Modesty and Beauty Should Go Together
Written By Nancy Campbell at Above Rubies
Modesty and beauty should go together. Both enhance one another. Modesty does not have to be old-fashioned and drab.
There are some dear Christian women who feel they must wear plain and drab clothes to be modest. But we don’t find this anywhere in the Bible. Far from the truth.
The Proverbs 31 woman was dressed beautifully in “fine linen and purple.” When Sarah went down to Egypt, the Pharaoh of Egypt noticed her and brought her to his harem (she would have been clothed in garments suited to royalty). When God designed the clothes for the high priest and his sons, He said “Thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty” (Exodus 28:2).
God was the first clothes designer. And what is His plan? He wants us to dress HOLY. But he also wants us to dress for GLORY and for BEAUTY. God delights in beauty. “God has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). He created us for His pleasure (Revelation 4:11) and I am sure He loves us to look glorious and beautiful. He clothes His animal creation with beauty and color. He creates the trees and flowers with glory and color. How much more His highest creation?
However, did you notice the other word God used about clothing? He said: “You are to make HOLY garments.” In other words, we must make sure we are covered. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they became aware they were naked and sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. But they weren’t fully covered. Then God came, shed the blood of an animal, and made them “coats of skins, and CLOTHED them” (Genesis 3:21). The word “coats” means “to cover.”
In Mark 5:1-15 we read the story of how Jesus delivered the man who was possessed with a legion of devils. After Jesus delivered him the Bible says the people found him “sitting, and CLOTHED, and in his right mind.”
I am troubled by the immodesty among God’s women today. It’s nearly impossible to go into the doors of a church without confronting cleavage! I beg your pardon? Are we going to a secular function or the house of God? Didn’t Jesus die, shed His blood, and give His life for the church to SANCTIFY and CLEANSE her (Ephesians 5:25-27)? The word “sanctify” means “to make holy, to set apart from the world.”
I know that many do it ignorantly because they follow what everyone else is doing. And, because no one says anything about it!
Sometimes the cleavage is bold; in others it is borderline. Not too much, but just a little showing? God’s people should never be borderline! Never compromise! Never sit on the fence! We are either one thing or the other. James 4:4 clearly states that if we are friends with the world we are an enemy of God. We should always lift the standard high.
I am also saddened by many Christian women who publish pictures of themselves on social media, showing cleavage and dressed immodestly. And worse still. So many other Christian women LIKE it! Help! Do they love it? Do they love to see fellow saints showing themselves off? Or do they have no godly standard at all? Or are they so conditioned to immodesty that they don’t even notice it? When we LIKE something on Facebook, we affirm we agree with it.
I am also saddened by many Christian movies that bring a wonderful message of truth and the gospel of Jesus Christ, and yet some of the actors are often dressed immodestly. It makes a double standard.
Forgive me for my little rave, but we each have a responsibility to keep each other in line, don’t we? We are our “brother’s keeper.”
Can I end on a positive note? Let’s dress for GLORY and BEAUTY. I often fall down on this one, especially around home! This doesn’t mean we have to have expensive clothes. You can make anything beautiful. And you make anything beautiful from Goodwill.
This last week we had our annual BREEZY’S BALL at our home. We began this when little Breeze was only four years old. She has always loved to dress like a princess and so Serene decided to have a Ball for her party where all the children and ladies could dress up like princesses and the men like princes or warriors! It was such an amazing event that we have made it an annual tradition.
On Wednesday evening everyone came in their beautiful dresses, but no one had spent any money. They had gone to Goodwill or begged and borrowed and everyone looked beautiful.
Make modesty beautiful! Drab and boring is not biblical.
Have a wonderful day, Nancy Campbell
29 thoughts on “Modesty and Beauty Should Go Together”
I’m jealous of all the elegant dresses from history! Sad fashions have become immodest and also unfeminine!
I love Nancy Campbell. I’ve seen Christian movies where in church scenes there are women dressed in tight dresses and it’s supposed to be the norm.
And don’t get me started on skinny jeans and yoga pants! If my mother were alive she would say “Lord have mercy!”
Though my dresses are “plain” in that they are not flashy they are very pretty and definitely not drab.
Thank you Lori for another great post!
Lori, this is a lovely post to head into our weekend and into our churches on! Very good reminder of the holiness and sanctity of dressing modestly and beautifully as well. ?❤ Thankyou.
I agree 100%. I hate seeing cleavage on any woman and particularly on Christian women.
Thanks for reposting this on your blog, Lori. I have shared it with many. God Bless!?
Hosea 2:2 refers to adulteries that stem from the area…what a better way to avoid adulteries than keep it covered until the time of undefiled marriage relationships and privacy.
God also defines nakedness to the priests (are we not priests in the New Testament) as uncovering the thighs.
So its God’s principles and not a man with a measuring stick that is supposed to protect his people, and sadly it is God’s own people that rebel and create more harm from from the loosely worn cloak of Christianity
I laughed at Regina’s “Lord have mercy!” Isn’t that the truth?! I’ve seen teen girls walk in the doors, have the wind swirl around them and lift their short skirts clear up, only to see nothing but a thong. I can’t imagine what they’re thinking. I went to a baptism once and there was a young woman wearing a strapless mini dress and stilettos in the first row. When she stood up, she pulled the hem down and kept popping out on top. And when she sat down, she’d pull the chest area up and show everything below the hem. A man near me whispered to his wife, “I’ve had enough of the peep show. I’ll wait for you outside.” Honestly, I’ve seen Hollywood prostitutes wearing twice the amount of clothes than this woman was wearing. There was nothing flattering or sexy about it. It was disgusting.
I’ve never worn pants to church, but I’ve always dressed modestly. Even as a teen with poor judgement otherwise, it never occurred to me that church was a place to let it all hang out. I learned that from both my Grandma and my mom. I wonder why many women haven’t been taught at least that.
I will say that it’s not nearly as bad here in Kansas as it was in California. I used to see short shorts there regularly with *cheeks* hanging out. Maybe it’s a weather thing?!
Lori, Ladies of TTW,
We speak of modesty, but I never see it *defined*. Can we do that here? I believe this to be a prime opportunity to seek female insight within the body of Christ.
The guidance I give my sister when she is shopping for professional attire is ‘collarbone, elbow, knee’. All skin between must be covered (if it is fall/winter season, that makes it easier due to practicality: ‘collarbone, wrist, ankle’). Coverage should be lose enough that when transitioning from standing to sitting, ‘collar, elbow, knee’ are still covered.
(Offtopic: she bought into the feminist lie of building a career first, then chasing a family. I am happy to report that over the past few months, she is showing signs of understanding God’s intention for her as a woman, and this blog has been used to that effect)
I am a former triathlete. Functionality requires the smallest amount of fabric (even if specialty fabric) due to wicking and drag. The women who participate are in scant clothing. There is nothing sexual in this, the setting is one of personal-focus, body-health, social-competition (I categorically do not believe women who participate in organized sports are wrong: I celebrate each of my female family members who have been active and remain active). *In this setting*, any men with wandering eyes: that’s on them. (ref: Job)
Because I am asking for a definition of modesty, I will give here what I witness as acceptable coverage in this environment: ‘hipbone, groin’ (lower, covering buttocks and pubic area), ‘ribcage, shoulder-socket’ (upper, covering the whole of breasts).
Women were not given curves, which are visually appealing to men (at the risk of coming off as crass: it signals healthy breeding stock in a woman), to wear a burlap sack their whole lives (ref: SoS). When I have gone on dates, I want to enjoy the totality of the woman with whom I am gaging mutual interest. I do not want her to advertise to all the men at the restaurant, but nor would I be interested in a woman who is not comfortable in her own skin. A woman with a well-planned ensemble with tasteful earrings and necklace jumps out at me compared to a woman who went off the deep end (‘showing too much’) or one who didn’t even get in the water (‘showing too little’).
For defined terms, I don’t know what coverage is acceptable in this setting. I just know when a woman in front of me is put-together and comfortable, and when one is low-shelf and revealing, or uninterested and uninteresting. This is why I ask for modesty *defined*.
Men change their clothing based on environment too. Electrical work means no jewelry (wedding rings come OFF). Field clearing means long pants tucked into boots (even if Southern summer day). Business meetings mean jewelry (I own only 1 watch solely for this purpose). Working out means shorts and sleeveless shirts. If I am overheating (I can still get my body temp over 101F in my 30s) during a workout, shirt comes off. Water training means I’m in nothing but a speedo. On a date, a crisp pair of jeans and a button-down, top 2 buttons undone.
There is a balance to be struck between functionality, comfort, and presentation. In my own life, I am believe to have found that balance. When offering guidance to women around me… … HELP!?
There is a time and a place for different cuts, styles, lengths of clothing and accessories. For women, what can be considered modest for different settings, and can we get those defined? Can we use the 5 settings of:
* church (before the Father)
* errands (around town)
* gym (functionality)
* date (courtship)
* office (presentability)
I am a military veteran and engineer by trade: I work best with criteria that is specific.
Here is an example of that which I seek from a biblical perspective:
The military is very exacting in measurements, reference points in what is acceptable dress for clothing, hairline, jewelry, artificial hair/skin (makeup) shades. The standard of dress for a woman in the military outlines even her undergarments for each kind of uniform.
This is the military defining what is acceptable for its culture. The definitions are exact. Can we do the same for the church and what is acceptable for our culture?
An unbelieving neighbor in his early 50’s talked about visiting a church with his wife where the pastor’s wife dressed “sexy” and it was very distasteful to him and kept him from wanting to go back. I was saddened. I wondered what she would think if she knew.
There is an excellent resource out there for girls and ladies desiring to dress modestly and look attractive. It is a DVD series called Reclaiming Beauty by Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin. I went through it a couple of years ago with some other young ladies and it changed how I approached putting together a modest yet appealing outfit. I would recommend this resource to any woman who would like to do a further study into this topic.
Thanks for the mention of sports attire. My husband is a semi-professional althete and when he trains, he has to wear tight, revealing clothing, for function and form purposes only. It’s often mentioned that women are to stay in shape/lose weight for their husbands, and it’s not only nearly impossible to do yoga, run distances, and lift weights in layers of clothing, it’s also unsafe. Been there, done that, and it took years to recover from a shoulder injury from when my baggy hoodie sleeve got stuck when I was bench-pressing. A high neck tank would have more acceptable, but I was more concerned with protecting men’s hearts than protecting my own limbs. I now prefer to use our home gym to do most of my workouts since I do it alone and I’m tempting no one. I no longer bench press unless my husband is spotting me.
I agree that modesty has roles in all dress, but those certainly vary in different settings. Here’s my personal take on attire: (weather permitting, I’m assuming spring/fall as we have VERY cold winters where I live.)
Church: a high neck maxi (floor length) dress and low heels or flats. Simple earrings. Minimal makeup.I’m dressing up to please God.
Errands: jeans, a solid colored t-shirt and a jacket/light sweater. Flat, comfortable shoes.
Gym: I workout either alone or with my husband in the comfort of our home so I wear a sports bra/fitted tank, and fitted shorts/capris/yoga pants. If I’m outside running, it’s a loose, moisture wicking t-shirt, and yoga pants/capris.
Date out with husband: heels, a dressy top with a tasteful neckline, a statement necklace or ring, a nice perfume, and dark wash jeans, and lipstick. (I prefer pants to dresses/long skirts for comfort as I’m 5’9” with very long legs and like to keep covered. I see nothing inherently wrong with pants as long as they aren’t curve-hugging).
Office: ankle-length or longer dress pants or a knee length, flowy skirt (again, not my preference) and top with appropriate neckline/sleeves. (No cleavage at all, no shoulders). Low heels or flats, and simple jewelry if needed. *I am a nurse with less than part time hours, and I wear my company uniform of scrubs and a jacket with tennis shoes to work, and a tank top beneath my shirt for extra coverage.* I work for the VA and wish it was more efficient and better equipped to assist veterans, but that’s another story. Thank you for your service and dedication.
Hope this gives you an insight, Brian. Of course, I’m only one woman but my mom preached modesty to me from a young age and I’ve carried her words and example with me into my adult life. It’s not an exact definition for each circumstance, but guidelines I follow from my mom’s advice.
I assumed you are/were? active in the military, and didn’t read your comment close enough. My apologies if I’m incorrect. Anyway, I have upmost respect for service members.
I am curious to know what your opinions are on modesty in regard to women athletes. I have been watching various sports, one being women football players in Australia. Wow! I couldn’t believe it! Definitely will never watch it again.
Brian – I know you are asking for specific criteria as to what is modest, but one of preachers recently taught (after years in the ministry overseas including Pakistan and Bangladesh) that we need to be concerned with the PRINCIPLE of modesty, rather than the practice of it.
Modesty is a heart issue. And the practice of modesty differs from culture to culture, place to place, setting to setting. Someone who is completely covered can still be immodest in their spirit, but someone who has modesty fixed in their hearts is going to be dressed modestly as well.
In our house, my skirts are always flowing and just below knee-length, I don’t wear tight pants (I do wear pants, they just don’t look like they’re painted on) and my shoulders are usually covered. I don’t wear low-cut tops, nor particularly tight tops. I don’t own any shorts.
For my daughters, they do not wear skinny jeans, nor skirts above the knee, unless they’ve got leggings on underneath. No short shorts for them, either. They wear school uniforms (compulsory) at school.
I can get away with slightly less professional attire as our shop (which I run with hubby) is in a small, rural town. But still, a skirt either longer than knee-length or nice dress pants, a nice shirt (no cleavage, not tight, 3/4 length or longer sleeves) and my comfy boots (mid-calf length, no heels).
My goal is to always look feminine and respectable.
Very occasionally, I will come to our shop dressed in my daggy homebody clothes (loose fitting trackpants, t-shirt, sneakers) and hubby throws a fit, so I generally try to make an effort to look nice and respectable.
In a professional environment, a woman who is wearing tight, low-cut tops or short, clingy skirts and tight pants makes herself look cheap, and as if she is open to sleeping with the boss for career advancement. It’s not a good look. She’s there to do a job, and owes it to herself and her colleagues to dress respectably and formally.
Great topic (again)! I have a beautiful daughter who will be entering her teen years not long from now. It is very important to us that she marry a strong Christian man. There is no doubt that her beauty and winsome personality will attract lots of suitors but like all loving parents we want the one God has chosen for her. To that end I have been thinking a lot about her clothing. My husband always made sure she was modest but the beauty part has been up to me. I often think of King David’s daughters. “And she had a garment of divers colours upon her: for with such robes were the king’s daughters that were virgins apparelled. Then his servant brought her out, and bolted the door after her.
2 Samuel 13:18”
The daughters of the king dressed in special beautiful clothes and since my daughter is the daughter of the King she should do likewise. I believe young women are given their beauty to inspire. Many use it to entice but that is wrong. Women should seek to inspire men to greatness and Godliness by their attire. Christian women should lead the way and show other women the true power God gave women that has been obscured by the world.
I think that the picture that you have used on this thread, really says it all. Modest, pretty and feminine.
However beauty also requires the additional Christian values of humility chastity and submission to God.
I went to a wedding of a co-worker from Chennai, India and was amazed at the beauty of the dresses the women wear while being completely modest. No gratuitous displays of skin anywhere but long dresses and flowing robes with bright bursts of color and elaborate designs. Amazing. Look at some of the pictures of Indian weddings on the internet and you’ll see what I mean.
