Feminine Modesty Can Be Fashionable

It’s time for a talk ladies! Since this post is largely my opinion, you may take it or leave it, or glean whatever you’d like. But I’ve been wanting to share my thoughts about modesty, feminine fashion and possible misunderstandings about those things, especially among conservatives, all while having a little fun ;-)

“Set-apart” doesn’t equate styles from different eras.

I’ll cut to the chase: being feminine, modest and even “set apart” in our dress doesn’t mean we need to look like we came from a different era. If you enjoy that look, then that is wonderful! But often I think in our zeal to be separate from the world we separate ourselves, physically to an unreachable degree. All fashions, even those that may be 60 or 70 years behind were once “modern” and therefore could be considered “worldly”.  Styles do not make an outfit modest or not.

What I mean by that is, if you are living for the Lord, you’re already quite odd. And that’s OK. There are issues on which we can’t compromise, odd or not. But we don’t need to add “unnecessary oddity” to the mix.

I believe that we are called from Scripture to be modest, to glorify the Lord in all we do, including the way we dress, but I do not believe that includes ignoring cultural fashions all together when we make our choices.

Gray areas.

Of course there are gray areas all over the place that each of us will have to answer for ourselves, according to how the Lord leads. I realize some believe the Bible teaches that a woman is not permitted to wear makeup or jewelry. If that is a biblical conviction (and not a man’s law), by all means, you must honor that. (If you’re interested in seeing all references to jewelry in Scripture, concluding that the Bible never forbids it, check here.) Some will not feel comfortable in pants, others have no problem wearing pants modestly. Each of us must be less concerned with “rules” of dress and more concerned with the heart of the matter before the Lord.

A woman covered up can have a thoroughly immodest attitude. This discussion assumes we understand the importance of a “modest heart” before we even begin discussing dress.

And still we will all have varying opinions of what is “attention-grabbing”, one form of immodesty, and what is simple, acceptable adornment.

Importance of Dress

Regardless of where we stand, I think we all agree that dress is important. If it were not, the fashion industry wouldn’t be so lucrative. We all care, and so it’s a worthy topic of discussion, especially as Christians who desire to “do all unto the glory of the Father”.

Why feminine?

Because He has made us male and female, distinctly, and if for no other reason, we should glory in that. Also, there is power in femininity, given to us by God, if we don’t balk at it. Just try it a few days and you’ll notice a difference in treatment by other people.

Why modest?

Because Scripture commands it and a Christian, loving others as she should, would abhor the thought of being a visual stumbling block.

Why fashionable?

Why not? We are allowed, within the confines of modesty and humility, to live within our cultural norms where they do not compromise our obedience to Christ. There are plenty of fashionable, modest and feminine choices without purposely seeking to draw attention with out-of-fashioned dress (which in itself can be immodest). Important note: the Bible doesn’t forbid women to be beautiful. It starts with a “woman who fears the Lord”, but we don’t have to hide or downplay our natural beauty.

These are examples of fashions I would consider attention-grabbing, out-of-date and/or an attempt to mask a woman’s natural beauty:

 

Many women dress perfectly modestly in “grungy” clothes, but lose the feminine privilege of beauty that has been given to us. Again, as we seek to reflect our Creator, disorder and disheveled are not traits of His, so generally, they do not serve our purpose either. (Of course there’s a time and place for grunge…messy painting jobs?)

 

Feminine Fashion. The following are styles I consider modest, feminine and yet fashionable…they are not a prototype, as you may have very different tastes. But a contrast and example of how feminine doesn’t need to be frumpy. Hopefully they inspire!

 

 

 

I love paring down my wardrobe ever so often, checking for clothes that are just taking up space and also making sure I have a versatile wardrobe which saves money and, if classic enough, can last a long time without going out of style.

Scarves, cardigans and jackets can quickly change the look and mood of an outfit. Remember to look for basic staples and accessorize around those.

When in doubt, I ask my husband. Bottom line…what am I trying to “say” with my clothing? Am I seeking to represent orderliness and natural beauty (both characteristics of my Creator), and not draw attention to myself in either ostentatious dress or super out-of-style fashions?

Happy wardrobe trimming!

***For a fantastic, in-depth study on this subject, Anna And Elizabeth Botkin have a fascinating study called, Reclaiming Beauty, that I would urge you to consider. It would make a great ladies’ study if you wanted to get some friends together!

127 Responses to “Feminine Modesty Can Be Fashionable”

  1. Michelle says:

    I’ve read many of your articles and disagreed with many of them to varying degrees but have always appreciated your genuine voice and authenticity to your beliefs. I’ve never bothered to comment on anything I disagreed with previously, as none of those things bugged me the way this article does. For me this is really the breaking point to continue to reading your blog. I hope you continue your valuable fight against pornography. That being said, I think your position on feminine modesty and dress points back to porn again, in a very unfortunate way.

    I believe you missed the point about why the FLDS and others like that dress the way they do. The examples of modest clothing you gave above that were your choices are not modest AT ALL. Do you think many men look upon women dressed like the FLDS and Plain women depicted above with a great deal of desire in mind? Heavens no. They look at them and at the very least they see women of an obviously religious bent; at worst case religious “nut” but STILL religious and very much unavailable. Clearly called out women, not “modestly dressed’ women completely indistinguishable from the rest of the world population. “Frumpy” is shaming language and unworthy of the women that wear plain clothes.

    Is this photo set you chose really what you think Christian women should look like? Exactly how is that different from the world? I believe you are still attempting to call attention to sex and sexuality with each of those choices, as if women were only intended to be eye candy or sexual beings. I am not calling for burkas or any of the other slippery slope arguments that inevitably come with pointing out the logical fallacies in :dressing modestly: in clothes clearly meant to sexualize women into the rather evil beauty standards the world holds.
    I find this article inconsistent with your stance on pornography. I do wish you well in your future endeavors, and hope that you will at some point be moved to reconsider what can actually be considered modest.

    • natasha says:

      I don’t see a huge difference between burkas and the outdated “FLDS” clothes besides the head covering.

      Also, I happen to like my husbands rear end, and his strong arms and shoulders. Maybe other men should wear clothing that doesn’t reveal their shape in anyway. Why do men get to wear pants that clearly show their shape? Men can be eye candy too and can be seen only as sexual beings.

    • Word Warrior says:

      Michelle,

      I wasn’t referring to the FLDS church (sorry I used that picture) I was using only the example of a type of style worn by many mainstream Christian women.

      You accusation of my examples “pointing to porn” is bizarre, in my opinion, and I would be curious if you could explain what you mean. From Scripture, there is no evidence that our clothing must look like a different era. You said, “how is that different from the world”? But the fashions I used as an example of “outdated” are worldly fashions too, just a few years back. They would not have been culturally fashionable in Bible times but they would have been considered quite modern and stylish for their current era. The styles are all relevant. Just as men wore robes/dresses in Bible times, where that would be considered ludicrous for our time.

      The issue is staying withing the confines of modesty. The virtuous woman in Proverbs “made tapestries for herself of fine linen and purple”. Without any other details, we can at least assume she was seeking to make herself attractive as linen and purple were fashionable/desired colors/fabrics in that day. God describes His bride in Isaiah, giving details about her beauty, including ornaments (some of which most of us do not even wear) and fine apparel.

      You will be hard-pressed, from Scripture, to back up some of the statements you have made here.

      • Jenny says:

        I had only just started reading your blog when I had the misfortune of reading this. I would like to say that first I think you owe it to the women who are following Christ with a pure heart to apologize to them for calling them “frumpy”. I do not consider myself to be frumpy. I wear vest dresses that I sew myself. I would now feel VERY uncomfortable to be in your presence. Is that Christian love? Also what you have pictured as modest women would make many men stumble. How sad to look on something that is so clingy and low cut at the breast area and call it modest. I also have a wide selection of “goodwill clothes” that you would probably find more agreeable but since I strive to conceal the form of my body (not painted on clothes) you may still call me frumpy. I am so saddened that you don’t use your blog and so many readers so make a stand for Christ on this issue. We have heard from men from many different churches that made a plea for modesty. That is where you should start your search. Jeans DO bother men, low cut shirts DO bother men, clingy clothes DO bother men, if your dress causes even one of these men to stumble then you should change it. Scripture is clear on that. Also to desire the vanities of life is not consistent with picking up your cross and dying to yourself. Not impressed at all with this post!

        • natasha says:

          Jeans on men bother me. I check out other men in jeans, so men should start wearing baggy skirts and robes like in biblical times that give no form to their shape.

        • Word Warrior says:

          Jenny,

          I apologize for offending you and anyone else reading. Perhaps I will reframe some of the wording I used–chosen simply because we all “get” the meaning.

        • Word Warrior says:

          I did change some of the wording, and I regret using that word and see its offense, and again, am very sorry I hurt you and others.

          I did ask my husband about each outfit before I posted and he agreed that they were all modest (and we’re considered pretty conservative dressers). So, again we have the differing views of what is modest. I still believe, even if you preferred something a bit different than what I’ve pictured here, that we are obligated to be “approachable” and not appear so different from our cultural norms that we are “written off” and therefore lose any possibility of testimony.

          It’s kind of like houses; the styles change. We aren’t obligated to stay with a 1020′s style if we can reasonably afford a newer style, nor is that a sin. It is very possible to be dressed modestly and still fashionably, and I believe that godly women in Jesus’ day did just that. To purposely avoid looking current has its own pitfalls and we should be VERY careful there too. My burden is just that I”ve seen so many Christians “write off” our life-choices (homeschooling, etc.,) because the messenger’s appearance was so different that they assumed ALL her choices were “wacky”. I think there is a lot to be thought about along those lines for us. That was the only intention of the post.

        • kay says:

          What if you have a beautiful face and that causes a man “to stumble”… does that mean we should cover our face too? We need to draw the line somewhere! It’s getting out of hand, and I don’t see how anyone can look at those out-of-date clothes above and not see them as extremely frumpy.

    • Word Warrior says:

      Michelle,

      I find one inconsistency with your comment:

      “I think your position on feminine modesty and dress points back to porn again”

      If you have been reading my blog a while, and you feel these fashions I’ve given as examples of “stylish modesty” are pornographic, why would you be reading here at all, since our family photo on the “About” page, which has been there for months, is filled (by your definition) with porn?

