MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

Is It Wrong For Women to Wear Pants?

November 26th, 2009 Viewed 3080 times, 1 so far today

Together Outdoors

In Paris, France, the answer would be yes.

In 1800, a Paris police chief introduced a rule banning women from dressing like men—namely by wearing pants instead of skirts and dresses.  This idea is not that foreign.  The Biblical Old Testament speaks of it being wrong for women to dress like men such that you cannot tell the difference, so 1800 France would have been under the influence of those types of ideas.

What’s so amusing is that the law is technically still in effect!

Carnival of Modesty – June 1, 2008 Edition

June 7th, 2008 Viewed 1851 times

Beautiful Girl 7 Welcome to the June 1, 2008 edition of carnival of modesty.  Not a lot of good submissions today, so I’ll have to augment them from sites I’ve found in my travels.

Lin Burress presents You Are What You Wear: What Your Clothes Say About You.

Theresa L. Twogood presents Just What If…What Then?

Louise Manning presents Quotes about dignity.

Carnival of Modesty – April 30, 2008

May 1st, 2008 Viewed 2281 times

Welcome to the April 30, 2008 edition of carnival of modesty.

On the Front-lines of Modest Fashion

April 10th, 2008 Viewed 4886 times

pcanvasbibWhen the big stores refused to make clothing that was modest in fit and form, some protested, some wrote letters, and some decided that they could make their own clothing to sell.  Christa Taylor is one such company.

In a recent interview with Mrs. Wilt at The Sparrow’s Nest, Christa herself talked about why she started her company:

In reality, Christa-Taylor.com grew out of frustration. After searching endlessly for a swimsuit that just didn’t exist, we designed our own. Under the direction and guidance of my Dad and brothers we started to experiment with different ideas, and eventually the possibility of opening our own Christa Taylor line. With much counsel and much perseverance we launched Christa-Taylor.com on January 15th, 2007, with just 1 swimsuit and 2 skirts. Since then, we have continued to refine and perfect our service and selection. It’s still very much a work in progress, but what an adventure!

Carnival of Modesty – March 31, 2008

March 31st, 2008 Viewed 2253 times

Beauty in Whole Header

Welcome to the March 31, 2008 edition of carnival of modesty. There’s not that much on topic this week in the carnival, but please enjoy these submissions that are on topic!

Rob Moshe presents Live Your Best Life By Serving Others posted at Rob Moshe, saying, “This is not necessarily a fitting post for your carnival. Once the project starts, each day I will recognize a fellow blogger that “Helped””

Ariah Fine presents Open Letter to Anyone Returning from a Missions Trip posted at Trying to Follow.

My Story

Dawn presents Modesty in Public posted at “At Thy Word”, saying, “I was teased at work for dressing modestly. It really surprised me.”

Shamelle presents It Doesn’t Cost Much To Consult With God posted at Enhance Life.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of carnival of modesty using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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One Who is Modest Does Not Draw Attention

August 21st, 2007 Viewed 1537 times, 1 so far today

shy girl

Sometimes modesty is simply thinking about whether other should notice that you’re there.  Since modesty isn’t only about clothes but about conduct, it’s important that we ask ourselves if we’re drawing attention to ourselves with what we wear, and thereby making the situation worse?

Cindy from Chocolate After Supper superbly illustrated this point in a comment about what modesty is had this to say:

I think modesty also involves blending in with those around you, as in, “not drawing undue attention to yourself.” I respect the values families exhibit when the mom and all the daughters are wearing long skirts and athletic shoes, but it does draw attention to them because it’s so odd in our culture. All should be in context.

For example, my daughter and I spent a couple of summers trying to find modest swimwear and it was an uphill battle. Where do you draw the line between practicality and modesty? We finally decided that the most modest thing for us to wear was a one piece bathing suit with swim shorts — rather than something so modest it looks like it came from the 1800’s– because at a public pool that is proper in context and doesn’t draw undue attention, and therefore we look modestly dressed. By contrast, someone wearing a swimsuit at the grocery store (like we’ve seen some women do in our small town) looks embarrassingly un-dressed. It’s out of context, and draws undue attention.

By the same token, we found that when we spend time hanging out in the river it feels more modest and appropriate to wear t-shirts and cutoffs, rather than a swimsuit, because, once again, a swimsuit feels out of context, and therefore immodest. And we found that clothes that are appropriate and modest in the context of gardening or picnicking are not the same ones that are appropriate and modest for a church service or a wedding. (although sometimes I’m embarrassed by how undressed the bridal parties often seem to be….My boys think it looks like someone gave all the bridesmaids’ dresses a hard yank, leaving too much dress at the bottom and not enough at the top…)

We found that if we looked carefully, we could find fashionable clothes that are still modest. Or alternatively, we could make them modest by layering or wearing undershirts (check out this site: shadeclothing.com)

This is a lot more fun and interesting than wearing oddball clothes simply for their “modesty,” and no one is staring at us.

So, there’s definitely something about not drawing attention to oneself, but at the same token we can’t be all going naked because everyone else is.  This is one of those slippery areas where there needs to be firm standards, but there also needs to be care such that we do not draw negative attention to the cause of Christ.

