IF I want a temple recommend, I can’t do those things, or I need to repent if I have done those things.

    In the Scriptures you quote here, you’ve left out the parts that talk about the consequences of our the choices we make. In quoting 2 Nephi 2:27, you left out the part that says we are free to choose liberty and eternal life or captivity and death–the idea that our choices have consequences, and we can make choices that we hope will lead us to the outcome we desire. In quoting Moses 6:56, you end the quote before the part that says the Lord has given a law and commandment, and that if people don’t repent when they choose not to obey the commandments, there will be consequences that are less than desirable (v. 57). In Quoting Helamam 14:30, you left out the first part of the verse, which talks about the negative consequences of choosing not to obey God’s commandments.

    Please don’t think I’m saying you left those parts out because you have some hidden agenda or anything like that. I’m just saying that, in my opinion, a discussion of free agency is not complete without mentioning that we are free to make any choice, but we usually don’t get to choose the consequences of our choices except in the sense that we make certain choices because we have been told or have learned from experience that those choices will lead to an outcome we desire.

    In my opinion, commandments are regulations. They are rules or laws, and God wants us to use our agency to obey them because he wants what is best for us.

    I guess what I’m saying is that by choosing to receive my endowment, I chose to wear garments. I’m not saying that the garments produced by the church are ideal. I’m all for people loading the suggestion box if they want to. But if the church doesn’t make any changes to the garments, I would hope that people would be cool with that. I see no problem with recommending changes and improvements to the garments, particularly where fit and comfort are the issue. On the other hand, I think an equally good, if not better option would be to consider the clothes you wear. If you wear shirts that are tight enough that you can see the markings on your garments through them, it makes me wonder if cycling jerseys are your clothing of choice :). Seriously though, lots of people have to wear specific clothing/uniforms that are required by their employers, and they do it so they can keep their jobs. They decide it is more important to be able to make a living than to be able to wear whatever clothes they want. Is it that much to ask of us to make VERY minor changes in our wardrobe in order to keep the covenants we make? I don’t think so, but I know not everyone will agree with me, and I’m ok with that too. Hopefully no one will feel that i’m making this comment in judgment of anyone else for the personal decisions they make. It’s just a point of view that makes sense to me, and I recognize that it may not make sense to others.

    On another note, many of the issues you mention are associated with cotton garments, but are not an issue with other fabrics that are available, at least in my experience. I used to wear cotton garments and they really were uncomfortable. Now I prefer the Corban fabric (my roommates at BYU called them “silkies”). A lot of the problems you mention are not issues with this fabric. They don’t ride up, they don’t bunch up in the “wedding tackle” region. They basically feel like a loose-fitting Under Armour shirt, which I think is super comfy. As far as being able to see the markings through shirts, I guess I don’t wear clothes that are tight enough for this to be an issue because I don’t want to draw attention to my gut :). The only time I have an issue with markings, hem lines, etc. showing would be with dress shirts (of any color). I just pull a regular Hanes undershirt over my garment top. This keeps the markings and the “eternal smile” from showing. The Corban fabric is so thin and light that this doesn’t bother me. I do this through the summer heat of Texas at a job where I wear dress shirts 4-5 days a week, and the three layers of clothing have never been an issue. In fact I think it’s much more comfy than just the cotton garment tops I used to wear. Plus the Corban fabric is practically indestructible–I think they last much longer than the cotton garments or good ol’ tightie whities.

    Wow, that was more of a novel than a comment, but I liked your post–made me think a lot about how I feel about garments. I’d be ok with improvements, but I don’t really have any complaints about the options that are currently available.

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    • Mike thanks for your comment I appreciate the feed back!

      I left out that part of the scripture because it seemed a little dramatic when talking about underwear.