    • Cindy says:

      Without getting too deep into the weeds, because it’s dinner-time here, modesty in woman does not require her to attempt to read the mind of every lecher she may encounter during a day. It requires her to determine whether the way she is dressing is likely to cause a decent-minded man (or woman, for that matter) to have to look away. We could play the game you’ve outlined all day. If a man has a foot-fetish, a woman could be considered immodest for wearing anything but combat boots!

  2. Carolina says:

    Ha, ha, I know some of those pictures! they come from the Chadwicks catalog. I get it all the time because I ordered some clothes in the past. I basically do not buy any clothes now because I get tons of hand-me-downs all the time and have good taste and can combine them well. As you say, accesoires do a lot for our outfit.
    I find it a pity that so many beautiful young ladies, even christians, do not dare or do not want to look femenine. Jeans have pretty much ruined fashioned because that is what most people wear.
    In Spain people are very elegant and women wear a lot more of skirts and dresses than here. When I came to the States I was surprised to see people in shorts and flip-flops in a restaurant or a movie theather. I was apalled at the overall casualty and I enjoyed looking at people everytime I went back to Spain.
    I also know some christian women to insist in dressing like the come from the Laura Ingalls time. I do not think that helps with evangelism, really. But the heart is the most important thing.
    This was a really good post.

  3. Bonnie says:

    OH YEAH, sister!

    Thank you for addressing this topic with such clarity, tact, and freedom in Christ.

    If we, as Christians, only orient ourselves to our culture out of a position of fear, then we lose potential to be light – instead we live burdened under the shaddows of fear and the laws of man.

    God created beauty! We don’t need to be afraid of it! It’s the position of the heart that matters.

    So, yes, I aspire to dress like all those beautiful pictures. My only problem is that jogging pants are so darn comfortable :)

  4. Debbie says:

    I really appreciate this article. By the way I had to laugh as I am wearing that jean skirt from Chadwicks as I write this!

  5. Keri says:

    I don’t always agree with Everything Kelly posts.What I think she’s trying to say with this post is that we Can dress feminine without being frumpy! Correct me if I am wrong here..Kelly.

    I had to chuckle when I saw the long pink dress under the “frumpy section”. It reminded me of a dress I wore back in the 70′s to my homecoming dance. Not too stylish today!

    There were some Very pretty outfits on here but for me personally,the white blouse with the jean skirt could use something under it to not show cleavage when bending over there.

    One of my biggest pet peaves in the church is Cleavage! There is just way to much of it and I KNOW that Women have got to know it. I sure do when I dress!

    I do appreciate the fact that you put some pretty, feminine outfits on that had pants. With the right combination of shirts or sweaters..not tight ones..They can be very feminine and practical.

    I have known women who have had the supposed conviction of only wearing skirts but who wear very low cut and tight shirts to go with the tight skirt. Some of the outfits shown could use a little extra garment underneath but I would not call it pornography.

    As for the outfits that are in the frumpy section.The ones that certain sects of mormons would wear. They pretty much are worn to tell others what type of mormon religion they are practicing. Not trying to offend anybody with that statement but I’m sure I will.

    • Eva says:

      Keri, you said “As for the outfits that are in the frumpy section.The ones that certain sects of mormons would wear. They pretty much are worn to tell others what type of mormon religion they are practicing. Not trying to offend anybody with that statement but I’m sure I will.” I am a Mormon, and although I am not offended, it is an honest misunderstanding, I would like to point out to you that the FLDS church is not a type of Mormon religion. The FLDS church was formed by people leaving the LDS church in the 1800′s, when our church ended the practice or polygamy. A few people still wanted to practice polygamy, so they left and formed their own “Fundamentalist” LDS church. They have had no contact whatsoever with the LDS church since then, and our leaders have publicly stated that they no longer have any connection with us. Besides the FLDS, there is really only one other “break off” of the Mormon church, and that is the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, now called the Community of Christ. They too have not had connection with us for over 150 years, and I think, although I am not certain, that they dress just like other people. So the FLDS dressing the way they do is not to “Tell others what type of Mormon religion they are practicing.” Just wanted to make that clear :) People are often very confused about this, and it is something that I think adds a lot to the negative opinions and attitudes toward Mormons. Most people just don’t know enough about us.

  6. Eva says:

    I really like most of what you said here. Although I don’t think we should call people that dress old fashioned, such as Amish or Mennonites, “frumpy.” It is what they believe and is just as important to them as our standards of dress are to us. I would like to share what my church, the LDS church, tells us about modesty and dress. Our standards are that both men and women cover themselves sufficiently. Boys shouldn’t go shirtless except when swimming. Girls and boys shouldn’t wear tight clothing or shorts above their knees. Some guidelines that are more specific for girls but apply to boys as well is that we don’t show our stomachs, shoulders, and our shorts and skirts must cover our knees. We should wear nice clothing when possible, without holes, and we try not to get into fads. We are all counseled to be conservative in hairstyle and color, and not to have any piercings or tattoos, except that girls may have one set of piercings on their ears. Of course, many of us try to dress even better than the “minimum guidelines” as it is better to be safe than sorry. The point of modesty is to glorify God with our natural beauty, that each of us possess. A scripture that talks about modesty that I really love is 2 Corinthians 6:16. “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

    • Word Warrior says:

      I think one of the picture communicated a misunderstanding (or maybe I’m misunderstanding ;-) ) but the style examples I posted weren’t meant to refer to any certain group of people. I know of women in mainstream Christian circles who wear those and I wasn’t pointing out certain sects or groups; nevertheless, I would say they still have the same standard (God’s Word) as we do as they make fashion choices.

      And as I said in the post, if one enjoys dressing a certain way, I am certainly not saying they’re wrong; just that we don’t have to feel that we must hide our natural beauty, given to us by our Creator.

      • Eva says:

        Oh I totally agree! God created us in His image and we shouldn’t be ashamed of that natural beauty or try and hide it. In fact we should use our natural, godly beauty to glorify God. Men and women are the most wondrous of all His creations. Women, and men, should try their best to let their natural beauty shine. I think the trouble comes when people decide that they want to be “hot” and “sexy” rather than beautiful. And I loved all your examples of modesty!

  7. laura says:

    While I agree wholeheartedly in principle and certainly plain-dressing Amish/Mennonites can draw as much or more attention as others, though for different reasons…but I will say that it IS true that the Amish/plain look ISN’T sensual at all…and honestly, there have been some Amish/plain women who look rather beautiful in its simplicity…and would look overdone otherwise…and are neat, clean, and well-groomed in other ways. And personally, when I am gardening, mowing the grass or other physical chore, I have certain skirts/dresses kept for those purposes and they DO look sorta Amishy…(is that a word?), in that they match the activity I’m doing…if I am DOING a dirty, country, hands on activity, then my clothes look sorta homemade and country…If I am going to a wedding, I’ll definitely look more in style befitting a wedding celebration…and always modest, always seeking colors that are not super loud or ostentatious, and as practical as I can manage…

  8. Kate says:

    I would love it (and maybe others would, too?) if you would address swimwear. It hasn’t been a huge issue in the past, but we’re contemplating a move back home and my parents’ have a pool, so it will become a more important issue. Thankfully it’s not like a beach, where we also have to be concerned about what our children see. Right now the oldest of our 5 children is only 6 years old, but we want to set standards now that can move with them into adolescence and adulthood. Thanks! (If you’ve already talked about swimwear, would you direct me to the post? mckinneyfam@gmail.com) :)

  9. Jenn Hoskins says:

    I agree! I agree! I agree! (did I mention I agree???) I also think modesty is a heart issue. A woman can take frump and make it immodest in her attitude and demeanor, or can take something deemed a bit more immodest by some and be fully modest again by her demeanor. For me, I have been nursing babies for the last 812 years… give or take a few, and need to be sure I can always nurse easily, a lot of the time I wear v-neck shirts, not down to my bellybutton or anything crazy but at least to make nursing easier. Some may deem that immodest, I deem it practical and not having to expose my whole side by lifting my shirt. It’s all about perspective. Nursing clothes are definitely frump and expensive to boot! I am always reevaluating and right now my wardrobe needs a refresher. Lots of borderline maternity shirts (the ones you wear up until 5-6 months before you pull out the tent shirts, weird to wear maternity not pregnant but nothing else seems long enough!) and jeans. Not too feminine but practical for a mom of 6. I like the pictures you posted, modest, not frumpy and classic.

  10. Christa says:

    Skin not showing, but clothing still being tight isn’t modest. Also, whatever you wear you need to think what will be visible if you bend over, raise your arms or sit down.

  11. Natalie says:

    The pictures you chose were lovely. I also want to plug the Botkin sister’s seminar. It was fabulous. I think there is so much confusion on this issue. I would challenge those who feel they must dress from the 1800′s to consider “why that era?” Why not the 1600s? Why not the 1300s? Any of those eras would accomplish the same result…others would look and cringe. And yes, stay far away. Is that what we are called to do as Christian women? “Stay away from me. Don’t look at me. Don’t talk to me. If you do, I’m certain you’ll lusting after me.” I think there’s a bit of an obsession there…and it’s not on the part of the men.

    • Natalie says:

      I meant “you’ll BE lusting” :)

    • Word Warrior says:

      Well-said Natalie. And as I pointed out to Michelle who asked, “how is that different from the world?” The “frumpy” styles were once fashionable and thus “worldly”, just in a different era. Every style has been, at some point “worldly”, depending on the culture. I think there are modest choices within any cultural norm; it’s not about the style.

  12. Susan says:

    Very well said on so many points. I especially like the stylish and yet modest wedding dress you posted. Even I feel a bit awkward when a bride, young or old, comes down the aisle wearing a strapless and or low cut wedding dress after wearing modest clothes prior!
    Recently my teen daughter voiced her frustration with why is it “our” problem to be modest when it is the guys responsibility to not have impure thoughts when around women modest or otherwise. I encouraged her to think of it as a “responsibility” we have a christian women to not cause our brother to stumble in how we dress. We can do our christian brothers a huge favor by not drawing undo attention to our bodies being overly modest,frumpy or immodest!
    Can I also add that not all cami’s are created equal! Just because it is under the shirt doesn’t always mean it will be high enough to cover cleavage or long enough to cover the mid torso area. With most junior size clothing these days can any one suggest affordable jeans and pants that are not “hip huggers” or have elastic waists and are still modest friendly!? THANKS!!

