Ladies, Your Clothes Are Talking by Zana Reichen

Ladies, Your Clothes Are Talking by Zana Reichen August 2, 2017

CulpeperBaptistCross posted from Bruce Gerencser’s blog – The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser

Editor’s note: Bruce reveals just how insanely strict and silly the modesty beliefs that the Independent Fundamental Baptist preaches. These quotes come straight from one of the teachers at Hyles-Anderson College of Hammond, Indiana.

Ladies, your clothes are talking. I hope I can help you know what they are saying. Proverbs 7:10 says, “And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot and subtil of heart.” Quite simply, a harlot wears clothing that purposely draws attention to her body, especially certain areas of her body -bust, legs and backside.


Before I comment on the immodest clothing some women wear, I would like to point out one example that is too familiar to all of us. That example is the Christian woman who appears this way far too often: t-shirt not tucked in, jean skirt or old, casual, yet comfortable skirt, socks and tennis shoes. There may even be a run in her hose. Most likely her hair is pulled back in a ponytail, if given any attention at all. You ask, “If she is modest, what is wrong with that?” My answer is, “Nothing, if she is planning to clean out the closet or go hiking with her kids.”

1. Too many Christian women bring criticism to Christianity because they look sloppy in their appearance.

When they dress this way frequently, they are giving off the message-“I don’t care how I look.” Of course, as daughters of the King, we want to look our best.

2. The tight-fitting garment.

The following is a way to know if a garment fits too tight on top. If your garment cups under the bustline or around the bustline, it is too tight. You can test this in any full-length mirror. You will be surprised at what you see. If your garment cups your bustline as described, you are giving off this message-“Look at my bust.”

3. The too-sheer garment.

The way to know if your garment is too sheer is to see if your undergarment straps (bra and slip straps) can be seen through your outer garments. If they are visible, this could cause thoughts in the mind of a man that you really do not intend. The message your clothes are giving if too sheer is-“Look at my undergarments.”


4. The skirt or dress with a slit.

We all know there is rarely a time when we can purchase a garment with a slit and find that it is already sewn for us to meet our Christian standards. Perhaps you are thinking, “What’s the harm of a few slits? I wear skirts and dresses. That in itself is a big change for me!”

May I give you a good rule of thumb which will answer the above question. A good rule is that your slit should be no higher than two inches from the floor when in an upright kneeling position. Anything higher than that reveals your thigh. Remember, the harlot reveals her merchandise to drum up business. If your slit is higher than the standard given above, you are giving off this message-“Look at my legs.”

5. The too-low neckline.

It is quite frustrating sometimes to shop for a garment which has a high enough neckline to meet our standards. So, many times we settle for what the stores have to offer because we want to stay in style. We can be in style in a modest way without lowering ourselves to the world’s standards.

Find the “U” right below your neck and at the top middle of your collar bone. Now, place your four fingers closed together at the bottom of your “U.” If skin is showing below your four fingers, your garment is too low. Anything worn with a low neckline draws attention to your chest area. Just remember this: “The lower the neckline, the more curious a man gets.” Surely we do not want to put men in that position. I believe many Christian women are ignorantly doing this. When your neckline is too low, you are giving off this message-“Look at my bust.”

6. The tight skirt or tight-fitting part of a dress below the waist.

The following test will determine if your garment fits too tightly below the waist. Stand in front of a full-length mirror. If your skirt cups under your backside or abdomen, it is too tight. One thing I have seen that is a turn-off and quite unbecoming is panty lines showing through a skirt. If the skirt would have been looser, I would not have had to view this, and neither would our Christian men who are trying hard to keep their minds clean. Also, we want to avoid being sensuous. When your skirt is too tight, you are giving off this message-“Look at my backside.”


It would seem that there are only two reasons why women dress immodestly:

1. A mind problem.

Women do not think through how they look each day in front of a full-length mirror. They should take a few seconds each morning to quickly check the bustline, backside, slits, etc.

2. A heart problem.

Women are now aware of the messages they give when they wear certain types of garments or wear them are an immodest way. Some women continue to wear immodest apparel or try to hide behind excuses or simply know better but do it anyway. They need to be reminded that the harlot was “subtil of heart.” “Subtil” means “cunning” or “clever.” In other words, she knew exactly what she was doing. Christian women need not be “subtil of heart.”

