Modest Should Not Mean Dowdy

Modest Should Not Mean Dowdy--how Christians sometimes adopt too stringent a view of modesty

Modesty is a big “buzz” word on Christian women’s blogs.

We’re all supposed to want to be modest (which I agree with), but often the definition of modesty is something which I find completely unreasonable, and rather off-putting.

A friend of mine, whom I would consider very modest but stylish, took her pre-teen daughter to a mother-daughter event recently. Originally the daughter had been asked to model, but at the last minute they found someone else to fill in in her size, so told her they didn’t need her.

My 11-year-old friend was devastated, until she saw the actual fashion show. And then she was so appalled by the clothes that she whispered to her mother: “I’m so glad they didn’t ask me to model after all! I’d be so embarrassed if I were up there!”

Now I wasn’t at that event, so I didn’t see first hand, but apparently the clothes were layered to the nth degree and so long and bulky that they looked like sacks.

I’ve been on other women’s blogs that seem to be pushing the idea that if we’re not dressing modestly–and by that they have a very narrow definition of modest–then we’re not being Christian. And I do believe that sometimes the Christian modesty message can veer in a dangerous direction, causing women to be ashamed of their bodies.

And so I’d like to spell out my philosophy on this, just to inspire debate, and to perhaps free some of you who aren’t comfortable with this line of thinking but aren’t sure where else to go.

First, I do think modest should mean no cleavage, and no drawing attention to particular parts of the body deliberately. So no super-tight T-shirts, no low-cut shirts that look more like bikini tops, no super short skirts or shorts, and no tank tops (UPDATE: I meant to say tube tops. We here in Canada used to call tube tops tank tops, but I know tank tops are something different now. Sorry for the confusion!). I’d even be careful with sleeveless dresses. For swimming, I’d steer clear of bikinis, and even some one-pieces, and go with some flattering tankinis, which are often prettier and which often have bottoms that go down a little bit further. I find most people look better in these anyway.

But to say modesty means much more than that, I think, puts women in a bind, sounds very legalistic, and can be dishonoring to men.

For instance, I’ve seen some women say that we should only wear skirts. Really? Personally I wear skirts most of the time in the summer, because finding shorts that fit is difficult, and I love skirts. So I’m not against skirts in the least. But to say that all women should wear skirts because it’s more feminine is really strange. A nicely cut pair of jeans with a pretty blouse in my opinion is far more feminine than a shapeless denim skirt.

Similarly, to say that one can’t wear any pants that fit well because they would draw attention to one’s *ahem* behind is thus saying that we should all wear sacks. Now I certainly don’t think that we should wear tight clothes. But there is a difference between tight and clothes that simply fit. My daughter told me about a blog post she read on a popular teenage girl blog that said that if you can’t pinch your pants and find a few inches, it’s too tight. How many girls are really going to follow that?

But here’s another question: do we really want to give the impression that Christians are dowdy spoilsports, because our definition of modesty seems to say that.

As a married Christian woman, I feel that my responsibility is to dress modestly but fashionably. I want my husband to be proud of me, and if I were only wearing denim skirts with button down blouses, he would not be proud to take me out in public. I would stand out like a sore thumb. And so I go out of my way to try to wear things that are pretty and flattering but that don’t cling too much, show cleavage, or come up too high on the thigh.

I think sometimes that the Christian wives who advocate the long, shapeless skirt look with the baggy t-shirt forget something. The rationale for dressing modestly is that because men are visually stimulated, we shouldn’t dress to stimulate them. Okay so far.

But if we admit that men are visually stimulated, then don’t we also owe it to our husbands to look our best?

And how many husbands like walking around with wives who are dressed in shapeless clothes?

Now, I know many of the people who advocate wearing skirts do not wear shapeless ones, and I’m not trying to say that you’re wrong. I think longer skirts can still be fashionable, if they’re cut correctly, and you can wear lovely shaped blouses to go with them that do flatter your figure.

For instance, the True Femininity blog, written by a 21-year-old, has an “Outfit of the Day” recurring theme where she shows a modest but fashionable outfit. Here’s one from June:
Modest can still be flattering--and can still say, "I have curves!"

Lovely. But many of the “skirts only” blogs that I’ve read, and that my daughter has seen, really do advocate skirts resembling potato sacks, that look as if they were bought in thrift stores.

I don’t think that’s the image that Christians should be presenting.

Why not just look fashionable, attractive, and fun, without trying to attract attention as a sex object? Looking like you put some care into your appearance says that you respect yourself and you respect your husband.

My friend Terry, over at Breathing Grace, wrote a post recently where she said that her standard of beauty is her husband. She wears what he likes, because he’s the one that really matters, and I like that conviction. Sometimes when we think about all this “modesty” stuff, I think we do it without male input. We say we’re trying to protect men by not being tempting, but I wonder how many of the wives have ever asked their husbands honestly if they like the “sack” look, or if they would prefer that their wives be a little more attractive? I think many women get caught up in this “modesty” movement online, and in their little cliques, and they barge right ahead without asking the guys.

Finally, there’s one other thing that concerns me, and this is perhaps the largest issue. This world is in desperate need of help. All around us families are breaking up, debt is ruining people’s lives, addictions are taking over. And that’s only in the neighbourhood. On a worldwide scale, wars are being fought, persecution is rampant, and injustice abounds.

This world needs Christians to become engaged, to be good role models, and to be outspoken (in a gentle way) for what is right.

That means that we have to be people that others respect. We need to be people that others will look at and admire. And I don’t think that it’s flighty of me to say that part of that admiration will be tied in to how we look. If we show up looking like we have never cut our hair (let alone put conditioner in it) and as if we are wearing sacks, then why would people want to listen to us?

When you dress that way and present yourself in a very dowdy, throwback way, you make your world smaller.

You tend to retreat into your family or your church because that is safe, and that is where you fit in. You don’t fit into the wider world anymore.

That’s not right. We need people who will speak up and who will be role models. We need to stop shrinking. Certainly retreating is easier and less messy, but it is not what we are called to be. We are called to be “in” the world. We don’t let its values dictate ours; we don’t follow after the world’s idols. But we must still be “in” it.

We must not shrink our own world, and that is what we do when we adopt too narrow a definition of modesty–of what is acceptable clothing.

So what would I recommend? If you’re married, talk to your husband about what sort of dress he considers modest and fashionable. Take a friend with you who is fashionable and go shopping and get some clothes that actually fit. Get a nice haircut (you can go to a haircutting school if you can’t afford a salon). Treat your body as if you respect it, not as if you’re ashamed of it. And let’s stop using Christianity as an excuse to look dowdy.

Fashionable and feminine while still being modest. That, I think, is what we should be doing. And, by the way, there’s really nothing wrong with a good pair of jeans!


  1. >Great post. You said so much of what I think but I would like to share one thing. My thoughts are that being modest means not trying to draw attention to oneself. Buy dressing in a shapeless sack you are actually drawing attention to yourself in a negative way. You will stand out in a crowd, and people make assumptions about you that may not be correct, but affect the way they treat you. They often assume you are boring, have no sense of humor, dull witted, hollier then thou, take your pick. If you want to be truly modest, then you have to stop standing out like a sore thumb. Being "in the world, but not of it" applies to how we dress too.

    • thumbs up!

    • Great point!

    • Very true. This is my first time commenting on this blog, but that is what comes to my mind as well. It reminds me of the girl in Stephen King’s novel/movie “Carrie”…she was supposed to be a Pentecostal, I believe, and her mother made her wear extremely dowdy clothes. She was shunned by her peers not only because of her mom’s strange ways but due to the clothes. Her mother believed that all things (except reading the Bible) were sinful and this included taking care of one’s appearance. From what I remember in the book, even taking showers was forbidden and they had a bathtub instead. I know it’s an extreme analogy but there are people out there who frown upon women wearing anything remotely attractive because it’s “sinful”.

      I’m not religious anymore but I grew up in a somewhat Christian home. I love your blog, Sheila, and your passion for helping others. I agree that the concept of “modesty” isn’t about being dowdy. It is about looking one’s best and taking care of oneself while maintaining a bit of mystery. I tend to wear my clothes a bit on the form-fitting side, but nothing overly tight or revealing anymore since I am a wife. Here in the South, it seems that there are two extremes…women with very little to no modesty at all, or women who are dowdy and judgmental. My sister in law falls into the latter camp and I don’t look down on her, but she is the type who makes little comments about the fact that I try to look presentable. I see nothing wrong with wearing a bit of lipstick and sparkly jewelry and high heels, as long as I’m appropriately dressed and my body parts aren’t hanging out for the world to see.

      • Karen Cypret says:

        I was raised Pentecost, and I grew up with the dresses only, Stephen King really screwed with the view of Pentecostal girls. I am still Pentecostal but I will wear nice jeans made for WOMEN. My personal belief is if it is made for a man, do not wear it…if it is unisex, do not wear it.

  2. Stacy Lynn says:

    >Loved this post. I've always thought pretty much along these same lines. Tonia ads great insight, too. It crosses my mind, these women may also struggle with issues of self-esteem. Perhaps their self-image is such that they dress to not draw attention to what they see as their less-than-perfect self….much the way some overweight people hide inside billowy oversized clothing.

  3. >I absolutely agree!!! I've grown up in IFB churches, and many women in these churches are stuck in the rut of dressing ugly to try to be modest. I learned the most about modesty when I married my husband. There are certain clothes I own that I won't wear outside the house because they are just a little too tight, but I can wear a lot of attractive clothes without showing too much. Also, it's not AS hard to find modest clothes at department stores as some women would have you believe. If you have a good collection of camis, you can make any shirt modest!

    • Lisa K. says:

      Kathie, I’ve grown up in IFB churches too. In fact, my mom still seems to think that the only way to be modest is to wear shapeless clothes. I didn’t learn to wear properly fitting clothes till I went to college. I need more camis, but I am still modest without adhering to my mom’s set of rules. I’m trying to break away from the “modest means ugly” mindset.

  4. Carol Fleisher says:

    >I agree also. We are called to be expamples of faith, love and purity but that doesn't mean we have to wear frumpy outfits. I really like what you said about our husbands being the standard our beauty should be our husband. Great post.

  5. Anonymous says:

    >Mary here — I agree with Tonia — you end up drawing attention to yourself, and if you are dowdy you can end up looking like you belong to some cult, and like you said, Sheila, you can withdraw and be in your own little world. I got through my dresses-only phase — feeling like I had to wear only dresses took all the joy out of it. I am like Terry — my husband can define modesty and style for me, and it definitely isn't frumpy (or immodest). The look we really don't like is "long baggy skirt, shapeless t-shirt which still ends up being clingy, hair skinned back into a pony tail, no makeup or jewelry, and don't forget thick socks and heavy mannish running shoes." Ends up looking kind of like a man in a dress, not very feminine. But nobody will look at you, that's for sure, unless it is to think you are weird, drawing that kind of attention. You don't have to look unattractive if dresses-only and no makeup or jewelry is part of your religious conviction.

  6. >I agree with some of your post. I believe in dressing fashionably, and not frumpy. I like to wear the latest colors, and accent with jewelry but I don't let the world's fashion dictate my modesty. I believe God created us to be feminine and we should embrace that and dress accordingly, therefore I wear only skirts and dresses. I believe that God wants us to be modest. Obviously everyone has their own definition of what modesty is. Some think that as long as you are not showing your "privates" then you are being modest. When God clothed Adam and Eve He made them coats. The fashion in Bible times seemed to be that of wearing coats/robes. It seems that the further we get away from Eden, the less covered we have become. Women who showed their ankles use to be considered immodest. We have come a looooooong way baby! Am I an advocate of wearing burkas? NO! But I do think that what is most important is pleasing our Lord in every thing that we wear…even if it means standing out like a "sore thumb." Sometimes sticking out means being the only one in Walmart not wearing pajamas & slippers! The Bible says that we are to be a peculiar people.

    1 Peter 2:9 "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:"

    We are also, royalty. When I think of royalty I think of the queen of England. How gracious she is, and how respectable she dresses. As princesses of The King, we have even more of a reason to dress the part. We represent the King of Kings! I want to point people to Jesus, and tell them how He changed every aspect of my life from the inside out! I have had several opportunities to share my faith with co-workers simply because I dress modestly. What a huge reward for dressing right!

    • uh the scripture doesn’t say coats it says covering …. we weren’t there so we don’t know exactly what they looked like. Being feminine is not about wearing a skirt or not but about wearing clothes made/cut for women. … there is no one right or wrong way to dress so long as we are pleasing to our husbands and the Lord. Cultural expectations, work, and comfort do play a role.

