Anyone familiar with 19 Kids and Counting knows that the Duggar family tends to be pretty conservative when it comes to most things, clothing included. It's one of the reasons the men in the family can usually be found wearing pants, while the women are always in skirts. But with Jinger Duggar making headlines multiple times this year by wearing pants, some people are wondering what the Duggars' clothing rules actually are — or if the family only dresses traditionally out of preference alone.
The way mom Michelle Duggar describes it, the family's clothing rules were discussed and decided on early on by the entire family, as the older kids started to grow up and ask about their "decisions to wear modest dress," according a post by Michelle on TLC.
"For us, we felt like we needed to be covered from our neck to below our knees mainly because God talks about the thigh being uncovered, and how that's nakedness and shame," Michelle wrote. With that in mind, the Duggars' rules are to keep thighs and torsos covered up at all times.
According to a blog post shared on the Duggars' blog in 2012, however, the family's clothing preferences aren't exactly rules that are strictly enforced — they're simply guidelines that all of the Duggars choose to follow. "Our parents have always taught us that it is important to be modest, so we have chosen to wear modest swimwear," Jinger, who was 18 at the time, said in the post.
In an interview with People in 2015, Michelle said her daughters had coined the term "modern modest" while shopping. "They can still choose from a wide array of styles, but still stay modest," she said.
The four oldest Duggar daughters also had plenty to say about dressing modestly in their book, Growing Up Duggar. According to Cosmopolitan, the girls explained why they covered up when dressing up:
We do not dress modestly because we are ashamed of the body God has given us; quite the contrary. We realize that our body is a special gift from God and that He intends for it to be shared only with our future husband... We avoid low-cut, cleavage-showing, gaping, or bare-shouldered tops; and when needed, we wear an undershirt. 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.
Not all of the Duggar women wear skirts only, however. In the last year, Jinger has shaken up fans worlds by being photographed in both shorts and pants. And while she hasn't addressed the clothing drama herself, her husband, pastor Jeremy Vuolo, apparently talked about modest clothing during a sermon he gave in December 2016.
"It is not your liberty, women, to wear sensual, seductive clothing that is designed to draw the attention of your brothers," he reportedly said. "But it is your liberty as to whether you dress modestly with a modest pair of pants, or with a skirt, or with a T-shirt, or with a blouse."
There hasn't been too much discussion by the Duggars online about what clothing rules the men need to follow in order to stay modest (or even modern modest), but they generally seem to wear pants and button-up shirts. And whether more of the Duggar girls will follow Jinger's example and start straying into the realm of pants remains to be seen.
The Duggars' clothing rules don't necessarily seem all that easy to follow, but at least the uniform clothing guidelines mean the girls can all share clothes pretty easily without having to worry about wildly differing tastes, right?