Summer’s over and the pressure (both societal and barometric) to dress scantily are gone for a season. But our concern for modesty should be perennial. Modesty is a concept born out of a few key scriptures such as I Timothy 2:9, “I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety.” If we value God’s word, we have to value modesty. It’s just that simple.
But why does this matter to God? After all, He made us without concern for modesty – Eve ran around buck naked in the Garden of Eden. Paradise lost… No use crying over it. Fast forward to our reality and the fact of the matter is that our clothes say a lot about us. They reflect how we were raised and the condition of our heart and thoughts, not to mention our fashion sense. And they reflect how important the value of modesty is to us.
Here’s a quick test (in case you haven’t had your share of final exams) to help evaluate your personal position on modesty.
1. What do my clothes say about my heart?
a) I’m modest on the inside and out.
b) Not much – they are heart-neutral.
c) I just want somebody, anybody to pay attention to me.
2. When I dress I…
a) want to be comfortable and look good, but not sexy.
b) opt for something fashionable without regard to much else.
c) secretly want to cause a traffic accident as I cross the street.
3. My clothes reflect ________ values.
b) greater societal
4. The way I dress, no one could ever guess…
a) the location of my birthmark.
b) that I don’t spend a lot of clothes.
c) that I’m a Christian.
5. When I think what I’m wearing might be too immodest, I…
a) put the outfit on hold until I can ask the opinion of someone I respect.
b) ask my boyfriend what he thinks.
c) shrug my shoulders, make kissy-lips at myself in the mirror and head out the door anyway.
Give yourself 2 points for each “a”, 1 point for each “b” and zip/zilch/nada for each “c.” A score of 7 or greater indicates that modesty is a max factor. Good for you. 4 to 6 points indicates modesty is on your radar, but takes a back seat to fashion. Below 4 points, you don’t see the connection between godly living and your wardrobe.
When we lived at home, Mom and Dad may have had some tempering influence on our choice of clothes, but now that we’re on our own? Who will be our “Mirror, Mirror on the wall”? There are our friends – but don’t they need some help of their own? When you need an honest answer to “Does this make me look sleazy?” a godly adult can be invaluable. Seek out a godly woman whose fashion sense you admire and bounce your outfit options off her every once in a while to keep your modesty meter well-calibrated.
Also, consult Web sites that specialize in modest clothing. Even if you don’t buy online, you can get some ideas of how today’s styles can be modestly sported. My picks are TailoredLilly.com and ModestlySassy.com.
If your score on the modesty test was embarrassingly low, you might be feeling like your wardrobe is beyond salvaging – shirts cut too low, dresses and skirts cut too short, jeans look like they’re painted on… Don’t donate it all to Goodwill just yet. Layering is a great technique to mitigate immodest clothes. Spend $10 on some generic tights and camisoles to wear underneath and invest in one superfly jacket to top tops. The jacket can turn half your summer wardrobe in to all-season wear too by being instant sleeves for anything sleeveless. Layer longer shirts under or over shorter shirts to keep that rear end from rearing its ugly… (ehem!). And add a big, bold scarf to low cut shirts – and enjoy a warm neck this winter.
There are plenty of ways to be modest and fashionable at the same time. The first step to making it happen is daily asking yourself, “Is this an outfit that is pleasing to God? Will it glorify the body that He’s given me?” It’s a two-question test that I pray you’ll score well on every day.