Spring Fashions and Modesty

(This image is taken from NewYork&Company.com. This is one of my favorite stores where I shop the sale rack.)
The fashion magazines are at it again. They entice us with the newest and hottest summer trends and along with that they usher in a vast array of immodest and indecent clothing.

Malls are packed with clothes that do not cover the body in a modest way. I’ll be honest, I have those moments where I take an outfit to the dressing room, try it on, realize it’s immodest but love it. Then the war begins in my mind. “It’s not so bad. Maybe I could just wear it on vacation where no one from church would see me?”… These are tempting thoughts that end in dishonor to God if I believe them.

In Genesis 3:1-7 we see Satan tempted Eve to take the fruit. He did not put the fruit in her hand and he certainly did not put the fruit into her mouth. All Satan did was tell Eve lies and she became a believer of those lies. Then Eve saw the fruit with her eyes, took it with her hands and then ate it. Then she became Adam’s tempter.

So often we as women – first see the fashion trends and in our desire to be attractive begin to buy into the lies that immodesty is attractive. So just as Eve, we see the clothes and desire to have them. Once we have bought into Satan’s lies it won’t be long before the clothes are hanging in our closet and we are tempting men to have impure thoughts by our sinful choices.

So what is a Christian woman to do?

In I Timothy 2:9 and10 we are told what to adorn ourselves with. “I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes but with good works, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”

Here’s the challenge: add a fashion accessory to your spring wardrobe – “good works”! Do you have this accessory ready for the spring season?

Jerry Bridges calls good works – “deliberate deeds that are helpful to others” (The Practice of Godliness). They are acts of kindness that are evidence of our salvation. These are essential for a godly woman to have.

So here are a couple of questions I’ve borrowed from CJ Mahaney that we as women need to consider:

Which do you think about more – shopping or good works?

What are you most noticed for – what you wear or your kind deeds?

What is most eye-catching about you – your clothing or your character?

The woman who is seeking to gain attention and praise for her physical body, as an immodest woman does, is not seeking to glorify God but herself. A godly woman who is devoted to good works will reflect glory back to God.

I want to encourage you to clothe yourself with good works this spring –let your inner beauty radiate and God will be glorified.

Walk with the King!

Comments

  1. Lisa Maria says

    Very thought-provoking post, Courtney. As the mother of four daughters, three of whom are teenagers, I am constantly in a state of vigilance over clothing. One in particular is extremely challenging and we are always at battle because she is drawn to what is fashionable. She wants to fit in and do what everybody else is doing. Thanks for this very timely reminder.

  2. Christine says

    I wish this was taught more in our christian homes but it is not. I never had girls and didn't have to deal with this problem but I see young teens wearing shorts to church services and parents are allowing it. Thankfully, my daughter-in-law and son are teaching their young girls what is appropriate and what isn't when it comes to clothing. Good post.

  3. Kimberly says

    Normally, I wear blue jeans and t-shirts, but I do have a few things that "I only wear on vacation". You have given me something to think about, for sure.

  4. Anonymous says

    I like to shop at New York and Co. also, but I would think the outfit you have pictured is too immodest. I would have to put something under that shirt since it is very low cut. My rule is, if I have to hold my shirt to my chest when I bend over then it isn't modest enough. Just a thought.

    I'm glad you wrote about this because it is often overlooked in today's world.

    Brandy

  5. suzanne says

    Yes!! Thank you for this post! It can be discouraging when you are looking for modest clothing that is feminine and flattering for your husband yet covering and modest enough to wear outside the home.

    Here are some strategies I use:
    - Wear a camisole under low neck tops
    - Wear a fitted shirt underneath sundresses that are too revealing (I have a thin fitted white shirt that I wear under many of my dresses that adds coverage without being too hot)
    - Jackets and cardigans can cover up spaghetti strap dresses
    - Leggings under shorter dresses can give some added coverage
    - Capris are my go-to item because I haven't had much luck finding shorts that fit my shape and are long enough

    Any ladies have advice about excercise or running gear? I'm trying to stay cool while running in the summer heat, but also stay modest. Would love any tips on that from other girls trying to walk with the King!

    • Laura says

      As for running, I have recently been doing spandex shorts under running shorts. They are longer, and add some much needed coverage for us active girls. I also wear white vneck tshirts or tshirts in general when I run. It’s hot, but I’ve decided running in a sports bra or even a tank is just too revealing.

      Thanks for the tips!

  6. Gina says

    This is a constant battle (the wanting to draw attention to self rather than God.) It is a part of who we are as women! I pray regularly that God would change my heart, because it is only something He can do! We do have to make choices though. It's easy to see this in young girls, and then not even acknowledge it in ourselves! Good post Courtney! Good post!!!