    • natasha says:

      I suggest buy a nice pair of jeans that can be tailored to fit you, so when you bend over everything doesn’t show.

      • lorrie says:

        Regarding where to find modestly fitting jeans for teens – it may depend on the size of your daughter, my daughter is very tall and a home school co -op friend gave her some jeans she had bought for herself at a consignment shop and thrift store. They are name brand jeans from places like Gap and Old Navy. They are syles that are fit to the waist, not hip, and are not “skinny” jeans. ( They were too long for this Mom) It was a real answer to prayer because my daughter is very tall and I was having trouble finding jeans to fit and all I saw were “skinny” jeans, etc. **So the other answer is to pray… and look at consignment shops/ thrift stores, unless you want to buy from the stores (another pair were from American Eagle)

  13. Jane says:

    I have to disagree with you on this post. I get what you are trying to say and I love the fashions from Chadwicks(?) that you posted. I would wear some myself if they would fit my figure!

    I am not Amish or Mennonite, I am reformed christian, and don’t share some of the same beliefs, but I do have some dear friends that are and I would never dream of describing their dress as “frumpy”. I know you only mean it as a descriptive term, but it does have derogatory tone to it and can be very hurtful to some lovely women.

    I also think many fashions of bygone eras are beautiful, and a couple of the dresses you posted to me look like prairie style. I wish some of these clothes would come back in style. Would you consider a regency gown to be frumpy? You might not, but someone else may have a different opinion of what frumpy is.

    What would I consider frumpy? Well, I could definitely say a burlap sack was frumpy, just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is frumpy. The dress you posted (the bottom picture of the woman in cowboy boots) should border on frumpy, in your estimation, as it looks very similar to some of the prairie dresses.

    Also, the women that wear the Amish type dresses are not considered attention-grabbing within their own churches, as scripture warns us against, as they are all wearing the same type of clothing.

    • Jane says:

      I wanted to add one more thing, that I think someone can post about lovely feminine fashions for Christian women without being critical of others choice of dress.

      Should we be concerned about modesty? Yes. About the style of someone’s taste in fashion, even if not up to “modern” standards? Absolutely not. Too much emphasis is being placed in the wrong things among true followers of Christ.

      • Word Warrior says:

        Jane,

        I think your question is an interesting one that could be unpacked a little:

        “Should we be concerned about modesty? Yes. About the style of someone’s taste in fashion, even if not up to “modern” standards? Absolutely not.”

        I mentioned that many of us already seem “odd” for different choices we’ve made. And I’ll be the first to shout that we should be willing to be as odd as necessary on those issues that cannot be compromised. However, assuming that we do want to be a light to the world, then we would want to be “approachable”, including our dress. If you see an Amish family, you don’t feel any need to question them or consider their lifestyle choices as possibilities for you because they have separated themselves to such a degree. Is that our aim? Do we want people to “write us off” because we appear to belong to an “untouchable” group of people when we don’t have to do that?

        Granted, if there were no modest options for us and the only option was some of the examples, then there we go. But it “more holy” to wear outdated fashions and yes, I believe it incredibly hinders the gospel, in some respects. Of course it isn’t wrong and I surely don’t mean to make one feel that way, but my intention is to challenge us to think about the possibility in our testimony actually being hindered because we’ve put such a degree of separation between us and everyone else.

        I don’t know if I’m making sense, but I’m trying ;-)

        • Jane says:

          Yes, I understand what you are saying, that we are odd and set apart, just by the fact that we belong to the Lord, but I disagree that the way you dress is a hindrance to the gospel. If an Amish person, or someone dressed similarly were to become a street preacher, he is no more hindering the gospel than someone dressed “normally”. If God wants to save the hearer, He will, no matter what the dress of the one imparting the good news. If someone considers me odd and rejects my message simply because of the way I’m dressed, that’s their problem, not mine.

          We are called to preach the gospel, as long as we are not dressed in a way dishonoring to the Lord. It is not our responsibility what happens after that.

          I dress fairly normally, but if I felt like wearing a prairie dress and the opportunity presented itself to share the gospel, I surely won’t feel I’m a hindrance to it, or that I’m the cause of the rejection of it.

          I hope I’m making sense. I just think we need to stop focusing on externals so much. That is a worse hindrance to the gospel, and creates divisions among believers, IMHO.

          • Jane says:

            “I think this is the crux here: a woman, whether she be “frumpy” or otherwise – should adorn herself with a love of Jesus and good works. I have read the argument that ones dressing on the “frumpy” end of the continuum are unapproachable – but I’m not buying it. We all are “approachable” or not based on our attitude and our interaction with others.”

            Perfectly said! Thanks Shawnele!

            I would also like to say that I realize there are women/families out there that do dress in Little House fashion and may think they are holier than others and look down on other believers. I don’t know any personally, just have heard this. This is also divisive and legalistic, and I do agree with you on that point.

  14. Sarah D. says:

    Love the wedding dress! It seems like all I ever see anywhere are strapless gowns.

  15. Christa says:

    I know where the third picture came from and it seems wrong to label them frumpy. As Christians we need not to bash other Christians. They are attempting to sell modest clothing and if their husbands and fathers do not have a problem with it, no one should.

    My husband said, after I told him about this article, how often are men’s pants as tight as women’s. Do you not think that tight clothing can cause men to stumble? He challenges you to find a woman in our church that is dress in tight clothing and watch the men around her. Most women’s clothing is made to show off all the female curves. Women need to be more modest.

    Wives: Ask you husband about triggers for him. Daughter if unmarried, ask your fathers. You may be surprised.

  16. Missy says:

    Freedom from Legalism could be another name for this post. Thank you!!!!! Many hugs your way!!

    I have often found a horrible attitude from those from those in restrictive wear. They look down on those who are not as restricted as they. We were even shunned in visiting our church with our modest wear (guess it wasn’t frumpy enough). The particular mom and daughters looked disgusted at my daughters, looking their bodies up and down with their eyes and having a scowling look, with no repsonse to my girls friendly greeting. We went out of our way, spending a hundred dollars on wear to try and make sure our dresses wouldn’t be offensive to them. We didn’t dress in bright colors or short dresses. We spent a whole day trying to find dresses that came to the floor and that covered shoulders and such. It didn’t matter. One lady rebuked my daughters’ friendly greeting with a rebuke of “pride” on their lives while another rebuked with their eyes and shunning. No, we weren’t in an Amish church or FLD church. This was a homeschool church based group. We never went back to that church. My girls were in tears. You have addressed a serious problem in the homeschool community. Thank you for your voice!

  17. Charity says:

    I understand the message of this post, and would like to remind some of the commenters that you said this post was “largely my opinion, you may take it or leave it, or glean whatever you’d like.” The word “frumpy” can mean different things to each of us because we all have our own likes and dislikes and sense of style. I do not believe this post was written with the intention of offending anyone, but to say that as women we should dress modestly without looking like we don’t give any attention or time to our appearance. I do the best with the clothes that I have to not appear run down, or that I don’t care about my appearance and to be modest. I do not have the financial resources to purchase new clothing as I wish, so most of my clothes are the same things I wore before we married 8 years ago. I am currently expecting our fifth child and so I have spent most of our marriage pregnant or nursing. During this time of my life, my childbearing years, I try to think practically when it comes to clothing. Such as solid shirts, not bold patterns that will soon look dated, and use things like a scarf od simple necklace to dress things up or down. Also, there are several things for me, as of mommy to all littles that just are practical or modest, that at a different stage of my life would be fine to wear. I have no modesty issue with a knee-length skirt, yet as a mommy of littles this isn’t a good choice for me since bending and stooping to tend to the children makes it rise inthe back and when I sit I must keep it tucked in at the sides, witch is near impossible with a squirming little one in my lap. So for me, skirts need to be long skirts. Also, I could never wear some of the clothing pictured without an undershirt for it to be modest since caring for my littles doesn’t leave me with a free hand to hold the neckline of my shirt while bending over. I also rarely if ever wear a dress, but a skirt and top instead, since I appear to be wearing a tent while I’m pregnant if I wear a dress, and it is quite inconvenient to have to nearly undress if wearing a dress while nursing.

    May we all do our best to honor the Lord with the way we dress.

    • Jane says:

      I don’t think Kelly meant to offend anyone either, but the fact is, she did. Who cares what you wear, as long as you are not a stumbling block to your Christian brothers. I’m really getting sick of all this talk about clothing styles, it distracts from the really important things, and divides the children of God.

    • Magriet says:

      “…as women we should dress modestly without looking like we don’t give any attention or time to our appearance.”

      I like that, Charity. And then, if you can’t stay modest while tending to your little children (or doing anything, like climbing stairs or gardening, for that matter) you would be better off by not wearing it at all. I threw out a lot of clothes for that reason.

      • Charity says:

        Yes, very true. As a mommy to all little ones there are several things that just don’t work for me to wear in this season of my life that were perfectly fine before I was blessed with motherhood. That’s fine with me though. There’s nothing I’d rather be doing than caring for my husband, children and home. :)

  18. Word Warrior says:

    Jane,

    Check my last reply to you; I’d be interested in your response.

  19. natasha says:

    I find that a lot of christian modesty blogs and churches seem to think the only modest clothing a woman should wear is jean jumpers. My husband would not be happy if I started wearing jean jumpers, and I think it would give him more reason to start looking at other women. Now I’m not saying anything bad about jean jumpers, just that they are not the only option in modest clothing.

    I’m nursing my 3rd baby right now, and I used to use those nursing covers/tents and blankets. I’m over that now. I don’t fully expose anything, but I also don’t go out of my way to make sure every inch of skin is covered. Men and boys need to see that breasts have a purpose other than their pleasure. Breasts are used to nurture and nourish babies. I read an article about a woman from the US who traveled to Europe and noticed how differently boys react to a nursing mother. Here in the US we cover up completely, and if we don’t boys tend to act weird about it. In Europe she said boys just accepted it and thought nothing of it. It was a healthy way to view women and our bodies.

    We do have a responsibility to men to help them not lust, BUT that doesn’t mean every inch of skin needs to be covered and that we must wear heavy fabrics with multiple layers, and the clothes must not give any resemblance to our curves and the natural line of our bodies.

