Monday, June 13, 2011


Does being born-again stifle your swagg? Do you find yourself pouting after having to put a cute garment back on the rack because no matter how you try, you just can't justify wearing it and claiming to be a self-respecting Christian woman? How do can you reconcile your fashion sense with your faith? Even though I have a repressed fashion identity (more on that later), I often remind myself that I'm representing God first--then myself. How can we represent as women of God? Let's dig in to the Word of God for guidance.

If we model ourselves after the quintessential Proverbs 31 woman, we can safely say that being virtuous doesn't equate being draped in burlap bags because "she makes tapestry for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple." [emphasis added by me]  Now, I've never studied fashion history, but I'm thinking that "fine linen and purple" just may have been the Gucci and Prada of the day. On the other hand, Paul admonished female worshipers to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes. Quite the contradiction, eh? But let's chop up these scriptures under the lens of context to gain a little more clarity.

King Lemuel's words to his son about the kind of wife he should search for were all-encompassing; the apparel took up only one of 21 verses. But it shows us that of the many virtues a virtuous woman should have, pride in her appearance still made the list. Why? Because she was a reflection of her husband. Now Paul's words were offered in the context of decorum for a place of worship. Of course, that didn't mean that all rules went out the door once church was over but these instructions were basically an episode of What NOT to Wear... to church. And, if I may interject my personal opinion, I'm thinking that cultural standards of that location at that time in history probably equated "dressing up" with flaunting an extravagant lifestyle as opposed to just looking good for goodness' sake. Remember Jesus' words about the camel, the needle eye and the rich man? It was repeated in 3 of the 4 gospels--Matthew, Mark and Luke--so we better listen up.

After all that, do we have any clearer directives on how we should carry ourselves? Yes--if we keep some broad themes in mind:

  1. The way a woman dresses represents her husband, as well as herself. Until I get married, my husband is Jesus Christ. I can be wearing a t-shirt with a big 'ol cross on the front, but if it's cut-up to show my navel/cleavage or if my shorts look like underwear... umm, FAIL. Of course, that's an extreme example but let's think of it like this: God is a jealous God [husband] and He makes it known! Whenever I get dressed, I need to consider whether or not my outfit--as fly or frumpy as it may be--will bring negative attention to me or to Him.
  2. As Christians, worshiping with others is (or at least should be) a big part of our lives. But somehow, the "Sunday best" tradition evolved around clothing and spiraled out of control; not just recently, but even back in New Testament times. Assuming that a richly-dressed woman drew a sharp contrast to the rest of the congregation in Paul's day, we can infer that she stood out for the wrong reasons. So let's flip the script on this one to extract a deeper meaning: don't let your brothers and sisters in Christ see more of your exterior than your interior (your true Spirit). So I could ask myself, Am I known more for my willingness to serve or for my Christian Louboutins? Can the leadership count on me to be on time and in place for rehearsals and services or do I have a reputation for being [literally] fashionably late?
People, let's not get it twisted: a woman of God can and should invest in her appearance. Giving the appearance of super spirituality by making skirts drag on the ground and leaving faces, ears, neck and fingers bare is NOT a good look--neither to the unsaved whom we are trying to reach, nor to God. But we must always be mindful that people in the world may never set foot in a church and we could be the only image of Christ that they ever see. Is your image swagg reflecting the light of the World?

be blessed!


  1. This was such a pleasure to read. I myself have struggled with the appearance and the very fact of holiness for a while. I attend a Pentecostal church that promotes skirts and despises pants. I understand that there must be a separation between a man and a woman. God is indeed a God of order. I do not think a person would go to hell over wearing pants. For me skirts and dresses are where its at :D I enjoy being a lady, and presenting myself as such. I can be stylish and promote modesty. I've always like the 1950s/60s modest style thing....with a modern twist lol. To each is their own. As christians we must understand and maintain a passionate relationship with God. With this love for our savior it wouldn't be a burden to reflect Him. As you said, we live for Him first and then ourselves. We must be selfless...why you ask? because He is always selfless. He loved us so much He died so that we could have eternal life. He died so that we could have the opportunity to live. What greater love than THAT! That was such a selfless act. The LEAST we could do is to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. A woman of God should have virtue pouring out from within.

  2. Thanks for reading and responding with your own insightful words, Jannel! I feel you 100% when you say "I can be stylish and promote modesty."

  3. First, thank you for reading and commenting on my blog. Second, I have had similar struggles listening to all types of messages on how to dress in modest apparel (at church and for everyday). The one that was the most irritating was dressing so that men would not be tempted to sin. It was humbling and I found it increasingly difficult when finding that some men liked looking at various parts of a woman whether she was covered up or not. If I went on trying to help men not to sin, I'd be wearing a sheet from the top of my head and covering each and everyone of my toes. There is a religion where the women look just like that. I am not of that religion. I have since reconciled myself to the faith and if there is no peace in it for me, I will not do it. This is liberty!

  4. Hey Lenora, right back atcha! It's funny that you should mention 'another religion' in which women cover themselves to discourage men's visual lust because I had to force myself NOT to mention that example. Even though I think there is merit to that ideal and I respect their commitment to modesty, I did NOT want to start comparing religions. We have enough to deal with in just being Christian.

  5. Hi pVI, thanks so much for commenting on my blog and sharing your own thoughts about this situation! Clothing has always been an enjoyment of mine but the right that we have to pick our own outfits does come with a responsibility that I feel too many take too lightly.
    Thanks again for your encouragement and I look forward to the other topics you chose to write about, see you around the blogging world!