  7. Toni says

    I'm one who is saddened by the immodest wear marketed to teens and even little girls. "Daisy Duke" shorts and skin tight tops are so common now. :(
    It's a reminder to me that I need to set the modest example for my children. I strive for "modest modern" and really, women can look stylish and beautiful there. So far, my 11yo also prefers the same. She has a terrific sense of her own style for her age, in fact.

    Occasionally, we'll be out shopping and I'll try something on that I love, but realize it's just not very modest. All is not lost, however, lol. I sometimes spice up the marriage by letting hubby see me in it before taking it off, saying with a smile, "For your eyes only." ;)
    Blessings,
    Toni

  8. Katie says

    I love that there are trendy, modest choices! Sometimes we have to look for them, but it is ALWAYS worth the extra time, and sometime money.

    Thanks for the post!

  9. Mariah says

    Agreed! From someone who keeps up with the what's 'In'! I think it's very possible to dress trendy and modest, esp. this Spring 2011, they have a lot more of a modest selection than last years look. If anyone is interested in what's 'In' you can check out my blog. Also, there's a lot more to looking your best, and it doesn't involve fashion. I'm giving FREE advice on dressing your body the best YOU can for 2011. Again, check out my blog if you're interested. My goal is to esteem others to Christ. It's hard ministry to show others how o dress properly, without being ridiculed. I honor God and teach others to find their beauty in Him. With the culture of today, many women, including Christians, can get so confused and caught up with where to draw the line. I'd love to help you ladies out. I'm not in it for anything, but knowing I'm using my gifts for Jesus. :)

  10. Frances says

    I agree with Lisa Maria. This is something I needed to hear since I will be shopping not only for me but my girls in the next little while for spring clothes. Thanks Courtney!!

  11. Candice Brevard says

    Thanks for this post! My husband and many other men have said that it is more attractive to see a woman's silhouette than the skin popping out of her top or skirt. This too will be another thing to think about when I am tempted to buy and wear something too sexy for the public just because I think it is cute in the dressing room

  12. Shannon says

    My husband and I had this very conversation just yesterday. He had mentioned that I am extremely conservative in my dress (no lowcut shirts, etc.) and even referring to my dressing style as Amish (even though it's not even close!). We have a friend who "lets it all hang out" of her clothing and I asked him if he would rather me be like her or to keep my "goodies" put away so only he can see them. He said that they should be only for him, and I totally agree!

  13. Jennifer says

    I agree with Suzanne. I have been buying half camisoles from Second Base for some of my spring and summer looks. They give me the modesty coverage I need but since they just cover below the bra line (with an elastic band!), they don't look wrinkled under my clothes. It opens up many more options for dresses and tops.

  14. Mrs. Brittany says

    I love the verses you used! Many of us can try to escape God's will for our humility & Modesty in dress because the cultures in the Bible (Old & New test) were so much more harsh then our generations. However, even in our day, God calls us to honor him with everything we do & that includes dress! Here's a few things I do: (Suzanne mentioned a few of them in the above comment!yay!)
    - I wear undershirts with 99% of my outfits. Of different colors and thicknesses because I am rather large, and most things look revealing, even tee-shirts!
    -I wear leggings under skirts & dresses. Like today, I'm earring a dress with leggings, perfect for the sunny day!
    -I jazz up my outfits with my shoes! Feet aren't revealing, but they can make jeans look formal! :)
    -I make sure that if I feel uncomfortable wearing something in front of my husband (or anyone that you find yourself "checking" yourself around–for me it's my husband :) , then I give it away. end of story!

    And lastly, if there ever is a question, I go for the more modest attire because it's not worth a day of being uncomfortable and self-conscious. God's called us to live for him in our days!!! That should be our only focus!:)

  15. Anonymous says

    Great article.Modesty is a challenge but one that can be won!I use these handy guidelines when i buy new things:
    1)Make sure i can raise my hands without it showing my belly (i.e Praising at Church)
    2)Sitting down without my clothes showing my back and other unwanted things.(going to the altar)
    3)Bending forwards without my cleavage on show (praying)

    I remember reading an article on modesty and that was the pointers it had.

    The other big thing is comfort i have to be at peace as i hate worrying about my clothes and if you keep fiddling with it then you bring more attention to yourself.