    We should be teaching our boys not to gawk at women. It can be done, boys are not wild dogs who can’t control themselves around a female dog in heat. Give the guys some credit. My husband doesn’t gawk at women. I watch him, he doesn’t, and we’ve been to the beach many many times. That’s because his parents taught him well. I asked him if it was hard, and he said no because his parents made sure he didn’t do that, and also because I dress nice, showing off my curves and my shape. He doesn’t need to stare at other women, he can stare at me.

    Women showing cleavage does not lead men to porn. Porn has been around for a long time and so has cleavage. It’s getting to be more preval

    • Shawnele says:

      “My husband doesn’t gawk at women. I watch him, he doesn’t, and we’ve been to the beach many many times. That’s because his parents taught him well. I asked him if it was hard, and he said no because his parents made sure he didn’t do that, and also because I dress nice, showing off my curves and my shape. He doesn’t need to stare at other women, he can stare at me.”

      Yikes! My husband does not gawk at women either as his parents also raised him well. However, I do not dress to show off my curves and shape and he still does not gawk at women. The idea that we need to dress somewhat provocatively in order to keep the “bull in the pasture” makes implications about men that I just don’t buy.

      My husband read _Every Young Man’s Battle_ with our oldest son. He said that there was a concept in there that, because immodesty IS all around us, men should learn to “bounce their eyes” – meaning that if your eyes light on something that might cause you to lust, then bounce them somewhere else. Men have been created as beings that are visually stimulated. It’s not a sin, it’s not their fault, it’s not a bad thing. However, since we all know that, men bear the responsibility of learning to “bounce their eyes”, and we women bear the responsibility of not making it harder on them than reasonable. I do not advocate for wearing burqas, but the idea that I should intentionally show off the more womanly attributes of my physique so my husband will not “need” to stare at other women does not strike me as Scripturally sound.

      • natasha says:

        You misunderstood me. I NEVER dress provocatively. Wearing clothes that show you have womanly curves is not provocative. I’m not talking about clothes that are painted on, just clothes like the ones Kelly posted. I refuse to wear sacks of clothes that don’t show the difference between a man and a woman besides the skirt.

        • natasha says:

          Also, I did say “We do have a responsibility to men to help them not lust, BUT that doesn’t mean every inch of skin needs to be covered.”

  20. anon says:

    I like that you are saying, but I feel some of the clothing pictures you posted were not modest. I have noticed on other people, as well as myself, that clothing that is that seeming lowcut yet still modest is fine when standing, but becomes very immodest when leaning or bending over, which many people have to do in everyday life.

  21. Jennifer C. says:

    Please visit this blog
    homejoys.blogspot.com

    • Charity says:

      I love this blog! :)

      • Jennifer C. says:

        Have you read her series on modesty?

        • Charity says:

          Yes, I have. I love how she says that she isn’t “bound by the fluctuating styles”. She also says something along the lines of how people generally think of Mennonite dress for women as being bound by rules, but says its freeing for her. I just enjoy her blog period. Lots of good stuff there :)

  22. Dianne says:

    LOL! Some of the ‘unattractive’ prairie dresses I thought were pretty cute. I love those styles of years gone by, but my husband doesn’t. I used to sew like that in public high school and I wasn’t even that much of a conservative Christian (actually, by worldly standards other people would have said I was). It had nothing to do with modesty for me, I just loved the style and time-period. My husband would rofl if I let him read your article. It would confirm what he always used to tell me at the beginning of our marriage. He used to refer to my clothing as the ‘Laura Ingalls Collection.’

    Even when we would pick out movies to watch at the video store, I would exclaim, “I found it! I have been wanting to see this movie for the longest time!” To which he would reply from the comedy section, “Let me guess. There’s a woman on the cover dressed like Laura Ingalls and a guy dressed like Charles Ingalls.” I would marvel and say, “HOW did you guess???” It took me a while to realize I always picked out that kind of movie.

    I think you do a great job with your blog and I always feel encouraged when I read it, even if I don’t agree with absolutely everything you say. You do an awesome job!

    • Word Warrior says:

      Thank you, Dianne! My oldest daughter loves some of those styles and used to dress more like that than she does now. Sometimes she’ll come to me with an outfit and ask, “Is this too prairie?” :-D

  23. Renata says:

    Great post Kelly & it’s been very interesting reading the comments. I just want to add to some of the ladies that some things that are modest on one body type is immodest on another, so we can’t just label something as modest as it may not be for everyone. I think the clothes you chose are lovely Kelly & I love your style. Sure because I have such a short waist I would need to add a top underneath to maintain modesty in a couple doesn’t mean that everyone would have this problem or that there is anything wrong with them.
    I hope you have a wonderful day & I love that you are not afraid to voice your opinion!
    God bless
    Renata:)

  24. Shawnele says:

    I have pondered and pondered on this post since I read it early this morning. One thing I think is obvious from the comments is that “frumpyness” and “modesty”, like beauty, are in the eye of the beholder. What is “feminine,” what is “modest,” what is “frumpy”…is subjective.

    Kelly, I think I understand your post being about femininity and dressing so that we look soft, feminine, womanly. Of course, the female Christian walks a line line between looking womanly without looking…well, too womanly [:wink :wink]

    Let me come right out and say that no one, ever, should take my fashion advice. I’m as UNfashionable as they come. It’s not that I don’t care how I look but a) I don’t get what seems to be fashionable a lot of the time and b) I’m more concerned about 429 things that I rank more important than fashion. So there is my disclaimer about my level of hipness when it comes to fashion.

    These pictures were very evocative for me because, for some reason, lately I have become very aware of the attire the ladeis in our congregation wear. Of course, you have your very occasional teenager wearing something that treads beyond the pale, but that’s not common in our congregation. We have a lot of older gals in our congregation. Some suffer from my own malady…while others are quite stylish. What has struck me is the 20-40 something crew (mostly visitors in our congregation) – who are into more form-fitting fashion. We have no one in our congregation who wears the more old-fashioned style of dress labeled “frumpy” in the post. Just yesterday I noticed a sweet friend who had every bit of skin that might have been offensive covered – but whose clothes were so form fitting that it offended my sense of propriety. No cleavage (front or back…), no midriff, etc… But the attire was still “sexy” (referring to a dictionary for this word is helpful, I believe – because it’s not as benign as we might think). By contrast, there were two of the older women near her (one in her 50s, one in her 60s) both stylishly dressed (though one more matronly than the other) with clothing that did not accentuate rear or bosom. (LOL…I am having a hard time writing this…being specific enough without being either crass or “matronly” myself!) I think THAT is the issue I have with some of these pictures. I see a dear friend at Bible Study once a week. My 50+ yo friend is a KNOCK OUT. She is gorgeous and is always stylishly dressed without showing skin inappropriately – but her clothing IS form-fitting. In fact, I find myself wondering, “wow…I wonder what kind of a bra she wears…I need to find one like that.” Ladies, if *I,* a fashion-zero, 45 year old mother to 7 has that response to the revealing nature of my lovely friend’s clothing choices – what impact do you think it would have on a man? Even a man who isn’t prone to gawking and lusting?

    Anyway…I throw my hat in with those who say, “let’s not label other women’s clothing choices as frumpy” – and “let’s make sure that we are not letting our desire to look like the rest of the world trump our call to not be a stumbling block to our brothers.”

    Yes, I see Natasha’s posts about finding her husband’s rear end attractive and, therefore, men shouldn’t wear pants. I think that is a red herring argument. Generally speaking, women are not only not as visually stimulated as men are – but we’re not talking about whether or not women (or men) should wear jeans – the argument being made by some (myself included) is that form fitting clothing (not all jeans are skin-tight) are (arguably) immodest.

    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.” (NLT)

    From this passage, we could make an argument that women should not dress to draw attention to themselves…whether that’s on the frumpy end of the scale – or the other end.

    1 Peter 3:3-4 – “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (NIV)

    I think this is the crux here: a woman, whether she be “frumpy” or otherwise – should adorn herself with a love of Jesus and good works. I have read the argument that ones dressing on the “frumpy” end of the continuum are unapproachable – but I’m not buying it. We all are “approachable” or not based on our attitude and our interaction with others.

    Okay – sorry for the long comment…you had me thinking about it all morning – and I guess I should have thought a little more about writing something pithy over something exhaustive!

    God bless you, Kelly – I enjoy your blog very much!

    • Word Warrior says:

      Good thoughts, Shawnele! And I think often, something that might appear very modest to us, we might find surprisingly provocative to a man?? So that’s another reason asking our husbands is helpful.

      • Shawnele says:

        I agree completely! I found that, more than once, my husband had to discreetly tell me that a top that was modest before I was a nursing mother was no longer what I thought it was…

        • Joy says:

          And I have had my husband on several occasions accuse me of frumpiness. I think husbands like their wives to look lovely.

    • Shawnele says:

      AND…I really did read my comment before I hit “submit comment.” Why is it that 20% of my typos are invisible to me until AFTER I post them?

    • natasha says:

      Shawnele- you would be surprised at the many women who lust after men physically. As an example, when the movie Magic Mike came out, almost every.single.one of my female friends on facebook were super excited to go see it, and made many comments about it. Married women openly talking about how amazing the movie was. Even my own mother in law who’s 65 years old went to see it. I’ve worked in two different environments, one mainly male and one mainly female, and I can tell you that the females were way worse when it came to gawking. Women were constantly talking about the men that came into the facility and how nice their rear ends looked in their uniform and jeans etc etc. We had more sexual harassment suits filed by men then we did women. No joke.

      When it comes to jeans, I think women can wear them modestly as long as they are not painted on.

      To me it seems it’s hard to find modest clothing that doesn’t involve a jean jumper. You can find very immodest clothing or frumpy clothing, it’s difficult to find an in-between without modifying it. Every time I shop I curse that I didn’t become a seamstress instead of going to college lol. I know what I want to wear, and it’s modest, I just can’t find it.

  25. Jon says:

    Just want to encourage the author of this article. Well written and good thoughts. You prompted some pretty heated replies and I hope you can take those as an encouragement that you are challenging peoples thinking. I love how you focused on the “heart” not the rules. Be encouraged. I think you are reflecting Christ well in your thoughts and writing.