  7. >I agree with your general ideas on this subject, Sheila, but I feel like you got a little too specific in listing "what not to wear." Those may be the standards you have for yourself, but we have to be careful not to judge others whose standards are a little different. Like if we say "no tank tops", that's fine for you personally, but don't get that rule so stuck in your head that you think any woman wearing a tank top is being immodest. Because if the bible doesn't specifically say "no tank tops", we can't force that on anyone else, even if we hold that standard for ourselves.

    I think it also depends a lot on where you live. For example, I live in California. Short shorts and tank tops are everywhere around here, even on Christians. I think the men around here are a little more used to seeing that kind of thing so it's not really considered terribly immodest (except by the more conservative Christians around here). But in the Bible Belt, those clothes might be considered scandalous.

    But I totally agree with you that we should use our husband as a "modesty gauge". Ever since I've been married I've felt so much more free to dress how my husband likes, rather than trying to figure out my own standards, or follow someone else's standards, for how to be attractive yet modest. I used to feel like I had to wear clothes that defined me, or showed the world who I was. But it's hard to make an outfit tell a life story. Now I feel like my dress is meant to please my husband and show him respect, rather than express myself. I guess that's not much help for single girls… maybe that would be a good topic for you to discuss: how to dress when you don't have a husband to tell you how… even though this is more of a marriage blog.

    One more quick thought. You often tell us wives to dress up nice for our husbands, which is great. But I would suggest (as you do in this post) that you ASK your husband what he likes you to wear. My hubby actually prefers me to wear simple clothes (like solid colored tops and jeans, or even sweats when we're at home [he likes it when I look "comfortable"]), no make up, minimal or no jewelry and fairly simple hairstyles. So telling me to put on lipstick and earrings before my husband gets home wouldn't be good advice. So anyway, figuring out what your hubby likes makes life so much easier!

    • I agree about asking hubby — thankfully mine likes it when I mix it up sometimes even if the everyday thing is ok. Also when I asked, I thought he would like nighties or such in the lingerie/sleepwear dept but he requested shorts/tap pants type lingerie so YES do ask! πŸ˜‰

  8. >I love this post. I really do. I grew up in homeschooling circles, where the idea that modesty meant dressing pretty "dowdy" was commonplace (is it still?). I admit, I was in on it at the time. As an adult, I see the error of my former ways, and am endeavoring to dress much better.

    • Where I live I’ve only seen one homeschooling family who dresses really dowdy, most just dress in normal clothes. But homeschoolers used to be mainly (if not all) ultra conservative Christians. Whereas, nowadays people from all religious persuasions, and even many atheists choose to home educate their children.

  9. >As a husband and a man, do you mind if I make a comment? I feel that so much of modesty is situational and/or cultural. In N America or Europe, the culture is somewhat different from parts of Africa where women's breasts are not covered, but then they are not seen by the local men in the same way as a man from Europe or N. America would look at them.

    Here in Europe, we are having silliness like Islamic Swimwear which is considered suitable for a muslim woman to wear in a mixed swimnming pool. All it does is draw attention to the lady wearing it because it is so different from what (often) every other woman in the pool is wearing.

    I believe that modesty is more often seen in the manner of doing, rather than the act, or the manner of carrying oneself rather than the clothing one wears. I do not want my wife to go around wearing clothing that looks like a burqa, but equally, I would not want her to go around in a skirt that looks more like a belt. Both extremes would attract unwanted attention. I can still remember schooldays with a strict uniform code, and yet some girls could always make the uniform look modest and on others the same uniform looked raunchy and suggestive.

    I have no problem with my daughter wearing a bikini when she sunbathes on the beach on holiday, but I would say it was a no no should she wish to wear it to a shopping mall without some cover up on top.

    • πŸ˜€ Agreed …. so many times churches in America make it sound like only their version of modesty is the TRUE meaning! And it really does have some to do with culture as well…

  10. SingleMamma4God says:

    >I am young looking, single and raising a teen daughter. There is no husband to moderate me. Thankfully God gives us all the ability to know what is right for us.

    I discussed this topic on my blog earlier this summer. I think it is an important one.

    I enjoy being a woman. I enjoy being able to wear pants or dresses and skirts. I like color. I like fashion.

    Mostly in churches and around town Christian women seem to have a balanced approach to this issue. It is almost like there is only a problem in theory or on the fringe.

    Maybe discussing it helps keep it in check. Maybe it depends on where folks live.

  11. >I agree that modesty does not have to equate to dowdiness, and I also think it's wonderful for women to dress in an attractive manner that shows her femininity! The one thing I keep coming up against, though, is the standard of modesty that Christian women have. While I think it's great to ask your husband what he thinks, I have also seen husbands who like their wives to show cleavage and wear really short skirts in public….and that doesn't make it right. I think churches/mentors should encourage women to really seek the Lord's leading in what they are wearing. When I started to do that, I was really surprised that God impressed upon me that the items I deemed to be okay since I was just "dressing attractively" were actually a means to get improper attention. There are some things, like showing cleavage, that I really don't think are appropriate in any situation in North American culture, as I can't imagine a God-honouring reason to dress in that way. But if someone can truthfully say that they brought it before God in prayer and they feel led to continue on, then I am happy to be proven wrong!!:)
    And as UK Fred mentioned, this shouldn't mean that women need to wear swimsuit burqas! But somehow I also don't think that a bikini is the only alternative…perhaps a modest bathing suit would be a happy medium? :)

  12. lettersfromnebby says:

    >I find it odd that we have not discussed at all what the purpose of modesty is. Maybe it is too obvious? If we look t the reson to be modest, I would say it is so as not to unnecessarily incite lust in our brothers. But we also have to recognize that men are visually stimulated and some will have a problem no matter what we wear. So we cannot go to the burka extreme. There is some room in there between truly immodest clothing that any man might find it hrd to look away from and clothing tht just covers up women in a way that demeans them.

    For whoever said God gve dam nd Eve coats–I just do not get that. All Genesis sys is that He gave them animal skins instead of leaves but there is no indication of what shape these garments are. Nor do I think we can tke what Jesus or OT people wore as normative for us. They did not have alot of wonderful things we have like different fabrics nd velcro and zippers that allow for many different kinds of clothes. Their men didn't even have pants but no one suggests men now shouldn't wear pants because Jesus didn't. If anything, there was even less difference between their men's and women's clothing than we have now.

  13. Gretchen says:

    >Love this!
    I'm a skirts and dresses girl myself, but there's a fine line between being ladylike and being frumpy. Proper cut and proper fit are what its all about! :)

  14. >@lettersfromnebby

    Here is the scripture reference I was referring to.

    Genesis 3:21 "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them."

    We will all have to stand before the Lord and give an account for how we represented Him. I don't think God will chastise anyone for covering up too much. I do however think that it can be done in a fashionable manner.

    • Kellie–
      Yes, but I maintain that “coat” is abad translation. It adds specificity where the Hebrew has none. Garments is better. When we envision a specific garment, we are placing somethign there that God did not reveal to us. We don’t know what kind of clothes He made for them.

  15. >Hey Sheila — I think the number one question, one that's been addressed a couple times in the comments section, is: What is the purpose of modesty?

    If the purpose of modesty is to make women responsible to protect men from their own unchecked lust, then we end up with the hijab and the burqa. Obviously most of us would reject this.

    If the purpose of modesty is primarily to help our brothers keep their thoughts pure, which is, I think, where most women start in this discussion, then we end up with dumpy sack-dresses and people arguing that anything that reveals that a woman is a woman must be immodest.

    The issue for me is, the Scriptures don't ever frame modesty in terms of keeping our brothers from sinning sexually. They frame it as a gender-neutral demeanor that begins in the heart and works its way into things like behavior and clothing. If we start with "ask the men," we're starting in the wrong place. We need to start with, "Look at the heart."

    Do I desire to draw attention to Christ with my speech? Do I desire to put as few stumbling-blocks as possible before people by my comportment and dress? Do I desire to cause people to think on whatever is good and pure and true and lovely and admirable? Do I desire to kill my own pride and need for recognition? Are these desires reflected in the way I speak, act, and clothe my body? THAT'S modesty.

    My barometer for all those rules about how I can dress is this: Does it work? In other words, if the problem of modesty is about seeking attention and recognition for myself, does wearing long skirts and baggy tops and never cutting my hair work to make me humble and selfless? Obviously, the answer to that is no. If I can wear the Christian "uniform" of a long denim skirt, nylons, boxy shoes, a baggy top, no makeup, and uncut hair and still be eaten up with pride, or worse yet, have that costume FEED my pride, I need to check my heart!

    I think there are a whole lot of women who need to take a look at our hearts long before we take a look at our skirt length.

    • You are so right that the bible never frames modesty in terms of keeping our brothers from lusting. When Peter mentions modesty, he seems to be speaking of not being a distraction to men OR women or anybody for that matter. He speaks of dressing appropriately for the situation and not trying to bring attention or glory to oneself. No mention of keeping men from lusting after us, but obviously dressing provocatively is inappropriate for any situation where men besides your husband would see you and it certainly does attract attention and cause a distraction. So yes, we shouldn’t dress provocatively, but that’s only a result of the main issue of dressing appropriately and without causing a distraction.

    • I certainly think that we can wear clothes that fit right and flatter, but we are exhorted to avoid doing anything that would defraud a brother (cheat them out of something) in his sexuality. If you dress in a way that says “look at all my sexy curves … don’t you want me?!” And then of course you don’t gratify his desires, well then you have defrauded your brother. 1 Thes. 4:3-6 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter,

    • AMEN~!!!

  16. >Thanks for writing on a touchy subject… I agree with so much of what you have said.

    I would encourage you & your husband to seek your definition of "modest" from the Bible, not our culture. (whichbis what I think Kellie means). God really has an opinion πŸ˜‰

    After the fall, Adam & Eve's nakedness brought them shame. After they made "aprons" they still considered themselves naked. Gen. 3:10

    God came on the scene & made them "coats." It will take some time but get out a Strong's dictionary & do some study on the definitions of the words "apron" & "coats."

    It seems to be true that fallen man is always ok with aprons, but God does prefer coats. Fallen nature seems to always want to justify the lowest common denominator for the standard…

    You mentioned specific areas of concern for you… How do you plan to pass them on to your children in a continually "undressing" culture? I'm guessing that there will be new, fallen man ideas that our children's generation come up with & new rationalization for why your concerns are out of date…

    God's unchanging ideas in this area are of primary importance to me, as I know they are to you too. I don't care to be hard-nosed about this. Just want to lift up the word of God as relevant, sufficient & applicable to children of God in 2011. God's word is our only hope, and yet its all we need.


    P.S. I really appreciated the admonition to ask my husband if he likes things – sage advice. And I love the name of your blog. πŸ˜‰

  17. Terry @ Breathing Grace says:

    >I actually liked this post a great deal, Sheila, even though I'm wearing a tank top today, LOL!

    It is not, however, a spaghetti strap top, and I always layer my tank tops with contrasting colors.

    Not to mention I'm wearing a skirt that almost touches the floor. I believe contrasting tops and bottoms are important. It softens the look and lessens the chance of immodesty being a factor.

    In other words, I wouldn't wear tank tops with jeans because while my jeans aren't tight, they aren't super loose either.

    Mrs. P kind of hit on what I'm trying to say here. A couple of layered tank tops that show a bit of shoulder is nothing down here is S. Florida. Even in a tank top you can find yourself wearing far more clothing than the average woman. Easily.

    Thanks for the linkage and thanks for reminding us to run these things by our husbands instead of getting caught up with the latest online Biblical womanhood fad.

  18. >"Even in a tank top you can find yourself wearing far more clothing than the average woman. Easily."

    Please don't take this as an "attack" but this is the attitude I try NOT to have. My standard of modesty is not based on what everyone is, or is not wearing, or if compared to others I am more modest. I base my standard on the Word of God, and on if I feel like I am grieving the Holy Spirit. God has given me a standard/conviction for how much skin I should show publicly, and regardless of where I am, or who I am with, or what the latest fashion trend is my standard will not change. Our sole purpose is to bring glory to the Lord in all things, and should be at the top of the list when we look in the mirror.
    1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

  19. Anonymous says:

    >Enjoyed your post, Sheila, and many of the comments too.

    Thank you UK Fred for saying what I was thinking – modesty is a biblical principle, but the way that plays out will differ in different cultures and times. What is seen as 'modest' in Bible belt USA is different to what is 'modest' in London, or Sydney or Nairobi, and 2011 (compared to 1985,1965 or 1578!).

    We each need to search our hearts, ask our husbands for their input and weigh up the culture in which we live, in order to dress in a way which pleases God where we are.

