As a Christian woman myself, I often find myself at a crossroad when making fashion choices. I always ask myself, "Does this top show too much skin?" "Is this dress modest enough?" or "Will my outfit please God?" The more I ask myself, the more confused I get so I just choose clothes that will basically cover me up good.
However, just setting these questions aside isn't the right way to deal with the situation. As women, we have the right to look good and feel good about ourselves. But with that said, we also cannot blindly ignore how God wants women to dress.
One of the biggest influences on how women should dress today is the fashion industry itself. Every season, it rolls out a new collection that will encourage women to buy a new set of clothes whether they need it or not. There is pressure from society to dress up a certain way, which is also something that can be attributed to the changing fashion trends. Would our wardrobe look dated if we don't give in? And if we do give in, will the trend boost our self-image?
Before I share with you three helpful tips on how a modern Christian woman should dress, I want to point out one important thing. As you may already know, humans are created differently and there are things we cannot change like our body type, facial features and the likes. Although we won't have much control of our genetics, we do have control over our appearance and this is something we shouldn't take for granted. Thus, use this power to your advantage and to please God. Here's how:
1. Focus On Inner Beauty
Remember the questions I kept asking myself? Well, I finally confronted that head on when I realized that I was dressing for outer beauty and not for inner beauty. I was focus on what other people will think and say as opposed to thinking about how my dress would make me feel. I realized this when I read 1 Peter 3:4 "Let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit."
"...Lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit," obviously, I didn't have that because I was so conflicted with what to wear every day. But the moment I read this, I knew the answers to my questions and that is simply finding the inner peace that would allow me NOT to even ask those questions anymore. If how I look pleases my heart, then it also pleases my God.
2. Dress Modestly
How modest is modest? How much of our arms and legs should be seen? The truth is, Christians can argue about modesty over and over again but there won't be a single right answer to this. That's because everyone has their own opinion of modesty. What's modest for me may not be modest for you and so on and so forth.
Let me share a story with you. I have a friend who attended church service wearing a long sleeveless dress. Personally, I thought the dress looked cute and it never occurred to me that some people will be offended by it. The next day, that friend called me and shared that one of the church members told her to be more modest with her clothes because that dress was inappropriate. To avoid any argument, she simply apologized.
So, if opinions about modesty vary greatly, how can we resolve this? The first way is to go back to my first point: inner beauty. If you show a bit of skin, but still feel good about yourself, then you'll find your outfit modest enough regardless of what others will say.
Timothy 2:8-10 says "Women should dress themselves modestly and decently in suitable clothing, not with their hair braided, or with gold, pearls, or expensive clothes, but with good works."
Many women will interpret this verse in a different way like they should only wear drab clothes or not apply makeup or not wear jewelry. That is not the point of the verse. There's nothing wrong with braiding your hair or wearing pearls. What's wrong is that when you put your focus on your outside appearance instead of your inner beauty (i.e. "good works) and pleasing God.
Nonetheless, I'll end this point with another key concept, which is balance. Every woman should find a balance between trend and tradition especially when going to places like churches. When in doubt, wear something that you believe is modest enough even for other people.
3. Boost Self-Worth
My last point encapsulates my two previous points. Let me explain that clearer. When you are happy with yourself and feel confident about how you look, that instantly boosts your self-worth. As I mentioned earlier, there is a power when you get to control how you look because you have the CHOICE to dress up in a way that reflects how you value yourself.
Fashion, as they'd always say, is a reflection of yourself and your feelings. You are your own artist when it comes to dressing up so don't be afraid to look how you feel inside—self-confidence and positive self-worth and all.
Before I go, I leave this verse with you. It's from Colossians 3:12 and it says:
"Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."
Fill your heart, mind and spirit with Godly things and let your clothes reflect the beauty and light within you. Always shine bright and share that light with others!