  26. Josie says:

    Kelly You Have made some very good points that have got me questioning my own modesty standards.I always dressed to bring attention to my body before I was married and even wore a strapless wedding dress which I thought was fine. Fast forward to homeschooling Mom with 4 kiddos, now I want to be modest and wear mostly all skirts and stylish not too low cut tops. I try to avoid jean skirts as they seam to put me in the catagory of fundamental Baptists.(that’s wht they wear where I am from.)I love old fashioned styles like tierd skirts but I also thought some of your pictures looked like something I might wear. I totally hear what you’re saying about ladies seeming unapproachable, I’ve expierienced this myself with the Amish and mennonites. I thought at one time I read something about wearing clothing that flows and goes to the knee but I can’t remember where.
    I appreciate you writing this and all of the comments have really got me thinking about why I dress the way I do. Some good things to think on. I too have ben going through the closets, Must be a New Years thing.

  27. Hayley Ferguson says:

    Hi Kelly,

    I find your blog an encouragement but not this one. I have given this issue a lot of thought over the years. I actually think the Kings Daughters dresses (like the last one pictured)are really beautiful and so does my husband. He is not attracted to the women at work who dress in stylish clothing or power suits. There are some Biblical passages like in Genesis where Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves together and God found them and made a tunic from the animal skin and then He said He clothed them. So some clothing in God’s eyes is not clothed at all. Isiah (I think it is from memory) tells the women of Zion to make bare the leg which is supposed to shame them, as was uncovering their locks/hair.

    I was a little surprised about the grunge and jeans/pants comment. As far as I understand (please forgive me if I’m wrong) women were encouraged to join the workforce and don the pants (to prove women were equal with men) around the time of the second world war. Rosie Rivetter (sp?) springs to mind. The forming world wide government got women into the munitions factories and such to help with the war effort and they never returned to the home the way they were before…the propoganda/ww2 had served it’s communistic/faschist purpose. They want to tax the other half of the population and get at the children to indoctrinate them against their parents, you know that. The feminists love that women now ware the pants. I would love it if men and women went back to Biblical style dress. I understand what you’re saying I had those same thoughts too. I don’t think the fashions of Biblical times were thought of by perverted/antichrist people like they are today (robes are mentioned as the Christians final garment anyway.)

    As far as approachability, I’ve had a friend say just that to me (what you said) and I have found that not to be my experience. In fact on NYE a woman came over and said she was ignoring her friends and wanted to talk to my family (12 of us) anyway, she was searching for truth. After a little while her friends joined her and we had a lovely time (even Bob and Brady who are together.) Now I can pray for Jade, Bob and Brady to listen to God when He knocks at the door of their hearts…I pray for their salvation.

    Many people come up and talk to us out of curiosity and I have had a teenage girl comment on the girls lovely dresses. It encouraged her to continue on her walk with the Lord even though she sees hypocrisy in those professing Christ around her. I think something witnessed to that girls heart (actually I think her name was Jade too, how funny.)

    I wasn’t going to comment and like you said chew on it and spit out the bones or ignore it altogether but I couldn’t not say something about the reason that women now wear pants. I just realised I think I spelt pants wrong earlier in my comment, whoops.

    I have some of those dressed cut out ready to sew, I can’t wait; we’re a little low on dressed. I also wish women wouldnpt expose their breasts. You can feed practically without exposing them. Maybe the European mens consciences are more seared? I am always being approached. Some of the dresses of past eras were immodest because they pushed up breasts (to push them in mens faces and they knew it) as well as corsetry to appear more curvasous (sp?) deceptive. Corsets deformed the growing girls, no wonder there was so much death in childbirth (just a thought.)

    Keep posting Kelly

    Love in Christ,

    Hayley mother to 12 (10 on earth, one in heaven and one being formed in the womb.)

    • Word Warrior says:

      Hayley,

      I might be a little confused about some of what you were trying to say. But, I’m wondering how we have concluded that the Bible forbids a woman to dress within the current styles of her culture (as I’m sure women in the Bible did) provided she is obeying the command to be modest?

      As I pointed out in another comment, the “out-dated” fashions were, at one time, “stylish”. If you wore a prairie-type dress in the days that everyone else was wearing one, according to some of the logic in this thread, that would make you “worldly”. There are *some* things we are allowed to share with the world. I’m the first to say the world hates God and it is important that we live “set apart” lives. So please don’t misunderstand me. But if every other woman in history has been able to modestly dress in the fashion of her times, why not us? And what are we really saying when we wish to stand out to such a degree?

  28. Hayley Ferguson says:

    Once I saw a man and a women from behind and thought it was two men holding hands because the woman was wearing jeans and had short cropped hair and at first was sickened by it (like the Lords says to be.) Until I they turned the corner and I realised one was a woman, I think that’s why He wants a distinction. Just my .2c extra hehe

    • Keri says:

      I have No problem with other Christian women wearing dresses or skirts all the time. I heard the sweetest and most humble testimony one time from someone who no longer wore pants. I understood her heart and what she was saying.

      I am so fed up with Christian women who think that it is absolutely the wrong thing for other Christian women to wear pants or capri’s.

      I have gone over this with my husband many times and he has assured me that if i’m wearing a pair of jeans, winter pants or capri’s that are Not modest..he will tell me.

      My daughter..who is a very modest person…28yrs..actually had someone come up to her from our church..while her Sunday School class was painting someone’s house and look up and down at her with scorn. She had on capri’s and a t-shirt.She had just climbed down from a ladder!! She said Hello and no response. It took some talking to get her to forgive and move on.

      I see this in some Churches and homeschool circles and it just drips with hypocracy!

      I think we can be feminine and modest.Sometimes I just put on a pink or light purple shirt with a pair of capri’s..sometimes a skirt and sometimes a pair of jeans and my husband thinks I look so feminine,and we’ve been married 30 yrs.

      I think we need to show a little grace to those who choose to wear dresses all the time and to those who may wear pants. It really is about modesty and it’s a Huge Heart Issue!!

  29. Naptime Seamstress says:

    Just a note on the women wearing pants thing: I was taught that the Deuteronomy 22:5 – The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment; for all who do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.

    Was a thing of keeping the genders identifiable and clearly defined.

    Both genders are to be modest (in dress, in deportment, etc.) – in whatever culture (or sub-culture), in whatever time – and to be dressed appropriately for their gender.

    I wonder if the author’s objection to “frumpy” is simply another topic for another time. Perhaps, some of the women who are “frumpy” simply need some loving suggestions on how to dress or accessorize differently. Perhaps a blog post on how to layer without being “frumpy”. Or where to buy non-clingy tops. Or what kinds of skirts look best on what kinds of figures.

    Or perhaps they need encouragement to look at themselves in a picture and notice how they appear to others. (I know how easy it is to worry about dressing the children and forget to make sure I myself am presentable before going out). Perhaps the “frumpy” ones are not getting the attention they need from their husbands. (A woman who is told often how beautiful she is begins to try to live up to that description – and therefore begins to take care in relation to her appearance.)

    I think another post is in order! :)

    A parting comment (after my book! -sorry!) is that Oswald Chambers encourages us to allow the truth of God to suffer if we must, but to never allow the love of God to suffer — his reasoning? We don’t have enough of the divine in us to allow ourselves to fight for truth and remain loving and Christ-like. I’m still mulling over this advice of his. Do I agree? disagree? I’m not sure. I do know that it has stuck with me and caused me to pray more for the people I find fault with — and reminds me that more than likely, someone’s finding fault with me. I hope they’re also praying for me!! :)

    • Sue M. says:

      Dear Naptime Seamstress,

      You wrote:
      “Just a note on the women wearing pants thing: I was taught that the Deuteronomy 22:5 – The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment; for all who do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.”

      I asked one of our priests about this verse a couple of years ago. He said it had nothing to do with women wearing pants. Instead, it was a prohibition against cross-dressing (men wearing clothes designed for women and women wearing clothes designed for men).

      I’m not trying to say that Fr. Kevin is smarter that the minister, priest, or Sunday school teacher who had a different interpretation of this verse. I just wanted to point out that Christians can read this verse and arrive at different conclusions about what it means.

      • Naptime Seamstress says:

        Sue,
        Yes, that’s my interpretation also – against cross-dressing. I take a conservative view and FOR ME, that means that because pants are associated with men, I don’t wear pants. I understand that others who have been raised differently will see that differently. And, within my own close family, there are pants-wearing ladies. Will those women make it to heaven? That’s up to God. My concern is keeping MY conscience clear. (And that’s where the Oswald Chambers thought comes in – if I disagree, before I say something, I need to bring it to God in prayer. It might not be God’s will for me to say anything. I need to LOVE before I defend Truth.)

        I think that’s the neat thing about the Bible – it contains principles which are not bound by time or culture. So, in Who-ville, all the Christian Whos might wear knee-high blue socks. Some might look frumpy in their blue socks, but that’s not the issue — each Who needs to get clearance from God to wear knee-high blue socks. And God might permit some Whos to wear orange socks…. :)

  30. Valerie says:

    Hey Ladies. Great comment thread, lots of heart issues addressed and most in love. I learned a lot! I just wanted to share an idea for dressing modestly but still looking fashionable…my daughters and I do this:

    Wear the longer flowy shirt-dress style tops with jeans or pants, so your bottom is covered. It looks very feminine. We love skirts too, but sometimes wear jeans with dress-type tops or sweaters to remain modest.

    p.s. Kelly, you made several great points, but that commenter is right about the white blouse with the demin skirt … she needs a camisole under the blouse to cover cleavage when bending down!

    Which reminds me of another good tip – get the cute, cheap tops at Target you like, but then hit the thrift store for camis or high-neck t-shirts to wear under them so you’re covered! :D

    • Word Warrior says:

      LOL! That’s probably true for most. A woman who doesn’t know much about cleavage wouldn’t have thought of that :-P

    • Sue M. says:

      You wrote about wearing a camisole, or other garment to cover up possible cleavage. I think our Rector (a priest equal to Senior Pastor in other denominations – I am an Anglican) would appreciate your comment. During Communion, people come up to the altar to receive the bread from a priest and the wine from a lay chalice bearer. Our Rector told a good friend of mine that it’s sometimes difficult to concentrate on distributing the bread (the body of Christ) when he’s trying to ignore the cleavage of the women kneeling the altar for Communion.

