Women are addressed directly in God's word to dress modestly. Perhaps some women claim ignorance on this issue, but it is a fact and there is no way around it.
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with brooded hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array1 Tim 2:9
While we can't expect heathen women to follow this command, women "professing godliness" certainly should. Why then do we see so many Christian women dressing themselves and their daughters in varying degrees of immodesty?
I see a couple of problems that can hinder a woman who wishes she could dress more modestly, but thinks she just "can't".
- Most stores don't have modesty as a guiding design principle, so shopping in them can make one feel pidgeon-holed into the latest trends..
- Most new clothes sold today have compromising necklines, blouses that cling, and 'everyday' dresses or skirts are hard to come by.
- Modest clothes need to be special ordered in catalogs and they tend to be more expensive.
- Dressing modestly means looking dumpy and frumpy.
The truth is that we don't have to wear jean skirts, paiseleaf frocks, turtle necks, yarn shawls and polo shirts to maintain a decent level of modesty. This look may be very comfortable, but it is not attractive to our husbands. When a man is out in the world daily fighting off temptation, do you think coming home to this look is going to ignite passion?
Losing weight is going to be the number one aid in dressing stylishly.
This outfit only works because the woman wearing it has a nice figure.
Add 50 pounds and it will look frumpy. :(
Simply put, plus sized women have to work harder at dressing fashionably than their slimmer counterparts.
Modest apparel simply means clothes that don't reveal or overly accentuate certain areas of the body - curves, cleavage, rear end or thighs. It is not only achievable, it can be done rather stylishly.
There are many ways to dress fashionably while still dressing modestly. Some women who dress frumpy may think their husbands don't care. But listen to me — they do! I don't care how holy or out in left field you think some men are. They are men. They are visual. Wives, you WANT your man to be attracted to YOU... don't you? 'Nuff said. Get rid of the polo shirts. :)
I've said it before and I'll say it again.
Ladies — leggings are not pants.
Besides the fact that leggings are totally immodest, they are also terribly unflattering. Reminds me a little bit of the story of the Emperor's New Clothes. Females wearing leggings as pants might as well be wearing paint. Leggings cling and reveal every line, bump, sag, arch and curvature. The lighter colored ones are especially immodest not to mention extremely unattractive.
Leggings are tights, not pants. The only difference between leggings and tights is that leggings have no "feet" and sometimes the fabric is slightly thicker. Slightly.
Women who choose an undergarment to actually pass for pants have read too many fashion magazines. It's like decorating your house like you'd see in House Beautiful. It's not reality. It doesn't work and it ain't pretty.
Protect Young Girls
If you have little girls who wear dresses and skirts, remember to ALWAYS have them wear cotton shorts or leggings underneath them. It's heart wrenching to see little girls with skirts that fly up to reveal nothing but thin underpants. Not only is this an embarrassing sight, but it leaves the child vulnerable to easy access by perverts who prey on children. Mamas, it's your job to keep your precious little girls covered up and safe! Make them wear leggings under their skirts. Always.
Let me just say that just because a woman wears a skirt it does not automatically qualify her as more modest than her pant wearing peers. She is also not more godly, closer to God, or in any other way "better than" other women. The focus of a woman's apparel should be feminine and modest. Everything else can be worked in. When the Bible says that men and women should not dress like the other, it doesn't say anything about a woman not wearing pants. It means that a woman should dress like a woman. Have you ever seen a woman trying to dress like a man? It's weird and everyone knows it. Just dress feminine and modest.
The Best Length for Hems
The hem of a skirt should always fall below the knee. The reason for this is that any skirt line that comes above the knee will rise several inches up the thigh when in a sitting position.
There just is no excuse for a Christian woman to wear a skirt that shows any portion of her thighs. This becomes especially important when she bends to reach something on the ground. Women who dress this way are either promoting themselves s*xually to every man in view, or else terribly stupid and ignorant to God's command for modesty. Women who want to show their thighs have more in mind than hot weather, fashion or fitness. They are advertising. Hate to say it, but it's true.
Christian women must take this seriously. God made men visual. Very, very visual. Christian women who accentuate any part of their bodies are a stumbling block to any male within view. Such foolish defiance to the word of God is to their shame. Don't tell me about how it's a man's responsibility to control himself. That's a given. It goes for all of us. But we do not have to make it so difficult for them.
Married women who dress provocatively are worthy of double shame and God's wrath as they also bring dishonor to their husbands for revealing or highlighting what is his alone to enjoy.
Color, style, femininity, flourish -- these can all still play a part in modest dress. I marvel at some of the clever ways (some) women's clothing in centuries gone by was tailored to accentuate their curves and femininity while still not being too revealing.
Testifies of Faith
To see how we are a living testimony of our faith just by our manner of dress and conversation, let's look at how the Bible likens modest apparel (clothing/dress) with faith and worship.
1 Tim 2:8 - I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath or doubting.
The context of this scripture is worship and Paul begins with the men. He encourages men to worship God without wrath and doubting. The next verse's intro "In like manner also" is a springboard to address women on the same subject: worship.
How does worship and faith look for a woman? We find out:
1 Tim 2:9 - In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with brooded hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
Isn't that an interesting contrast in worship for men and women?
Notice how the same phrasing context is used for the women? First the goal and then the antithesis. So, where men are to pray every where, lifting holy hands (outward form of praise; bold and drawing attention) women are to dress modestly with shamefacedness and sobriety (the exact opposite of the men). Let's recap how we are told to worship God:
The men - lifting holy hands; without wrath & doubting.
The women - with modesty & sobriety; without costly array.
Isn't it interesting how these passages mirror one another and draw stark differences between the way males and females express worship to God?
Then the comes the caveat.
1 Tim 2:10 - But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
Paul sews up his instructions by pointing out that a woman's godliness is shown or denied by her good works. It's interesting how the very next verse practically shuts the mouth of the rebellious women before they can open it to object! :-)
Timothy 2:11 - Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
I love God's sense of humor. :)
So we see that the apparel that we choose to put on our bodies, the expression we choose to wear on our faces, the words we choose to speak (and sometimes more importantly, the words we refrain from speaking!) and the work we choose to occupy our time with are all forms of worship.
Let's consider these things whenever we are choosing an outfit for ourselves or our children and especially when shopping for something new.
Some questions to ask ourselves as we dress and shop:
- Is this something that will draw attention to my face...or a certain part of my body?
- Does this skirt reveal more than half of my legs?
- Will my cleavage be a focal point with this blouse?
- Will my rear end be a focal point with these pants?
- Will other men (or boys) find this outfit s*xy?
If the answer is yes to any of the above, who is it that you are trying to please? Because you can be sure that it isn't God. And if it is your husband, wear them for him alone in the privacy of your home and when the children are in bed.
Some wardrobe modifications we can make:
- long sweaters that cover the rear area of pants whenever possible.
- scarf to cover the top of a blouse
- pretty lace covers that attach to low cut shirts to make them more modest
- camisoles beneath any shirt to decrease the transparency
- Wear colored tights and/or tall leather boots with skirts
These are just a few of the ways that we can add pizazz and style to our outfits and still dress modestly. What are some ways that you adjust your wardrobe to make it more modest?