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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Why Do Some Girls Who Truly Love the Lord Dress Immodestly?

A long time ago, two teen brothers were talking to me about this subject. One of the young men said he thought girls who dressed immodestly did it on purpose. I disagreed. He said they knew what they were doing. I disagreed. He said they wouldn’t dress that way if they really loved God. I disagreed.

Why do beautiful, godly young women dress immodestly?

Just so we’re understanding each other, let me define modest and immodest dress.

Modest dress covers the body. It isn’t short, tight, or low-cut. Modest is not sexy or provocative. A woman wearing modest clothing looks respectable. The beholder is drawn to her smiling face.

Immodest dress may or may not cover the body. It is suggestive and may include slits, openings, off the shoulder, low neckline, or be short or tight. It attracts the beholder to the wearer’s body and away from the face.

So, why do precious girls who profess Christ wear short shorts, skirts above the knee, skimpy swim suits, let their tops fall off their shoulders, show off straps, and put on clothing that fits like shrink wrap? I believe it’s because of:
  • Ignorance—The woman genuinely doesn’t understand how her dress affects others. She doesn’t understand that the men and women who see her make judgments about her character by how she covers (or doesn’t cover) her body.
  • Peers—She dresses like her friends. She wants to be like them.
  • Parenting—Dad and Mom don’t insist on modest dress. They might even encourage her to show off her figure and skin. They might buy her immodest clothing.
  • Misunderstanding—She doesn’t understand the concept of mystery. A beautiful girl who consistently dresses modestly shows she has dignity. Anyone who knows her feels respect and awe. What you don’t show the world is special. Modesty understands this.

Here are a few real problem areas when it comes to dress:
  • Sports and exercise—Today, many girls wear sports bras with clingy pants to do these activities. Are they modest? No. Are they necessary? No. You can do a workout in a long crew neck T-shirt and looser pants. No problem at all. Choose modesty. (There is never, ever any need to wear short shorts.)
  • Weddings—I hear the excuse all the time, “I went to the bridal shop, and all they had were strapless dresses.” I did the same thing some years ago with my own daughter. One store’s sign bragged “1,500 dresses on site,” but they didn’t have one with sleeves. (They did offer an out-of-style bolero jacket.) We decided on Plan B: we called all the bridal shops in the city and found four that had dresses with sleeves. We visited all of them. We also went online. If you type in “modest bridal gowns,” you will find everything you can possibly imagine and more, many in a price range you can afford. These sites usually also have beautiful dresses for your bridesmaids.
  • Swimming and beachwear—Again, if you want to be modest, you can be. Search online for “modest swimwear.” There is no reason at all to be mostly naked on the beach!
  • Fashion—“This is really ‘in’ and all my friends are wearing it.” Okay, fine. You can choose to be a clone, or you can choose to be “in” and wear modest clothes. You can really look fabulous and be modest. It isn’t either-or. Take the challenge and look for beautiful, in-style, modest clothing. This year, midi-skirts and maxi-skirts are stylish. Find one, pair it with boots, a great jacket, plaid shirt, and a wonderful scarf.

So, you see, it’s all how you choose to dress, how you choose to live. How do you want to be perceived?
  • Do you want everyone to look at your body, or do you want to save it pure and holy unto God—and for your husband’s eyes only?
  • Do you want to show off your body or show off your dignity?
  • Do you want a little bit of mystery about you, or do you want everyone to know everything?
  • Can people who see you tell you’re a Christian? Or do you look like everyone else?
  • If you don’t know how dress impacts both men and other women, do some reading on this subject.*
  • What are you advertising through your dress? A sweet face? Your body? Christ?
I’m not talking about looking like you stepped off the set of Little House on the Prairie. I’m also not advocating looking like a sect that wears “one pattern fits all.” I am, though, concerned that some wonderful girls who love God with all their hearts are sending the wrong message—perhaps unknowingly—with their clothes.

Quite a few years ago, a young man was talking openly with my husband about some of the Christian girls he knew. How did he describe them? By how they dressed. (He later chose to date and marry a young woman who was consistently modest. He admired her character.)

I really understand girls who don’t dress modestly, yet they love God. In my youth, I wore some things that weren’t modest. I wasn’t aware that my walk wasn’t consistent with my talk . . . or my heart, which truly wanted to please God. I sincerely didn’t understand.