    For some it will mean this, for others that. God never looks at the 'rule' (is my denim dress so many inches past my knees) before he looks at the heart…


  20. >Thanks for this post. I've been having the "skirts/pants" conversation with someone lately (in person and via e-mail). I have trouble verbalizing exactly what I'm thinking, and this helps me clarify my thoughts. I would basically second everything you have said.
    Modesty can be culture driven to some extent. Where we are living (Congo) modesty standards are different than in the US. Knees cannot show, but upper body modesty is minimal. Dressing nicely shows appreciation and respect.
    Here I'm careful to wear pants or skirts that are long enough and to wear nicer clothes on the appropriate occasions. Wearing a ratty or frumpy skirt and t-shirt to an office would be offensive where a nice outfit with pants would be OK.
    In the discussion with my friends, wearing skirts has been equated with honoring God through our dress. But while I believe it is important to honor God through everything, including the way we dress, I disagree with the specifics.

  21. >I absolutely love your blog!

  22. Terry @ Breathing Grace says:

    >I base my standard on the Word of God, and on if I feel like I am grieving the Holy Spirit. God has given me a standard/conviction for how much skin I should show publicly, and regardless of where I am, or who I am with, or what the latest fashion trend is my standard will not change.

    And where in the word of God does it say that shoulders are immodest?

    I don't mean to be argumentative, but I fail to see how my layering two tank tops (with my back and chest fully covered, I might add) is automatically immodest according to Scripture.

    I fully appreciate that you feel convicted about it and I respect that. I used to feel that way, too, to be honest with you.

    And you should follow the Holy Spirit where He leads you in this area.

    But unless clothing is clearly and overtly sexual and provocative, showing areas that it is generally understood should not be shown, let's not add a list of do's and do not's that the Bible doesn't offer and then claim it does.

  23. BettySue says:

    >Kellie, if you are going to dress like they did in the Bible you have to get a weaving loom, make all your own material, out of wool, cotton, or linen, don't use a sewing machine, scissors or paper pattern. You see, they wore robes because it was incredibly difficult to make anything else! They simply didn't have the tools.

    I looked up "skirts" in the Bible once. Most of the time they refered to the clothing of either male or female. Once to female's clothes, and the rest of the time specificly to men's clothing. Using only the Bible as you claim you are doing, your hubby needs to be the one in the skirt. His wearing pants is a cultural thing that started about 1700.

    Actually, "skirts" being woman's wear is a cultural standard from the 1800s. You aren't being biblical, you are being outdated.

    The word "modest" means "not in extreme. So those five layers of sacks are just as imodest as the hooker look. As has been said, our clothes shouldn't make us stand out.

    Now having said that, I wear almost exclusivly skirts and I don't cut my hair (except a few dead ends once a year or so.) This is because my Hubby specificly asked me to wear only skirts (with the agreement that there are times, like when mucking the animal pens when jeans really are more appropiate) and to not cut my hair. He thinks these things are prettier so I do them. I try to dress in a pleasant but not dowdy way. I try not to attract attention to myself by my clothes but by my actions and demeanor. That is what preaches Christ to the world. Not looking like a reject from the 1850s.

    • and I’d love to get my hubby in a kilt/plaid! yum! πŸ˜‰

    • Actually, breeches started coming into fashion for men sometime in the mid 1500’s.

      • And women have been wearing what we refer to as skirts since ancient times. Back then, they referred to the garment by different words (such as “coats” in the 1700’s, from “petticoats”), but skirts have been with us for ten or twelve centuries at least.

  24. Anonymous says:

    >I found this article from a link on The Generous Wife blog. I agree that modesty should not mean dowdy. I'm a christian woman who prefers wearing skirts for various reasons, primarily because I believe that's the best way I can represent being a daughter of the KING of kings, but also because skirts have so much more character than pants. :) I will wear pants when skirts would be impractical, i.e. riding a motorcycle w/ hubby. I found it interesting to read your perspective on this issue, and that even tho you and I are far apart in our personal standards, (and maybe because of it) I felt as much of a…. judgemental spirit? towards those who do things differently than you do as I have in some articles who are proponents of the 'sack' look, which I agree does not look feminine. I think the Bible should always have precedence over culture when it comes to dictating how we dress and conduct ourselves. Have you ever thought about it that the Bible says long hair is given to a woman for her glory? And even insinuates that it's a shame to cut it? And that those women who don't cut their hair are not doing it out of honor to God's Word? Jesus said, "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, since I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." I believe our primary attraction should be the glow on our face that comes from Christ living within and that the way we dress should also reflect that beauty. Sometimes I find myself focusing too much on the outside, instead of the inner self. I think it's pretty cool that God left us ladies instructions as to what is of great price in His sight.:) (1Pet 3:4) Grace to you, sister.

  25. Marriedandjoyfullyhis says:

    >God says it is an abomination to Him when a woman wears a man's clothes or a man wears a woman's. We surely wouldn't appreciate it if men started wearing skirts.
    The fact is all through history men dressed in clothes very different from the women.
    Only when a nation forgets God do they beginning taking their clothes off and showing more and more of their bodies. It probably wasn't anymore sexual to women of that time and place for a native man in some hot country to wear only a loin cloth, than it is for a man to wear t-shirt and shorts today. That doesn't make one right and the other wrong does it? But if a man walked down a street in your city in only a loin cloth it would cause a sensation! One day it may be commonplace in our country.
    The clothes we women wear today while we call ourselves Christian would have in _all_ ages past been considered sexy and immodest in any God-fearing culture. How is it then, all of a sudden right?
    Some of the questions we as women need to ask ourselves and our husbands are: does my husband feel comfortable with me wearing this out? Ask him, "What do you think when you see me in this?"
    Are we to look like the world? To act like the world? Does modesty really mean not to stand out and be different? So the teen in the center city school should engage in sex and drugs to avoid being different. I just left the teenage myself a few years ago so the thought process is not foreign or very long put away from me.
    Are you sure that modesty doesn't mean to cover?
    Please remember that in all history past, as a nation forgot God or didn't want to acknowledge Him they also unclothed and uncovered themselves more and more. So we refuse to learn from the mistakes of history and continue to go with the flow right to destruction (nationally, culturally anyway) We must let God be judge but our conscience does bear us witness ~ if we are truly His children we will want to please Him more that anything else.

  26. >Everyone has their lines… it makes no sense for one person to scoff at other because their lines are more covered than anothers… There will be people who prefer bikinis scoffing at you in a tank top and ppl in tank tops scoffing at those preferring shirts with sleeves… That's a long and ridiculous process.

    That's why I again, encourage you all to look at Genesis 3 where God dealt with The Fall. There are several results of sin listed there.

    I will try to break it down and you can receive the word with "readiness" & search the scriptures for yourselves. (Acts 17:10-11)

    1. Before sin Adam and Eve were "naked and not ashamed."

    2. After sin, they were naked and ashamed. Even after they made aprons (coverings for their private areas, according to historical studies), God considered them still "naked." Nakedness ALWAYS has a shameful conotation in all of scripture, except between a husband and wife.

    Needing to cover nakedness, as defined by God, is a part of the fall… it is a result of sin.

    3. There was no culture to look to for Adam and Eve – God did what He knew was best. He made them coats (coverings from the neck to the knee, historically). He knew that man, in the fallen state needed this protection, though before the fall they didn't need it.

    I do believe the culture one lives in is necessary to consider, but don't use that as a weapon to shoot at people more conservative than you.

    My grandfather remembers a woman being arrested for wearing shorts in public! That wasn't that long ago – definitely not 1850!

    Women rarely ever cut their hair before 100 yrs ago or so and then it was still quite edgy in our culture. Don't pretend that women who wear skirts and have long hair are dowdy, out of date, based on these things. In the scheme of 2000 yrs since Christ 1900 yrs of culture have been on the skirts/long hair side for women.

    And when did it become imperative that we not "stand out in a crowd?" Those who have stood their ground (graciously, I hope) thru the ages have stood out in the crowd! Do you think Daniel was accused of drawing attention to himself when he continued to pray 3 times a day to the true God. Only in a culture of mediocrity, & every man a law unto himself, would it be a bad thing to be different.

    I feel like I need to add a bunch of *what I'm not saying* ("pants are never appropriate", "looking dowdy is godly", etc) to this comment.

    Truthfully, my heart wants to point all of us to scripture and its sufficiency to guide us today – even more than a 5 minute devotional reading – really digging in and studying God's opinion, which is timeless and relevant for us, right now. Try studying it without your assumptions and what you've always thought and ask God to show you what HE thinks.


  27. Terry @ Breathing Grace says:

    >I do believe the culture one lives in is necessary to consider, but don't use that as a weapon to shoot at people more conservative than you.

    I am actually pretty conservative. You can find me in a long skirt most days of the week. And a head wrap some days, too.

    I was simply responding to the knee-jerk, legalistic reaction to the words "tank top", as if all tank tops are created equal. They are not.

    I don't think a legalistic approach to something so subjective is godly, to tell you the truth.

    My husband buys me clothes quite often as gifts. And sometimes he might buy something that is sleeveless, but still tasteful and modest.

    I think we have bigger fish to fry as the church than whether pants are sinful or upper arms incite lust.

    There are men with foot fetishes. Does than mean we can't wear sandals?

  28. >Dear Kathie,
    Kellie made a point to say what she does and explain why in a kind way. She made a reference to the fact that we can't look at our culture or area of the country and say, "We're doing better than they are so we're ok." We truly have to look to God. (Look up Corinthians 10:12 – really, go read it if you can)

    And we are talking about this subject because the author of this blog cared enough about it to devote a lengthy post to the topic. If we were on a blog about recovery ministries, or feeding the homeless, or jail visitation, or showing God's glory to the nations, it would warrant my passionate response as well.

    Please don't assume about any of us that this is the is the centerpiece of our relationship with Jesus. Its not. It just happens to be the topic of these comments & its one of many things that we care about.

    Please assume we have the honest motivation of glorifying God in everything we do and we will assume the same about you.


  29. Anonymous says:

    >This is the first time I have visited your blog – through a link from Generous Wife. Thanks for posting about modesty! I have a 9 year old daughter & have really been seeking God on where He is leading us as we guide her what to wear.

    However, I had to laugh when you commented on allowing our husbands to give input – and trying to honor that. Don't get me wrong, I try my best to be a submissive wife…..but my (wonderful, Christian) hubby would have me wearing bikinis to the pool, short skirts, spike heels, and tight, low cut tops. For some reason, he seems to have a very "loose" definition of modest. He's been this way ever since I met him almost 20 years ago.

    I buy the clothing he likes – but wear it in private. =)

  30. >"And where in the word of God does it say that shoulders are immodest?"

    Please re-read my comment. No where did I state that tank tops were wrong. I stated that MY standard and convictions regarding modesty are not based on how I compare to others. I would like to point out though that you appear to have a problem with spaghetti strap tanks, as well as with pairing a tank top & jeans together per your comment. We all have our OWN lines that we have drawn based (hopefully) on God's Word, or the conviction of the Holy Spirit… as it should be!

    @BettySue–I was not advocating going back to Levitical law, or even back to robes. I was simply making the point that the further society has gotten from Eden, the more uncovered it has become. Just FYI…The Bible does record God commanding the priests to wear "breeches" (Exodus 28:42)under their robes for modesty, so they did have the ability to sew pants of sorts.

    @Kathy–I was not picking apart the standards of others. I was simply stating what I base MY standards on. You know those who are heavily involved in charity can be just as self righteous as one who wears a dress and is covered from her neck to her ankles. I believe that a sold out Christian woman can exemplify BOTH charity & modesty. How mightily she can be used of God by humbly giving Him EVERY aspect of her life, and withholding nothing. That is my personal goal. Just this morning I had the opportunity to help a hurting teen. She was weeping at the alter for her family and what they are going through. She was dressed in a spaghetti strap tank top, and a pair of shorts. Did I take that opportunity to preach to her about what she was wearing? Absolutely not…I wept and prayed with her. I hugged her and let her know that I loved and cared about her and her family. If you would like to pray for her too, her name is Lyric.

  31. >Hi, Kathy, and others.

    It is so easy to look at someone who dresses a certain way and look down upon them. For example, some of you see a modestly dressed LADY and believe she is some kind of fruit-loop fanatic. HELLO – YOU'RE JUDGING THEM. What is worse, Kathy, if you will open up your KING JAMES BIBLE and set aside your own personal preferences, you will see some clear standards for modesty. First, and foremost, true modesty has very little to do with a person's attire. Modesty is an attitude. When a woman adopts a truly modest attitude for the glory of God, her modest attitude will be apparent through her appearance. Then, and only then, will her overall appearance magnify the Lord. Kathie, it is impossible to have a modest appearance when one does not have a Christ-like attitude. Remember, modesty is an ATTITUDE. A Godly, modest lady will not draw attention to herself by being brash, bold, confrontational or preachy. This is why you seem so immodest to me, even though I have never looked you in the face.