— Zana Reichen, Instructor at Hyles-Anderson College, Crown Point, Indiana, Quote found in A Christian Lady’s Dress and Appearance by Art Kohl

moreRead more by Bruce Gerencser

The Preacher and His TV


Spiritual Abuse Survivor Blogs Network member, Bruce Gerencser blogs at The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser He writes from the unique perspective of having been a pastor for many years and having seen it all in churches. His journey out of being a true believer and pastor has been an interesting and informative one.

Bruce Gerencser spent 25 years pastoring Independent Fundamental Baptist, Southern Baptist, and Christian Union churches in Ohio, Michigan, and Texas. Bruce attended Midwestern Baptist College in Pontiac, Michigan. He is a writer and operates The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser blog. Bruce lives in NW Ohio with his wife of 35 years. They have six children, and eleven grandchildren.

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  • Jezebel’sOlderSister

    Why are men so weak? It seems that all major religions point at the same thing — men cannot keep their libidos under control, so women must pay the penalty for this. From covering the hair (even with a wig, like many Jewish women do) to the full birqua. I once attended a Greek Orthodox funeral at a Monastery. Women had to wear veils/scarves over their hair, wear dark, somber colors, full length sleeves, long skirts, dark stockings and closed shoes. (When you consider that this was in Arizona, in the middle of the day, in the middle of summer, this was pretty oppressive.) I was told that this garb was necessary so as not to disturb the monks of the order and give them evil thoughts.

  • Oooh, just what women needed. Another lecture on modest dress.

  • Nightshade

    Yeah, right.
    I wear mostly jeans and t-shirts, not tucked in *gaspshock* and yes, my clothes are talking. They’re saying ‘This person is trying to be presentable in public, but has priorities that don’t include worrying about what other people think.’ I hope what I wear doesn’t just talk, but screams that message to everyone! Someone thinks my t-shirt is sloppy? Sexy? (gods only know why anyone would think that my larger than necessary Dr. Who or Lovecraft shirts are sexy, but there’s no accounting for taste…) Draws attention to my chest? Hey, last time I checked breasts are standard equipment on the female body!
    Now that I’m out of ‘the church’ I put a lot less thought into what I wear, and I’m much more comfortable, in every sense of the word. Mr. I’m-So-Worried-About-Your-Clothes misses one reason that a woman might wear something he thinks is immodest: We simply don’t give a damn anymore.

  • Erik1986

    I’m a horseback rider. I ride English (dressage, used to jump), so I don’t wear jeans, I wear breeches. And the style these days for breeches is…um….most definitely form fitting. I refer to one pair of show breeches as my “I can’t believe it’s a girdle” breeches. Now, obviously everything is covered up, and despite the pictures of flared breeches from the early to mid-20th century, snug fitting pants are much more comfortable for riding than baggy ones. Wonder what the preacher thinks of those? Or is a woman actually STRADDLING a horse too deviant for his beliefs? ROFLOL

  • AFo

    I’ve been in a tank top and shorts all day because it’s humid as hell and I’m trying to be comfortable. When I was out in town before…nothing happened. I was able to go about my business without getting swallowed up by hellfire, or struck by lightning, or even catcalled. I didn’t need to be covered from the neck down, or in a ballgown, to command minimum respect from the people around me.

    I really feel for these QF women. They’re constantly bombarded with the message that nothing they do is good enough, and if their family isn’t prospering, it’s their fault. Now it’s not enough to dress to whatever ridiculous “modesty” standards their church has decided on, they have to look photo-ready at all times too, whereas the rest of us can just throw on a shirt and pants and call it done if that’s all we feel like.

  • Feline Von Cool

    What decade/century were these directives written?
    Also, does seeing panty lines or bra straps really turn men on? lol

  • zizania

    Well, you slutty slut slut! Why are you not riding sidesaddle in a long skirt? (I miss my horses.)

  • Rob Tanner

    This nut thinks that Christian women bring criticism to the faith because they look sloppy? Never, not ever, have I heard anyone complain about Christianity because of sloppy women. Hypocrisy, fanaticism, and judging others, yes. Sloppiness, no.

