When it comes to how they dress, the Duggar girls have a lot of rules. And one of them has always been that the only skin they should be showing is above the neck and below the knees — and they should wear only skirts or dresses.
It was a modesty standard that mom Michelle Duggar came up with based on her bible study, and one she stuck to fiercely. “As we studied as a family, we found we could come up with our idea of what we thought modesty was, but we really wanted to see what the scriptures said about it,” the TLC star explained in 2013. “Our interpretation was that from the neck down to the knee should be covered.”
They put these rules into place so that none of the girls in the family would be “defrauding” any of the boys or men they came into contact with.
“My kids are taught the definition of defrauding as stirring up desires that cannot be righteously fulfilled,” the mom of 19 clarified. “We don’t believe in defrauding others by the way we dress. And different people may be defrauded by different things. We can’t control their thoughts, but we’re responsible before God for our part.”
Jessa, Jana, Jinger and Jill further explained these modesty standards in their 2014 book, Growing Up Duggar. “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,” they explained.
“We avoid low-cut, cleavage-showing, gaping or bare-shouldered tops and, when needed, we wear an undershirt,” the ladies divulged. “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.”
They also explained how the famous family uses a “safe word” when coming in contact with a woman dressed inappropriately. If they spot someone in a less-than-modest outfit, they say the word “Nike” — and the boys direct their eyes to their sneakers instead of straight ahead.
As the girls have gotten older, though, they’ve started to break those rules, wearing pants and — gasp! — even shorts on occasion. They’ve started showing some skin, too. And not just by accident, leading to more than one incident where TLC had to bring some blurring action into an episode to cover up those inappropriate kneecaps.
But as we looked back through the family’s photos, we realized they started baring their knees way earlier than we thought. And you might be surprised by which of the Duggar girls was the first to start the trend.
Keep scrolling to see photos of the Duggars showing their knees.