Recently a young Christian lady blogged the following:
"So just chill out. And remember its (sic) ok to wear clothes that look cute to you. Remember its (sic) just clothes."
This statement came at the end of a blog post where she asserted that people who try not to be concerned about fashion will be more obsessed with fashion that those who follow the trends. Her main point seems to be that the most important concern a woman should have while shopping or dressing is the cuteness factor. As if God's word has nothing to say whatsoever about clothing and we are, therefore, free to make our own rules. But, is this true? Is God's word devoid of instruction in attire? Let us examine the Scriptures to see whether these things be so.
Is our clothing EVER "just clothes?" Way back in Deuteronomy (way back in terms of being near the beginning of the Bible and way back in terms of time) we find this:
The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God. Deuteronomy 22:5
It sounds like there are certain clothing choices about which God has a very strong opinion. When we see the word "abomination" we ought to sit up and take notice. So I would like to warn my young friend that even if it is cute, cross dressing is a no-no.
Another verse which seems instructive on the matter of dress is Proverbs 7:10 which says:
And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart
Interestingly, the author doesn't seem to think we need an explanation for what constitutes the "attire of an harlot". In Solomon's day, as in ours, it's pretty self explanatory. They don't dress in uniforms with a "harlot" tag on one breast and "Bambi" on the other. Perhaps we've seen prostitutes in our towns? Perhaps in movies? Short skirts, lace stockings, high-heeled shoes, shirts that reveal cleavage? Perhaps if my young friend's attire could cause her to be mistaken for a harlot she should reconsider her choices? But then again, being mistaken for a harlot isn't a sin, is it? Besides, lace stockings coupled with short skirts are cute!
But the Old Testament is so... well... old. Does the New Testament have anything to say about clothing? How about 1 Timothy 2:9-10?
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
So when it comes to adorning, women's apparel should be modest. Each woman is going to have to test that out in the mirror when she gets dressed, it can't be confined to a list of do's and don'ts. "Modest" is explained a bit in the parts following. Is the woman shamefaced and sober as she shops or dresses? Is the focus of her adornment to draw attention to her hair, her jewelry or the finery of her clothing? If so, then she is not modest. And at the very end of the passage Paul says that instead of being immodest she should be adorned with good works. It almost sounds as if being immodest and doing good works are mutually exclusive. Perhaps that is because a woman can't do much work of any type, good or otherwise, while she's attired like a harlot?
Paul also told Titus to tell the older women to instruct the young on a whole host of womanly concerns.
That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Titus 2:4-5
I'm not sure how chaste a woman can be when her clothing leaves nothing to the imagination. Even if her behavior is technically chaste, she is suggesting otherwise and certainly shouldn't be offended if some young man attempts to accept what appears to be her offer. And here is another one of those scary, pay attention this is important words; women who are not chaste cause the word of God to be blasphemed
Now, either Peter and Paul were comparing notes before they wrote about how Christian woman should dress, or God really wants us to put some thought into this. How else can we explain how they use such similar language?
Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 1 Peter 3:3-4
So a woman should be noticed because she is decorated by a meek and quiet spirit, not by flashy outward adornments. And apparently God himself SEES this? And it is valuable to Him? God cares how women dress and behave within their clothing? It doesn't seem that He desires "cute". "Cute" is corruptible. The spirit is eternal, adorn yourself there.
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