The Duggars' most surprising outfits

The Duggars, the famous ultra-religious reality TV family, started regularly appearing on TLC in 2008, with their hit show 17 Kids and Counting (which later evolved into 19 Kids and Counting when two more little Duggars came along). For ten seasons, the show focused on parents Jim Bob and Michelle, their challenges raising their large brood, and, of course, their conservative rules when it came to dating, television, and even fashion. But when the show's spin-off, Counting On, began in 2015, focus shifted to the older kids as they got married, moved out, and started their own families.

And with these Duggar kids out on their own, viewers were surprised to see them rebel against some of their family's conservative rules. Their clothing rules, that is. Suddenly, the Duggars were sporting looks that, while not conventionally scandalous, didn't mesh with the well-known clothing expectations Jim Bob and Michelle often enforced. Here are some of the Duggars' most surprising outfits.

Jill Duggar's many pairs of pants are hardly modest by her family's standards

Jill Duggar, the fourth oldest Duggar child, broke away from her family's famous "modesty standards" after getting married, according to InTouch, and she made two little additions to her wardrobe: shorts and pants.

While pants and shorts may not seem particularly noteworthy to most, this style change was certainly surprising to fans, as the Duggar women were known to stick to skirts. As Michelle explained to TLC in 2013 (via InTouch), "I really should be defining who I am as a woman by choosing to wear dresses and skirts." Michelle and all the Duggar daughters have become famous for wearing skirts (even when working out).

Still, Jill ditched her dresses plenty of times. She was seen wearing pants to a speaking event, wearing tight jeans in a photo on Instagram, and even appearing in jean shorts on occasion. While these outfits may have been a no-go in the Duggar household, Jill's husband, Derrick Dillard, defended his wife's outfit on Twitter when fans pointed out the Duggars' penchant for wearing skirts, stating, "The Bible says nothing about wearing skirts or having certain hair to be saved."

This dress is shorter than any we've seen a Duggar wear

Fans were shocked when Jill Duggar got a nose ring, as noted by InTouch, but she certainly didn't end her rebellious streak with the piercing. Not only was she one of the first Duggar daughters to be seen in pants (via OK!), but she went on to go against another one of her family's cardinal rules and wore a skirt that stopped above the knees.

In one episode of Counting On, Jill's younger sister Jessa explained that the modesty standard in their family was "being covered from the neck to the knees." Jessa also explained, "Most dresses are probably going to need ... maybe a little length if they're kinda too short." 

But in one 2018 Instagram post, Jill was seen in a dress that, while modest by most modern standards with long sleeves and a high neckline, showed off her legs. And followers couldn't get over the flash of knee — and the sexy gold shoes she paired with the dress. Some fans were supportive, with one Instagram user saying, "Beautiful dress Jill." But others didn't approve, with one stating, "No way Jim Bob is happy about that dress."

A Duggar wearing shorts is shocking

While Jana Duggar is the oldest Duggar daughter, she remained home even after many of her younger siblings got married and moved out (via OK! magazine). Unlike some of her sisters, she tended to stick to her parents' clothing rules, keeping on trend with long skirts and dresses. So it was especially surprising when Jana showed up to Joe and Kendra's joint bachelor and bachelorette party in a pair of shorts on an episode of Counting On.

One might point to the day's activities (water sports) as an occasion for the shorts. And, in fact, Michelle once pointed out that there could be a gray area when it comes to the skirt rule and outdoor activities. "Jim Bob said, 'What about when we're riding bicycles or going hiking?'" Michelle explained during a 2013 Q&A (via InTouch), adding, "And I said, 'Well, I don't know the answer to that, but I'll cross that bridge when we get there.'" While it stands to reason that the girls would wear pants to stay modest when faced with certain activities, it doesn't explain why Jana wore shorts to play a quiz game after getting onto dry land.

Joy-Anna Duggar swapped out her usual skirts for pants

Just like the other Duggar girls, ninth-born Joy-Anna Duggar, can usually be seen in a skirt or a dress, so Counting On fans were surprised to see her wearing pants on her honeymoon. Well, maybe not that surprised. She and husband Austin Forsyth went skiing on the alps, an activity that would be hard to do in a skirt. But considering Michelle's possible exemption for skirts while doing more extreme activities (via InTouch) and the fact that Joy was seen in pants back when the family went skiing in a 19 Kids and Counting episode, this seems to be acceptable Duggar clothing for the circumstances.

However, what's perhaps more surprising is that, even though Joy is out of the Duggar house, she's stuck to skirts more than her sisters. While other married Duggar girls have moved on to pants, Joy, who was known as the family tomboy, intentionally sticks with dresses, even though she's said she doesn't like them. On one episode of Counting On, she explained, "I've never really liked wearing dresses that much."

Jinger Duggar's Nike ensemble was a far cry from previous Duggar outfits

In Growing Up Duggar, a book by Jill, Jessa, Jinger, and Jana Duggar, the Duggar daughters explain that their family used the word "Nike" as a signal to the boys in the family that "someone dressed inappropriately" was heading toward them, which would give them a warning to look away. So when Jinger's husband, Jeremy Vuolo, posted a photo of Jinger in a pair of pants (a no-no in the Duggar household) and Nike-branded shirt and shoes to Instagram in 2017, fans were shocked.

While Jeremy posted the image with the innocent caption: "Her fist pair of J's," Jeremy's followers weren't sure if this was meant as a slight to the Duggar family. Jeremy and Jinger didn't confirm either way, but they sure gave viewers something to talk about. Some Instagram users called Jeremy and Jinger out for the look, saying things like "You [lose] the so-called modest values and quick." Still, others were nothing but supportive, with one user saying, "Love seeing pictures of her dressed the way SHE wants and not the way her parents want," and another stating, "Yesss Jinger! Rock those Jordans!"

Do you think Jinger Duggar's family thought her tennis look was too revealing?

Over the years, Jinger Duggar has gained a reputation for doing things her own way. From giving husband Jeremy front hugs (practically unheard of before marriage in the Duggar world) to saying that she wanted to move to New York City (via OK!), she stood out from the rest of her family.

Still, fans were shocked when Jinger appeared in the 2018 premiere of Counting On in an outfit that may have exposed the most skin of any Duggar kid yet, as reported by The Hollywood Gossip: a conventional tennis outfit. This particular tennis top and skirt may not have been scandalous to most, but, by Duggar standards, it was certainly surprising. Remember this is a family where adding material to sleeves and hemlines is common and special swimsuits are the norm. As Jill, Jessa, Jinger, and Jana Duggar say in their book, Growing Up Duggar, "Scripture states in several places that the uncovering of the thigh is nakedness, so we have also chosen not to where short skirts." We wonder what the other Duggars thought of this look.

Jinger Duggar's husband, Jeremy Vuelo, showed off his legs in colorful shorts

Of course, it's not fair to mention Jinger Duggar's tennis outfit without acknowledging husband Jeremy Vuolo's outfit as well (via The Hollywood Gossip). While Jeremy wasn't born a Duggar, he married into the famous family. Surprisingly, Jeremy admitted in a blog post that he had a less than squeaky clean, Duggar-approved lifestyle before meeting Jinger. He described getting involved in "the weekend party scene" and said that he "began sliding down the slippery, destructive slopes of lust, selfishness, and pride."

But, by the time he married Jinger, his life was going down a different path. He was a minister, and he fit in with the family's conservative style on Counting On. Still, when Jinger and Jeremy walked onto the tennis court in one episode, fans didn't miss the shorts Jeremy was wearing. While the Duggars always try to keep covered from neck to knees, Jeremy was seen with shorts that were high by the family's standards, showing off knee and even some thigh. And this wasn't the first time he did so. When he and Jinger were courting, he was seen showing some thigh in short (by Duggar standards, that is) swim trunks.

Abbie Duggar says no to skirts and dresses at work

While women with jobs are not a common occurrence in the Duggar family, John David Duggar's wife, Abbie Duggar, surprised fans by having a career, as noted by InTouch. In one episode of Counting On, she explained that she found nursing when her grandparents got sick. "I just love taking care of people," she said.

But she stands apart from the pack in another way too. In another Counting On episode, she said, "I don't only wear skirts," making it clear that she doesn't share her in-laws' values when it comes to clothing. "I wear scrubs and some nurses wear skirts with their scrub tops," she says, "but for me I just found it was more practical to wear a top with pants." She could even be seen wearing pants on the mission trip she and John David went on before their wedding.

It was surprising that Abbie wore pants, especially when the other Duggar daughter-in-laws wear clothes more similar to the Duggars. Kendra, Joe Duggar's wife, for instance, discussed her modesty standards, saying, in part, that she wears "skirts down to, um, below our knee."

Lauren Duggar's tight-fitting Christmas dress was a shock

Josiah and Lauren Duggar's last Instagram post of 2018 showed Lauren taking down decorations from their Christmas tree. This was already a surprising image, as the Duggars were known to skip the big tree tradition. But fans were more interested in another part of the picture: Lauren's outfit. Lauren was pictured wearing a red dress, which, by many, would be considered quite modest with its long sleeves and high neckline, but the dress was notably more tight-fitting than many common Duggar outfits.

In one of the Duggars' early TV appearances, Michelle explained the ideas behind the kids' clothing, stating, "Our goal is to draw attention to our countenance, to our face, and that helps us to decide what things we wear and what things are modest and inappropriate." Meanwhile, Lauren's dress definitely drew attention to her slim figure. The couple may have posted this picture to intentionally show off her shape, banishing pregnancy rumors (via Celebrity Insider). Lauren got lots of good feedback on her dress though, with one Instagram user saying, "So beautiful in the red dress! And so much better looking than a denim skirt." Looking good, Lauren!