      The speed limit sign example you bring up is a good point. The rule is there but you are still able to make the choice. You can still speed or go as slow as you want. There is nothing that forces you to slow down. You will however have to face the consequences of a ticket or if going slow angry honking people behind you. That choice is still yours to make. This is the way it should be. We should dress respectfully, but that again needs to be our choice. The choice shouldn’t be: “Can I wear this with garments or not” rather “Is this an outfit that is respectful”. I can’t think of any other commandment or instruction that regulates us. My wife could never wear that dress that Ann Romney is wearing just because she is not tall enough and her garments would hang out.

      I don’t think the Lord really wants us being uncomfortable as any sort of sacrifice for him. I don’t think you were saying that, but I wanted to put that out there. Reminds me of the albino guy on the Davinci Code (at an extreme level). At a very extreme level.

      The silkies always seemed to run long on me, so they would hang out of my shorts being the short person I am. Short but very good looking.

      I think some people are fine with the Garment and that is just fine, others however are not. Some of the members in Africa for example, that are nowhere close to our culture, the Garment would need to change dramatically.

      I was at the Killers concert on Friday and it was very easy to spot all the Mormons men that went to the temple. The big ol collar was sticking out of their t-shirt. I did this post because of this issue: We know for the most part, who is wearing the garment and who is not. This is not good.

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    • And thanks again for your comment Mike. I appreciate it a lot.

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  9. Superb post. We all should print this out and stick it in the suggestion box. ;) We should all take a moment and reflect on HOW WEIRD IT IS THAT MORMONS CHECK OUT EACH OTHER’S UNDERWEAR. :) This would restore the emphasis where it should be on ritual clothing and a personal covenant with God.

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  10. Cody Calderwood /

    Mike Gilchrist,

    I’m going to have to agree with Mike with regards to the agency and garments. I don’t feel like garments are necessarily removing our agency with respect to modesty. You have the choice to wear them or not. If you want to wear less “modest” clothing, then you can simply not wear the garments. Many don’t chose that route out of fear of being ostracized and criticized by other members, but I feel that is a bigger problem than the “immodest” clothing.
    I know I’m guilty of noticing when people aren’t wearing their garments. It’s none of my business and I shouldn’t care. And the standards for modesty are constantly changing and are so subjective that it’s not fair to hold everyone to that standard. But the standard of being a judgmental jerk has not changed. We know how the Lord feels about that. I guess what I’m saying is that I need to be MUCH better about not judging girls who are endowed that decide to wear a tank top.
    Life would be much simpler if we did just go back to ankle to wrist garments all the time, even when swimming and playing sports. Then we wouldn’t have to think about what’s modest and what isn’t. I’m not suggesting that, I’m just saying it takes much less thought. Today’s standards and expectations require much more thought and reflection and require us to mature much more with our spiritual understanding. Those who don’t take the time to think or ponder about it end up judging everyone falsely that doesn’t live up to their standards, and that is sad.

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    • I’ll have to agree to disagree… “We should dress respectfully, but that again needs to be our choice. The choice shouldn’t be: “Can I wear this with garments or not” rather “Is this an outfit that is respectful”. I can’t think of any other commandment or instruction that regulates us.” If you look at that picture of Ann Romney, and then ask your wife if she could show that much leg and wear garments, she would say no and then same thing would go with my shorty.

      We should have to think about what we wear. It should be our choice. I remember that movie Far & Away when some gentleman stopped to check out some hot ankles Nicole Kidman’s character was showing… Is covering up more really the solution?

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  11. Martie /

    Paul, I’ve seen those old garment newspaper ads before but something just struck me: here is a woman publicly modeling a “union suit.” They’re not “garments” yet because the marks used to be cut into the fabric in the temple, but you sure wouldn’t see this today! In other words, EVERYONE, LDS or not knew what garments looked like because they were just regular “union suits.” Which it interesting because, at one time, those long garments had a collar, which, according to the seamstress who worked with JS on the design, represented the priesthood.

    By the way, I could have worn the dress Ann Romney’s wearing with the special order garments Beehive clothing made for me in 1998 when I complained that the petite bloomers I needed because of my short rise were too short in the leg. they ordered them 2 whole inches longer but they came 2 inches shorter instead. I was so disgusted with the poor customer service that represented that I wore them anyway and was able to wear mid-tigh shorts with them.

