All the practical details of modesty, style and beauty can be confusing and yet intriguing! I’ve attempted to tackle some of those difficult areas in this post,
Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of the modesty topic shall we? 🙂
The topic of Modesty will inevitably lead into a rather controversial subject but let’s hit it head on. Ready for the scary question?
1. What about Pants?! What do pants reflect?
In the past pants were a men’s only piece of apparel, and now, that has changed. Yet they are not a distinction of femininity. In fact, from a distance, pants can easily hide the gender of a man or women; who can tell?
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. – Deuteronomy 22:5
I choose to wear skirts/ dresses because they are distinctly feminine, and with modest standards they carry a level of propriety, honour and even purity.
Pants, especially the more recent trends for girls put much more emphasis on the backside & thighs, which is not modest! There are admittedly, some modest pants, I would rather not wear them because for one thing they are not very feminine. By the time they reach modest mode… they can get frumpy or guy style… Do you ever envision the Proverbs 31 woman like this?
There is a time and place for pants however, for example, my family owns a sheep ranch and Jen and I have spent a lot of time working down there (wearing pants). Some of the work we do would be more immodest in a skirt; things that involve a lot of movement, climbing or awkward positioning…. And yes, my chores pants are fairly loose and are fairly frumpy. Honestly, I still don’t like the frumpy so I’ve been changing my chore clothing to be more of a style with ladies pants and a long, tunic length shirt over top. I find this more feminine, even so, if you can still manage the modest & skirt at the same time: way to go girl! And yes, I too am still in the process of developing a modest/feminine wardrobe 😉
Another reason I choose skirts/ dresses over the pants would be because of the connotation, when people see a woman modestly dressed with a skirt or a dress this could easily lend to them identifying me as a Christian, whereas pants leave room for a lot of the grey unknown.
In the end of the pants vs. Skirts/ dresses topic; I would encourage that we take a distinct and purposeful stride to be feminine. Instead of trying to fit in, maybe we could bring the feminine back to womanhood and show that in how we dress- distinctly like a woman.
Femininity isn’t a personal style, it is what makes us different than men. It is what gives distinction to our role as women, our look as women. Remember: how we dress gives a message!
2. So for another question, what if modest clothing comes from a non-Christian source?
“In the world but not of the world” remember Paul’s words? This can be displayed through our shopping experience, when we seek to honour the Lord in what we wear, even if it is something that comes from a non-Christian boutique or store. Yes, we want to avoid all appearance of evil, but clothing is an amoral substance, meaning that it is not admitting of any moral distinctions or judgments; it does not (as cloth) have the ability to be moral or immoral. It is like a loaf of bread in that way, yet when we purchase an item that we wear per se, immodestly, then it becomes one’s own moral issue. The whole process’s morality or immorality rests completely on our own attitude and choices.
This is also a situation that leaves a lot of room for creativity. I went shopping, and since I love dresses, I managed to find a very girly/feminine store, problem was… very little of it was actually modest, and the décor convinced me that I would not be bringing my brothers along :/ After looking around for a bit I found a lovely dress, I knew that I’d be wearing a shirt underneath, but besides that I was thrilled! Then, bringing it home I realized, that it was a bit shorter than I first noticed. This became a chance to take something that was made for the wrong attraction and make it into a beautiful & modest dress! Lengthening can do wonders too 😉
3. Is there actually a standard for modesty?
There is definitely room for personal style within modest limits; one of my younger sisters often wears lovely long flowy skirts, whereas I prefer tailored mid-length. Even so, when there is modesty of heart, there will be specific changes in outward appearance as well. For example, a woman who embraces purity will not allow things like her cleavage to be seen, it is not for the world to see, and out of respect of others, let alone for herself, she will keep that covered! Here’s a few tips for practical modesty:
- One thing my sisters and I do, that we find helps keep us covered there at all times is what we call “Four-fingers”, using the breadth of our four fingers from our collar bone down, if it stays within that measurement we know that we are safely covered.
- Clothing tightness; if we want to dress in a way that safely inhibits the imagination, then keeping our clothes from being clingy would be part of that. Form-fitting is simply not modest. Sometimes even if a shirt is a bit clingy throwing a cardigan or jean vest over that will definitely help. Or how about skirts that hug the hips? Sometimes a long shirt can help this situation, but if not it’s probably a good time to pass the skirt on and find a better fit 😉 Remember: It’s tight enough to show I’m a woman but loose enough to show I’m a lady!
- Skirt length… okay girls, this one is a tough one. This isn’t only about protecting our own purity but also the purity of others. In Exodus, scripture mentions that showing the thigh is nakedness, thus nakedness does not necessarily mean you are void of clothes… in fact, nakedness is in truth whatever is showing that ought to be covered. “And thou shalt make for them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins [waist] even unto the thighs they shall reach:” Exodus 28:42 For this reason (and to save from peek holes up the skirt) I choose to wear skirts that cover the knees when standing and sitting.
- Another good thing to keep on hand is slips, undershirts that will help keep those sheer clothing from showing us through, especially in the sunlight. Recently I also bought Modli’s Half Shirt cleavage cover I find them so helpful in adding coverage to shirt with no sleeves, low arm holes or a deep neckline. So keep on hand different accessories; even scarves are helpful for modesty on top.
We ladies really tend to focus on dressing attractively, and then sometimes we’ll try and be attractively modest. In the end I would say it is more important to dress with in mind that we are temples of the Living God! Yes, go and dress beautifully, but dress with dignity and honour as is befitting to the temple of our God. Drop the idea that we need to impress or attract guys, rather dress for the Lord. Think of it like this; once the Temple was built of gold, cypress wood, and all manner of costly material. The renowned wonder of Solomon’s Temple was where God chose to dwell among men. Then later in the New Testament, Jesus was the temple as He was the indwelling of God among men. When that temple was destroyed and raised in 3 days, He stayed therein for 40 days. From then on the dwelling place of God (among mankind) has been in mankind. Each one of us is a temple; a place for another to rule and be worshipped, to have a body, hands and feet to bear a message to the world. The throne in our hearts is going to be either God’s throne or the throne of His enemy- the devil. And yes, the clothing we wear will inevitably reflect this, who we dress for reflects this, how we wear it reflects this. When modesty is an outflow of our God being on the throne, it will be modest, but if we try to be modest and dress to attract others (for ourselves) it is an immodest attitude that could come through any mile of covering fabric.
So, that’s a wrap for a long post, hope I didn’t lose you girls in there! 😀 I’d love to know your thoughts,