Top Button


I’m curious. Is a woman really required to fasten the top button of her blouse to be modestly dressed?
My roommate and best friend is an Orthodox Jew. She always wears button-down shirts 24/7 with the top button fastened. She dresses like this no matter what the occasion. She loves the outdoors, as do I, and she hikes, bikes, and jogs in a blouse with the top buttoned. She dresses like this even in 100-degree heat. When she is doing nothing at home but sitting around, her top button is buttoned. And she dresses this way to sleep too! I have never seen anything like this before, but we’ve been close friends for five years now and she is unclear in her explanation.

I don’t understand how she does this. I feel I’m being choked even if my top button is buttoned for even one second! I only feel comfortable in low cut or V-neck tops, preferably pullovers. I am not fully observant like her, but I do keep kosher at home out of necessity because we share a kitchen. I like wearing skirts or dresses most of the time for my own personal comfort, but not for religious reasons.



  1. The Laws of Modesty and the correct way to dress are somewhat complicated because certain things depend on the way that a community acts (what is called Minhag Hamakom) and the personal feelings of the person. Keeping the top button buttoned up is a perfect example. In some communities, it is the norm, and that is the way women from that community should behave. Even if she comes from a community where it is not the norm, if your roommate feels comfortable doing so and she feels that it will enhance her connection to Hashem, it is definitely the correct thing for her to do.

    Does that mean that you must do the same? No, absolutely not. Does that mean that you will ever understand how she is able to do it? Not necessarily. But that is fine. There is no reason why you should be able to relate to something that is so alien to you. The most important thing for your relationship is that you respect each other and that your friendship continues to flourish and grow.

    Best wishes from the Team