    As an aside, I find it absolutely hilarious, yet terribly sad at the same time, when young people, like Kathie, believe they are some kind of expert on anything other than the pimple on the end of their nose.

    One last question: Is it possible to be too Godly? Too modest? Too chaste? Too pure? Too honorable?

  32. Anonymous says:

    >I agree with the commenters that modesty is kind of cultural. I can wear shorts and a tank top even to church (ours is pretty casual) and no one is going to look twice at me.

    I tend more to look at modesty in regard to my work wardrobe, though. As different culturals do have different modesty standards and I serve a very diverse population and most of my clients are older and probably still hold to the modesty standards of their country of origin. I always wear long pants and shirts with sleeves.

    I guess I don't really consider modesty something necessarily spiritual, but just dressing appropriately for the occasion.

    Nurse Bee

  33. FatherOf4 says:

    >Our current definition of modesty was derived from gnosticism and the Victorian age, and not from the Bible. There were several instances of nudity in Scripture which were not only not condemned but considered normal. The early church (including Jesus) baptized the participants naked (in a co-ed setting). In addition they would attend the gymnasium and baths naked with mixed gender. We would do well to return to that body acceptance and understand modesty as not attempting to obtain ungodly attention.

  34. >Sorry for my comment earlier… I was misreading some things that were said.

    Really though, I am tired of people making rules about modesty that are ridiculous and make women dress ugly. We ought to wear whatever clothes the Holy Spirit allows us to wear, and not worry about what others think. :)

  35. >No problem Kathy! I've been guilty of mis-reading/interpreting before as well. Thank your for acknowledging it! =)

  36. >Oh one more thing KathIE…I just noticed I've been spelling your name wrong…sorry about that :/

  37. >hummm not one Bible verse in your post. You very much do not understand the Bible on this subject. You sound more preachy than any skirts only lady. You are the one jugding people who where skirts only, and asume way to much about them. You are also being way dramatic about it. I have never seen someone where 5 layers of patato sack like dresses! please, it sounds like you are tring to justify why you want to wear what you want to, and not feel guilty

  38. >Wow, this has gotten heated! Sorry I'm just chiming in now; I've been away with my husband on a bike trip and I haven't had internet.

    One little thing: I said no tank tops in the blog post; I really meant no tube tops. They used to be called tank tops up here where I live bank in the seventies, and I still sometimes mix up the two terms.

    When I was biking in the hot sun, I definitely wore a tank top and lots of sunscreen this weekend. But I still had a good bra on, and no cleavage was showing, so I consider that fine.

    Anyway, I think we're getting a tad mad at each other, but on the whole people are handling it quite well, which makes me happy. I really don't want this to become a place where we fight each other, so let's try not to do that.

    The comments about modesty being an attitude I find quite interesting, because to tell you the truth I never thought of it that way. I agree that we aren't to be overly brash, but some people, to tell you the truth, are. That's just their personality. But they're still lovely, godly women. I think we need to distinguish between people who have a big but good-hearted personality and people who are intentionally confrontational and harsh. I know some women who walk into a room, and everyone knows they're there. They hug everyone, and everyone feels so much better just having her around. Does she draw attention to herself? Yes. But I believe she's still godly. So it's a difference between motive, I think. I don't want to label people's personality as ungodly, if it's shaped in a godly way.

    As for the people who don't believe that others dress in sacks, perhaps I should have explained myself better. I think if someone is in a long, shapeless skirt, and is pairing it with a shapeless top or T-shirt, that's a sack. But you can also be in a sack if you're in long, shapeless sweat pants and a shapeless T-shirt. You look frumpy and dowdy. And I don't think that's good, on a daily basis.

    It's funny, because I mentioned this post and the comments to my husband in the car last night, and his comment was: you know what differentiates men's and women's bodies? Breasts. And I hate it when women don't wear bras. I don't like to see breasts dangling by the navel.

    You may judge him, but to tell you the truth, I agree. I think a good bra is necessary for a woman to look like a woman. Wear a fitting, well-supporting bra.

    And then don't be afraid of your shape! I guess my attitude on clothes would be closer to What Not To Wear without the cleavage. When you wear things that are too big for you or that ignore your shape, you look very frumpy. When you pay attention to shape, you look attractive, and I believe you can do that and still be modest.

    I fear that many people wear the shapeless look because they're ashamed of their bodies and it's easier. I don't think it's good, though, for our husbands or our kids to see. Let's just focus on how to look attractive with dignity.

    There is nothing wrong with beauty. Many women in the Bible were praised for being beautiful. And women have this urge inside them to "Be the Beauty". That's how God made us. So let's do that with a modest attitude–covering up important parts, and wanting to be attractive not to attract too much attention but just to give the idea: I take pride in myself because God made me, and I want to seem approachable. I think that's a godly attitude, and you can't have that attitude either with too much cleavage or with no shape.

    One final thing: I do think we tend to be too legalistic about what we wear. I don't believe that there are firm lines in Scripture, and people who are starting to measure inches to the floor or inches of fabric are becoming legalistic. Galatians was written about legalism. So do what you think is right before God, but please don't set rigid rules for others.

  39. Barb, sfo says:

    >A couple of weeks ago I spent an afternoon at the mall with my 15-year-old daughter. I was PLEASANTLY surprised that some of the stores marketing to teen girls were offering pretty, feminine skirts and flowy blouses with floral patterns. Girls (and women) can be modest, feminine and fashionable all at the same time.

  40. >There was a time when ankles(yes ankles!) were considered sexy and women kept them covered up. The definition of modesty is ever evolving. I think the main thing to consider is, will people treat me with respect if I wear this. In my experience neither frumpy looking women nor trampy looking women are treated with respect.

    That being said, of course when taking your husband's opinion into account, you should also be true to your own tastes and comfort level.

  41. >Several people have asked about Scripture. Well, here is some to consider.

    I suppose almost everyone believes it is wrong to be "naked". The problem is defining what naked really is. Is it just keeping your privates covered? The Bible gives us a clear, definite definition for the word naked:
    Isa 47:1-3 Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: there is no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate. (2) Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers. (3) Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man.
    God is quite clear: when their thigh and leg were uncovered, they were naked and their shame was revealed.

    Second, if we go back a bit further, we can look at Adam and Eve. When they realized they were naked, they made aprons to cover up with. However, the aprons they made were not sufficient. Look at what God made for them:
    Ge 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
    A coat is a long garment (we tend to call the shorter, cold-weather garment a coat, but it is really a jacket). An apron may be long or short, but it is almost certainly not a complete covering.

    Third: the well known verse in 1 Tim 2:9 dealing with "modest apparel" is also quite clear when you consider the definitions of the word modest.
    1Ti 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; (10) But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
    Modest is not directly dealing with revealing the flesh or form of the body, it is dealing with attitude. There are several definitions of modest:
    1. Properly, restrained by a sense of propriety; hence, not forward or bold; not presumptuous or arrogant; not boastful; as a modest youth; a modest man.
    2. Not bold or forward;
    3. Not loose; not lewd.
    The first two deal with attitude, the last would deal with the clothing: a modest lady will only reveal her body to her husband where a loose woman will advertise it to the world.

    The bottom line is: What you do in moderation, your children will do in extreme. When you compromise a little on any standard, your kids will compromise a lot. If you move the line on modesty a little, the kids will move it a lot. Anyone remember the old western TV show "Gunsmoke"? Remember Miss Kitty? Remember what her profession was (hint: she worked UPSTAIRS in the saloon)? In that day, she advertised her profession by shaking her ankle and calf at men. What that generation did in moderation, our generation has taken to excess: there is very little left to a man's imagination if he should walk in a mall or Wal-Mart on a warm day. Honestly, the prostitute's attire of twenty years ago is deemed modest enough to be common in many of today's mainstream churches. Again, what you do in moderation, your children will do in extreme.

  42. Sharon A. Lavy says:

    >I love this.

    I am a member of a group that wears a church uniform. And it got so bad that some did seem to count inches. And people were accusing others of being immodest when we were all covered from high neck to below the knee.

    And I have a problem. I do feel called to talk about modesty. And right away I am told yes you need to let these young girls know this and this and this.

    That is not my calling. It just isn't.

    When I was put on the ACFW Operating board last year our lovely president asked me if I would feel uncomfortable with how the others dress. I don't. They don't dress at all like I do but they are modest.

    I don't have to worry where to look when they talk.

    For those of you into fashion I will say that shoulders are not an issue, but make sure your armsye is not so baggie or low on the garment that your bra or lack of a bra is visible. I believe that is the reason why some do not wear anything sleeveless.

    I believe it is possible to be fashionable and modest. And now a days all skirt lengths are in, so you don't have to feel dowdy if you don't wear above the knee styles.

    I believe in beauty. How many knees are attractive? Especially men's knees?

    Sadly summer is often the ugly time of year for humanity.

    Look at the reason for the advice. When you bend over skirts ride up. They need to be longer than pants to be modest. Above the knee pants just show your knees. Do you really have nice looking knees?

    Love and Blessings,
    Sharon A Lavy

  43. >"I find it absolutely hilarious, yet terribly sad at the same time, when young people, like Kathie, believe they are some kind of expert on anything other than the pimple on the end of their nose."

    Brenda, I'm 29. Is that old enough for me to gently point out how very rude that comment was? I disagree with you at many points in your argumentation, but I will not stoop to sarcasm and snottiness to try to score points against my sisters in Christ. I hope you'll consider doing the same.

  44. >The word legalistic means something that has to do with salvation. People often misuse that word and think it means "rules". It does not. I do not believe, or have ever heard anyone say, women need to wear skirts only, to get to heaven. All you need to do is believe in Christ and accept him in your heart. Works do not get us to heaven. Please know what words mean before you use them. No one is being legalistic here. The Bible is clear, and does not say to evolve to whatever the world considers modest at the time. It also says it is a abomination for men to dress like women and women to dress like men. If women can wear pants, then can men wear dresses? Why not isn't it the same? Women started wearing pants to act like men and do what they do. That is something God is very against! He has clear rolls for men and women, when we get away from those is when things fall apart. That is why the world is the mess it is today. I don't judge anyone, but just wanted to state why I think you shouldn't be letting other women think it's ok to wear pants and that modesty always changes. You seem to be the one condemning skirt only women. No we do not think we are better than anyone in anyway, that is not nice to portray us that way.We are to be a light to the world, and yes be a little different. We are commanded to love not the world or be a part of it, but to be yet separate. I urge you to study what the Bible says and not simply what "you" think. You can wear skirts only and dress modest and still look nice. I don't believe in wearing jean jumpers everyday or that stuff. We should look nice and present Jesus in a good way.I wear skirts only and modest tops, and get complements all the time on how nice I look, people do not stare at me like I'm a weirdo. Most women that wear skirts only and myself, do so the way our husbands want us to. My husband often goes shopping with me and tells me I look nice. He has always says he is proud to be seen with me. I am not trying to be unkind in anyway, just want to let you know we are not all like how your stated in your post. Some women are like that and that is not right. Modesty doesn't mean frumpy or weird, and God very much cares how we dress.

  45. >Sue,

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

    A few things: while I see what you're saying about legalism meaning the way to salvation, I think it's a fine line and I still stand by what I said. While you may not say that women who don't wear skirts aren't saved, you are still setting up rules for what a good Christian woman is, and that's a problem for me, especially since nowhere in Scripture do I see it saying that women must wear skirts for all time. We have to remember they did not have good scissors; they did not have sewing machines; they did not have mass production. Things are simply different.

    And again, I have absolutely no problem with women who choose to wear skirts everyday–you can find me in a skirt most days in the summer. My problem is with women who say that a good Christian woman will always wear a skirt, and women who wear shapeless skirts with shapeless shirts. I don't think that's really presenting a good view of what Christianity is, nor do I think it's good for marriages (which is really what this blog is about).

    As for being judgmental, perhaps you're right in that I am sounding so. It is not my intention. When one does write a blog post, though, one presents one's opinion, and this is mine. I think that there is a subset of the Christian female culture that is setting up a lot of rules over what is acceptable and what is modest and what is not, and these rules are unnecessary; they can marginalize women; and they don't necessarily honour their husbands. I'm not sure that most men want their wives looking like they're wearing sacks.

    This is obviously not true in your case, since you are making an effort to be attractive, and so I have absolutely no problem about how you dress. My problem is with people who set up rules for other Christian women that I believe are overly restrictive, and who say that we should never look attractive. That's my problem!

    Thanks for commenting, and if you want to respond further I'd be happy to hear what you have to say.