  16. Love Bears All Things says

    A very good post..I could write a book on this subject…I pray that I am known by the person I am in my heart, that it shows on my face and this is what people notice about me…adding good works as an accessory is a very good idea.
    Blessings,
    Mama Bear

  17. DoleValleyGirl says

    Love, love, love this post! Thank you, Courtney! We're all such daughters of Eve, aren't we? Why is it so terribly easy to point a finger at others and label them as immodest when we should actually be yanking hard to pull that enormous plank from our own eyes!?

    Thanks for the reminder and encouragement to put on good works! ~Lisa

  18. Jennifer says

    My parents were excellent at teaching (and enforcing) modesty. My dad wasn't afraid to say no! :) As a nursing Mom (I'm "well endowed" to begin with…!), it's VERY hard to find modest tops, especially those specifically designed for nursing! But as one commenter said…it's worth the extra time and possibly money to honor God with our clothing. I love the idea of "putting on" good works. Excellent post! Thanks!!

  19. Richele says

    Great post! It also confirms why my business partner and I have put together a Spring Modest Fashion Event in my area. :)

  20. Anonymous says

    So what do you do when your husband is asking you to be more revealing than you are comfortable? We begin this battle every spring. I want to honor him and still remain modest.

  21. Ingrid says

    I may have told you this story before but 7 years ago we were in Maui. Everyone wears bikinis in HI and I mean everyone! I decided to buy one because only Dan would see me in it along with tons of strangers :) After some time at the beach we walked around Lahaina and I had on my bikini top and cut off shorts. I thought I was looking pretty cute :) Thankfully, we went back to our hotel and changed then headed out to dinner. As we were walking down the main street enjoying the sunset I looked ahead and saw a couple from our church. It was Mr. "B", a man about 20 years older than me that I really respect. We were shocked to run into them 5,000 miles from home. I was so thankful that I hadn't run into them when I was walking around in that bikini top and cut offs. I would have been SO uncomfortable for him to see me dressed like that. It was a HUGE wake up call to me about how I dress not only in front of men I know but any men.

  22. Anonymous says

    They sell the little camisole type dickeys at Walmart now for 9.99. They come in a set of three, black, cream and white. You attach them to your bra straps. So nice to not have to worry when I bend over that I will be exposing my upper half.

  23. tonya says

    Love this post!! Isn't it funny how we don't want church folks to see us at certain times & in certain situations, yet our Father sees us at all times & in every situation? We'd rather grieve Him than man. I'm guilty.

  24. Courtney (Women Living Well) says

    Anonymous -at the end of the day you must submit to God on this. Be honest with your husband and tell him it makes you uncomfortable and it bothers your conscience. Literally say, please don't pressure me to go against my conscience.

    Then wear your clothes with confidence, a smile, showering hugs, and respectful words and I bet he doesn't even notice. I am positive that a smile on a woman is the most beautiful thing we can wear!

    Much Love,
    Courtney

  25. redeemed says

    Modesty is naturally built in women.When the wind blows the natural thing to do is to hold your skirt.The issue is when one constantly violates that then its easier to ignore. Modesty is an attitude of the heart as one can appear modest in dress but in their heart be opposite.

    I love the point made by Gina:
    "This is a constant battle (the wanting to draw attention to self rather than God.)".

  26. Nicole says

    I love this post as well! With 2 young girls, I find myself wondering often what they will attempt to wear as they get older. Even now, it is difficult to find clothes for my 3 year old that I feel are appropriate. It seems like clothing companies are trying to make our children grow up too quickly. I'm glad there are other moms out there that have the same moral sense!

  27. Jems From Jenny says

    I feel the same way, and just posted an entry on my blog along the same lines. "Our actions are representative of our gender and how we are identified as women. I feel that women making choices to exploit their bodies and cheapen their image is a reflection of how we are viewed and is a step backwards in the respect we fight so hard to have. My wish is for women to be celebrated as the special creations God says we are, and that we as a gender take control of our roles in life, and work together to lift up and encourage one another in all that we do!" -Jenny Stephens at Jems From Jenny

  28. P31 Mom says

    Beth Moore has an excellent clip on modesty!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3kU0crua1E

    What bothers me is that women (even Christian women) think it's perfectly acceptable to show my husband and teen age sons their breasts.

    Newsflash: If I can see your cleavage, I can see your breasts. I get angry thinking about it. My husband and teen age sons are battling sexual temptation every day. I am very frustrated at the women and teen girls in our conservative homeschool group who thinks its acceptable to show their thighs in a mini-skirt and their chest .