The Duggars' wedding dresses are hardly thrifty finds

Most of the Duggar daughters and daughter-in-laws have stuck to traditional gowns for their weddings. Lauren Duggar's dress may have had a tighter silhouette and Jessa Duggar's gown may have been a nontraditional pink, but, for the most part, they've kept to the Duggar's modest dress code. However, the women broke what Jessa told People was "the number one Duggar shopping tip," which is to "always look for a bargain."

The Duggars are known for being thrifty and buying used. "Buy used and save the difference" has essentially been the Duggar family's motto. But the women apparently don't go to the thrift store when it comes to buying a wedding dress. Jessa went to traditional wedding dress shop Tesori Bridal in Arkansas. According to Tesori Bridal's website, Jessa bought an Allure Modest gown, which is priced between $700 and $2,000. While this may seem low for any avid Say Yes to the Dress fan, for a Duggar, paying that much for a dress is practically unheard of!

We bet fans were surprised that this frugal family allowed the women to go to a traditional wedding shop instead of searching for a more cost-effective option.

The Duggars' cousin Amy King is no stranger to low-cut tops

While Amy King isn't one of Michelle and Jim Bob's kids, she's included in the Duggar clan as their kids' cousin (via InTouch). Amy didn't have the same conservative lifestyle as her cousins, but she appeared on a handful of episodes of 19 Kids and Counting, Counting On, and the short-lived 2014 special called A Duggar Leaves Home.

And while Amy doesn't necessarily follow the Duggar rules, fans are always surprised to see her different style. Wearing pants was never unusual for her and donning shorts was just as natural to her as wearing a skirt. While the other Duggars her age were potentially "rebelling" by sharing social media posts in long shorts and sensible pants, Amy has always filled her Instagram feed with a more conventional look. But the one body part she's shown off that the other Duggar ladies have shied away from is her cleavage. She's worn low-cut tops and tanks, and she isn't afraid to show off her sexy chic style.

Bikinis are definitely against Duggar outfit protocol

Michelle Duggar once told People that her older daughters came up the term "modern modest" with their conservative style, but Amy King, Michelle and Jim Bob's niece, never had the same style as her cousins. Especially when it came to swimwear.

The Duggars are known for wearing some pretty conservative swimsuits that cover the midsection and even include skirts for the girls. While these suits are pretty unconventional compared to what the modern pool-goer wears, considering the Duggars' other clothing rules, full–coverage swimwear seems to follow their standards. While the Duggar kids stand by their parents' guidelines for swimwear (so far, at least), Amy King has her own swim style. She has been seen in not only conventional swimsuits, but also bikinis. In one Instagram post from July 2019, she showed off her pregnant belly in a cheeky bikini shot. While Jim Bob and Michelle might not have liked her swimsuit, she got lots of love for her silly photo, with one Instagram user saying simply, "Yesss omg."

Duggar grandkids wear jeans... kind of

With Michelle Duggar being particular about women wearing skirts — and so many Duggar kids following suit — one might assume these ideals would be passed down to the Duggar grandchildren as well. Of course, the more "rebellious" Duggars might be inclined to go with a more modern look for their kids. Jinger Duggar's daughter is already wearing jeans, after all! But when it comes to a skirt-lover like Anna, Josh Duggar's wife, one might think she'd be one family member to definitely stick to tradition. That's why fans were so surprised when her girls were seen in jeans. 

In a post from December 2018, Anna showed her girls wearing pants during a visit to a local theme park. One Instagram user commented, "I love those little girls wearing jeans!" But it turned out Anna's rebellious streak was too good to be true. She explained in the comments that the girls were, in fact, wearing dresses over their jeans (via OK! magazine). "From the time Mackynzie has been a baby I have always allowed our girls to wear jeans instead of leggings in the winter — the long coat is covering her dress," she shared.

Michelle Duggar's teenage style was totally unexpected

One might have expected Michelle Duggar to have been the one family member most devoted to wearing skirts, as it was her idea to ditch pants in the first place, as stated in a blog post on TLC's website in 2013 (via InTouch). But as it turns out, Michelle wasn't raised to dress so conservatively. In her early years, she even wore pants!

And Michelle didn't stop there. As the older Duggar daughters explained in their book, Growing Up Duggar, Michelle used to be a lot more liberal with her clothing choices. "She used to mow her yard in a bikini," they explained in the book. Michelle was apparently a cheerleader, and she wore a short skirt to cheer at games until, as she explained on an episode of 19 Kids and Counting, she was "born again as a Christian" when she was 15. It was then that she decided to change her look. 

It's surprising that Michelle didn't always have the conservative views and style she's become famous for, and it's just as surprising to see a picture of her in the cheerleading uniform she'd eventually trade in for those long skirts.