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  12. Danielle /

    One other issue is the cup size in the women’s top. No matter what size top I get, they are notoriously too big and baggy in the breast size, maybe on purpose? Too fitted would be immodest? But the result is bunching up under the bra and super uncomfortable and unattractive. Don’t wear mine much, but that was always an issue and doesn’t seem to matter how well endowed a woman is.

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    • I didn’t mention the breast feeding or wearing a pad either – both are real issues too.

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    • They do have a new spandex top that is more fitted. But in the summer time it is really heavy.

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      • Bridget /

        The spandex top isn’t the best, either. The sleeve is definitely better than any other top, but a bra worn underneath can get itchy with tags/hooks and worn over top the bra just slides right up so half your boobs are in it and half out. Yikes. I’d like to see a top option with a built in bra. Or just screw bras altogether.

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  13. Arlene /

    I was somewhat hesitant to read this post, but after reading it and several of the comments I thought I’d add my two cents. In a nutshell, I kind of think this is a non-issue for me. It’s just not something I’m losing any sleep over. Your point about members noticing the ‘smile’ and whatnot has always seemed benign to me. Although, I see what you’re saying about it being nobody’s business whether or not you’re wearing them. However, I feel that it takes a lot of moxie to choose not to wear them and then flaunt that choice by the clothes you wear and then turn around and demand not to be judged by that choice. Also, I know many women of all shapes and sizes with different financial constraints who manage to clothe themselves respectfully without the issues you mentioned. Some of these things may truly be important to some of the woman in the church and its no skin off my nose if they’re changed, but I won’t be campaigning anytime soon. There’s just too many other things on my plate.

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    • For some they are able to deal with the garments with no issues of comfort or showing the garment. For some it is a big deal. Some don’t mind it and some do. This proves my point that every body is different!

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  14. Every pair of men’s bottoms I buy has the seam to the left of the fly rip open. I hate having to always have holes in my underwear. Because I grew up poor this is a real issue for me. I just threw away 7 pairs all with a hole in the same place. This never happens with store bought boxer briefs which I have resorted to wearing instead. Jockey makes a nice item. Just as modest but way more comfortable and better made.

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  15. Norma Kamai /

    Please make a female top and bottom comparison – I am about to get endowed and I am almost breaking out in hives just thinking about the horror or garments

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    • Norma – I hope it goes well. I’m unclear of what you are requesting, can you clarify?

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    • Tracy /

      Norma….I know exactly how you feel. It’s supposed to be this wonderful day right? And, not that it isn’t, but all I could think of too was the horror of what that meant as the day approached and then arrived. I literally would have panic attacks having to wear them and the way you’re made to feel about them, off and on for a year or two. The love of shopping gets curbed in a big way. It does get better…but it was (and still is) difficult for me. You’re not alone in how you feel.

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  16. Janet Williams /

    I enjoy wearing modest clothing–sleeves and longer dresses/capris. However since I am short, I have a huge problem with the garments showing when I wear mid knee length dresses and raise my arms. In the winter I can wear nylons or tights but in the summer it is too hot. I cant cross my legs in dresses unless I have mid calf dresses/shirts. Luckily, most of my bra straps hold my garments up on my shoulders, but not always, and then I spend the day pulling them up. I usually have the little sleeve tucked up in my bra strap to keep it from slipping down so if it was gone completely it wouldnt be any different. I love wearing garments because they feel good on my skin, but my clothing feels sloppy. I would love to pick out my own underclothing and put on my own marks!

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    • Ditto. I call it the garment shuffle, I’m always ppulling and tucking and checking things. It’s not that I want to wear really revealing clothing I just want stuff that fits and is flattering without G’s popping out everywhere.

