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View June 2007 Issue >>
 

Dressing like a believer

 

We often associate modesty with old grannies wearing their old-fashioned frocks, stockings and health shoes. But that isn’t what modesty really is. Modesty is a character trait that is demonstrated through our behaviour and dress. Modesty does not mean that Christian women (in particular) have to be unfashionable or frumpy. Standing out, by choosing not to conform to the world’s standards of immoral and overly sexual dress, gives Christian women the chance to shine and be different.

Although I am not an expert on fashion and style, I have compiled a few guidelines for young Christian girls to use. I believe these tips help me to set a modest and pure example in a world that is marked by short skirts, low cut tops and inappropriate clothing.

 

Approach fashion differently

I love layers. They are versatile, practical and trendy. Layering can be used either with tights (under shorter skirts and cropped shorts) or with tops (for example, a white T-shirt underneath a low cut coloured top). Layering allows girls to remain trendy, but also to cover up in the right places. At times we may see the perfect dress, but feel it is too short to be modest. This can be fixed if we wear pretty tights underneath the dress.

 

Find your personal style

I once read that a good way to be unique with your fashion style is to identify key elements that represent you. For example; a favourite colour (a few girls I know wear pink all the time!) or an emblem, like a cute cow. I love cows and I collect socks, shirts and prints that have cows on them. People tend to notice when I wear them, and associate it as my ‘style’. The benefit to having signature style, is that you can stand out in a crowd, without having to wear immodest, low cut, tight or see-through clothing. I want to honour God’s commands to dress modestly and to be wholesome, but that doesn’t mean I must be boring!

I know for a fact that guys prefer girls who dress modestly. Sure, they enjoy the view they get of the girls who show off their bodies, but they definitely do not respect them and wouldn’t consider a long-term relationship with that girl because they just aren’t the quality they’re looking for. I think they subconsciously realise that good looks never last. So while you may be jealously eyeing that model’s toned stomach and perfect legs, your guy loves you for your modesty, intelligence and great sense of humour! I’ve asked my male friends whether they prefer girls in skirts or jeans. Almost unanimously they all say girls look far better in skirts because it makes them look more feminine. I think women look their best when they embrace their femininity and beauty.

We can look at the trends and what’s in style, and pick out certain elements. Christians don’t need to be nerds. Not at all! But we do need to be classy, dignified and above reproach. Wear clothing that flatters you. It doesn’t have to be a shapeless sack, but barely-there t-shirts and really low-cut jeans with underwear flashing is really not attractive! Dressing in a tarty way, with too much make-up and too tight clothing, does not enhance our beauty. Instead, mini skirts and low cut tops demoralise us and make us vulnerable to abuse and misuse. Is that honestly what each of us want?

 

Allure and Mystery through Modesty

I read a book sometime ago called Secret Keeper by Dannah Gresh. The main thing I learnt from her was that we, as females, have a secret power. And that secret power or allure, is modesty. She says, “Modesty is the source of this delicate yet formidable power, making it a power in and of itself. It’s delicate because it can be so innocently given away without your even knowing it. It’s a formidable power, because once you have mastered modesty, no man will be given access to the full secrets behind your allure until you so desire.” Isn’t that amazing? The more we cover, the more enticing we are!

“In Genesis 2, God surveys His fine creation and finds everything just right. He uses the word ‘good’. The Gestalt theory teaches a graphic designer to control a viewer’s time by forcing the person to mentally complete a visual image. Because completing the incomplete intrigues the brain, it will always pause to finish an unfinished picture. What does a guy see when a girl walks by him wearing a long, tight skirt with a slit all the way up the sides? He sees past the fabric, because the slit invites him to finish the picture. This is simple visual science.”

Dannah continues, “How do you think this theory works when a girl wearing a tight T-shirt with her belly bared walks down the road past a guy? Yikes! Because he sees an incomplete picture of her body, he is compelled to complete it. The thrill not of what is seen, but is yet to be seen, is what actually tempts him. His imagination kicks in. It’s just how the brain works, especially for guys.”

 

Do not lead others into tempation

Fact: It is much more tempting for a guy to see a girl dressed in today’s skimpy fashion than it would be to see her naked. Does that astound you? It’s true. A Christian couple I know recently went to France for vacation. At one point this pair unwittingly stayed in a hotel next to the nude beach. The woman was concerned it would be tempting for her husband. It wasn’t. In fact, he was rather grossed out. There was nothing left to the imagination, which is the most tempting part of immodesty.

As Christian men and women, we have been called to a different standard to that of the world’s. God does not want us to lead others into temptation through our dress, speech or mannerisms. Although every woman (and girl) longs for attention and flattery, we need to set our focus on Christ. Only He will fulfil our emotional needs and make us feel truly beautiful and secure. Learn to embrace the biblical standards for modesty and appreciate that you can be attractive and sexy for your husband one day.

As Christian sisters, we must be mindful of our conduct. In church, be careful that your top is not see-through (eg: wearing a black bra under a white shirt) or that your pants are too low
(eg: your lacy underwear is peeping out while the boy behind you is trying to worship God). Ask your fellow girlfriends, disciplers and even your parents for guidance with your conduct. We can be friendly, without being flirtatious; pretty without being provocative; modest without being boring!

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