  • Zeldacat

    I own exactly one skirt, which was a gift. I haven’t worn it in a long time, because I don’t have a shirt right now that goes with it, and because I don’t like wearing skirts! I wear pants to work. I suppose all of those things will send me to hell. Oh well, the company will be a lot better!

  • Tuna

    Well, my top fails the neckline test (which looks pretty stupid in the mirror) and my skirt shows my knees and has a slit. Whatever. It’s warm here. I wear running shoes with everything and I’ve never tucked a t-shirt in. Ever.

  • lady_black

    Sorry, fella! I’d need a two-person tent for anyone not to notice that I have a bosom, and ESPECIALLY if I tuck my shirt in at the waist. Anything loose enough NOT to cup around my breasts would fail your neckline test.
    So, I sincerely apologize for having tits, but I have a suggestion for you. If you don’t like it, DON’T FUCKING LOOK. I’ll bet the mortgage you’re no Brad Pitt yourself!

  • lady_black

    I’d like to know what he has against ponytails. My butt-length hair is always in a ponytail, because that way, it’s not in my way. I have other things to do more important than sitting around hoping some Christian male admires me. UGH!

  • lady_black

    Maybe, if they are 12.

  • Tawreos

    At what point do men have to take responsibility for anything? The only way I am going to judge what a woman is wearing is if it is inappropriate for the occasion, or it just isn’t right for her.

    Who tucks in a t-shirt on a regular basis?

  • lady_black

    I do.

  • lady_black

    We could all just wear a burkah. But he would probably consider that sloppy. So, you just can’t win, or apparently even wear clothing that fits.

  • lady_black

    The last time I wore a dress, was to my brother’s funeral in 2011. And I believe I wore most of my long dresses exclusively when I had a shingles outbreak on my right thigh the following year, because I couldn’t bear the pain of anything touching my shingles. But then again, during the outbreak I wasn’t very active, either, because moving around meant clothing might rub against my shingles.
    In typical life, I wear jeans and pull-over tops (including t-shirts) and sneakers or flip-flops. When working, nursing scrubs, and nursing shoes which are sneaker-like.

  • lady_black

    Bonus points for the lecturer not knowing what the fuck he’s talking about, or how women’s clothing is sized.
    There is no such thing as a shirt loose enough not to cup the bosom of a well-endowed (anything over B cup, which is average) woman, that will also fit in the shoulders, neckline, sleeve openings, and not look like she’s trying to tuck a single bed top-sheet into her waist, the way he likes it.
    I mean, not counting a full-body, head to foot burkah. But he’d probably think that looks “sloppy” because you can’t tuck it in, and besides, her hair could be a TOTAL mess underneath, or worse, pulled back in a ponytail!/sarcasm
    Someone needs to tell him “Seriously, dude… piss off!”

  • Tawreos

    That’s just weird, but to each their own =)

  • nmgirl

    i want to know who wears full slips anymore. That went out with the girdle.

  • B.A.

    Orthodox Jewish women wear wigs,but the middle-of-the-road types,like me,my mom and sister do not. Fortunately.

  • nmgirl

    I even picked up single men I didn’t know (Uber) and lived to tell.

  • B.A.

    I go to the pool on weekends in *gasp!* a one-piece swimsuit And the sky doesn’t fall.

  • B.A.

    And he’s probably virulently anti-Muslim. These types are.

  • Chiropter

    So I need to be attractive, but not too attractive.
    I need to look like a woman, but not let anyone know I have a female body.
    I need to wear wildly unflattering clothing, but still look pretty for Jesus.
    I’m supposed to attract a Christian man to marry, but must signal my total unavailability with my clothes.
    If I dare to deviate from this impossible, contradictory standard, then I am sinning and causing others to sin as well, thereby potentially condemning all of us to eternal torture.
    All this because I committed the unforgivable crime of existing in a female body.

    Just… no.

  • lady_black

    It’s just me. I like the look of a tucked-in shirt.

  • Emersonian

    And here I thought Crown Point’s only claim to fame was John Dillinger’s jailbreak!