  31. 6 arrows says:

    Another hot-button post! Whoo-wheee :-D I loved reading this post along with the thought-provoking comments, and (of course) want to add my 2-cents worth ;-)

    Kelly, you mentioned in one of your comments that your husband looked over the pictures here before you posted them, and he found them to be modest. My husband read this post last night, and also agrees that the clothing depicted is modest. (This is from the same man who, after church yesterday, complained about the number of women who were wearing leggings without a long enough dress or top over them to cover their you-know-whats. So he does have modesty standards, and the pictures you posted definitely were within those standards. In fact, he likes it when I wear feminine and fashionable styles such as these you depicted here.)

    And now (deep breath), I’m probably going to get some flak for saying this, but so be it.

    I have to wonder why the big fuss over women wearing clothing that doesn’t hide their natural, God-given curves. I’m not advocating excessively tight, ostentatious clothing displays, with cleavage all over the place, etc., whether meant to seduce or not. I mean dressing femininely, and without trying so hard to blur women’s God-given physical attributes.

    It seems to me that the differences between the sexes are blurred far too much when we attempt to minimize or hide those natural, womanly curves that set women apart from men.

    What a beautiful distinction God created when, for example, He made the soft proportions of a nursing mama’s breasts, or the gently broadening pelvic region in women, who are being prepared by their Creator to perhaps one day (or who have already) experience(d) the blessed miracle of pregnancy and childbirth.

    I don’t mean that to sound weird, speaking about women that way. I marvel at our Lord’s perfect design plan that enables our pelvic areas to expand to accommodate the future or current growth of a baby in our wombs, for our breasts to enlarge as our milk ducts fill with the perfect nourishment for our babies.

    The human body as created by our wise Lord is an intricate and exquisite work of art! Why would we women want to hide this incredible aspect of our Lord’s glorious creation by seeking to mask what God gave us according to His perfect design? Let us celebrate our femininity, ladies! There are many ways to do that, and with our wardrobe is one way. I don’t think we bring glory to God when we attempt to conceal our feminine attributes with shapeless clothing. There, I said it!

    Now, yes, I am fully aware that there are men who lust after women. And yet, God designed us with curves to accomplish His divine purposes. We are not being provocative by just being ourselves. I am tall, thin, proportionately long-legged (my husband is taller than I am, but my legs are longer), and have a young-looking face for a 50-year-old. I cannot change any of that, and I don’t think I need to hide those realities with my choices of clothing and accessories, as if I’m ashamed of the way God made me. If I am wearing apparel that my husband (who is modesty-minded) approves of and another man lusts after me, then that is that man’s problem, and not my or my husband’s responsibility.

    I think Kelly’s comment to ask our husbands what they think of our clothing choices is a wise one. If you are blessed with a godly man for a husband, as I am, who understands and embraces how the human body is fearfully and wonderfully made, then you will probably receive wise counsel from him about what to wear that won’t likely be a temptation to a brother in Christ. Listen to your godly man!

    And since I’m on a roll here, and love to make long comments ;-) and we’re speaking of husbands…

    I’ll just say one more thing. Please ask yourself (or ask your husband if you don’t know) what *he* would like you to wear. If he doesn’t like what you wear, dress in a way that is attractive to him. Don’t save all the clothing he finds alluring on you for the bedroom after the kids are asleep! Show your love for him by dressing to please him. If you’re uncomfortable with his modesty standards, then gently approach him about that. But, in general, we should be seeking to please and bless our husbands, and dressing attractively (the way he defines attractiveness) for him for every moment we are together is a lovely way to show our love and affection for our husbands.

    That’s all for now :-)

  32. Kelly says:

    I just wanted to make a comment on the photos you included in your post…although I agree that we can still dress in a fashionable way and be modest, I must ask, where is your eye first drawn to in each of the examples? One of the latter ones in particular draws the eye right to the chest.

  33. Hayley Ferguson says:

    Hi Kelly,

    Sorry I think a lot of the meaning in my original comment was lost or misunderstood. I understand what you’re saying about being worldly in yesterdays fashions. What I meant though was that some of the fashions of the last couple hundred years (and especially 20th C) were directed by the “fashion industry” and often started with the elite upper-classes and filtered down. I think our standards should reflect the Bible. None of us are going to get through life without being judged. My last comment probably came across as quite unloving. I realise women can look beautiful in pants it’s just in the case I mentioned I was genuinely confused and then surprised. Because tone cannot be conveyed in a post a lot of what I believe/who I am will not come across adequately and no I’m not judging that anyone has to dress the way I do. I just feel for me that it’s obeying God for me to dress the way I do. I do not mean to be offensive. But women today wear pants because of feminism I believe(this is not meant as a demeaning comment or anything.)

  34. cristy says:

    Thank you for posting this article. We came from a church where all the girls wore prairie type dresses & they were rude to anyone that didn’t. People including our family were always stand offish to us, & numerous times we had mennonites come up and talk to us. Now we dress more modern but still modest (making sure clothes aren’t to tight & no cleavage showing & nothing above the knees). We are treated so differently now. I asked one of our family members & he said it was our clothes that scared everyone away. We should all dress modest according to how the Lord has convicted us & of course what our husbands approve of to. We also need to make sure we are a light shining for the Lord & not a hindrance by being to immodest or unapproachable:)

  35. kharking says:

    This is one of the better posts that I have read on modesty.
    Obviously, the root issue of modesty is one of the heart although many people find it simpler to have a set of rules that they can follow.

    In thinking about the definition of modesty however, the central idea that comes to mind is basically to not call attention to yourself by your dress or behavior. To dress in such a way within the context of one’s environment that people see the person rather than the body.

    Modest: retiring, unassuming, unpretentious, unobtrusive, moderate 3. pure, virtuous. Modest, demure, prudish imply conformity to propriety and decorum, and a distaste for anything coarse or loud. Modest implies a becoming shyness, sobriety, and proper behavior

    With this definition in mind, neither dressing in a way that is either distinctly unfashionable or flamboyant in a revealing way can be characterized as modest regardless of how much of the body is or isn’t covered. Both draw attention to the clothing rather than the person.
    There may be plenty of good reasons to dress in an older-fashioned, deliberate style including personal comfort, making oneself appear to be set apart from the world or to fit in with a particular community identity. If this also contributes to an opportunity to share the gospel rather than simply garnering a lot of stares and dismissal as just being weird, then great.
    The argument that is being made here is that this approach isn’t obligatory for most of us who are called to present an appearance that shows that we value ourselves (which, to the world, often isn’t communicated well by wearing old-fashioned or plain attire) and the people that we live around. Most of us have made the kind of lifestyle choices (including having larger families) that will open us up to questions from interested people anyway; we don’t need to add another layer of differentiation that might be the last piece that makes people unwilling to approach us.

    • kharking says:

      When I choose clothes, my ideal criteria come down to sufficiency. Is it:
      Sufficiently feminine to remind myself and show others that I value my womanhood?
      Sufficiently both concealing and flattering to my particular shape such that what others notice is me and not my body, avoiding both the excessively unflattering and excessively revealing?
      Sufficiently suitable to the activity at hand that I and others are not distracted from the work that we are doing?
      Sufficiently consistent with the overall look of my cultural environment that I do not draw attention to my appearance when I am out in public?
      Sufficiently attractive relative to my lifestyle and body shape that my husband finds me appealing without appearing available for admiration from anyone else?
      Sufficiently within the amount that we have determined is appropriate to spend on our appearance?

      Meeting these criteria usually means that I don’t have very many clothes in my closet but I can feel confident that I am being modest for whatever situation I might find myself in.

  36. Susan says:

    Ha Ha I see you commented that you “fixed her blouse” and I went back to look at it- good job!
    I have a friend who works in a christian school environment and the dress codes says that she needs to keep all cleavage covered and should not be able to even look down herself and see any! I appreciate it being that specific. I know if is hard for her to find nice tops that are THAT modest, especially being “busty” but I think it is worth it in the long run!
    You are handling many pointed comments very well my dear! God Bless you!

  37. Jenny says:

    My only complaint is that there are no sample ideas of summer clothes for those who burn up all year long in FL. The outfits you posted are great, but could be worn very rarely in the sunshine state. Finding trendy, cute, summer clothes that are good for hot weather is often difficult. It is possible, but lots of hunting needed so that the neck amd pits are not smothered. :)

  38. Daja says:

    Girl, don’t you worry. You could start a debate by saying the sky is blue. LOL! What can I say?! It’s your gift! (and mine, too.)

    I really enjoyed this post. It’s nice to see a balance struck between being beautiful and fashionable and biblically modest. I think you did a great job of communicating that.

    Blessings and love!

  39. Jenny says:

    Sorry…pits

  40. Ponder Woman says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed this. Especially the visuals. :) A few times I’ve read an article/blog post on the topic of modesty and thought how great it would be to see picture examples of what exactly the author would label modest within the context of their words. And here you are! LOVE it! :)

    As I was reading through the comments there were those that voiced objection to the low cut of the white top and I kept on wondering what on earth they were referring to, she’s got it covered up underneath! But then you said you ‘fixed’ it and it all started making sense! :)

    Like usual, I loved reading the commentary as much as the actual post. My personal take might be a little unique since I grew up in a very segregated, uber-religious Mennonite sect known as the Old Colony Mennonites. I wonder if any readers here have any familiarity with that variety of Mennonite?

    What I have found is that even within the confines of the Old Colony there is much variation on what is acceptable and what is not from one settlement to the next. Not just in dress either. But since dress is the topic I will constrain myself to that. Basically, all I wanted to add is that (like a few commenters pointed out already) when a woman is a part of a settlement such as this, it is simply the normal thing to wear what may look very frumpy and extremely unstylish to the general population. It does not necessarily mean that she believes herself to be more holy for wearing that dress. I’m thinking of my own mother when I write that. However, within the settlement I grew up in, and within the Old Colony culture overall, I can say that it is, for most of the people, ALL about outward appearances. Most of my extended family and the rest of this particular Mennonite variety wear these curious looking dresses and hair styles because it amounts to a ticket to heaven. And they look down on those who do not wear their attire if we are unlucky enough to come from the same background and choose God for salvation, not clothing. That means me. And I’m generalizing, I realize. That is not true of all the women from that particular group.