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    • Laura Carroll /

      i also like the feel of the garments on my skin…most of the time, anyway… :-) I like the ideas for improvement discussed on this post, and would love to pick out my own undergarments and add my own markings! The extra personal involvement would have great meaning… I consider garments to be a spiritual protection as a reminder of my covenants.

      They can also be a “literal” protection as well!
      They have protected me against chafing and itching caused by other clothing. Stiff or scratchy seams or tags are not as irritating. Also, I had developed several unsightly calluses caused by the constant rubbing of my bra, and within a few months of wearing garments the calluses disappeared, due to the protection of the garment layer between my skin and the bra.

      On the other hand, for me, constant wearing of a double layer of clothing 24/7, (friction, perspiration moisture, lack of air movement?), causes a “sandpaper” effect, with all-over skin sensitivity, dryness, chafing, itching and sometimes peeling. I alternate fabric types, styles and sizes–as well as take a day or night now and then, for a “time out” from the seemingly “permanent coverage”…(and alternate with laundry detergents, softeners, etc…) It is very inconvenient…simplicity does not exist in my undergarment life…

      Does anyone else seem to have this trouble with all-over skin sensitivity perhaps caused by constant double-layer clothing? As they say, if we were meant to wear clothes, wouldn’t we have been born that way? ;-)

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  17. Tracy /

    I love you. Thank you for posting this! I know there are many who agree. And you know, not EVERYTHING is about the letter of the law right? What about the Spirit of the Law? I’m just glad to know I’m not alone out there in my feelings and beliefs about this particular issue. When I first converted and had to start wearing these things, I LITERALLY had panic attacks off and on about them for the first year or two cuz of the way you’re made to feel (about them….and IN them). Course, I might be extreme in having had those feelings…but I had them nonetheless.

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  18. Claire /

    I remember going to the temple, receiving my endowments, and then having to slog through my (already modest, I thought) wardrobe to root out dresses or skirts that showed garment hems or shoulders. Some dresses that were perfectly modest I had to hand down to my sister, simply because my garments would show if I raised my arms.

    I’ve never been one to look for an “eternal smile” in my male counterparts, but I will say this: Seeing men who wear only a button-up shirt and nothing underneath looks less professional and clean to me than seeing a white shirt (garment or otherwise) underneath. I don’t look for the markings, but it just looks better to me than, say, an imprint of matted chest hair. :-)

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  19. Thank you for site it’s good that I am not alone with issue about the garment. I just want to add some suggestions too. I personally have problems with the garments it very hot weather, just wearing a second layer makes is so unbearable, I feel we need much lighter cotton one for hot coins as I really to not like the silk ones which deteriorate after a few hot washes. Also I find the African reasons for changing the garments a bit ridiculous sorry. As an African myself I feel the problem with garmets is the cost and maintenance of the garment ,i something that has to be worn everday and nght for the rest of ones life , henc I think poeple from poor communitys should have it for free. Otherwise we will have people wearing torn and worn tattered garments

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  20. Tracey /

    I honestly felt sick in the stomach reading this. Absolutely ridiculous!! I’m a 25 year old female, I understand completely how ‘inconvenient’ the garment might be, but please, there is a lot of things we covenant to do that may also seem inconvenient. But to me, it is completely prideful to question the Lord in anything like this – if anything needs to change, we do. Enough said.

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    • Well did The Lord design the original garments? If so why did they change? Why do they keep on changing? Why does beehive clothing have a suggestion box? Would that be for suggestions to help improve the garment?

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  21. Gah! Thank you for writing this and for opening this discussion in general! The concept of the garment is an absolute blessing, but the execution of the design still needs a lot of help. The main issue I’ve run into with my garments wasn’t addressed in this or your previous post about changing the garment’s design, so I wanted to bring it up in case anyone has something to say about it. Over the years, I’ve noticed that the seams and hems of my garment bottoms are completely inconsistent. Among pairs of the same size and style, some seams and hems are comfortably stretchy and some have NO stretch at all, which cuts into me around the waist and leg openings, which hurts. I don’t know if it’s a matter of thread elasticity or something more complicated related to sewing machine settings, but I do know it makes me grumpy sometimes.
    Oh, and one more thing that may need to be considered – A shorter leg design may not be the solution to some of the problems discussed UNLESS the fabric is extremely flexible and the thread used in the hem is much more elastic than what is used now. Otherwise anyone with anything but rock-hard thighs would have what I call the “mid-thigh tourniquet effect” going on.
    Also, thank you for mentioning that distribution centers have suggestion boxes! I had no idea. I will definitely be taking advantage of that.

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  22. While I agree with the premise that there are some changes that can, and arguably should, be made, some of your points are confusing to me. The biggest problem I have with much of what you say is it doesn’t seem like you really understand garments and all of the symbolism. I’m assuming since you are talking about them, you have been through the temple. If this is true, then you should know that there is a purpose to the placement of each of the marks. Asking for them to be moved shows that you don’t get this. Maybe now that the cloth clothes are made out of has become thinner silk screening or something similar would be a good idea, but not moving the marks. They symbolism of the marks also means that the garment will never be shorter than knee length.

    As for the things that are not of religious significance…I can mostly only speak the problems with women’s garments.

    Problems I have:
    Some of them have a waist band that is WAY too high (though they have made the band wider which is awesome) and is uncomfortable. They should all go as high as the cotton and cotton/poly, maybe a little lower (they hit me about at the same point as the waistband of my jeans). If they want to compensate with longer tops so we’re not all baring our midriffs, fine with me. We shouldn’t be baring our midriffs anyway. The reason that they started making two pieces was for functionality, not fashion…two pieces should cover as much skin as the one pieces.

    The excess fabric on the sleeves of some of them is also bizarre to me. I don’t have an issue with having a cap sleeve, I just wish they were all as formfitting as the carinessa.

    Things I don’t understand from your post:
    The need for low rise garments so they don’t show when I squat? Has plumber butt come into style and I missed it? I like that with my garment top tucked in, I never show my butt crack when I squat.

    The tops need to look more like undershirt? Um, they do, with the possible exception of the silkies. I tuck them into my pants/skirt and they just look like an undershirt.

    You can see the hem when you wear tight pants, so make the hem shorter? You would still be able to see the hem…it would just be higher up your leg. The better solution if you want to avoid the line is to buy the calf length ones.

    I’m a little confused about the problem of wearing them with a flowy skirt. This has never been a problem for me, and on the off chance someone does see them, they think I’m wearing spanks.

    The lace issue. I agree, the lace is silly. But you act like it is something that the GAs are forcing upon women. It exists because at some point women asked for them to be made more feminine. I’d be fine with seeing it disappear, though I don’t think it would solve many problems, except that it is a bit itchy.

    As far as the marks showing…if you wear your bra over your top this isn’t a problem

    As for more petite women needing smaller garments, and thus your desire to make them shorter…they come in petite. Both the tops and the bottoms. If the petite bottoms are still too long, you can special order them…this process should be easier, but it does exist. As for the problem of the sleeves slipping off of the shoulder…these women are likely wearing the wrong size. Try getting the petite or going down a size or two or three. Wearing a size in one fabric does not mean that it the size you wear in another one. You’d be surprised how many women are simply wearing the wrong size garment. If that still does not work, ask about special ordering them.

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    • Anonymous /

      As a petite woman who lives in the middle east where it would be virtually impossible to special order garments, I would like to reply to some of your comments. I have spent hundreds upon hundreds of dollars trying every fit and fabric and size of garments and to make a long story short I am absolutely miserable in them. The waist often comes up to my rib cage and comes in way too much at the middle, the knees are past the bottom of my knee cap, I buy the carinessa tops because every other fabric the standard d-cup is horridly baggy on my small chest, but if I wear my bra over the carinessa top, if I lift my arms AT ALL my bra slides up over my chest! So I have to wear an undershirt so I’m not flashing the symbols all the time which results in my having to wear 4 layers (garment, bra, undershirt, shirt) on most days. Did I mention I live in the middle east and it gets to be 120 degrees here, with 80-90% humidity on some days? Plus it always just plain makes me sad when I see taller women or women with larger chests wearing things I just couldn’t wear because the garments fit petite women so differently. When I got married I gave a bunch of clothes to my older sister, who could wear them ALL with her garments, but I couldn’t because of our different shapes. None of the clothes were in any way immodest, but how is that OK? It’s just sad.

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      • I totally get what you’re saying about the waist issues with the garments. They make the width of the legs and the length of the butt completely out of proportion to the waist. If you get the right fit in the legs the waist is soooo tight. if you get the right in the waist the legs are enormous. The waist tends to come up to my rib cage unless I roll down 3 times, but it constantly slips. I recently bought a petite drilux top and I am 5’2 with average proportions and 115lbs and the top literallly comes past my rear end when I pull it down. My mom bought a tall on the same day in the same size (32) and hers is 3 inches shorter? Not much consistency and seems like mislabeling too. It also seems like the drisilk snags super easily. I am pretty miserable in the garments as well and I REALLY think it’s super important for the church to implement a low rise option for the women’s bottoms. This issue is major as I think it is the one little thing that deters A LOT of younger worthy women from going to the temple. We see our moms and dads garments in the wash and I can imagine not many want to feel like an old lady in their underwear. And making a low rise would make a huge difference in the way I feel in the garments. All the other stuff to me is minor and I can get around depending on what I wear. But the rise on the bottoms is just imperative to me.

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    • The issue of why modern women want lower rise is because having a tight binding waist that comes up under your breasts is not comfortable in ANY sense. These garments are totally out of proportion and are a DIRECT deterrent to the temple for YOUNG women who are worthy. Modern women want modern underclothing. It has nothing to do with showing plumber crack. I don’t know anyone with a foot long butt crack who wears the smaller sizes of garments, so why are they made that long? It should not be uncomfortable to remember your covenants. BOTTOM LINE. And that is the point of the article. You are just one person who doesn’t have issues. The greater majority do have issues with them.

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  23. YES YES YES!!!!!!!
    Please how can we make your suggestions happen!?!?
    100% on board down here in Australia and plenty more of us too!!!

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  24. YES YES YES!!!!!!!
    Please how can we make your suggestions happen!?!?
    100% on board down here in Australia and plenty more of us too!!!
    I am an Aussie size 10-12 and get aggravated at the poor quality and design of the garments. Nothing is more irritating then being uncomfortable. I know for a fact that my mother on the other end of sizing at size 22 Aussie is in the same boat.
    I have some designs and pictures I would love to email you if this is an actual possibility of creating a LATTER DAY garment for us LATTER DAY SAINTS!!!!!!

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  25. Kevin /

    This is an excellent article. To your knowledge would any current church policy prevent an individual member from purchasing their own underwear and putting the markings in on their own? I’m thinking of “going rogue” in this sense. Another valid point in the fluidity of the garment issue is the policy for military, police, and fire fighters. These professions are allowed to purchase commercial underwear and send them in to be marked (for a fee). See https://www.lds.org/bc/content/shared/content/english/pdf/callings/military/military-garment-special-orders.pdf?lang=eng

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    • Only in the handbook, which 99% of members don’t have. But when it comes to something so personal as underwear – I say that is all up to you. In the temple I would wear the standard issue.

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  26. Laurie /

    And you know what the kicker is?? I just phoned to have my custom garment bottoms ordered with a lower rise and said they WON”T do it anymore! They said too many people were asking. HOW is that rational thinking??? Oh if TOO many people want this we need to take away the option???!!! I’m baffled. Totally baffled and in tears because now I’m stuck with garment bottoms that go up to my armpits.

    Your point about garments not regulating modesty really did help me though. I’ve often had that negative attitude towards them. But seeing as how you wrote this years ago and we seem to only be moving backwards with designs I feel sad and at a loss as to what to do. Living in Arizona with 40 layers in the summer is hell. It just is.

