What is Modest Christian Attire for Women?
While there isn't a one size fits all style of dress if you are walking with the Lord there should be some conviction about the attire you wear. If you are having to constantly pull down your skirt every time you take a step or if you choose to wear clothes that are rent, torn, and homey you could be giving off the wrong kind of attention if seen in public.
Ask yourself, Is this outfit a good representation of a woman of God within my current means?
*Now before you read any further this post specifically discusses modest apparel. There is MUCH more to modesty than the clothes we wear and I will have a post on this in the future.
Just look around you. There are women who adorn themselves in clothing that is flashy and or seductive and there are women who are more demure and or classy in their dress. With the world dictating the newest fashion trends it makes it challenging to find a happy median.
Dressing provocative can send out signals of a Jezebel spirit (have you read what happened to Jezebel in the bible?) and dressing too dowdy can give off the impression you don't care about your appearance at all. Remember, the Proverbs 31 Wife wore fine apparel (Proverbs 31:22) while still considered a woman to be praised (she was praised most of all for her good fruits).
There is nothing wrong with having a personal style if done in humility and a pure heart (you can't fool God with sinful intentions), but it doesn't stop there.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
We Christian women should be walking billboards of women of faith –this is part of our reasonable service. There should be excellence in all that we do for the Lord even if we must sacrifice our fleshy desires. When we step out into the world others should recognize by the way we dress and our fruits we serve a righteous God.
Let's Discuss Provocative Attire
Avoiding provocative attire isn't only about not luring others into lust, although I've seen interesting arguments regarding who is responsible for the lustful thoughts.
But as a woman I'm personally offended by women and young girls who choose to expose their assets for all to see. My spirit grieves when I walk behind a woman who has accentuated her backside in the tightest of jeans for attention or wears a shirt that puts her cleavage on display.
Despite what the world believes, our bodies are NOT our own, we can't just do anything we want to it without there being consequences. And when you marry your husband has authority over your body and vice versa. Our sexy attire or nakedness should be reserved for our husbands in the privacy of our home, not for others to ogle or see and that includes sharing on social media.
1 Corinthians 6:19
Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself,
1 Corinthians 7:4
The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife.
I'm sadden society or should I say Satan has convinced women and young girls that their value and self-worth stems from how seductive they look to others and showing more means you're unashamed and confident in your own skin (thank you feminist agenda). This type of vanity is prideful and the Lord says pride comes before destruction and arrogance before a fall (Proverbs 16:18).
The Fall of Man
Before you rip me a new one about self expression and a woman's right to dress how she pleases let's go back to the beginning, like Old Testament, Genesis beginning.
When and Adam and Eve originally sinned their eyes were opened and immediately they felt for the first time conviction and shame regarding their nakedness and disobeying their Father. What God did next was give them mercy by clothing them in proper attire using animal skins since the fig leaves Adam and Eve used to cover their private parts were inadequate.
Ultimately what Adam and Eve created was a wedge between God and the close, intimate relationship they once had with Him after they sinned.
Fast forward today our eyes remain open and the world is engulfed in sin causing enmity between us and God. Therefore; God requires us to be clothed just like Adam and Eve even though Satan would rather we do the opposite. How ironic and predictable of him.
Only when we are called home and fully transformed into perfection will we restore our intimacy with God to its fullest capacity. Until then we are still sinners covered by His grace while living on this earth.
If there is ever an argument pertaining to how God really feels about public nakedness this is a great example. Although, fashion trends have evolved and people's opinions have changed one thing remains constant; modesty in dress is the biblical way regardless of culture.
Just take a look at Instagram and Facebook. It's no wonder the Playboy empire is going under (no complaints about that), people can get those same types of spreads for free (no pun intended). And what's worse, Christians are losing their discernment about Satan's agenda by accepting these ungodly trends as the new normal. Okay, my rant is over now.
Judging A Book By Its Cover
1 Samuel 16:7
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Don't judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn't see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.
Although God judges the heart, unfortunately worldly people judge the outward appearance first and it's vital that we represent God in a manner that helps draw the world to Christ. This means not only by how we dress, but more importantly our actions.
We often have one shot to get it right when witnessing to someone, so lets represent ourselves righteously.
It's easy to hide behind the but God knows my heart, but if my heart is filled with lust, evil, rebellion, jealousy, pride, lies, greed, wickedness, idolatry, hate, murder, manipulation, or any of these things I would much rather a brother or sister in Christ reprove or rebuke me in love than to face His judgment on the current state of my heart. Just some food for thought.
*Disclaimer If you can't afford nice clothes and the only ones you own are worn and or tattered God understands your situation and a REAL Christian isn't going to judge you for that. Do your best with what you have and let your inner light and beauty shine through. Even a woman with the most expensive clothing can have a heart as cold as ice (The Devil Wears Prada anyone?).