  46. Jrmiss86 says:

    >Very interesting conversation. This is something I am struggling with right now. I have always leaned towards the overweight side and after 2 children I just can't seem to take off the weight, so I have fallen into the comfortable mindset. The last 6 months or so I have begun to realize that God and my wonderful husband love me just as I am, and I am trying to get out of the frumpy mindset. My biggest problem is that stores that carry clothing that I would consider modest don't carry my size and ones that do carry my size are either frumpy or not what I would consider modest. It may also be just my perception. But thanks for the post and the thoughtful comments, it has given me something to think about!

  47. >Jr. Miss–

    I hear your pain! Here's one thing I can say that hopefully will make you feel better: sometimes we get into the trap of feeling like we have to have lots and lots of clothes. I always figure it's better to have 6 outfits that make you feel fabulous than 30 that make you feel frumpy.

    So if clothes are hard to find, don't worry! You don't need a lot. A pair of jeans, 2 pairs of pants, 2 skirts, a dress, and a few tops. Pay the extra money and get nice stuff that fits. It's better to pay more for a few quality items than to pay a ton for stuff that you don't like and don't look good in. And then just wear the few outfits you have that make you feel great! It sounds like your husband is on board, so hopefully he'll encourage you!

  48. Sharon A. Lavy says:

    >Also you have the option of separate tops and bottoms. A classic bottom will go with all kinds of tops to make a different outfit.

    If you can sew, then the trick is to get the pattern to fit right. (Why to they have the shoulders droop etc in large size patterns.)

    But a good pattern is valuable and then fabric shopping can be fun.

  49. >I'm not telling other Christian's Lady's that they are not "good" unless they wear skirts and dress modestly, The Bible does. I never have gone around "preaching" this to women I see in pants. I would tell them what I thought if they asked and really wanted to know,not just argue. You seem to believe different , I'm sure you have read many post on the issue on blogs. From your post though I don't think you understand it. The Bible doesn't say thou shalt not smoke, but there are principles that make smoking wrong. If you look up the word apparel in Greek, it means long flowing garment. The Bible says that women should dress in modest appeal. Sounds like a skirt to me. Also if you study the Bible Jesus wore pants. The Bible calls them pantaloons. S there was a difference back then. Yes they also wore robes, but the men and women dressed very different, or eles why would God say it was a abomination to wear each other cloths?

    • thats the problem…sounds like a skirt to me. thats only to you. there are long flowing pants that look good and fall into the definition of modest.
      this has been a very interesting discussion….
      i dont agree with everything in the original post – but modesty is in important, and can be done with most items of clothing. its not just superficial. and i hate the judgemental holier than thou tone coming from some.

  50. >Sue, you do realize that the bible has been translated many times and was simply the account of men from various perspectives? The word that was translated into "virgin"(reference to Mary) it turns out could also have simply meant "woman". There are a lot of things said in the bible. Do you take them all literally? I'm sure someone could find something in the bible that they translate into meaning we shouldn't be using the internet…or at least that women shouldn't. There are a great many more important things that make people "good Christians" besides wearing skirts! In any case, why would women be required to wear skirts anyway? I wont speculate here, but I will reiterate that in the grand scheme of a christian life, skits are probably around the last thing we should be worrying about.

  51. >you wrote – Sue, you do realize that the bible has been translated many times and was simply the account of men from various perspectives? The word that was translated into "virgin"(reference to Mary) it turns out could also have simply meant "woman". That was so blasphemous, I am no longer reading here! Wow! The Bible WAS written by God! The Holy Spirit told each of those men what to write. Mary WAS a virgin! If she was not, then Jesus wasn't who he said he was and the whole Bible would be a lie. It means what it says, those verses are not at all hard to understand. I find when people don't like what the Bible says, They want to "interpret" it different, or make it seem unclear, or untrue. If you don't think dress is a important issue, why the long post about it? God went into very much detail on how he wanted the temple to look, down to colors ect. I think he very much cares about how we present or bodies! We are a temple of the Holy Spirit! It's not just what we think is ok, it is what the God thinks. Believe me I have studied and studied it and cannot see how it would be ok for me to wear pants. If I wear lose enough ones they will look sloppy, or like men's pants, and women's pants are to tight and I don't want men staring at it or lusting my body. I do not think I am anything spacial. Men think very different from us, and a lot of men out there are perverted. The Bible says if a man even lust after a women he has committed adultery WITH her. That means the women was a part of it, by the way she dressed! This is a very serious issue and should be studied and prayed about very much! Women are even treated very different when wearing modest dresses or skirts, then when they wear pants. I know I probably wont change your mind, but please be very careful on how you talk about the word of God! I hope you didn't mean what you said about it! 1Cr 6:19-What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you , which ye have of God , and ye are not your own?

  52. >Sue,

    While the Bible says we must dress in modest apparel, apparel does not mean "flowing garment" today. It meant it then because that was all there was. Men did not wear pants in Roman times. They just didn't.

    Yes, we are to dress differently than men, but I can tell you that there are a lot of pant-top ensemble outfits that are a ton more feminine than baggy skirts. And women's jeans are very different from men's jeans. I would say that I feel far more feminine in some of my pant ensembles than I do in my skirts.

    I think you are stretching what the Bible says. Modesty does not mean skirts (some skirts, after all, are harldy modest, and most pants, I would argue, are more modest than most summer skirts. At least you can't see up them).

    I'm not saying there's anything wrong with skirts. I'm just saying that the claim that the Bible says women must wear skirts–and only skirts–is based on a very legalistic view of the Bible.

    Take smoking, for instance, as you mentioned. Do I think Christians should smoke? No, because of the verse that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. But Christians smoke all the time in the Middle East and Europe because it is not as much an issue there as it is here. So much of the idea that we shouldn't smoke as Christians is cultural–although you can make a biblical case for it.

    I can also make a biblical case that you shouldn't listen to most modern music, but I wouldn't tell people that the Bible says they can't. I would say that I feel that I shouldn't listen to the music, and that we should be careful, but that it is up to everyone to decide for themselves, because the Bible does not speak directly to modern music.

    Because we are in such a different culture, you can't take things and apply them in exactly the same way. You have to take the principle. The principle here is that we should be modest in how we act and dress. It isn't that we should wear skirts. And modesty must be something that every woman thinks about and stands before God on her own about.

    I would caution women about cleavage or short skirts or things that are too tight, but beyond that I think every woman has to make the decision for herself.

    To say that a Christian woman can only wear skirts is to put a burden on women that I don't believe Jesus meant for us to have. We are bigger fish to fry in this world than wardrobe. And if we start saying that Christians don't do this and Christians don't do that and Christians only dress this way then we put up stumbling blocks for new Christians.

    Let's stick to the basics–the Apostle's Creed–and then work at how we can best impact this world for Jesus. To tell girls that they have to dress the way women did in Jesus' time, I believe, will only hinder that cause.

  53. >Also I wanted to state the KJV is the one and true Bible we have today, not any of them. Othder ones have been changed and messed with, and God warns about that in the last chapter of the Bible. People didn't just make it easier to read, they changed meaning and words, added to it, ect.

    • The editors of the KJV were not inspired by God. They were actually trying to work out a compromise between very factions in England. The pilgrims (or Plymouth you know) rejected the KJV for this reason. Paul, Matthew, David, Moses, all those guys and others were inspired by God. There is no on perfect English translation. As there is no one perfect translation in any other language either. Traslations are by their very natire imperfect. Muslims know this. That is why they dont allow the Koran to be translated.

    • Wow! Seriously? The KJV is the “one and true Bible we have today”? This kind of thinking seems to just exemplify the whole camp of closeminded legalists. No common sense whatsoever.

  54. >Exods28 And thou shalt make them linen BREECHES to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:

  55. >Sue,

    I'm sorry but I feel that this conversation has gotten really strange, and I don't want people to think that this is what my blog is really about, so this will be my last comment on the subject.

    The KJV was an English translation made in 1611 with the best manuscripts they had available at the time, and the most they knew about ancient Greek at the time.

    Since then, more ancient manuscripts have been discovered, and academics became more exact in their Greek translations.

    The translations we have today (not the Message, or the Good News Bible, but the actual translations) are academics looking at the original Greek. They have not "messed" with the Bible. They have simply translated it better because we have more knowledge now than they did in 1611.

    People who claim that the King James Bible is the only true Bible are, I fear, simply scared of moving forward and are trying to stay in the past. The King James Version is a beautiful translation, but it is not perfect. We will never be perfect because it is just a translation. But academics are always trying to do it better, and I am grateful for them.

    To say that we must only read a translation that was made 400 years ago, when English was very different, is to cut Christianity off from the majority of the population who has never heard the gospel. I do not want to do that. I want to make Christianity accessible to those who haven't heard the good news of Christ, and to tell them that they can only hear it by reading the King James, whose reading level is far higher than the average reading level in our population, is to say that most people will thus never read the Bible. I think that is a travesty.

    You are welcome to use any translation you want, but please do not malign the others. They are made by scholars who are trying to be as faithful to the text as possible. And I am grateful for them.

    It seems as if you are trying to turn back the clock, and keep Christianity as it was 150 years ago. That doesn't work. We live in a changing culture, and we must learn how to be relevant–while still holy–in that culture.

    This blog is specifically about how marriages can thrive in our culture, and that is what I want to continue to write about. I really feel that arguments over translations are a side issue and have too much possibility of turning people off, so I will say nothing more on the subject.

    But this is the reason I wrote this post; because too many Christian women are drawing an unhealthy view of our wardrobe which I think harms marriages, as I said.

  56. >Just one change version is the NIV. John 3:16 it changes the word shatt be saved to Might be saved. Shall means you will be! Might has a whole differnt meaning! That is a very important verse! See what I mean. Study it out people!

  57. >shall* not shatt

  58. >Sue,

    I'm sorry, but I'm not sure what you're talking about. Here's John 3:16 in the NIV:

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    I do believe the Bible is perfect. I do not believe the KJV is perfect. And I do believe that some directives (such as a woman should have a head covering on in church) were for that time for a purpose. I do not think they were meant to be eternal.

    I really don't want to get into an argument about this, because this is not the purpose of this blog. But I just wanted to clear up the misconception about the NIV, which I think is a very good translation (especially the newer one).

  59. >Ignorance is all I have to say! Funny how you removed my comments, maybe because you can't adress them, like many of the things I've said. I love how people suddly can't talk about it, or "it's not the purpose of their blog" when you bring up some good points. I'm sure this will be removed also, but I was inteded for you to read, and you will.

  60. >Okay, one last thing.

    Sue, you're making a really big deal about Exodus 28:42 and the linen breeches to show that men wore pants.

    The breeches were UNDERGARMENTS. That's all they were. I don't know whether Jesus wore breeches for undergarments, but I do know that He wore robes, as everyone else did at the time. They did not wear pants.

    To say that because men wore breeches as underwear between 2000 years ago and 4000 years ago means that men should wear pants today and women should wear skirts is really a stretch. This is the sort of thing that drives me a little bit bonkers.

    Do you remember Jesus bringing the sheet down to Peter, and telling him to eat of the unclean animals, because the days of legalism had ended? Do you remember Jesus yelling at the Pharisees because they added all kinds of laws and yet wouldn't lift a finger to help people?

    Jesus wants us to love Him, to serve Him, and to tell others about Him. I think regulating women's wardrobe choices is rather low down the list.

  61. >Sue,

    I removed your comments because I felt they were rude and were starting to give this blog a feeling that I do not want it to have. I shall leave your final one here so that others can see the kind of thing I removed.

    I also do not want to propagate the "King James only" line, because I do not believe it, and I fear that it turns people off of Christianity. That is another reason I removed your comments. This is my blog, and I retain the right to remove comments that I think will harm the message of this blog, which I believe comes from God.

  62. >It talks about the breeches going down to their knees, I don't think it was underwear lol! Yeah you left that comment up, not the other one that brought up good points you cound not answer.

  63. >Sue, do you truly believe that Jesus did not wear robes? Even though that was what they wore in the Roman period? Do you truly believe that the breeches were not undergarments, even though robes were all that was worn in ancient history? That's strange.

    I do not remember what your comment was that I deleted, or I would address it. I remember that I thought it was rather rude and argumentative and did not add to the discussion, and that you said something about me being brainwashed or something for believing the NIV, even though I quoted it and showed you that you were wrong (which you did not reply to). I will delete the rest of your comments from now on, because as I said, this blog is NOT about the KJV only movement, and that is what we seem to be getting into, and it is silly and pointless and makes me very sad, because I don't like to think that there are that many people out there who are clinging to the past so much that they are ruining our witness today.

    You also linked to a YouTube video; I don't know what it was, but as I said, I won't allow this blog to be used by people to promote the KJV only agenda. You are free to write your own blog on the subject.

    As far as I am concerned, this subject is now closed.

  64. Anonymous says:

    >Wow! This comment thread shows how quickly things can get out of hand, even within Christian circles. Sheila, I think you wrote a great post and it has really challenged me to take my wardrobe before my husband and to evaluate my clothing choices.

    And Sue, you are part of the reason some people are so turned off by the gospel of Christ. And if spreading the gospel isn't our greatest call, I don't know what is.

  65. >Beth, thanks for the encouragement! I hope your husband likes your transformation. Have a great day!

  66. A lot of people have mentioned how women are supposed to dress differently than men, but in bible times men’s and women’s clothes were actually very similar. What we wear today is a lot more gender specific than back then.

    Here’s a great article I found recently discussing the actual words used in the bible that proves that the bible does not command women to wear skirts.

  67. About a year ago I read all the arguments about skirts versus pants and decided to try living without pants. I wanted to see if it made any difference in my life. I couldn’t afford to buy all new clothes, so I hit high quality thrift stores and bought nice looking skirts and some “work skirts” that I could muck about farming in. I also bought bike shorts and split skirt slips to wear underneath because I live in the Panhandle of Texas where 30 mph winds are commonplace.

    Let me share a little story from last fall: I was out with a neighbor in my ankle length denim work skirt. I was helping milk her sick cow on a very windy day. I was squatting in the mud trying to keep the skirt from showing too much of me (you know how compromising squatting in a skirt can be) while also trying and failing miserably to keep the hem of the skirt out of the grosser parts of the procedure (did I mention she was a sick cow?). My neighbor asked me what I was thinking wearing a skirt for such a job and I let her know what I was feeling called to do, dressing only in skirts in order to be more modest and to celebrate my God-given femininity. That got us talking about prairie skirts and the like until not long afterwards a sudden gust of wind came along and flipped the back of my skirt up and over the top of my head. As I was untangling myself from the begrimed and sopped in cow-sickened mess of skirt my neighbor said, “Thank you for wearing those shorts under there!”

    I can tell you from first-hand experience that sometimes it is the greater part of modesty to wear pants. I still wear tons of skirts and I still dress modestly but sometimes what is modest depends on the task at hand. And yes, eventually, the smell of sick cow came out of both my skirt and my hair.

  68. Oh, my, the direction these comments has taken is quite hilarious, in a lot of ways.

    Shelia, thanks for breeching a sensitive topic! I think that you did a good job, overall. I agree that modest should not mean dowdy, and have struggled through a lot of the implications of that, as a 31-year old who can’t find clothes that fit in the women’s department in stores. (For some perspective, I’m 22 weeks pregnant with my second child and still wearing my size 2 jeans from American Eagle.) It can be difficult to find clothes that fit that are modest, but it can be done. I don’t have very many clothes, and I definitely have things that I only wear around the house, but I like knowing that not only does my husband approve of what I wear, but that there is very, very little chance that anyone out there is going to be trying to look down my shirt or up my skirt, because I’ve removed the possibility of them seeing anything. It’s actually freeing.

    Sue, I feel sorry for you. The KJV is the oldest ENGLISH translation, and just because it’s the oldest doesn’t mean it’s the best. If you really want to split hairs over certain passages, please go get the Greek and Hebrew texts, learn those languages and all the nuances of those languages, and then you will be adequately informed to argue. Until then, you just seem ignorant.

    What about women in other cultures? What about women in Muslim cultures where a burkha is the standard, for Muslims and non-Muslims alike? Should those Christian women wear skirts instead of the standard burkha because that’s what you interpret “modest” to mean, and because it’s how those passages are translated into English? What about tribes in Africa where women don’t wear tops? Is it immodest for them to “dress” like everyone else? I live in a Muslim country and would never wear a tank top or anything above my knee out-and-about here, but it’s not because it would be considered immodest. It wouldn’t. (I’ve seen women here wearing things that would cause me to stare, even if I saw them on the streets of Florida or California). I wear things that will not draw undue attention to myself so that I can be a positive witness for Christ wherever I go.

    Modesty is cultural. That doesn’t mean that we should dress as the mainstream does, but it also doesn’t mean that we should go overboard in our “modesty.” Let’s face it, most of the time (most, not all), if we’re dressing so far out of step with our culture that people are staring and won’t listen to you when you try to share the gospel with them, it’s got way more to do with pride than it does with actual conviction.

  69. This whole thing has been very interesting for me to read. I grew up in the US, but currently live in South Asia. How I would LOVE to wear a skirt of any length most days… but it would be considered incredibly immodest here. I suppose I could get away with one down to my ankles… maybe. Living here has taught me that modesty really is a subjective, culture driven idea. Women here have no problem with showing their entire mid-sections while wearing a sari (if they’re HIndu), and other women are never allowed to wear anything but loose pants with a knee-length top over it (if they’re Muslim). I wonder, if one of these friends of mine decided they wanted to be a Christian, according to people’s view in this comment thread, if I would eventually need to teach them that to be following God in their heart, they need to give up their traditional dress and begin wearings skirts, because that’s what Christians do? Hmmm.. I don’t think so. Their dress is far more modest than our cultures, and far more feminine as well. I have a really hard time when I come back to the states seeing the things women are wearing! Thanks for the interesting read!

  70. Hi Sheila,

    After reading the post and many of the comments, I wanted to say that this is definitely a touchy subject and one which seems to be hotly debated within the Christian sphere.

    While I applaud your desire for women to respect and defer to their husband’s preferences regarding clothing etc whenever possible, I do fear that sometimes such discussions can really take a wrong turn, leaving some women feeling marginalized and judged on either end of the appearance spectrum. Absolutely we must strive to maintain a physically modest appearance. Perhaps we westernized believers especially need to learn to discern what is the difference between looking presentable and decorating ourselves to the point of being obnoxiously distracting. And I totally agree with you that there are some aesthetically unpleasant ensembles being worn by Christian women in the name of separation from worldliness.

    However, I also believe it can be a mistake to declare a woman to be “frumpy” or “dowdy” and insensitive to her husband’s desires by simply assessing her less than fashionable wardrobe. It’s not because I think that appearance does not matter, but that I know some ladies are under conviction (either directly from scripture, or instruction from their church group or husband) to be dressing in a particular “uniform”. Such women are placed in a very uncomfortable position when someone emphatically states that their donning of “potato sacks” suggests that they don’t really care about what their husbands (and by extension, the Lord) think about it.

    I especially appreciate what Megan said as I have often wondered how God must view pant-wearing Christian ladies in non-skirt wearing cultures. Particularly in areas that are heavily persecuted. Would Jesus really turn away someone who had died as a martyr, clinging confidently to the name of Christ as their only hope of salvation … simply because she did not wear a skirt or, conversely, because she did not put enough effort into looking good for her husband?

    It seems that both Christ-centered perspective and sensitivity are important when treading this particular path.

  71. Love the website :)

  72. For some reason my comments for this post were not approved, so I hope they were at least read. I realize that they were made about two weeks after the post, but I only have time to read my blogs about once I month.

    • Sorry, Michelle! In the blog changeover last week a lot of stuff in the interim got lost. I’m still catching up. I’ve lost a number of things in the black hole. I hope things are back to normal now!

  73. Modesty is by definition the desire to not draw attention to yourself in action, speech or dress. I would say that women dressed in sacks and women dressed in skin tight clothes are both drawing attention to themselves. Moderation is key. We don’t need to be legalistic or loose. God isn’t pleased with either.

  74. I have a really hard time seeing a woman and not being able to tell if she is a Christian because she looks like the rest of the ladies in the world. The bible tells us to come out and be ye separate. We will not only change our behavior when we become Christian but when our hearts change so will out outward appearance. God never intended for women to look like un put together but the scripture talks about women not wearing clothes that pertain to a man and up until the 1940s women never wore pants in America, men were the only ones who wore pants, as a matter of fact women did not wear dresses that showed their ankles back in the 20’s. Research it, if a woman showed her ankles she were considered a harlot. Same goes with make up, the only women who ever “made up” their faces were prostitutes, now we have you girls painting their eyes and looking seductive,, it’s so sad but our culture teaches that sexy is beautiful… The scripture says to worship God in the beauty of holiness. Holiness is beautiful – covering ourselves up is modest, and about the hair that looks uncut…… Uncut hair is biblical…. Nothing about the bible has changed but “we” have changed… A woman to have long hair is her glory!!!!! I hope this helps :)

    • so what you’re saying is that if you see someone with ultra long hair, a skirt to her ankles, no makeup, no discernible shape, and her shoulders covered she’s automatically a Christian to you? I mean that is what you are inferring in your very first sentence.
      As far as that particular scripture all it is says is that women should not wear men’s clothing and vice versa — now in Biblical times everyone wore similar clothes ( and in many countries today they still do) the difference wasn’t in pants it was in details, head covering and things like that, but many churches today take that to mean skirts and pants which is a CULTURAL thing.
      Your comment saying that those who don’t look different from the rest of the world are unsaved is unbiblical — 1 Sam 16:7

  75. Great post! I agree with you completely!!
    Susan Evans recently posted…Modesty or Frumpiness?My Profile

  76. Stephaine Moctezuma-Hernandez says:


    I have read this post and all the comments and I can’t say that I find one person I agree with entirely one modesty. Not to say that everyone is wrong and my view is right, but rather I find bits from several posts that I agree with and others that I do not. I believe now modesty has been defined, but culture when before it was defined by the bible. My own view on modesty is that a woman can be modest and fashionable without looking frumpy. I also believe that just because a christian sister is dressing to please her husband or to be fashionable doesn’t mean that she is dressing like a prostitue or trying to attract un-wanted attention. I wear jeans, tank tops, and skirts that occaisionally come above the knee (not very high though, I am 5’4 and they come perhaps an inch above). Might I suggest that sometimes if a christian woman is seen showing cleavage that it is sometimes a case of being naiive? I have commited this faux-pas before by wearing the wrong undergarment. I am do I say this politely large on top ( sorry if that is rude…) and once I made the mistake of wearing a silky undergarment with a silky top that had a v-neck, but wasn’t too, low and because both of the items I was wearing was silky, my top often slid out of place without my knowledge. A kind Christian sister quietly told me in my ear what the situation was and I simply put my sweater on…problem solved without being rude.

    • Stephanie, you’re making me laugh! I think we’ve all had those moments (even those of us who aren’t–ahem–quite as large on top), especially when carrying toddlers who somehow feel the need to shove their little hands down the front of our tops and pull things out of place! Good reminder to not think the worst of people…

  77. Love your thoughts here Sheila! All around! But I think (as you shared) many people underestimate it’s influence. Both ways – being over conservative or frumpy as well as dressing in ways that attract way too many eyes. Thanks so much for sharing and being an incredible example! Blessings! Kate

  78. Wow! As someone who is a church-attending, God-believing Christian who hasn’t always been completely committed to my faith, looking for a way to become more Christian, the comments on this post scare the heck out of me! And they really tend to push me away from religion, not to it. Never in 37 years has this topic ever been brought to my attention or caught my attention as a guideline to Christianity. I am Catholic…maybe that is the difference. To be Christian, I must wear long sleeves and long skirts….really??? I am perfectly happy in my mid-rise jeans (I usually buy them a little tight because the spandex they use in jeans now makes them stretch out after a few hours of wear), capri pants, slacks and khakis, shorts (sometimes bermudas, sometimes mid-thigh), skirts of varying lenght (I have a couple really cute jean skirts that SHOW my knees and a little THIGH!), a few nice dresses (although I prefer skirt and top sets) my tanktops in the summers, my sweaters in the winters, my highlighted, fashionably cut hair, my daily makeup regime, my multitude of shoes from flip-flops to sandles to tennis shoes to Ugg boots to my high-healed leather boots to my high heals. I wear jewelry most everyday, usually pretty fasionable to match my outfit. I wear a tankini to the pool, but 3 kids ago, wore a bikini. I live in the midwest–I am not wearing a skirt or dress in the middle of the winter when the windchill can get in the negatives and the wind blows 30 mph, and I am not wearing long sleeves and long skirts in the dead of summer when the humidity is 90% and the heat index is over 100 degrees! Never has my clothing choices made me feel more or less Christian. If what I wear determines my degree of Christianity, there are going to be a lot of us in hell. As I believe, Christians are given the responsibility to help bring people into the flock, to help them be better Christians. Crazy talk of showing no skin, not wearing jeans, not cutting your hair sure isn’t going to attract members. And, one more point….I am so tired of hearing that women should cover themselves from head to toe so as to not tempt men. Men are not dogs in heat!!! Men have been blessed with self-control and the ability to prevent themselves from attacking anything that shows skin! I am offended by this idea of men as lustful humans who just can’t control themselves when tempted. I see it as offending my husband, my father and grandfathers, my male friends who are intelligent, faithful, committed men. I mean, I can walk by a bakery and see a delicious chocolate cake covered in frosting and notice how yummy it looks or even be tempted to take a bite, but I (like most men) have the self control not to run in and stick my face in the cake and eat it all!! My husband may notice an attractive women, tastefully or immodestly dressed, and he may comment on it, but that doesn’t mean he can’t control himself, nor does it change his opinion of my beauty. A women who wears jeans or a tank top or short skirt or a bikini isn’t free game for man’s taking….God gave us the ability to control ourselves, not make it everyone else’s responsibility to prevent us from sinning!! I appreciate the post, but some of the comments…sheesh!

    • Lori, thanks for your thoughtful comment. I think you brought up something which is so important. Legalism ALWAYS represents a roadblock to the gospel. That does not mean that all rules are bad; it just means that we absolutely must be aware that by having rules, we turn people away, so the onus must be on us to state that the rule is worth turning people away over.

      Some rules do fall into that category. Not having sex before you’re married, for instance, or having a marriage that lasts for life. But many of our rules are cultural; they shouldn’t be make it or break it issues. And I believe that the way that many Christian women talk about these issues does erect an impediment for the gospel. And that is very dangerous.

  79. I appreciate your blog….and your desire to be pretty and fashionable while still being modest….I was saved at the age of 20 (in the early 70’s ….during the days of the mini skirt, so it was a learning experience for me back then!) However, I have been a pastors wife for 37 yrs now and have seen my share of “dowdy”.

    My question is…..what about bathing suits?….if skirts should not be too high up the thigh, how can bathing suits be “modest’?……would love your take on this.

    • Anne C, I have a hard time with swimsuits also. The way I see it, it’s normal and acceptable (even modest enough to most guys) to wear a swimsuit when you are at the beach or pool, if your chest is not exposed and your butt is covered. Guys EXPECT to see girls in swimsuits, and even in bikinis (although I don’t support wearing bikinis) . I’ve never seen all the guys at a beach walking around holding a surf board or beachball or towel in front of their crotch to cover their arousal. I guess they know how to get into a mentality that blocks their usual response or something. It would NOT be acceptable to wear the same decent swimsuit to Walmart.(duh…) Even at the pool or beach (or river or lake) when I’m not actually in the water I usually wear a T-shirt and shorts or some kind of cover-up, but mostly because I’m self-conscious of my flawed figure. … I just consulted my husband (who happens to love my figure even with its post-baby flaws), and he says it all depends on how pretty the woman is, how she carries herself, how she acts, etc. He said sometimes a woman is more sexy wearing clothes that cover her completely, like a pair of well -fitting jeans

      • …didn’t finish , accidentally touched the post button… as I was saying, snug-fitting jeans, form-fitting sweater, fashionable boots and accessories on an attractive lady can sometimes be sexier than the same woman in a swimsuit. Even a nice dress can be more flattering than a swimsuit a lot of times, at least in his opinion. Trust me, he is a very MACHO, MANLY MAN! So… I hope that hasn’t confused you, hope it’s at least a little helpful. I think the main thing is your inner aand outward attitude… are you flaunting yourself? Are you hoping your body is turning on guys? Or do you keep a confident yet modest attitude in the way you carry yourself and avoid flirting or drawing attention to yourself in the wrong way?

  80. Wow! Sheila, Thank you for reposting this. I totally agree with you. And while I may not always have been so wise in how I dress ;), I now can’t imagine not considering others. Even just from the stand point of being an example. See, I have never bordered on frumpy-ness. As someone who is really just exploring my faith in depth for the first time, I have had to learn that others can be made uncomfortable by how you dress even if it isn’t over the top. And that applies to Christians and non-Christians alike.
    In our business, I have to lead by example and know that the new women on my team are going to push the envelope just a little further than I am until they start applying the good info that I’ve gotten. When we work so often with couples, there is no way I want a new female team member uncomfortable with the thought of me working with her husband! So I had better have my envelope sealed! But I still need to look attractive.
    I have just found your blog and I’m so excited to know that this great wisdom comes from our neck of the woods.
    Have a lovely day!
    Colleen from Quinte West

  81. I want to thank you for writing this post. I have, in the past, been really hurt by well meaning women who insist that modesty = skirts and I’m immodest because I don’t live like that. I have never been a skirts person (maybe every once in a while) and I probably never will be. In fact, I would say that in some cases, skirts are more immodest than modest. For example, I lead a pretty active lifestyle. Whenever I wear skirts I am super paranoid about accidentally showing my underwear to people. If it’s windy, for example, it’s very easy for skirts to be blown up. Or if I’m trying to watch kids I’m babysitting for who I need the ultimate flexibility for and not worrying about where my skirt might be going. Because let’s face it – if I’m wearing pants, there is no chance of me accidentally showing anyone my underwear, like I worry about with skirts. And a lot of skirts that I have seen have really no way to adjust them and because I’m more small wasted I often have to safety pin them just so they are tight enough to stay on because they don’t have belt loops and then I’m worried about them falling down. I also just have a horrible track records with skirts. I have ruined so many because I tripped on them or because they got caught on something – there is no more embarrassing feeling than tearing your skirt in public and not being able to do anything about it! I think that saying skirts are the only way to be modest is super legalistic and I can’t support that.

    • Melissa, I think you raise a great point about accidentally flashing people! Legalism is rarely a good thing; I would only be legalistic about things that really mattered (like marriage). Anything else can drive people from the gospel, not promote the gospel.

  82. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
    Mathew 7:15

  83. Thank you! Modesty can be cute and stylish!
    Kim Harris recently posted…Beautiful Orange Crush SkirtMy Profile

  84. ” do we really want to give the impression that Christians are dowdy spoilsports”? Worrying about giving the impression that we are dowdy spoilsports should be WAAAAAYYYYYYYY at the bottom of our “worrying” list! Let’s focus on what God is saying to EACH ONE OF US (meaning: another person probably can’t tell you exactly what that is), and have absolutely no concern that we’ll be looked down on by the world.

    • Yes, Sarah, I know what you mean, but I also am very conscious of the fact that people judge the church through what they see of me. And if I look dowdy, and give the impression that this is what Christianity is, then that gives a bad impression. In the same way that you wouldn’t show up to a job interview in sweat pants and a T-shirt with holes in it, we should be careful about what we tell other people Christianity is.

      Christianity is relevant for our culture today; in fact, it’s the answer for our culture. But people will not take us seriously if we look like frumps. And there’s no need to. Do we need to be beauties? No, of course not. But to give the impression that Christianity–aka Jesus–demands long, shapeless denim skirts is not painting a very attractive picture of Jesus to most people! It means that Jesus is out of touch. And He isn’t. So let’s just be careful of what we say Christianity is.

      Should we tell people Jesus is the only way to heaven? Absolutely. Should we tell people that He wants holiness? Absolutely. Should we tell people that He loves them? Absolutely. Those things are non-negotiable. But should we tell people that Jesus wants us in shapeless sacks? No.

  85. Sarah L says:

    I stumbled across this blog for the first time today, via pinterest, and i just wanted to tell you that i think this is a great article, and articulates very clearly a view i’ve tried to explain myself to friends in the past. I agree completely that looking frumpy isn’t the Lord’s intention for us, and that it diminishes our witnessing power. Thanks for sharing this!

  86. Elizabeth says:

    Thanks for such a thought provoking post. I’m having my own struggle with modesty. I feel like I’m judged by certain family members by not living up to their “ideals” of modesty. I feel like what you’ve written is more in line with my own thoughts, but it’s still hard to feel judged. I feel like for the most part, I am very modest. I don’t wear short shorts or skirts, (usually to the knee even). My big problem is in finding tops. I wear camisoles under pretty much everything, (can’t be too careful with a baby in tow). But I have trouble with the slightest hint of cleavage peeking out sometimes. It’s defintely not on purpose. I have a large chest and sometimes, holding a baby, or crossing arms or moving naturally in general will result in the peek. I’ve even gone in front of a mirror to check how high my cleavage would go in the the most extreme circumstance. It’s almost to my throat! There’s just not many tops that will go that high, and certainly my camisoles aren’t doing the trick. It’s something I worry about all the time. It is really hard for me, and it does make me want to just wear tshirts all the time.

  87. Brittney says:

    I am WAY late to the conversation but I wanted to add my thoughts anyway. First, THANK YOU for addressing what I think is a valid issue. We should be dressing to please our husbands. I do know of some husbands who ask their wives to wear jumpers and less shape flattering shirts/skirts. HOWEVER sometimes those men don’t know (because they are men) that there is a way to even wear long skirts and loose shirts in an attractive way. I have struggled in this area because I am 23 and my husband is not interested in a “homeschool mom wife” as he calls it. Meaning, the woman who barely brushes her hair has on a sack skirt paired with a big tshirt and tennies. I also don’t feel like there is a problem with jeans but I DO want to be modest. My mom told me something recently that I have really taken to heart. She said when you get dressed in the morning ask yourself “Are you dressing attractively or dressing to attract?” Great question! If what I am wearing is causing the attitude of seduction to be present in my heart then I need to address that, quick. It usually means getting rid of an item of clothing (for me it is usually low cut shirts that I am tempted to purchase) and it means getting with God to adjust my motives. I felt like your post was more about not letting modesty take away from our femininity, then modesty itself. We can argue all day long on what modesty is. The truth is we will never all agree because we aren’t all at the same place at the same time in our spiritual walk. What we SHOULD agree on is that it is a heart matter and a matter to be taken up with our husbands and God. Anyway, just my thoughts!

  88. I am a “skirts only” person. I do not ask others to live by my convictions. This is just the way my husband and I both live. He would be embarrassed to take me out in pants, and he has said as much. Women who only wear skirts can still look very attractive to their husbands. Not all denim skirts are “shapeless”, and you can look very nice and stylish in skirts. There is no need to look dowdy, cultish, boring, etc. just because you wear a skirt. I find it judgmental that people would put all women who wear skirts in the potato sack category.

  89. Hello All,

    I’m late to the party but thought I’d add my thoughts. :)

    “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” Titus 2:3-5 I’m so thankful that you took the time to write this post to help other women learn more about what it means to live a Godly life.

    “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12 – Why don’t we all try to determine what clothes to purchase and wear in part by asking ourselves if we would want our (future) husbands to see another woman dressed in the same clothes? We can’t possibly keep up with everyone’s else’s standards, male or female, as we can see from the discussion above. However, we can all try to avoid harming other males and females by the way we dress, and this honors God. I trust that if any of us are dressing incorrectly then God will bring that to our attention individually when we pray and study God’s word and when we have these discussions with other fellow believers. Also, applying the golden rule keeps us out of the trap of thinking that we should only be concerned with ourselves and our husbands.

  90. I love this !!! I quit going to a church because of the way they wanted their “ladies” to dress… ridiculous I say… as long as your being semi modest and things are not “hanging out” LOL I mean come on… be reasonable and look decent. Nobody wants to be seen with someone looking dowdy or homeless. Some of these women who wear sack like things and never get a hair cut look like they were deserted on a desert island… take pride in your appearance…

  91. I love everything you say. I remember growing up in my youth program at church with a leader who taught us that modesty meant wearing shapeless clothes. There are still so many women (and young women, too!) who say that modesty means baggy clothes. Ugh! I do want to be found attractive, and I think men should be given some responsibility to control themselves. I mean, they should be able to find a woman attractive without finding her sexy. Part of this is the fault of our culture, which equates a woman’s attractiveness with her sexiness. I had a teacher who explained that covering one’s hair in a Muslim country would be modest because the culture there has conditioned the men to find hair sexy.

  92. Perfection! Thank you so much for this … I am so tired of the trite you must not be modest if you look like you have a figure at all crowd

    • Amen!

    • Holly…you and my MIL could debate on this! I’m new to this blog but I like your comments. My husband’s mother is a very devout Christian, old-school Southern Baptist. She is one of the sweetest people but this is one of the few issues that we disagree on. She dislikes Mariah Carey and criticizes her constantly. Mariah is very curvy and as an entertainer, she tends to wear flashy outfits that show her figure. My MIL is always bashing her…”she’s so immodest!” “she’s so fat and she’s showing off all the time”, etc. I will admit that it gets on my nerves to hear this because first, Mariah is a diva and has been for years. She is a sexy woman. There are far worse things that a person can do. Second, the human body is not inherently sinful nor is it something to be ashamed of. Breasts and hips are not evil. Being beautiful and sexy is not a crime.