If you want to stand out for Christ, dress modestly. If you want to be refreshingly different and attract the right kind of attention, dress modestly. If you want to show you are a serious, respectable person, dress modestly. If you want to be accepted for your ideas, intellect, and personality, dress modestly. Most of all, if you want to represent the Lord Jesus Christ, dress modestly.

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.
(1 Timothy 2:9-10)


  1. Very well written and non combative article. I would love to share it. The one thing I always say to people when they ask, "why in the world do you only wear dresses and skirts"? Because I feel it's what the Lord wants from ME. It's not about what I expect from others. It's what I expect from ME. When I was saved, I was 26, living for me and in the world. I prayed about my clothing soon after I was saved and in a great church that preached modesty at the time. God led me to several verses in His Word and it stuck. I don't want to be anywhere near the world and what it likes. I don't want anyone to look at me and think, "wow her ____ is great" fill in the blank. I want others to see my smile and hear my laugh. I feel creepy if someone looks at more than my head. And I don't EVER want to displease the Lord by having any man, other than my husband, look at me because of anything I'm wearing and think bad thoughts. I've had people say to me, how do you do anything wearing that. Anything = climb a ladder, swim, ski, jump on a trampoline, etc. The list is long. For one thing, I don't need to climb high on a ladder and if I didn't have a husband or son that could do it, I would ask someone or put leggings on UNDER a skirt. And I certainly wouldn't do it with a man holding the ladder, I would ask him to climb. :)
    There are so many things I think of now that I've been saved for 26 years. How I cross my legs, how I bend over, how see thru something is, how it moves in the wind. But, I think mostly about, will my husband be pleased with what I'm wearing and will God be pleased with what I'm wearing.
    Thanks again for the article.

    1. Thank you so much, Deanna! I really appreciate your sharing your thoughts. God bless you.

  2. I appreciate your article very much! I pray that many will read it, benefit from it spiritually, and apply these truths to their lives.

  3. I'm a man and I don't respect women any less because of what they wear, or how they look. I think there's something fundamentally flawed in that kind off thinking. There is nothing shameful about bare bodies.

    It's only people that puts malice into it. In some cultures, there is nothing wrong with bare breasts. In some cultures, to show even a strand of hair is immodest. What is modest for one culture can seem immodest in another.

    Either way, everyone deserves respect no matter what they wear. This Victorian thinking only reinforces prejudice. So a woman must wear conservative clothing in order to look respectable? Can she not be smart, amazing, and good, whether or not she's wearing this or that? I admire a lot of women who you would call immodest. Not because of what they wear but because of their character. And likewise I also admire women who you would call modest.

    If men always sexualize the female form every time they see it, that's their problem. It may not be entirely their fault (because of upbringing, or environment), but maybe they should stop judging women by how much of her skin is exposed. It's a big world out there, and not everyone dresses the same. So let's free our minds and end prejudice.

    Peace and love. :)

    1. Thank you, Kabunyan, for your thoughtful response. I agree that there is no shame in people's bodies in the right context, in marriage. I also understand what you're saying about different standards of modesty in different cultural contexts. This is very true. I only wanted to emphasize a biblical view of modesty and not condemn anyone. I think it would be a wonderful world if we could accept any person no matter how they look--always looking for who they are as a person. I sincerely try to do that. But, it's true that the Bible says women should dress modestly, and it's true that many don't. I thank you for the spirit of your comment.

  4. Very well written! It's a shame what some Christian women believe is modest. I think that list of reasons is fairly accurate for them (ignorance, peers, parents, misunderstanding). It is difficult to find modest clothing in the USA these days. Walk into most women's/teens departments and its short shorts/skirts, tight and/or revealing. IF people would stop purchasing it, the manufacturers would get a clue. But everyone wants to "fit in" so they just buy what's available.

    1. Maybe I should have included "availability," but the truth is there are LOTS of places online and not that sell beautiful, stylish clothing that's also modest. Maybe we need to be looking in "business wear" and online for "modest clothing." I am amazed how beautiful the clothes are! Follow me on Pinterest for gorgeous choices and combinations. You're right, of course, that the teen section has "pop-style" clothing for young women. Thanks so much, Trena, for your thoughtful comment.


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