How to Know You're Dressing Too Provocative
If you are accentuating...
- Your breasts (i.e, cleavage, extra tight shirts)
- Your stomach (i.e, mid-driffs, bandos,)
- Your hips (i.e, low-rise/hipster pants & skirts)
- Your backside (i.e, tight pants, dresses & skirts)
- Your thighs (i.e, short dresses, shorts & skirts OR tight pants)
...then there is a good chance your Heavenly Father would disapprove your attire since accentuating these parts of your body can be considered sensual in the majority of cultures.
Likewise, if you say to yourself "I look and feel sexy" before leaving out the house you may want to change. Why would a woman of God want to look and feel sexy to the world?? Save that for your hubby in the privacy of your home.
1 Timothy 2:9
And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes.
I understand that some of the things I mentioned above may be taking it too far for some, but if you are a woman of faith it's not up to the world (celebrities, fashion designers, etc) to dictate what's appropriate for you to wear. Obviously, they are doing a poor job at that and have blurred the lines.
We should be led by the convictions of the Holy Spirit, not our own (a man's heart is deceitful Jeremiah 17:9), to help guide our choices in clothing. Ask, Am I glorifying the Lord, myself or others by wearing this new dress?
Modest Wardrobe Staples
With all that being said I want to share a few personal, modest wardrobe staples that allow me to dress more conservative.
Please use this as a guide only and have fun with your unique style within reason of course.
If you are a minimalist or can only afford a few pieces I suggest purchasing tops and coverups that can be worn multiple ways for versatility. Check out thrift stores and consignment shops for gently used clothes or swap pieces with your friends. You'll be surprised what you'll find.
If you want to see how I pair these pieces in action then watch my YouTube video: Basic Pieces for A Modest Christian Wardrobe.
It's a great idea to have a few basic tees in various colors to add layers to your tops and or dresses. They're inexpensive and add coverage to tops with low neck lines and spaghetti strapped dresses and shirts. Get a few basic tees with sleeves (short and long) as well (not shown here).
Light sweaters are another option to wear over tops and dresses. They range from waist length to knee length. Keep a few around for the fall and early spring.
The feminine blazer will always be a staple in my closet. Wear them with dresses, skirts, jeans, or slacks and dress them up or down. This piece is a no brainer.
Classic Jean Tops
On those casual days jean tops are a perfect solution. I personally own two cropped jean jackets, one long sleeve jean jacket, a soft, cotton jean shirt, and 5 pairs of jeans (down from 13, woo-hoo!).
Should I only wear skirts and dresses?
This is a question the majority of women of faith ask themselves. I've dealt with the same question in my own life. Again, dressing modest isn't a one size fits all. I like to believe there is some room for variation especially since we all have different body types, budgets, careers, and live in various parts of the world.
If you are convicted about wearing pants of any kind then by all means don't wear pants otherwise, wear them in a tasteful manner. Keep in mind whether we wear dresses, skirts, or pants if we are not too careful we'll blend in with the world and right now the world is pushing women to dress seductively to include our precious little girls.
I personally prefer skirts and dresses and occasionally I will wear pants but that doesn't mean you have to dress that way. There is freedom and liberty in Christ as long as it doesn't grieve the Holy Spirit or contradict God's word.
I also like to wear head coverings from time to time to honor my husband in humility, but that's my conviction. If we're not too careful we can fall into the trap of legalism when it comes to head coverings and pants so make sure you're making the choice to wear or not to wear them for the right reason(s).
The bible does encourage women to dress modest and specifically says not to wear clothing that pertains to a man, Deuteronomy 22:5 (I've researched this misunderstood scripture and it is referring to cross-dressing, something entirely separate from what was discussed in this post).
There is no scripture outright forbidding women from wearing pants despite many arguments and personal opinions. God is clear on His instructions and it's important we don't manipulate His word to fit our lifestyle. Now, if your intent to wear pants is to cross-dress then you are sinning and displeasing God.
A little History
For women who want to condemn other women for wearing feminine pants, did you know that shirts were first worn by men (source) and women in the bible did not wear blouses and skirts like we do today? So, remember that when you decide to pair your long skirt with a cute top while frowning at a woman wearing modest, feminine britches.
Bottom line is as we mature in Christ we should become less and less like the world and more in the image of God. It took me years to understand the importance of biblical modesty and all its facets and I'm still discovering new things.
In the mean time, if you have to question whether or not your outfit is modest, then most likely it isn't and you probably shouldn't wear it.
–Call to Action–
Please share in the comments your journey to modesty and how you've tailored your wardrobe to reflect that.
Watch My Featured YouTube Videos on Modest Apparel: