Over the years, my opinions on modesty and clothing appropriateness have evolved.
I’ve said it before, but I wasn’t raised in a Christian household. In fact, my morals as a teenager were pretty much nonexistent. From a young age (about 12), I dressed very scantily and I was seeking attention. I loved to feel “sexy”, and I liked the way that people looked at me.
It wasn’t until I was about 20 that I realized the correlation between the way I looked and the way people treated me. I was getting attention from boys who wanted too much, because I looked like I was willing to give that much. It was my husband that changed my viewpoint on things. I remember one day, in our early dating period, that I put on a short skirt, twirled around, and flirtily asked “Do you like my skirt?” He replied, “It’s a little too short.” I was taken aback, and I was a little offended at the time. But after a little while, I could see how he was trying to protect me.
Time passed, we got married and started a family. Even in my early years as a mother, I was wearing many clothes that I now consider inappropriate. It has been a gradual shift for me to more modest clothing.
I think the catalyst was when I had a daughter, and she started asserting her desires in clothing choices. It started with the shorts. I felt like none of them were long enough, especially for an active child. I didn’t think it was okay for her underwear to be seen while she was playing. Then we added t-shirts under tank tops, leggings under skirts, and eventually – modest swimwear. See the photo above for an example of what my girls swimsuits look like: shorts bottoms and t-shirt tops. And I don’t limit this to just the girls. I require that my boys have shirts on at all times as well, even when swimming. I really like Dannah Gresh’s Truth or Bare tests to see if clothing is appropriate or not.
I don’t do this to be strict. I do this to protect my children from the rampant promiscuity of the world today. Dressing a certain way leads to being treated differently, and being pressured into making sinful decisions. I know firsthand the pain that comes with falling into sin. I hope that my children can learn from my mistakes in that way. I’m sure they will make plenty of mistakes of their own, but as parents we must do the best we can to prevent the big ones. And there is no arguing with the stats – premarital sex is a BIG mistake.
I have had a few people ask me – what happens when your kids get made fun of by their peers?
My answer to that: good. If they are going against the crowd, then they are doing something right. It’s pretty apparent that society as a whole has pretty low moral standards nowadays. Here are a few Biblical references about following the crowd:
“Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong.” Exodus 23:2
“My son, if sinful men entice you, do not give in to them.” Proverbs 1:10
“Do not set foot on the path of the wicked, or walk in the way of evildoers. Avoid it, do not travel on it. Turn away from it and go on your own way.” Proverbs 4:14-15
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galations 1:10
And this is what the Bible says about modesty:
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
“I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes.” 1 Timothy 2:9
And finally, we should strive to help others have clean minds as well, so as not to make the men in our lives think lustful thoughts. It is partially the responsibility of the man to guard his thoughts, but it also the responsibility of the women not to tempt them.
“But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28
Regardless of whether or not a person is approaching this topic from a Biblical standpoint, modesty is important. I don’t know many girls in the world today, Christian or not, who say “I want to marry a jerk who just likes me for my body.”
I’d love to hear from you! What clothing rules, if any, do you have in your household?