KAK, thank you specifically for this reply.
I can understand that my request can come off as legalistic, and you have focused on the principle. While there are universally understood concepts (eg. thighs and breasts will invoke primal response in men), the focus on principle should not be mistaken for legislating.
I appreciate the concrete examples that address the principle well, while looking for defined terms.
Couldn’t agree more! Sorry for a late reply, I just found this article!
If I can put in a shameless plug, we are attempting to fix this with dresses that are both beautiful, feminine, and modest.
They’re custom designed, high quality, and made in the USA. Let me know what you think!
Ok, late post. I just saw this and had to comment, sorry.
I too am distressed when I see many Christian women and pastor’s wives dressed like, well prostitutes..ahem. I’ve heard lots of stories from women saying, Oh I saw this one girl in church with a see through dress and a polka dot thong underneath blah, blah, blah. But did you say anything? There is nothing wrong with gently approaching a woman to inform her that the entire back row can see her drawers. She may get upset. But then again, she may get embarrassed and re-think her wardrobe choices. I know I appreciated it when a sister quietly informed me of a wardrobe mishap like a tag sticking out or when I forgot to remove a sticker from new clothes, although wardrobe choice is a little different.
I do understand that not everyone in church is truly saved. And I do believe that most women that dress inappropriately are not doing it on purpose. If they are, then I wouldn’t call them Christians. They have just been conditioned to this culture. They go to school, work, shop in a culture that says this is normal. Worst of all, the church offers no guidance. I know because I was one of them. I used to wear tight jeans with form fitting blouses, snug skirts just like everyone else. I wasn’t trying to sexy. I just did not think of those things. Occasionally people in church would talk about not wearing see through clothing and showing off major cleavage. But what about a common comfort outfit consisting of yoga pants and a crop top, showing off every curve in your body? It’s all good in most churches.
It’s sad to say, but it took years for me to understand modesty. With my husband looking me over before we’d leave the house and saying, “Uh, don’t you think that’s a little….”, but ultimately it was God’s word and having a heart that seeks his way, not my own or this culture’s understanding. If only there were wise women to show me this as a young woman! Godly women need to speak up and share wisdom with these younger women. It’s what we’re instructed to do by God’s word. I have 4 daughters now. They are all under 10, but I am teaching them now about modesty and what God intends for them as young ladies.
I feel you are spot on here. It bothers me to see people who say they are Christian and dress so cheap looking. Your not going to a club its worship services.
So true, most overlook this Biblical fact. The thigh, the Bible declares, is a “secret part”…..yet it is flaunted boldly. Modesty isn’t ugly. It begins inside, and manifests outside. True beauty doesn’t need 2b flaunted
Legalistic is the “copout” phrase used by those who don’t like to follow rules written in the Bible. The truth is, Christians claim to be Bible believers, yet when a rule in the Bible doesn’t suit some, it it worked around. It is fine to take a firm stand for what is written. And even to preach it– the Bible tells us to compel others! And in the end, we must choose to please God over anyone or anything–in every issue– modesty included.
Christian means to be Christ-like, or to follow in His ways. A true believer doesn’t reject His teachings– modesty is one of them. Remember, He told men if they even looked upon a woman to lust, they had committed adultery already? Well, to deliberately expose oneself –“curves” as it has been said–is to cause a person to stumble. That’s not Godly. Not Christian. And the world is sick of fake–i attend an ultra conservative church, and yes, many do not understand initially all we do or do not do. But Ive had men & women tell me they admire my lifestyle, my way of dress, etc. ..and often, they become Christians by our witness that we LIVE…..it matters! “Faith without works,” James wrote, “is dead, being alone”
Why are the clothes on Paris Bloom so expensive and short? The prices won’t encourage the women to dress modestly.
I follow in love with your blog. and the beautiful contend.. Thank you.