In her article "Too Much Skin is Unflattering" fellow Modestly Yours blogger Mary O'Hayes posed the question of why religious communities tend to emphasize modesty.
I certainly cannot speak on behalf of all religious people, or even on behalf of all religious Jews. That said, religious Jews dress modestly both because we have a tradition of doing so, and because it's part of our code of ethical behavior.
We cover up our bodies so that we can better express our souls. Overexposure of flesh is not only distracting, it is does not befit a "daughter of the King." This does not mean that the body is considered bad or impure. The body is a necessary and beautiful vehicle for the soul. But the Jewish tradition considers the light of the soul to shine primarily through the face, whereas the rest of the body does not emanate the soul with the same intensity.
Intuitively, we all know this to be true. Isn't the way to relate most deeply to another is by focusing on the light in her eyes, or the depth of her facial expressions? Emphasizing the light of the face belongs to everyone, regardless of spiritual tradition. Who doesn't want to be seen foremost for what is inside?
I think modesty is for everyone!