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    • Thanks for the information… that is very odd indeed. Hopefully there will be more changes in the future.

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    • Rachael /

      I completely agree with Laurie! I am 5 2′ and 115 pounds and purchased new garments this afternoon. I bought the EXACT same style as last time and without showing you all a picture of my garments, they are literally 2 FULL inches longer in the rise!!! I am so ticked off right now! I have to roll them 4 times to sit on my natural waist! This has nothing to do with modesty folks and yes, I am modest! I buy tall tops to make sure my g’s are always tucked together. Garments are uncomfortable as it is and the fact that they have continually made them longer and more ridiculous over the last two years is so beyond me! I CANNOT BELIEVE that you cannot special order the bottoms anymore! HELLO GARMENT DESIGNERS…WHY WOULDN”T YOU ADJUST THE RISE SHORTER, INSTEAD, YOU MAKE THEM LONGER?!!! We are not trying to dress like street walkers here and we are not trying to undermine the sacredness or the point of the garment. We just want to be comfortable! I itch, get rashes, sweat profusely, get bunches of material in places it shouldn’t be and feel guilty when I take them off out of sheer desire just to be comfortable or cool (in the temperature sense of the word;). I despise that I regularly “notice” who is and is not wearing their garments. Garments should be sacred and not for the whole world to notice anyways. I could go on for 10 pages but I won’t because some things are better left unsaid. However, I love the church, love the gospel, love the Savior. I am modest and worthy to enter the Temple, I lOVE the Temple, I sustain my leaders, pay tithing, magnify my callings etc. etc. but garments are seriously the thorn in my side and I live with the thorn because, well duh.

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  27. Alyssa /

    I’m so glad I found this website! I have never had much of an issue with the garment. I didn’t like them when I first wore them 6 years ago and they have made amazing changes since then (carinessa!!) that made them even better. But the list of issues with the garment is lengthy. I would say my biggest worry with the garment is that we can see them. Unless I want to wear snow pants and a parka it’s pretty easy to see garment lines wearing regular clothes. I believe this is the number one issue with the garment. I believe it is harmful to judge each other based on seeing (or not seeing) garment lines. Echoing some other comments, I hate that I look for garment lines on people and I hate people knowing about covenants I have made based on what I’m wearing. If the church wants us to wear saris (sp?) then I will wear one. But don’t have us wear something that is supposed to not be seen when everyone can see it. Thanks for your article.

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  28. Lola /

    Wow this is the best article! It sums up everything I’ve thought perfectly. I absolutely hate that garments are so obvious and people are so quick to judge you based on them. It is so personal and it’s your freaking UNDERWEAR! Garments are the bane of my existence. I hate wearing them because of how uncomfortable they are but I do because of the promises I’ve made. If I had a choice I would chose comfortable underwear that fit MY body and were modest. I don’t want to dress like a hoochie I just want to be comfortable and not have to be adjusting myself all the live long day! this is a strong subject to me obviously. :)Thank you for writing this. Can I forward it to their suggestion box? I really wish they would move into the 21st century.

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  29. Great article, though I think I have a better idea.

    The purpose of garments is to help us remember, yet instead of asking whether we remember our temple covenants, we ask whether we wear garments.

    How about this for a solution:

    We don’t ask whether we wear garments, instead the question is “do you remember and honor your temple covenants” and it’s up to the member to decide a good way to remember and honor ‘em.

    Any discussion of garments and modesty is a joke, in my opinion. We should be able to define what’s modest and immodest ourselves. There is no discussion in the Book of Mormon about revealing clothing, though there is *plenty* about expensive clothing. Interesting that the book written for our very day isn’t too worried about revealing clothing on women. It’s because the prophets of old weren’t controlling sexists like many of ours have been after Joseph died.

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    • Sorry but spell casting doesn’t sound in accordance with LDS beliefs. We usaually pray to heavenly father when we want our husbands to come back or we have other issues.

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