Appearance & Clothing

Appearance & Clothing

Hair length and clothing should be appropriate to tell at a glance if you are a man or woman including girls or boys. I was at a school function and there was a child with a long braid wearing camoflauge pants and a turtle neck shirt. I couldn’t tell if it was a girl or boy. I wasn’t the only one. Another parent quietly asked me if I knew if that child was a boy or girl. This isn’t right.

The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

Appearance and clothing are two of the most contentious points in following Biblical living. Clothes define who we are. We worry about what others will think of us if we suddenly decide to follow God instead of popular culture in the way we dress. We worry about being seen as odd or fundamentalist. Yet what other way than with our appearance and clothes can a person tell with just one glance that you are a Christian (unless you conspicuously carry a Bible everywhere)?

I don’t believe this means all women should always wear skirts or dresses and men pants, but you should be able to tell who’s which. If you can’t, then something is wrong and a wardrobe check is definitely in order. It is no longer “feminine” to dress in dresses. The modern “women’s rights” movement has made sure of that. No wonder some of our young people have gender issues.

No matter what you wear, it should be modestly cut and properly fitted. Clothes shouldn’t be so tight as to leave nothing to the imagination. Nor should they be overly baggy or showing your underwear. I really don’t want to know what size and kind underwear you have. Dresses should not be as skimpy as a bathing suit. Just because you are wearing a dress doesn’t mean you are being modest.

Yet people, especially women, are reluctant to commit to such a strong statement. There are many excuses and rationalizations why not to dress Biblically modest. It is so rare that those who do (especially younger women wearing a headcovering) may be seen as uneducated, fundamentalist, unduly influenced, or oppressed. Yet, the opposite is actually true. Many of the women I know who choose to dress modestly are college educated. They do so of their own conviction, not their husband’s or the men of their church. I’ve even heard the phrase “Christian women’s modesty movement” recently. It seems odd to need another women’s “movement” for dressing modestly.

I have rarely followed fashion closely. I liked to look nice but not necessarily the latest popular outfit. I wasn’t allowed to wear ripped/torn/badly stained clothes in public. We had school clothes then changed into play clothes. In college comfort was what ruled my wardrobe.

Now I’m letting God guide my choices, trying to follow 1 Timothy 2:9,10 “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” Sound simple? YES it can be just that simple once we stop dressing to please the world and start dressing to please God!

I thought it would be hard. At first it was hard letting go of my old ways both when clearing out my closet and while shopping. Now I realize that dressing modestly isn’t limiting but freeing. I don’t have to worry that my clothes are still in fashion or what others will think of an outfit. I don’t have to spend a bundle of money to get up to date every season. I still have work clothes (in my case that means old or stained) and regular clothes. They just don’t conform to the world’s ideas of fashion anymore, but rather God’s idea of modesty and simplicity.

While staying for 10 days with conservative Mennonites in the summer of 2008, I had a chance to really observe plain dressing and fell in love with it. At first glance they look alike, but upon closer notice, there is great variety. The dresses are comfortable and easy to move in. Plus, no more worrying about what to wear or if something is appropriate. A dress is usually always appropriate.

I bought a cape dress before going to Virginia . I also bought other commercial simple dresses. While I was there, a couple a great ladies made me 2 plain button front dresses. Both of them and the cape dress are made with Tropical Breeze fabric and are so very comfortable.

I also bought a pattern for a plain girls dress. It can be made several ways (sleeve length, buttons or zipper, etc). I got some pretty flannel and a matching pink zipper. Now I just need time to put it together. Also, in Virginia while making my dress, we modified a pattern just for me 🙂 I haven’t tried it yet. I want to get my daughter’s dress first (figured I’d start small).

Since I got back I’m not finding time to sew, so I have ordered some more dresses (mostly cape dresses). With one exception they are also very comfortable. I have ordered a few long, plain dresses for my daughter as well. She also really likes them. My husband said not to order any more for myself because my closet is now full enough 😉 I need to get rid of some of my more worldly clothing that I’m no longer wearing.

Here’s some of my posts related to clothing:

Cape dresses = comfortable

Clothing or advertising?

Modest dress tidbits

The long and short of hair

Good grooming is important for everyone. It shows you have good self esteem and care about your appearance. Yes, it is possible to care about your appearance and not be vain. Poor personal appearance gives the impression of sloppiness and carelessness. A plain hairstyle that is easy to maintain shows the world that you care about your appearance but not enough to be vain. If you have to spend more than a couple of minutes doing your hair including using lots of sprays, creams or lotions, chances are your hairstyle is not plain but vain instead. This is true for both men and women.

Girls and women should have longer hair than boys and men. I currently have long hair to the middle of my back. I wouldn’t go so far as to say short hair is an aberration or sin as some women may, but I do think long hair (at least shoulder length) is better. I do rarely trim my hair to help get rid of split ends and keep it manageable. My husband agrees that long hair is better for women and gets a bit upset when I trim mine. It can either be with or without simple bangs. I used to have bangs but let them grow out because I was tired of having to cut them. I wear my hair up in a bun because it is heavy. My sisters-in-law have hair below their waist which they keep in braids.

My daughter’s hair has taken a long time to grow. She is 4 and has never had a hair cut. We want her to have long hair. It is now down her back. I put it in 2 braids. They just touch her back. She really wants long braids like her aunties. Braids and ponytails keep long hair neat and out of the face. They are also very plain.

Men and boys should have short hair above the collar. Long hair looks messy and unprofessional on men. The boys should follow the example of the men and have short hair as well.

Facial hair on men should be well groomed. Some say mustaches aren’t proper because they are they only facial hair allowed in the military. This to me seems legalistic. Goatees or partial beards are vain and worldly. Therefore shouldn’t be allowed for the Christian man. I tend to think beards should be for married men because they tend to be worldly/fashionable for young unmarried youth today.

Makeup

I do not wear makeup and haven’t since high school. I quit because it was too expensive and took up too much time. My husband and I both think inner beauty is much prettier than a woman with makeup. Makeup styles change frequently along with fashion. Eating a lot of tomatoes and tomato sauce seems to help clear up pimples, which is one reason girls start wearing makeup. Another reason is peer pressure and/or a lack of self confidence. A woman without makeup shows the world she can make her own decisions rather than following peer pressure and popular culture.

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25 Responses

  1. I been selling Amish and Mennonite Cape Dresses on ebay for almost five years. All my dresses are handmade, gently worn, by the Amish and Mennonite women from Lancaster, Pa.
    I have Amish dresses with pinafore aprons, Old order Amish dresses, with the pin on cape, and apron.
    There are many sizes styles and colors to choose from.
    If you have a chance please check out my site.

    It is truly a gift to be selling modesty dresses that are pleasing to God!

  2. Thanks Sandra. I almost bought a dress from you a few weeks ago but wasn’t sure enough about the size as I didn’t have a dress that fits well enough to get the measurements. Most of what I have is either too big or too small, hence the need for new dresses. Your prices are very reasonable.

  3. I would encourage you to learn to sew your own clothes. It is a basic skill that we as a culture have lost, along with many other basic skills. If I make my daughter’s clothes, I can ensure that she learns truth in modesty, no matter what the fashion. I also can help her to develop the feminine grace of contentment with homemade clothes. Sewing your own clothes can save a good bit of money, or it can make you wardrobe very expensive, depending on your willingness to live simply, or not.

  4. I do sew. I’ve never sewed clothes though. I’d like to. I have a hard time finding things I like that fit. I just don’t have time. I’m doing good keeping up with the garden. I can’t add another project right now. Perhaps in a year or two when our long term business projects are complete. In the meantime, I can daydream about patterns.

  5. I respect your commitment to your faith. I don’t understand, though, how a young child looking not like a girl OR a boy, but merely a child, can hurt. I have a hard time believing that a boy must cut his hair to live a kind and moral life, be he committed to God or Jesus or Muhammed or Buddha or nature. I believe what Christ ultimately taught was that a life lived with charity and kindness and the consideration of others at the forefront is what brings one into communion with God. My 10-yr.-old daughter is a tomboy, and as such goes to school in clothes that would work on either sex. She’s recently let her hair grow long – her choice – but for a long time wanted it cut short so that she didn’t look ‘too girly.’ Yet she exemplifies a Christ-like life, never failing to give of herself to everyone around her. I’ve never in all of my life met a kinder, more genuinely sweet soul, and I am blessed to be her mom. She was adopted, so sadly, I don’t know who to thank for giving her the disposition she came to us with, but I know, were she to cut her hair off again and wear nothing but sweat pants and t-shirts, she would never for a moment be diminished in God’s eyes.

  6. It doesn’t actually *hurt* anything. It just doesn’t seem right to me. I like to know if I’m seeing a girl or boy. I was a tomboy myself but still had at least shoulder length hair. I just see outward appearance reflecting inner self. Perhaps it’s old fashioned but I just think boys and girls should look different.

  7. Why do you feel gotees are vain or worldly? My husband has a gotee simply because he it is easier for him to maintain than a full beard. His beard just doesn’t grow in right.

  8. I never considered that. I feel they are vain and worldly because they are like a prideful status symbol among young people around here I know.

  9. My husband grew one when he first started teaching to look older. He just doesn’t look good with a beard.

    Really, I disagree that it is a pride thing. More of self-expression.

  10. Another angle on the beard issue. My dad wore a either a full beard or gotee depending on the time of year for many years because of a skin condition that made shaving painful. However as my dad got older he shaved his beard off because it had turned white & his hair hadn’t. His reason for shaving his beard was based on vanity.

  11. I know this was a thread from last month but I’m just now getting a chance to check out your site. I agree that boys should look like boys and girls should look like girls but to say that hair length has to be such and such is a bit legalistic in my opinion. I’ve seen several women with shorter hair styles that look very girly and I would have never mistaken them for men.

    I also don’t see how a gotee is vain and I don’t understand why the father shaving his beard was based on vanity either. I think he was probably just not wanting to draw attention to himself because his beard was a different color than his hair. I guess I just see vanity different. But that’s ok. I”m still enjoying your site..

  12. I’m glad you’re enjoying my site. Sure, some short hairstyles are feminine. I was more referring to the crew and very short butch cuts that were popular recently. As for goatees, just about all the guys I know with them wear them to attract attention to themselves which is why I think they are vain. Your experiences may be different. As for my view on vanity, I guess I’m just old fashioned.

  13. Having hairstyles or beards that attract attention is also a form of rebellion. Not all rebellion is wrong. I know that I did strange things to my hair just to get a reaction from people and also in part because I was so tired of my naturally curly hair. When left long my hair grows into ringlet curls. Was I wrong for being rebellious? Possibly. My attitude wasn’t rebellious and my mom’s only request was that my hair be kept neat and clean. I think her lack of reaction was part of the reason that phase didn’t last long. Even the pink hair didn’t get much reaction. In fact she offered to have a professional color my hair if I would choose a natural hair color.

    Ok, that is my opinion and AK yours is very different than mine. One of the reasons I like reading your blog is that you have a very different perspective than mine.

  14. Dee,
    Different ideas is what makes the world interesting. I think I’m just very old fashioned and traditional (especially for 32). Pink, wow! I did have one hair rebellion in about 7th grade. This may sound silly but I cut off all my bangs except one small section over my right eye. Looking at the pictures now, I looked very silly. What was I thinking? 😆 Even then, though, I never understood why most of my friends and others made such a fuss over clothes and hairstyles (although there were a few that were even more conservative/plain than I was). I’ve always been plain at heart I guess. Glad You’re liking my blog. I’m enjoying yours too, especially the pictures lately.

  15. Now I prefer to go for the low maintenance hairstyle. Either long and let my hair go curly or above the shoulders w/ wavy hair.

  16. As a Hairstylist I couldn’t help but wonder how often you are really trimming your hair. In the Modern world where women are styling their hair more often we recomend a trim to remove split ends on long hair every 8-10wks. If you let split ends build up on the hair the hair will break off as fast at it grows and not get much longer. Think how string cheese splits and pulls up the strand, that is almost what magnified split hair looks like. I would recomend that you trim at least 1/4th of an inch off your daughter’s hair especially if you are wanting it to grow.