    Then I get to the other extreme super-segregated Old Colony Me meets ‘civilized Western’ culture. Yikes! My head reeled for a good long time. I hated what I had to wear by force where I grew up. I hated much of what was common where I found myself after The Big Move too. God is the answer though. When we make a law about dress, we sin – God made no law, only principle which can vary in application and be right for all time. When we go with the flow, we sin – the flow comes from the gates of hell. So then, we get our hearts right with God and seek His will for all of life and we’re getting somewhere. But maybe not exactly the same place clothing wise as our sisters. I’m so thankful to know that that is okay!

    One other thing regarding modesty. Being that I’ve come from the background I do I can tell you with absolute certainty that lust is in the heart of sinful men NO MATTER WHAT MANNER OF CLOTHING SHE WEARS. Believe me, there is rampant sexual sin among the folks of communities just like the one I was born and raised in despite the very unstylish and very covered up garb of its women. It seems to me that the more we focus on how to best cover up the body of a woman so as not to cause a man to lust after her, the more we are completely missing the point and actually aggravating the problem – men and women are both sinful humans and the focus needs to be on God. As women, part of honouring God is to do what we can to dress in a way honouring and pleasing to Him. But men are just as responsible and for the men who will insist on choosing to give in to the sin of lusting, it matters not what you wear – it will not deter him. I know all about this, as I already explained.

    I hope I don’t crash your whole blog when I submit this epically long and possibly chaotically organized series of thoughts….. :S

  41. [...] post over at Generation Cedar entitled Feminine Modesty Can Be Fashionable got me thinking about the modesty issue in dressing.  I love clothes.  And shoes.  And hats.  [...]

  42. Mrs. B says:

    Oh wow, Kelly, I think you hit a nerve! :)
    I haven’t had a chance to read through all of the posts(sleep deprivation will do that to you, I guess.) But I started thinking…
    Every time we touch this issue in our congregation it seems to bring out the worst in some people. (Actually, I’ve begun to almost dread the whole discussion.) But something that I’ve always said is that one of the reasons this is such a big deal is because one’s wardrobe is such a personal thing. Especially for women, its the way they state their individuality, purpose, beliefs, etc.
    The problem with trying to get new believers to subscribe to a particular dressing standard is that they don’t yet identify with the heart of those standards. It’s easier for a young lady who has been brought up in a loving, nurturing, Christian household to desire to wear feminine skirts and dresses than someone who is new to the faith OR who grew up in a so-called Christian BUT highly abusive household.
    Not to get all “weird”, but this is yet another instance in which a lot of emotion is tied up and confusing the essential call from God for everyone to be modest.
    Whoa-wait–before anyone thinks that I’m belittling the concern over this issue–I am not. Emotions are real, and that is precisely why we need to pay really close attention to when they are “calling the shots” with respect to our walk with God. Our emotional reaction to issues like these reveals how we’ve been hurt, or our concerns for others, or any number of things.
    All in all, it’s funny how this is about clothes–but then it really isn’t. And maybe that’s really not funny.

  43. Jennifer says:

    Kelly, there’s no need to apologize. Some women ARE frumpy, and if women you’ve never seen show up here and say, “You called me frumpy!”, I guess that means they find THEMSELVES frumpy!

  44. Jill says:

    I have an honest question. Your examples were lovely. But, after having a bunch of kids in just about as many years, and struggling with some health issues, they wouldn’t look good on me. Look at those girls- they’d look good in a paper bag. I’ve always been kind of plain on the outside. With the extra weight- well, it’s just made matters worse. It hurts to even write it out- but I don’t know how I should dress.

    • Word Warrior says:

      Jill,

      I would suggest searching (on line or magazines) for some inspiration–maybe pinterest, plus-size clothing, etc., to get an idea of what looks feminine and modest for differently-shaped women. That’s a really great question.

    • Rachel says:

      Jill, I understand how you feel completely! I have a little extra weight on my body, but my chest has increased dramatically. I was told after nursing I would lose the extra size. That is just not so with me! Nothing looks modest when you look like you have implants! Grrrr

    • Amber says:

      Jill, cardigans or jackets are great for winter and concealing (you can find many at thrift stores for only a few bucks). I also make vests out of tighter fitting cardigans and where those in the warmer months and they help mask some of the bumps and lumps better than a plain tee. Also, anything flowy is nice for hiding some of those less flattering areas. Flowy, small patterned, empire waist (although if this part is too tight it can make you look pregnant when you’re not :P ) can be really flattering on larger figures. The first picture of the girl in the white shirt would be a pretty shirt on any figure. Higher waisted skirts, whether belted with a shirt tucked in, or shirt tucked out hides some of those problem areas. I hope that helps :) .

  45. Katy says:

    Thanks so much for your article…. It is encouraging to hear this topic addressed in a very biblical manner. Honestly I sometimes feel out of place and confused when I try to dress modestly, but in a modern way. It seems more often than not there is a strong sense among the homeschooling community that being a godly, bible honoring woman means dressing in what was modern style in precious decades, but thank you for the reminder that is our hear in this matter that really matters. I appreciate your honesty and authencity to speak upon this touchy subject.

  46. Lara W. says:

    Well written, biblical and balanced article, thank you!

  47. Amber says:

    I love this!! I am very artsy fartsy and LOVE fashion. I’m 29 and have 4 kids, so I’m not too into trends (and most would just look inappropriate on me at this point!), but I love putting funky outfits together. I do gravitate toward a more quirky, Victorianesqe style (so I kinda liked that first pink frumpy dress, ha ha!). At first I struggled with dressing more modestly, but now I enjoy the challenge :) .
    I could live in a cardigan, sweater vest (which I’ve altered some of my own from too small cardigans), lace tank top, jeans or a skirt with funky tights, and my almost knee high lace up boots. I can add funky jewelry and a broach, be completely covered and feel great! I’m probably oversharing, but I love the fact that these type of articles are popping up more and more on Christian sites.

  48. Diana says:

    I dont think amish/prarie style or casual clothing is frumpy. I think you need to define that term so you can either prevent offense or offend whoever it is actually aimed at,lol. The article made me sad for many lovely friendsI know who dress that way. Some who are very loving to others and reach out to them…they do not cause a stumbling block to the gospel as you described because they are loving and kind and friendly to others. That is what makes the difference IMO.

    I loved your ‘fashionable’ pic too…though I agree that tops should be higher if when you bend over to put groceries in your cart, you show your cleavage(or even just your bra in your shirt…if you are flat chested..Kelly you dont get off the hook just for being small breasted, haha. God meant breasts to be covered else He would not have made skins for Eve…just nipple coverage isnt enough as some do strangely believe.

    Someone mentioned swimwear. At our home ghe girls wear one piece suits as undrrclothing and then long swim shorts over it and a summery tshirt over the top. Guys wear white t shirts and their usual swim shorts. It is all modest and modern looking. Everyone is comfortable and frozen nipples arent out there distracting or embarrassing people. Thats how we handle it. I’ve seen modest suits that are customized and longer but they didny help the nipple issue and some looked a little funny. It’s a good area for entrepeneurs to continue working on.

    I appreciate the intent of your post and hope the wording is better next time so lovely women arent made to feel frumpy or ugly because they like a certain style. Now if the hair and teeth arent brushed and they stay in their pjs all day or in filthy clothing when they go out…then they may need a gentle discussion. But a prarie dress isnt any more/less unbecoming than other styles that may be stylish put stupid looking to someone else. People should have the freedom to wear what they like in style so long as it is modest and clean(if they are not impoverished). Same with makeup. I hate it when women are belittled and made to feel they MUST wear makeup or are not feminine. (and no…not against gentle makeup).

    I’ve seen the new rage is to wear clothing that looks new age or like the teacher in magic schoolbus. I dont think it looks good at all but so long as it is modest I wouldnt care ..it makes tgem happy..like some groovy jewlry I might find hideous,lol.

    Anyway, thanks for the post which was great other tgan that slipup many have mentioned.

  49. Ms Frumpy says:

    We certainly all have our own opinions, don’t we? I much prefer what you call “frumpy” to the modern pictures. I love jean jumpers for the same reason many people love jean pants: they’re comfortable, hold up well, match anything and last long. Anyway, if I could change the subject, I noticed you included a link to verses referring to jewelry for those who object to it….could you give your reasons for concluding that make up is fine? The only references to it are very negative and according to what I’ve found, it was used only by non-Jews or prostitutes. Having children caused me to take a hard look at everything I did, which resulted in many changes. But, despite sharing my thoughts on the issues, I have at least one child who wants to dress like your typical teen, wear make-up (she’s 12!) and have her ears pierced (I’m not opposed to clip-ons but oppose piercing). I don’t want to go against my convictions but I’m open to them being changed, Lord willing…..again. Thanks.

  50. betty jean says:

    I am not worried about what you wear. Your heart knows if you’re acting sexual or not. I wonder if y’all spend as much energy to witnessing to the lost as you have to this topic…

  51. Allyson says:

    Hi, I think this is a beautifully true post. I’m 21 and haven’t ever dressed “immodest” persay but God is calling me to get rid of my skinny jeans look. I didn’t read through all the comments so I apologize if I missed the answer, but where do you recommend to buy fashionable yet modest clothing for a young woman?
    Thanks so much!
    God bless,
    A

  52. I think some of this data might have been copied, it’s found everywhere on the internet and other peoples websites, unless you’re the first publisher?. Thanks

  53. Raechelle says:

    THANK YOU!!! I needed this soooo much. Honestly, I sat crying reading this. I so deeply needed this direction. We are trying to help our girls steer clear of the “norm” culturally, which is all about tight tight clothes, showing off breasts, thighs etc, yet still want them to feel beautiful. I have really had a hard time voicing these ideas, because I really haven’t studied them enough. You gave me something to work with with my girls. Beauty starts on the inside (still a new idea, to my very fashion/popularity/beauty conscious girls) and modesty is such a hard word to pin down – because it doesn’t mean dowdy. Yet the permission, biblically to still love beauty – thank you. I desperately needed this connection, and your words. I can’t tell you how powerful this is for us. And I’m truly, totally and completely SHOCKED by your negative detractors above. What on earth??? Wow – all I can say is that you’ve clearly touched a nerve.

  54. Carra says:

    Thank you for wonderful encouragement this morning!!
    It was fresh water for my heart.