  • Aimee Shulman

    “Be attractive, because otherwise you shame the church by looking frumpy! But also, don’t be attractive, because that makes you shame the church by looking like a shameful WHORE! And just so you know, it’s a SIN to have breasts and butt cheeks that can’t be completely obscured at all times. Only EVIL SLUTS have breasts and butt cheeks that can’t be completely obscured at all times. Also, how DARE you have legs? Only SKANKS have LEGS! If you aren’t spending at least an hour every day shaming yourself for daring to have a corporeal body, which FORCES men to imagine having sex with you every time they notice your gender, and trying desperately to completely conceal every bit of it that might hint at your having a gender, you’re LITERALLY FORCING men to sin just by EXISTING and you should be ASHAMED of your terrible horrible no good very bad self!”

    I have a large chest which can’t be concealed even in clothing that’s too large for me. It sticks out too far both in front and to either side. I also have a bit of a bubble butt. Misogynistic garbage like this was constantly being forced down my throat when I was growing up and mere words cannot express the utter depths of self-loathing it instilled in teenage me. I literally COULD NOT hide my physical femaleness, and despite being the virgin-est virgin that ever virgined I felt filthy, as if I was “advertising” something I didn’t want to advertise, every time I thought about it. I remember doing just what this creep recommends—standing in front of the mirror for a long time every time I was going out of the house, trying to figure out how I could best disguise my shape, and hating myself for having what I thought to myself was a “slutty body.”

    I’m nearly 30 and I still have moments when I fall back into that way of thinking about myself. It’s incredibly hard to overcome the conditioning to believe that your body is a vile source of sin and shame and needs to be hidden so you don’t cause every man who sees you to actively imagine using you as a sex toy. FUCK this disgusting creep, and FUCK every gross man who refuses to “make a covenant with his eyes not to look lustfully at a girl” because he has decided that any time he feels tingly in his pants, it’s because some EVIL WHORE FEMALE is deliberately trying to whore it up in order to trick him into sinning on purpose.

  • Aimee Shulman

    Well, he clearly spends every moment of the day obsessing over how women look and dress and judging them according to whether or not it fits his personal preferences, so OBVIOUSLY that’s how everyone else behaves as far as he’s concerned

  • Aimee Shulman

    It can be good for making a clean line under some styles of dress. I have one for wearing under a few of my dresses that are long and semi-fitted, where I want to make sure my undergarments don’t move around and make funky lines under my clothes

  • *glances at collection of tee-shirts with funny things on them*

    Okay, technically, he’s right… but only technically.

    And my shirts tend to be more “You read my shirt; that’s enough social interaction for one day” and less “Check me out”.

  • That’s confusing.

  • Nos482

    Ladies, your clothes are talking.

    If the majority of women I know is any indication, it’s something along the lines of:
    “psst… I make your butt look really big. Ask your partner if you don’t believe me.”

  • Freodin

    You don’t think a Dr.Who shirt is sexy? I tell you it is!

    And you know what goes perfectly with it? Bowties! Bowties are cool!

  • SAO

    I, too, have a body where it is impossible to find any outfit that meets that criteria without looking like it was an outfit chosen for heavy cleaning.

  • anne marie hovgaard

    The T-shirt I’m wearing says “Tea is ALWAYS the answer!” (Not yucky sweet cold tea, obv., real tea!)

  • anne marie hovgaard

    Hazmat suit?

  • anne marie hovgaard

    A burka w/pretty cross-stitch crosses all over?

  • Anonyme

    My sister once attended a Catholic church that had shawls at the door for women who walked in with bare shoulders.

  • Lily Erickson

    So that whole “dress yourself in good deeds instead of with jewelry or fancy clothes” only applies if you don’t look “dumpy”? Point out to me in the Bible where a woman is described as being too concerned with her soul and not concerned enough with how she looks.

  • pagankitty

    I’d also like to point out that this is not only hella sexist (seriously, I’d love to see ONE article where guys are told to make sure their shirt sleeves don’t show any muscle lines), but is also hella classist. My bet isn’t you couldn’t make the author happy with anything less than an upper middle class income that allowed you to wear business casual clothes to the grocery store.

  • Nightshade

    Sure they are! But the oversized way I wear them? Not so much. And I’m OK with that.

    Bow ties! And fezzes! And glasses! And Stetsons!

  • Nightshade

    For the love of Gawd, don’t give the fundies any more ideas! LOL!

  • Nightshade

    Nothing wrong with that, if it works for you. 🙂

  • Aloha

    Well you’re supposed to look like a woman. Zana simultaneously wants us to cover up every feminine curve, yet still look feminine.

    Really, it’s just another way to emphasize your god-given assets … just instead of using form-fitting clothes, she recommends loose styles with a cinched waist.

  • Aloha

    That’s a lot of information extracted from a single verse and a somewhat suspect version of “subtil.”

    But what do I know about exegesis. Probably she’s right!

  • AFo

    I recently visited a friend in Hawaii, and nearly every day went to the beach… around strange men… IN A BIKINI! Since God didn’t send a sea monster to devour me or any of the other bikini-clad women, I am forced to conclude that he actually doesn’t care about this stuff.

  • Jezebel’sOlderSister

    That’s understood. 🙂

  • Melody

    I think the problem is that women have bodies at all. So what should they do about that? Mass-suicide…? Yeah, I don’t think so.

  • Bettie Bedford

    Porn shoulders!

  • mashava

    You’re obviously supposed to spend 30+ minutes meticulously styling it in the most attractive (to a good Christian man) way possible


  • Anonyme

    Am I supposed to wear a mumu, then? Or is that too sloppy?
    Trying on jeans is aggravating because I’m short enough that I need to wear a petite size but my “backside” is rather…prominent. What am I to do? Wear a mumu? Oh, wait, that would be too sloppy.

  • mashava

    Tucking in a T-shirt? No offense if that’s your style, but I don’t like that at all. Especially as he expects women to wear a high-collar, baggy T-shirt all the time. With a completely shapeless skirt, to boot.
    Nothing wrong with dressing like that at all, but for a guy who’s obsessed with women being completely shapeless yet simultaneously always smart and never sloppy…

  • When I travelled to Rome as a student, people advised me not to wear sleeveless t-shirts to church. That was around 1984, I think.

  • Nothing like a nice cuppa!

  • lady_black

    Bollocks to that. I could not POSSIBLY care less what a good Christian man finds attractive. He can kiss my white ass.

  • Just a quick note, the writer of the article I featured is a woman, not a man.

  • Where do you find one?

  • Nos482

    Sez you. You could be a Geewok. That’s G-W-O-K, a Ghost WithOut Knowning!

  • Nos482

    I can’t speak for others… but yes.

  • Trellia

    Ooh, where did you get that? Because it’s true.

  • Trellia

    I like wearing flowing beaded tunics and long skirts because they’re cool and comfy. Plus, with my illness, I don’t like anything too tight or fitted and I get overheated really easily. But the necklines are all low, because they’re more roomy for being well-endowed. My clothes probably say to them, “I just got back from RenFaire/India/the beach/a bellydancing class!” I wonder if long hair in a bun with a hairstick with a book charm dangling from it would be okay? (Even if they’re, gasp, ‘fantasy books’!)

  • anne marie hovgaard

    Barry’s Tea

  • Quinsha

    On top of everything else, a Christian woman can’t be ‘cunning’ or ‘clever’. And people wonder why, the last time I had to fill out a form that asked “religion” I put down Pantheistic Pagan Atheist. When my doctor asked me what that meant, I told him that it meant that I believe in blood transfusions. He said that was all he needed to know.

  • Quinsha

    One of the major reasons I did this was because the one time I left the “religion” question blank, someone, somewhere, typed in Christian. I was PO’ed.