      I remember once she asked me rather pointedly why I don’t wear T-shirts more often (and I don’t dress inappropriately). She meant loose, baggy T-shirts that hide any evidence of a womanly shape. This is one issue that I have with some people.

  93. Well, I agree with you, Sheila – Modesty Should Not Mean Dowdy! Yet one can look great putting on even VERY modest clothes – if one is creative and trying to look her BEST for God’s glory!

    As for jeans… I have several classic looking pairs. But now I try to wear them less frequently and shift to modest (not TOO from fitting and quite long – I aim to mid-calf length) skirts. As for tops, I aim for a bit looser-well-upper arm covered – neckline high =)

    Coming to standards like these was REALLY a PROCESS for me =)

    Anna recently posted…Cheerfulness and Sunny ChristianityMy Profile

    • …and by the way I really feel MORE FEMININE AND SOFT wearing skirts. Maybe that is not true for every woman, but all my in-love-with-jeans girlfriends agree with me =)!!!
      Anna recently posted…Cheerfulness and Sunny ChristianityMy Profile

    • I tend to change my mind continually on this issue.

      Now I’m sure I will no longer aim to wear ancle-length flowing skirts all the time (NOTE: ONLY SEVERAL DAYS PASSED SINCE I POSTED MY COMMENT lol)

      I’m going to stick to a sort of ‘something-in-between’ version of modesty.

      And I think it would be wise first of all to be modest in my BEHAVIOR (i like THIS article

      I’ve come to realize being TOO focused on modesty is actually a BAD THING. So I personally need to stick to some BASIC principles and RELAX.

      It’s better to pray more (for others, for example) than to be CONSTANTLY preoccupied with the way I look.

  94. What a great post, thoughtful and well written. I’ve founded an online boutique that focuses on stylish modest clothing where everything we carry does not need to be layered. We’re just starting out and I’d love to hear your thoughts on what we are trying to do. You can visit our site, blog where we also talk about the different definitions of modest: and our pinterest where we share what we aspire to carry in our store

    You can also read more about us here:

    I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

  95. Great article! This has always been a hot topic for me, and I’ve loved reading all the different perspectives in the comments. Thanks for sharing this. I’m new to the blog (found it via twitter) and anxious to check out some of your other articles.

    Lindsey @
    Lindsey Whitney recently posted…Wet and Wild Water Games for Kids!My Profile

  96. I come from a family that really stressed conservative clothing, as in all skirts all the time. My mom also covered her head. I have a Mennonite uncle, and his ideas about dress influenced my mom a lot. I happen to still be the skirt-wearing type (partly because I’m kind of a barefoot hippie chick, and partly because pants don’t flatter my figure at all). It’s interesting to read a blog from a Christian that doesn’t insist that only skirts are modest. It has really gotten me thinking about the dress standards I will teach my daughter.

    I will say that even a “sacklike” hijab doesn’t have to be frumpy. We occasionally see Muslim women around where I live, and many of them wear their hijab in a way that makes it look glamorous — contrasting colors, nice shoes, carefully draped veil. So it’s all in how you wear your clothes.

  97. I know it’s been over 2 years since this has been posted….but I have a question and hopefully someone will answer it.
    I like that your standard of modesty and beauty should be your husband, but what if your husband’s standard is less than yours? For example, what if your husband thinks extremely short shorts and a tank top in public is appropriate? My husband is not that way but someone I’m close to has that issue. She goes along with it.
    Is it wrong to dress to attract not just your husband but other men as well? I think that if you’re dressing in such a way in public that would draw attention to you from other men, then that is just as wrong as a married man looking and lusting after another woman.

    • Leah…I feel compelled to answer your question, since no one else did. I believe that if a woman doesn’t mind wearing certain types of clothes, and her husband is also OK with it, there is no harm in it. I feel that intent is what matters most. Are their intentions good or bad? If the person in question is uncomfortable with clothes that could be deemed revealing, then she should discuss that with her husband and he should be more understanding about it. But if both parties have no moral objections to it and they are decent people otherwise, I see nothing wrong with it…as long as the attire isn’t completely vulgar (nipples showing or camel toe/butt cheeks or too much cleavage) it is OK to be just a *bit* sexy, provided that it is done tastefully and not over the top, no pun intended.

      Maybe this person can come to a compromise with her husband if she is uncomfortable. She can wear skimpy outfits at home, in the privacy of their bedroom. Or maybe she can wear a tank top with longer shorts in public sometimes…not all tank tops have skinny little straps, some have wider straps and built-in “bras” for added modesty and comfort. There are also other ways to look attractive and sexually appealing that don’t involve showing lots of skin. She can wear red lipstick or smoky eye makeup (not both at the same time, though). She can fix her hair in a pretty style. She can wear gorgeous bras and panties UNDER her clothes. She can wear tank tops with lace under a low-cut top, which looks cute but also keeps the “girls” covered. There are many clothing options that don’t show too much but still make a woman look/feel pretty.

      As to clothes attracting attention from men…hmm, this is a tough one. There is a movie called “Blue Sky” starring Jessica Lange, where she plays a woman who craves male attention despite being married. She wears provocative outfits and flirts with every man in sight, to her husband’s dismay. Again, it is about intent. If one is trying to attract men (despite being married) then that might be a symptom of problems within or with the marriage. It might indicate that the woman has low self-esteem and feels unloved or ignored, and needs validation. Or she might be addicted to male attention…sometimes that does provide a fleeting thrill. But not every woman, married or otherwise, wears sexy clothes for these reasons.

      Men will look at women, period. It is one thing to look at somebody, another thing to act on whatever impulses or attractions might come up.

      • A few years late to the party here, but I have a similar issue. My husband wants me to wear much more revealing clothes in public than I’m comfortable with, stating that he has a right to “show off” his wife. Thoughts?

  98. Wonderful post–especially the guote from the blogger who said her standard of beauty is her husband. THANK YOU. I wear jeans, t shirts and boots most days, because our lifestyle has us working with horses and wolves most days. I asked my husband once which he preferred me to wear, pants or skirts. His reply was, “Wear whatever you want, but just remember what our lifestyle is. And when you have to climb up a tree to get away from a wild hog–a skirt is NOT modest! I do wear skirts occasionally, but since we attend cowboy church–jeans are mostly my Sunday attire also.

  99. I happen to be a woman who wears “skirts only” and “never gets a haircut”. This is my personal conviction, and yes, I have found a church that supports these views. A church that is made up of kind, holy, modest, and wonderful people, who do not wear “sacks” and turn up our noses at others and other views.
    I’m not easily offended, but this article, as well as several of the comments, are offensive to me. For example: wearing only skirts is “strange”? A lot of you “Christian” ladies sure do sound judgmental and condescending to my way of life. I believe holiness and modesty starts on the inside, then shows on the exterior.
    I have not written this to start any arguments, but only to point out that your comments do sound rude about “skirts only” women and people with stricter modesty convictions than your own.

    • Sadie…I’m not the blog author, but I would like to share some thoughts with you, if that’s OK. If you are happy with your life and clothing style, that is what matters. I don’t think anyone meant to be offensive. I knew a girl in college who wore skirts only and they were always ankle-length skirts. She also had very long hair that she wore in a bun most of the time. She was extremely prim and proper, somewhat homely. I will admit that I found it unusual, but I never criticized her or looked down on her. I simply accepted her for who she was and respected her faith.

      I think what some people are talking about is the way that some overly “modest” women tend to believe that they are somehow more holy or pure because of the way they dress. If long skirts and long hair are part of your faith, don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it…just as long as you also can show the same respect to others different from yourself. There are different kinds of beauty in the world. You are no less beautiful because you adhere to a more traditional style. I’ve been shamed by some women who called themselves Christians because I wear form-fitting clothes and lipstick and it bothers me, because I don’t shame others. Be proud of who you are and don’t worry…I’m sure the other ladies meant no offense. What they’re talking about is the stereotypical woman who doesn’t take care of herself at all, is dowdy, and looks down on the women that DO take care of themselves because she sees it as “vain” or “sinful”.

  100. Thanks so much for writing this article. I sometimes wonder what people are thinking when they dress dowdy. It almost is screaming to the world, ‘I am different and I want you to notice that’. Personally, I don’t really like to stand out in a group of people. Thank-you for giving guidelines on what is a good idea and what isn’t. I agree with skirts being a lot of fun to wear, but I would hate having to wear them every day. This article really put my mind at rest. Thanks again!

  101. Sheila, great post! Have you ever heard of the modesty survey? Very interesting feedback from guys on what they think causes them to stumble most. I think it’s so important not to overlook our responsibility as women to be aware of how men feel and take that into consideration when we dress. According to the survey most men don’t think that skirts are more modest than pants – go figure!!
    Stephanie recently posted…Undignified {A post Super Bowl devotional}My Profile

  102. Shieldmaiden says:

    Do any of you realize how EUROCENTRIC a lot of this modesty rhetoric is? Women of African descent cannot grow long flowing hair, in fact it grows UPWARDS and around like a ball. Especially when NOT braided!!!! Or cut bald!!!! Now explain modesty in pertinence to that situation. Sorry if I sound angry but there are Christians of other races, even mixed race! Culture IS crucial. That fact will never change. Modesty comes from within and shines out. I have worn shorts and many people still saw my bashfulness and unwillingness to give myself up. Do I prefer long, skin-hiding garments? Yes. But stop applying unrelated or Eurocentric ideals to what makes a good Christian woman. A good Christian woman prays, serves God and tries to help people. Feed the poor, try that for humility and modesty.
    Many of Paul’s letters referred to people who lived in a specific area. There are no letters written to people of Papua New Guinea where people wear grass and nobody wears shirts ! The men do not consider breasts sexual at all whatsoever.
    Anyone who says culture is irrelevant lives in a very small world :(

    sorry if I came off as emotional, but this angers me. The racism and sexism imposed by people who might be a little self serving….

    God bless, and again I apologize. May Christ be glorified in many many ways. May more souls be won for the kingdom.

  103. Love your article. Bottom line, go to God’s Word for direction and wisdom, that’s where we will fine it, not in any other form. I don’t read blogs, posts, etc hardly ever, but many of yours are the acception. Ladies, read Titus 2, and 1 Peter 3, such a blessing to be able to have clear direction from the One who loves us more than anything :) As Sheila wrote a few times, to ask your husband what he considers modest, and aim to please him, that’s Biblical! It says to “Be in subjection to your OWN husbands…. That the word of God be not blasphemed.” I believe, sadly, that Gods word is blasphemed by professing Christians of many walks who dress, talk, think… Their own way, and never go to God for wisdom :/ anyway, all that to say, stick with Jesus, His word the Bible, and you can’t go wrong..! :) oh, one thing someone else said to me, “when you get dressed to go out, ask yourself, ‘Am I representing Jesus well by wearing this?’ “, and if you truly know Jesus as your Savior, the Holy Spirit will let your heart know the answer πŸ˜‰

  104. So glad to see a post that does not go too far to the left or too far to the right. I want to be modest and I am a christian but why must I dress like a pilgrim?

  105. I used to look down on women who wore pants because I was raised to believe that pants are not modest and they show off your entire rump, etc. etc. I was really struggling with the issue of pants and the issue of developing my own convictions in general, when God pointed me in the right direction. I was in college and two different Sunday School teachers who were teaching mostly newly-saved bus kids made the same comment regarding convictions: “If you decide to stop wearing pants, I would rather it be because God told you to, not because I told you to.” I really appreciate that statement and took it to heart. The only pants I wear are pajama pants, but I no longer look down on women who wear pants as though I’m holier than they are.

    Sheila, thank you so much for this post!

    P.S. I just wish my mom would read it and agree with you! (She seems to equate modest with frumpy and dowdy!)

  106. This is a really great article about modesty. I have only been a Christian for a little over a year. I go to an apostolic church because that is where my husband goes. I agree it is a heart matter. God looks on the heart, man looks on the outward appearance. 1 Samuel 16:7. I wear skirts and pants. Mainly skirts when out and about. We need to listen to the Holy Spirit and stick with the conviction so of our conscience. In Romans 14, we need not to judge each other by what we wear, let us all be convinced in our own minds what is right before God. Let us love one another. :)

  107. I am just now reading this, as you posted it on facebook. I think there are so may reqsons to be modest that have nothing to do with the whole question of lust. I prefer long skirts myself, but fashionable ones. Here are some of my thoughts:

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  2. […] Modesty Should Not Mean Dowdy. The most controversial post of the year–so […]

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  4. […] though, I’ve written about the other extreme, too–the extreme which somehow equates holiness with frumpiness. So I do think there needs to be a balance in this, as in just about everything else! Related […]

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