    Many Blessings,
    Carra
    A Shade Different
    jonncarramoorman.blogsopt.com

  55. patricia says:

    A valuable discussion indeed. I have rec’d some excellent spiritual insights on this subject, oddly enough, from Christian literature that is no longer in print. It was just expected and accepted back then that a woman making a claim to godliness would want her clothing to accent and adorn her testimony in the right way. I grew up in a household in rebellion against men and heavily indoctrinated in feminism so for me this has been a long slow process of change.

    My husband actually loves the old fashioned conservative stuff and would love it if I dressed more like Laura Ingalls! He hates to see women in pants and with short cropped hair and finds the way women, even Christian women today boss and dominate their husbands and display their bodies very ungodly and unappealing. In his opinion, a plainly dressed woman, ie simple but feminine clothing, is far more attractive because attention is drawn to her personhood via her face. This would seem to be scriptural, since the bible clearly states that our beauty should emanate from the hidden person of the heart which is the true person. I think I understand what is meant by “frumpy” although I agree that it is a sexualized put down. Frumpy is a cheap shot coined by women who glory in their sexuality and have rebelled against God’s order. In other words women who aren’t “sexy” and bold about it, but rather prefer to cover themselves, are held to be uptight, sexually repressed prudes . Not very kind. But I do appreciate the maturity and kindness shown by the author who was immediately concerned at having potentially hurt some sisters who visit this blog. Thank you for showing a grace that many professing Christians seldom show :)

    In my attempts at locating feminine clothing befitting an attempt at a godly life, I’ve visited some sites where the clothing is poorly sewn and drapes over the models’ body like a haphazard flour sack and has the opposite effect to what is desired by the well intentioned sisters who make it. It almost seems as if the persons making the clothing somehow think that deliberately making oneself look UNattractive is the same thing as being modest and godly. It isn’t, in my humble opinion. Neither is cloneliness next to godliness. Attractiveness need not equal seductiveness or waywardness.

    How much of our concern about being attractive in the name of being “approachable” comes from wanting to be agreeable to the world around us and avoid persecution for being too different, ie, fear of how they will perceive us – and how much is really about wanting to win others to Christ? Just throwing this out there for consideration. If we really have Christ within us and walk in genuine grace, mercy and obedience, we needn’t worry that dressing more conservatively than others will turn anyone off the gospel even if our clothing has a Laura Ingalls flair. A genuinely friendly, godly and kind person could wear burlap and still shine for Christ.

    I’m going to challenge our thinking here. I am going to suggest that many of the ideas we have about what constitutes beauty and attractiveness is informed not by God’s word but by feminism, Madison Avenue and Hollywood, those well known social engineers and purveyors of immorality, seduction, sexual perversion and reversal of God’s design and order. In other words, we no longer think styles ala Laura Ingalls are attractive, because we’ve been taught to sneer at modesty and femininity as the dying remnants of an oppressive old fashioned past, and to regard anything old fashioned as out of date and hopelessly clueless. So we are on somewhat iffy ground when we begin to worry about what the culture around us deems attractive without being aware of just how we arrived at the current standards. Of course we should never be different or odd for the sake of being deliberately odd. Our concern should be for genuine godliness and adherence to God’s word. If it happens that we stand out because of that so be it. We needn’t dress like nuns but neither should our choices be informed by the world’s tastes and standards either.

    Just as an example, I heard it taught recently that the passage in the bible about wearing a head covering in church no longer applies and was relevant only to the cultural situation at Corinth. I fail to see how angels are cultural and not timeless but that’s another issue. I find that interesting, because even in the US and Canada, perhaps as recently as a hundred years ago, no lady would DARE attend church without a hat on and gloves too! A lady just did not do something so unseemly and immodest. When did hats and for that matter, dresses go out of style? Was it because of some new move of godliness? No, our culture changed because of the advent of feminism and the lowering of standards of modesty and morality. Now I am not trying to say that you must all rush out and buy hats. With regard to that, I believe that we need to leave room for the Holy Spirit to speak to individual hearts. If a whole church agrees that this should be the standard that’s well and good but I don’t think we ought to assail and bully anyone about it on a personal level so that they fear that hat wearing is tantamount to being saved or not. But you can see that the change was not brought about by something good, normal or legitimate but by the continuing slide away from things like obeying God, respecting authority and submission to standards of morality, modesty and the like. Its this tide whose current we are supposed to be swimming against.

    As far as clothing goes, my search for something that is affordable and well tailored and yes, somewhat old fashioned continues :) I have two horses and I intend to even ride wearing skirts. Blessings sisters

  56. Tamar says:

    Reading the article and then looking at the clothing I almost wanted to add my arguments…but I will refrain from doing so..

    I will say that the Word should be studied in its original languages in order to obtain true understanding.

    If one took the time to really study instead of looking to apply their own understanding this discussion would not be needed.

    We are called to be qadash meaning separated from the world because YHUH Alahym is qadush…separated from the world….

    Every article of clothing pictured is seen on most worldly women today. I see no true separation.. just an appearance of separation but denying the power therein.

    We cannot explain scriptural modesty with worldly standards….truly a believer must refrain from even the appearance of evil.

    We cannot become so concerned with what we wear and try to still be excepted by man when or very actions prove that we are led by self and not of the Ruach or spirit. ….

    Read Chazun/Revelation 18

    • Tamar,

      You have a skewed sense of what “being separate from the world” is.

      You said: “Every article of clothing pictured is seen on most worldly women today. I see no true separation.. just an appearance of separation but denying the power therein.”

      The clothing represented here are in keeping with current styles of today, but not the styles seen on “harlots” (I don’t know if you were implying that by “wordly women.” We should note the difference.

      A look into historical biblical accounts will reveal that Christians (Jesus included) wore fashions akin to what was customary according to the culture. While modesty is addressed, purposely dressing in a style that clashes with general, modern fashion is not found in Scripture.

      You are adding to the Word of God. A VERY dangerous thing.

    • 6 arrows says:

      Tamar: I will say that the Word should be studied in its original languages in order to obtain true understanding.

      Nowhere in Scripture are we given the indication that “true understanding” can only be found through the original languages.

      True understanding comes through the Holy Spirit. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” John 16:13

      The Holy Spirit works through the Word of God, and His work isn’t limited in the hearts of believers who read and hear the Word only in English (or any other language besides the original languages). “Then said Jesus…If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32

      The Holy Spirit doesn’t need you to enlighten us with your knowledge of the original languages, Tamar. It is your own understanding of the scriptures, as evidenced by your comment, that is faulty, and it is presumptuous and arrogant of you to think we need a lesson from you in the original languages so that we may be led to “true understanding” on this issue. Your understanding is not synonymous with true understanding.

      I sincerely hope the Spirit of truth will set you free from your legalistic idea of true modesty (which, by the way, is reflected in more than what a person wears — look it up).

  57. Denise says:

    I think I understand the intention of this post and appreciate it. In fact, I found it after doing a Google search for “modest vs. frumpy.” I’m surprised that so many have taken offense, but I am not familiar with the readership of this blog. As I understand it, “frumpy” describes a dress choices that indicate a lack of attention or care about one’s appearance. Clothes that are not well cut or very much out of style can give that impression, even if that isn’t the intention.

    Worldliness has nothing to do with what kind of fabric you use or the pattern your clothing is made of. We are explicitly told in Scripture what is worldly, which is “The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” We are given multitudes of commands regarding how our *hearts* are to be pleasing to God and what our clothes look like never made the list, save for the Levitical priests. It makes no more sense to make early 1900s, retro-style clothing as the sign of separation from the world than it does to live in a mud hut because “the world” lives in brick houses with siding. The early Christians gave away many possessions in following Christ–never heard that the clothes off their backs were among them!

    God *does* call us to not cause our brother to stumble. But that is a completely different issue than dressing to announce to others your religious separation. We can choose to do so, (Catholic nuns would be an example), but in the case of habited nuns, I understand that they do that as a sign of their vow. A nun’s habit is an immediately recognizable symbol. But out of fashion clothing sends a confusing message to the onlooker. It is not clear from simply wearing old fashioned or, again, poorly styled clothing that it is done for purposes of religious consecration.

  58. Beth Blair says:

    I disagree with what you consider modest here and clothing that YOU say “masks a woman’s true beauty”! A woman’s TRUE BEAUTY comes only from God Himself and does NOT rely on “fashionable” or form-fitting clothing, jewelry or any accessory on the planet! If you read your Bible, it clearly says that our “beauty” as women of God should be that of a gentle and quiet spirit which is of great price in God’s eyes and we, as women who claim to be followers of Messiah, should not be wearing expensive clothing, pearls or fancy hairdos as our beauty marker! References for the above are 1 Peter 3:3-5 and 1 Timothy 2:9-10. Modesty was so important to God that even the priests had to wear undergarments all the way down to their thighs UNDER their ankle length robes so no one could see anything under their robes as they were going up steps!

    • I agree with you that modesty is important, but we disagree on what is modest and what is not. That will always be a contention in the body of Christ. You said, “should not be wearing expensive clothing, pearls or fancy hairdos as our beauty marker!” but who will define “expensive clothing”, for example? I wear clothing from a thrift store which was expensive when first purchased but dirt cheap when I purchased it. So are we focusing on what one spends? I can’t afford most of the apparel from popular modest websites. Does that mean it isn’t modest because it cost more than I can pay?

      The verses you mentioned, commonly quoted to prove we aren’t supposed to wear jewelry do not, in fact, exclude ornaments from a woman’s wardrobe. I know this because if it did, it would be inconsistent with the rest of Scripture and the Word can’t contradict itself. So if God himself describes a beautiful woman as wearing costly apparel and jewelry, we have to step back and ask, what did Paul mean in those verses?

      Most scholars conclude that Paul was emphasizing that a woman cannot or should not place her worth in her outward appearance. By the way, the verse reads: “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear…” If the verse means we can’t braid our hair or wear any jewelry, it would by definition also mean we can’t wear clothes. So a careful exegesis of the passage helps us to understand it.

      Modesty, according to Scripture, emphasizes the inward man, which should naturally transform the outer man. It does not, in any way, diminish beauty. Belonging to the Creator should be evident by our maintenance of our appearance, being careful to guard the confines of modesty within our culture (some cultures think it’s immodest for a woman’s face to show, so there is much relativity to what any of us call “modest”).

      We are allowed to be beautiful, but motivation from a pure and modest heart will keep our outward appearance in check and help us to dress and adorn ourselves in a loving way.

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