Is there even such a thing? Before I came to biblical Christianity, I didn't know that there even was such a thing as a dress standard, much less a dress standard for Christians! How dare anybody tell me what to wear! I used to dress mainly by my mood. I didn't even think it was an issue to wear mini-skirts or shorts or tight jeans or spaghetti straps etc. etc. etc.. Now I realize how I was too complecent and not understanding the will of the Lord, as expressed in His Word!
The following is attributed to my reading from various sources on the subject matter and is by no means exhaustive. For better context, please do read the entire chapter of the quoted reference.
Godly Dressing vs Worldly Dressing
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
The Bible's description of Godly Dressing:
1 Timothy 2:9-10 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
If you read further in this passage, it is clear that the modest apparel is accompanied or stems from a humble spirit of subjection to authority. So very importantly, the heart of the matter concerning dress standards ultimately is a matter of the heart.
If one has a heart that is humble before God and willing to please him, it will show in the way one dresses.
On the other hand, if one has a rebellious, proud, haughty spirit, it will also show in the way one dresses. Like the harlot in proverbs 7 (see below). She has an impudent spirit. The spirit of rock and pop music is this way too. (I'll do what I want, when I want and the way I want.) Anyone who listens to this kind of music will be affected in their spirit. It is not a coincidence that dressing styles follow music genres.
Proverbs 31:30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
It is clear, that God would rather have a heart that fears Him and loves Him. The externals, like how one dresses or talks, will follow suit. These days, however, so much emphasis is placed on the way a woman ought to look. But you know, all flesh will one day decay in the grave. Why spend so much time, effort and money?
The Bible's description of Worldly dressing:
Proverbs 7:6-12 For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)
How does a harlot (prostitute) dress? Obviously, in a manner that emphasizes and flaunts her sexuality. Too much of what is common fashion these days do so much to emphasize erotic zones and show off parts of the female body for ALL the WORLD to see, that really ought to be shown only to their husbands. Legs, buttocks, breasts, back, shoulders... either exposed or titillatingly presented. Sadly, so far gone are these standards of modesty that even brides who are supposed to be chaste show too much in their wedding gowns.
The dress standards in churches these days is a crying shame. It is a terrible sin when sisters dress like harlots to go to church and cause the brothers to not be able to concentrate on worshipping God! Church ought to be different from the world out there. Already, we can't walk around shopping malls, or bus stops without be accosted by pictures of naked women, and even people on the street who dress so skimpily. Church ought to be a place of sanctity where our brothers (and sisters!) do not have to avert their eyes to avoid sinful thoughts and freely worship God.
So, it would be reasonable to say that for a Christian, we ought to dress in a way that de-emphasizes our sexuality. But I'll be quick to add, this does not mean we de-emphasize our femininity! There is a difference!
Blurring of the Sexes
The Bible does have something to say about dressing in a way that blurs the distinction between the sexes:
Deuteronomy 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.
Abomination! What we wear can make us an abomination to God! Women who wear pants like men are really in danger of blurring the lines. I am also thinking about unisex hair cuts these days. Guys hair are so long these days, they look like girls. No wonder there is so much (sexual) confusion. (Romans 1:27) Christians ought not be like that. A man must dress manly and a woman must dress, well, womanly.
2 Kings 9:30 And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window.
What's wrong with wearing makeup? well, in this passage, this is evil queen Jezebel and she was doing it to "gain favour" with Jehu who was arriving to kill her. So we can understand that in some/ many cases, make up is used to allure men. A lot of make up techniques is really to change facial features like make the eyes look bigger, change single eye lids to double, etc. It really stems from a dis-satisfaction of what God made a girl/ lady to be. Makeup, if put on at all, ought to only subtly enhance what features that God has endowed us with. Many from the modest dressing camp feel make up is a complete no-no! (I don't wear makeup because I don't like gunk on my lips and face.)
Do's and Don'ts? Go by Principles!
Pants? yes or no? shorts? yes or no? t-shirts? yes or no?
I think the list can go on and on and to list every piece of clothing and material combinations is an exercise of futility.
So, for years now, I have been going by principles to decide if a piece of clothing is modest or not. (That plus my husband's final say! I'm glad he is around to help me check. Having 4 sisters and being the only boy must have helped him loads in this department. haha) Again, this is not exhaustive but I hope it might be helpful to some out there reading this.
1) Does this piece of clothing frame my face or frame my body?
In wearing any piece of clothing, a good guideline would be if the beholder's eyes would be only drawn to your beautiful smiling face, or the curves on your body.
2) Does this piece of clothing hug my body too tightly, thereby showing all the intimate curves?
*jeans, pants, tight t-shirts, most swimsuits
It really isn't about covering the body with cloth because like the current fashion of wearing leggings certainly covers the legs with cloth but shows off all the shape of the legs and leaves nothing to the imagination.
3) Does this piece of clothing show or allude to parts of my body that only my (future?) husband ought to see (eg. breasts, thighs, buttocks, shoulders, etc.) How about when I bend over? Or when I sit down?
*tube dresses, shorts, short skirts, low necklines, low riders, most swimsuits, certainly bikinis!!! etc.
**think how sheer cloths and peek-a-boo holes, prints across the chest or buttocks in clothes also draw the eye to look at the female body.
Mothers of young children especially need to be careful to make sure their clothes still cover their modesty when they bend over to pick things or carry the children. Mommies do a lot of bending over and sitting on the floor! I have been soooo embarrased by mothers who show me all their clevage unintentionally when they bend forward to tend to their little child.
4) Does this piece of clothing or hairstyle make me look like feminine and womanly? (Speaking to women, of course.)
I am not a dresses/ skirts only person. There are times when wearing skirts are impractical! Actually, those times are rare. I have learned you can play tennis in a long skirt and you can scrub the toilet in a skirt! It is possible to wear modest pants or skirt-like pants or culottes and still fulfill the modest dressing principles I mentioned. It all depends on the cutting of the cloth or the design of the garment.
This is the reason I want to follow in the footsteps of many dear Christian ladies in my church and Christian circle of friends (online ones too!), my own dear sister being one of them, to learn how to sew!
You know, I really thank God for Christian families who make a stand about their dressing standards. (The way many Muslims make a stand about their dress standards too.) Whenever I see families where the boys are prim and properly dressed and the daughters are modestly dressed, typically their skirts nice and long, I always think of this verse:
Psalms 144:12 That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace:
How expensive, beautiful and polished our daughters ought to be! Our children ought to dress with an attitude that says they are children of a King, and they ought to be different and carry themselves that way. Not rummage through the garbage and filth of this world and put on the look of morally bankrupt sinners.
Questions or comments or thoughts? Please DO write~ I'd love to hear from you. email@example.com
- related websites and articles:
- Some of my sewing projects since I learned how to sew: