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:
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.
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.