  29. Renee says

    Courtney, Thanks so much. Of course, when seasons change, I get to thinking about my wardrobe and how I would love to have a new this, a new that; it would make me look so nice, feel so much better, etc… God desires my heart to be new, to be changed, and to be a nice person. I really needed this reminder. Our minister recently asked the question- "what if we spent as much time every day getting our mind ready, our actions prepared, as we do getting our clothes and shoes right, makeup fixed and hair perfect. Which one do you think God appreciates more? Which one shows others the love of God or Christ in us. It's definitely not the perfect haircut" Again, keep inspiring us, and helping us keep God in the forefront of our thoughts and desires.

  30. Sharon Wang says

    I love this post! I'm not sure why, but my sister and I always dressed modestly, but trendy. And males have thanked us for that. I am appalled at what girls wear these days, and yes, to church too. I don't think they should dress differently at church than anywhere else, but why on earth are God's childrens dressing like that at all? And why do their parents allow it? I have to agree with the person who stated that children's clothes are over the top now. There are clothes that we will not put on our 1 year old daughter that others have given us, because they just are not appropriate at all. I did listen to the Beth Moore YouTube video (love her!) but don't fully agree that girls know what they are doing. In my studying, they think the attention they get from a guy is because the guy likes them. They do not realize how visual men are or the thoughts they are helping to generate in the man's mind. The thoughts are not full of love or respect or anything good! It took reading "Every Man's Battle" for me to fully realize that. Lastly, I agree with the comment, if you like something that's a bit too revealing to wear in public, wear it in private for your husband.

  31. Ann Washburn says

    hi, I just found your blog today. I am a Christian woman that believes dressing modestly does not mean wearing tight jeans, exposing lots of arm or leg–as well as cleavage–and wearing makeup. I do realize that not all women view jeans as immodest. I am not one of those ultra modesty women, who preach that ALL women should dress as I do. I do always cover my hair. and I don't need "trendy" clothing, either.

  32. Anonymous says

    As a wife, and mom of 4 boys…this issue is so important to me!! Please dress modestly and encourage your daughters to do so as well. My husband is very honest with me about all of this and tells me that he has to quickly look away AT CHURCH sometimes to not let his mind go there. I hope my boys are doing the same but how can I be sure?!! I wish they didn't have to have that struggle! Yes you may think they may look good in that but it comes with a price to other peoples' spiritual walk. They will look just as good, or better ;), in something modest. You have no idea how many or what type of men and boys are looking.

    Thank you for your post!

  33. Anonymous says

    I was wondering if you also consider the type of store you're supporting rather than just the cut of the clothing? For instance, Abercrombie has racy ads, immodest clothing and Abercrombie Kids also came out with a push-up bra for children. I don't like to support a company with such a lack of values. What are your thoughts on this?

  34. Anonymous says

    This is an amazing post. When our daughter was a pre-schooler, she attended private school. They required all girls to wear shorts under dresses and skirts on “chapel day”. We brought our daughter up with you should never have to feel as though she is partly naked, if so the clothing was inappropriate. Although she did attend public school, she dressed appropriately and never had to feel as though she was showing too much. When she wore a “mini skirt” to school, she wore leggings underneath. Girls asked why she wore them under he skirt? Her answer was, if you think boys aren’t looking while walking up and down those stairs or sitting in your chairs, you are wrong. Other girls responded with “so, what’s wrong with that?” She responded with, “it’s my body and my undergarments, not to be seen while in public view.” To this day, as a college student, dating and working full time she is still the same way. She does not understand why girls feel the need to wear daisy duke shorts, show their undergarments or more just to get attention. Luckily, the gentleman she is dating, has stated he is not impressed with girls who flaunt themselves they way they do and that is what attracted him to our daughter. She dresses for God, not for attention to herself. We’ve raised our boys to be attracted to girls with the same philosphy. As of right now with two teenage boys, they do not understand why girls feel the need to flaunt themselves they way they do. Not to mention, they have a cousin who does wear daisy duke shorts, skin tight – low cut tops, and throws herself at boys. At the age of seventeen, she was pregnant. Her precisous son is a burden on her, because she cannot party and hang out, does not understand why boys want to “use” her and has stated all she wants out of life is for a man to hold her and to love her other than her son. Thank you for being such a beautiful inspiration!!

  35. Alicia says

    I personally agree completely with your post, especially as it applies to most women born and raised in North America. We must always remember that background here is so important, and to never judge other women for what they choose to wear. In some other countries wearing skirts, even long ones, is considered immodest (traditionally). So cultural differences really matter here. We also can never know where someone is on their journey with The Lord and He may be dealing with lots if other issues in their lives before they are taken to the refining stages of their walk, that may include a higher level of modesty. Some women are coming from prostitution and/or other lifestyles that make what they consider modest to be something different than someone who has never lived that way. Just some food for thought. :)

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