Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ankle Socks (And Less)

Growing up, as I've mentioned previously, I was modern: I went to public school, wore pants, and spoke to guys. Not that I wasn't frum, mind you. I just wasn't *extremely* frum.

Over Pesach I was at a friend's house when a mutual friend showed up with her kids for some playtime. The said mutual friend was sporting sneakers, ankle socks, and zeh hu. Did that even remotely register with me? Only for me to think that I appreciated her dress code.

I'll save two other tznius stories from Pesach for a separate post, but suffice it to say that I loathe the Brooklyn attitude that if you aren't frum within the narrow confines of what is Yeshivish Brooklyn frumkeit, you're doing something *wrong*. That's a tad sanctimonious, no? Why must everyone fall within a tiny little box? And why is ultra-Yeshivish the only form of yiddishkeit deemed acceptable?

In fact, since I saw Ms. Ankle Socks sporting her bare legs, I must admit the temptation to follow suit. If everyone finds my dress code questionable (COLOUR? ANTI-SACK-OF-POTATOES? HORROR!!!), despite my wardrobe being 100% kosher al pi halacha, I do have a hankering to push the envelope. I'm not going to dress Bais Yaacov-y ever, so everyone else can just start looking the other way, as far as I'm concerned. Ban the "bump", I say. Heck, ban the snood outside the house, while you're at it...

So I'm requesting comments from you all about what you feel the minimum standard of tznius is. How much of the knee must be covered sitting/standing? How much to/past the elbow must the sleeve go? How much hair must be covered after marriage? And, perhaps my personal favourite, where do you hold on the stocking/tights issue? In short, what could a woman be wearing before you start tsk-tsking (not that you should, of course)?

Fire away, people!


  1. Well, since you asked... I believe that the knees must be covered while sitting/standing. (I actually have a post coming re: this). Don't know about elbows, I have heard that there are communities where showing off elbows is acceptable since it's the armpit that's erva. I never checked it out though for accuracy. Re: hair - the width of two fingers is allowed to be shown. But honestly, uncovered hair is the least of offense, imo. I myself loathe stockings, though try to wear them most of the time I am outside. with the close toe shoes and longish skirt, i don't see what a big deal is about going barefoot.

  2. Interestingly, I just learned this weekend that it's supposedly acceptable for one's skirt to go up to one hand width above the knee when seated. As for knees covered, someone needs to inform half the women I see en route to work; all have at least part of their knees showing.

    As for hair, I was told 3 fingers could show. Guess you were told a more stringent opinion. And yes, I learned way back in the day that the lenient opinion is that stockings are optional although preferable, irregardless of skirt length. However, if stockings are omitted, one should at the very least wear socks on their feet.

    Again, that's what I've heard/learned, and it's all open to interpretation/embellishment.

    Thanks for commenting!

  3. I've never heard about the whole knee thing. I was taught - and my experience supports this - that knees must be covered regardless of position - sitting, standing, whatever. Re; hair - your fingers are probably thinner than mine, LOL.

  4. "In short, what could a woman be wearing before you start tsk-tsking"

    I'm a great supporter of New York's law which makes it legal for women to go around topless.