  17. Lacy,
    I’ve heard that before. She’s never had a hair cut and her hair is almost to her waist and still getting longer. My sisters in law have healthy hair below their waist. Me however, is a different story. My hair is thinning so if I trim it, it just gets shorter because I’m loosing it and it’s breaking faster than it’s growing. I don’t brush it much or very hard because of breakage. My doctor and I think it’s a hormone thing. As far as styling goes I’m very basic. I towel dry my hair then twist it up in a bun pinned with 2 bobby pins.

  18. I have to respect your belief in plain dress. Although we do not dress plain we do dress very modest and believe that most time should be put into inward beauty, kindness and growth in spiritual knowledge and not outword adornment. Although I do not believe that Gods inspired word calls it a sin to apear in modern clothes. In Proverbs 31 It tells us about the many aspects of clothing the woman would make she gleaned flax and seeks wool and worked it with her hands. It tells us that her family was clothed in scarlet and to produce this color of clothing was a great work. I can’t remember the name of the seeds but many small seeds had to be mashed between the teeth to make dye. I think great care and time was put into all the clothing. later in the chapter she is clothed in a tapestry and purple silk. She produces fine linen to sell to the merchant. It does give a warning that beauty is vanity but the Fear of the Lord is to be praised. I wonder if this portion of the passage does also pertain to the woman. I believe that she was beautiful in her purple silk but she had also worked to fill her life with the things that God had planned for her. The heart of her husband safely trusts in her. She wil do him good and not evil. She carefully brings food from afar. She rises early to make her house full of portions of food. She considers a business deal(buys land) and plants in the soil. She reaches the poor and needy. She has prepared for winter. She finds strength honour and rejoicing. And out of her mouth comes wisdom and kindness. She looks after her household and is not idle. She fears the lord and her works praise her in the Gate.

  19. Ak
    I am so sorry to hear that your hair is thinning. Hair thinning is thought to be caused by a waste produce from testrone which we all have just in different amounts. Some medical conditions are known to cause hair thinning also. Thyroid and PCOS conditions are some of the most common. One time a customer of mine who had never had drastic hair loss came to me. This one time, just hand fulls of hair fell out when I washed her hair. I recomended she see her doctor. When she did she had a deadly low Thyroid levels and could have died. She was put on medication right away and no more hairloss. Any way to the point, there is a shampoo and conditioner that is suposed to help remove hormone build up from the scalp using natural botanicals and essential oils. The product is not all natural but no hormones in it. Nioxin cleanser and scalp therapy(you would have to find this at a salon or order it through a stylist). My mom has been useing it for about 10 years and the hair loss she experienced(top front of head like male pattern baldness) has not gotten any worse and may be a little filled back in. I also use this product to prevent hair loss and cleanse my skin, it also keeps my very oily skin clear.

  20. It could be the bun that’s causing the thinning.

    I had that problem in my 30’s – I wore a bun every day, and my hair was thinning all around my hairline, and breaking off at the crown.
    The doctor told me to wash my hair and let my hair hang down to dry, and then to KEEP it hanging down – no bun, no styling, no rubberbands, no braiding – “no nothin'”, except to tuck it behind my ears to keep it out of my face.

  21. Oops, I hit the send button too soon,

    I meant to add, my hair did thicken back up again.
    Now I’m in my 50s, and I wear a bun sometimes, just not every day, and never, EVER at night (sleeping in a bun can break your hair really fast!) The rest of the time, I part it down the middle and let it hang down, and I’ve had very little trouble with hair loss since.

  22. I get headaches if I leave my hair down much during the day. It isn’t thick or super long but still gives me trouble. I don’t use styling products. I do take it down at bedtime. My hair loss was explained as part of PCOS.

  23. Yes, PCOS will do that too. I don’t have PCOS, but I have had a couple of cysts… they are no fun at all.

  24. wow, I must say that this is definitely the place to have different opinions, it is much better than facebook and you can tell that the goals here are to represent God in a way he intended us too. Thank you for showing me one of the rewards of living a God centered life….it definitely shows. Thank you ladies

  25. Carol,
    Thanks for visiting my site and leaving your comments. I do not use Facebook, nor have any desire to do so. My desire here is to share and discuss my personal beliefs and highlights in our life including homeschooling. I also have a fitness site http://fitness4frankie.wordpress.com for my thoughts on leading a healthy lifestyle.

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