  • Mr. James Parson
  • I am a petite woman with a very curvy frame (even more so now, given that I’m currently rather overweight). Here’s how the “immodest,” sloppy clothing goes with me:

    1. Shirt not tucked in–because if I tuck it in, it makes my skirt/pants tighter, thus drawing attention to my ass. Plus, my work shirts are generally designed NOT to be tucked in.
    2. Casual, comfortable skirt–well, no shit. I’m not going to wear an UNcomfortable skirt just to make some prude happy. By chance, I tend to prefer skirts with a lot of fabric, regardless of length.
    3. Hose? Fuck that! Hose is fragile and does nothing to keep one’s feet or legs warm. I wear socks with all of my closed-toe shoes.
    4. Tennis shoes–only if I’m running, which these people probably don’t view as an acceptable form of exercise.
    5. Ponytail: Also known as the easiest way to put one’s hair up. Even when I was clueless about putting up a bun, I could still tie my hair back in 30 seconds or less.
    6. Shirts that “cup” my boobs. Um, I wear a size 40DDD. It is literally impossible to find shirts that DON’T do this–in fact, my primary concern is, “Is it too tight for me to be able to lift my arms?” or “Do my breasts stretch this shirt out of shape?” Because THAT’S how big my breasts are. The IFB’s rules are not made for people my size.
    7. Tight fitting skirts: Unless it’s super-loose, 90% of skirts are either tight around the ass and thighs, or WAY too huge around the waist. Again, curvy folks can’t possibly meet these people’s standards unless they make all of their clothing, and ain’t nobody got time for that.

    Also…who the FUCK hikes in a skirt? That’s just asking to show off way more leg than these people find acceptable. What happened to the old culottes rule?

    As for “slips,” I only wear a cami if the shirt is too sheer otherwise. Because there’s just no good reason to wear that many layers in Florida. I literally have never worn an undershirt since the age of like 12 for any other reason. And nobody cares. (Like, seriously, why put on yet another article of clothing in 90-degree heat, when nobody can see it anyway?)

    And on my days off, I wear T-shirts and jeans/shorts. (Why would I need to dress fancy all the time, when I’ve already got a husband? Who exactly am I trying to impress?)

  • I’m pretty sure it’s deliberately designed so that no one can win.

  • Still the norm in the Vatican. Also, you must have your head covered at some of the historic churches.

  • Funny that they tend to ignore “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out!” But then, that would require respecting women and acknowledging that men have self-control and the duty to use it.

  • I’ll be honest–when I saw the title of the OP, my first thought was “My Rice Krispies are talking!!”

  • Sithrak! The god who hates you unconditionally!

  • Can’t. Shan’t.

  • I wear camis if the top is sheer, but the last time I wore a full slip was either at a Little Miss pageant, or in a desperate attempt at making a dress warmer in the winter months (I was underweight as a teen, and this makes even the A/C in a church oppressively cold).

  • I only wear skirts to work because when I gained weight a couple years back, I suddenly had a waist, ass, and thighs that were all 3 very different pants sizes. Prior to that, I’d been able to get away with control-top pants that were a size too big (the elastic waistbands were just small enough, in pants that fit my hips right).

    I just wish I’d discovered Torrid sooner. Only company I know of with pants designed for my extreme curviness. (And, you know, that I could afford to go buying up lots of slacks now that I’m slowly losing the extra pounds.)

  • Of course! Poor women aren’t blessed by God with prosperity and are thus evil, didn’t you hear?

  • XD Ye gods, I’m reminded of my husband once.

    “Honey, does this skirt make my butt look big?”
    “Yes, dear, you look beautiful.”

    At least he was honest?

  • Part of my problem is that I tend to run out of space in the drawer before I have all the cool T-shirts I want. :/

    One I’m never getting rid of is my Tool shirt from the 10,000 Days concert. That thing was $45–no way I’m parting with a top THAT expensive if I can help it!

  • WTF? (I personally am happy that the doctors’ offices that have bothered to ask, had a lengthy list of choices to check. I got to be “Other.”)

    And…yeah. Fuck not being able to be clever. If going to heaven means being stupid in the meantime, then I’ll see the IFB in hell.

  • I am very happy with “looks like she came from Faire.” As a Rennie myself, I love seeing how folks re-purpose bits of garb for everyday wear.

  • I feel your pain. 🙁 As an Italian woman, I have major T&A, despite coming out of a woman with no ass. I resorted to petite control-top pants when I was still skinny-ish.

    If you have a big enough ass, Torrid has surprisingly nice professional pants, and there are almost always some of last year’s jeans in clearance. (Size 10+). At least, that’s what works for me. But then, I also know how to hem pants, which is one of those skills that, IMO, should be taught to everyone in middle school regardless of gender.