10 Sites to Find Modest Clothing

August 16th, 2007 Viewed 37672 times, 2 so far today
This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Modesty

Pants on Hangers

And so we’ve come to the end to our current series on Modesty.  To wrap up this discussion, I’d like to leave you with a few places that you can find Modest Clothing on the web:

  1. Christa Taylor – Pioneering a Modest Clothing Revolution
  2. Funky Frum – Modest Clothing for Modern Women
  3. Kathleen’s Bridal – Modest, Unique, Exclusive
  4. Dress Modestly – Looking for a Jewel Topped Shirt?
  5. Stylish Modest Clothing – A list of stores based on size
  6. Trendy Modest Clothing – A list of stores based on size
  7. Modest Swimwear for the Entire Family – Four sites that even have modest men’s swimwear!
  8. Classic Modest Clothing – Four sites with modest clothing.
  9. All Modest Clothing for Girls – Another great list.
  10. Modest Formal Dresses – Can’t get enough of these.

And if I haven’t listed it, check out the list at A Christian Home!

Is Modesty Only About Clothing?

August 9th, 2007 Viewed 7062 times
This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Modesty

Well, is it?  Something that I’ve had to come to the realization of every time I approach this topic is that modesty has to come from the inside before it can be manifest on the outside.  If it’s not in the heart, if it’s not the true desire of the person, then they can dress in whatever they want and still be immodest.

Frankly, it’s not so much the clothing as it is the attitude and the desire to bend the rules.  The teenage girl that goes out to the store and buys an appropriate length skirt but does not have it in her to be modest will find herself rolling up the waistband once she’s out of site of her parents.

You see, as we’ve said before, what manner of person you are on the inside reflects on the outside.  Now, modesty and chastity are linked in many ways, and there is a difference.  I like the way Cindy explained it in comments on my last post when she quoted C.S. Lewis:

The Christian rule of chastity must not be confused with the social rule of “modesty” (in one sense of that word); i.e., propriety, or decency. The social rule of propriety lays down how much of the human body should be displayed and what subjects can be referred to, and in what words, according to the customs of a certain social circle. Thus, while the rule of chastity is the same for all Christians at all times, the rule of propriety changes. A girl in the Pacific islands wearing hardly any clothes and a Victorian lady completely covered in clothes might both be equally “modest,” proper or decent, according to the standards of their own societies: and both, for all we could tell by their dress, might be equally chaste (or unchaste).

We’re all told to live chaste lives– lives that are pure and holy before God.  We’re also under obligation not to attract attention to our bodies.  The exhortations of 1 Peter would seem foolish if the context of the times were taken out of them.  For example, the braiding of hair, wearing of gold, or putting on of fine apparel can easily be linked to those women who had a less than virtuous profession.  Peter’s not arguing here that you should not take care of yourself, but that your inside is more important than your outside.

MonicaAnd that’s exactly the point.  We should be people (women AND men) that are chaste people, a people concerned about the inner man more so than we are the outer.

In my mind, modesty and chastity are in a threefold band with humility.  All three travel together and they all influence each other.  Humility does not seek to exalt itself.  It will evidence itself by modest clothing and modest speech.  Chastity will see out purity, and so will try to hold itself to a higher standard– which will also result in clean living and modest attire.

Because it’s more than modest clothes– I mean, if you read that survey you’ll see that it’s not just clothing!  It’s movement, how you sit, how you walk, how you bend over, when you stretch, how you step over something and how you run!  It almost would seem that you could do absolutely nothing without possibly causing a brother to stumble!

Which is precisely why I think that the emphasis needs to be on the heart.  The heart attitude to seek after God.  The heart to do the best that you can to help your brother.  The heart that desires to edify one another.  And it also means that you have a heart that does not look for opportunities to lust.  A heart that remains focused on things above.  It really does go both ways.

What Does the Bible Say About Modesty?

July 12th, 2007 Viewed 41635 times
This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Modesty

What is interesting is that the Bible doesn’t ever speak to modesty directly, but always addresses the heart.  It talks about the lust of the heart, how a man can look on a woman to lust after her.  It talks about physical appearance– and how what a woman wears effects men.  It talks about how a deacon’s and pastor’s wife must be sober and have an inner beauty.  It describes the a woman in Proverbs 31 known more for what she does and who she is than what she looks like.  And it also talks about the pure love and desire found between a man and a woman in a marriage relationship.

So, let’s look at a few of these passages, shall we, and see what points God is trying to make about our appearance.

Clothing Tells a Story

Judah and Tamar are perhaps one of the first instances in the Bible where a person put on some clothing and it was shown to have meaning.  Not since the fall do we actually have a discussion of what clothing on the outside advertises about the inside.  Tamar was definitely seeking to have fulfilled the duty of the next of kin, and she used clothing to trick Jacob into honoring his promise.  Clothing telegraphed to him that she was sexually available.

Joab had a woman dress in sackcloth to come see David to try to change his mind about Absalom and to cheer David up.  She used clothing in a deceitful way so as to influence David.

Esther, when she wanted to show her authority and position when she was risking her life before the king, dressed in her royal robes.  They did not save her from the law, but they made her easily identifiable, and therefore pardonable.

The Priests in the Book of Ezra wore specific apparel to carry out their ministry.  It set them apart as someone special.

Mordecai was given the king’s clothes to wear as he was paraded down the street.  This signified the amount of thankfulness the king had for what Mordecai had done for him in saving his life.  The clothing showed status.

The point of these examples is this– we all know that what we wear telegraphs a message.  The Bible shows us plainly that this is the case.  Even if we are wearing “what everyone else wears” we are saying what everyone else is saying about their bodies.

There’s Nothing Wrong With Your Body

Before we get too far, I want to stress that there is nothing wrong with maintaining a healthy body.  It is something that every man and woman should do.  God didn’t give us this body to waste, and we should want to look our best for Him and our husband/wife.

Clearly, this passage in Song of Solomon teaches us this.  The companion passage is found in the Proverbs where the writer encourages the men to always be satisfied with the wife of their youth.  If there was something innately wrong with our bodies, God wouldn’t have created Adam and Eve naked.

However, because of sin, there is only one person that should see your body– your husband/wife.  Displaying that body now tells the story of the morally loose woman, not the morally pure.

The Perfect Woman

Proverbs 31:10ff is not just a good place to find how to be a virtuous wife– it’s also to see what is valuable as far as a person.  In this passage you will find nothing of how she looks, smells, or how much skin she shows.  Instead you’ll find things like:

And here is the important one.  Her clothing is strength and honor because of her character.  Yes, she makes herself clothing that is of silk and purple, fine thing for the times, but she is known for much more than her clothing.  You could say that she defines the clothing, the clothing does not define her.

New Testament Commands

When it comes to the New Testament, the passages are more direct commands to women that this is how they should be.  Some may say that the commands to the Deacon’s wives and Pastor’s wives should not apply to all women, but since they are signs of spiritual maturity, all women should strive to hold a high standard.

Peter starts out by laying the groundwork for all wives.  He starts out with talking about the inner persons and proceeds to talk about the comparison of inner and outer.  In fact, Peter goes on to say that a meek and quiet spirit is of great price and is something that should be worn by godly women and that holy women of old adorned themselves with such being in subjection to their own husbands.

I find it fascinating that the Lord led Peter to write about this topic as Peter is one of the apostles that we know actually had a wife.  I can imagine the conversations that they had as he was writing about this topic; however, knowing the type of man that Peter was he probably did not have trouble ruling his home.

Paul repeats Peter’s admonition, and encourages women to adorn themselves in modest apparel (a direct reference after all?) wearing good works more than something that attracts to the outer person.  Why?  Because God created an order of man then woman, and she glorifies God when she submits, and continues in faith, charity and holiness with sobriety.

It’s All About the Heart

So, what can we gain from the Bible’s references to modesty?  To boil it down, it’s all about the heart.  The heart attitude, the heart’s reflection, and the heart’s desire.  We’ve also learned that your clothing is broadcasting a message.  It may be broadcasting the message that everyone else’s is– but that doesn’t make it right.

What we wear should be broadcasting the message that we are different.  It should be drawing attention to those in authority over us.  It shouldn’t be drawing attention to ourselves.

But Women Don’t Wear Hats Anymore!

July 5th, 2007 Viewed 7353 times
This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Modesty

One of the most difficult things to address in terms of modesty and what to wear is the fact that fashion and what society wears changes over time.  We’ve previously discussed the concept that men have not always worn pants, and the cultural bearing on what we wear, but I’d like to look deeper into what’s going on in our world today.

The Sexualization of Society

I find it interesting that the very first thing that happened when Adam and Eve fell was that they found out that they were naked.  Certainly this had to be a strange thing for them– they probably expected to die from eating the fruit, but instead they were overcome with shame and wanted to cover their bodies.  This is one of the things that I find interesting about evolution.  If we’re all descended from animals that don’t have shame nor do they cover, why do we?  How did we evolve shame?  But I digress.

From that time until this, people have had a natural desire to hide their shame and cover their bodies.  Now, granted, each time period has things that they want to show, for different purposes at different times, but that doesn’t stop the natural inclination to cover up.

There has been, through time, clothing that indicates the intent of the heart.  As early as Jacob and Tamar we see that if a woman covered herself and wore a veil that it signified that she was a prostitute looking for “work”.

Today we have seen sexual desire– a very powerful and good thing within marriage– being used to sell beer, cigarettes, auto loans, Internet domain names, and even used to get people to church!  It seems that sex sells everything– and it’s gotten to the point that the image of the woman that is baring it all is reinforced from all corners.

Beauty vs. Body

The difference is that every woman is given a body, but not every woman is given true beauty.  You see, just like Tamar looked the part of the harlot– which attracted Jacob physically– she could also dress the part of the widow and carry sobriety and reflect her true person.

What you wear has the effect of telegraphing the message of what you are inside.  Just like the bride’s gown shows that she’s about to or just has gotten married, what you wear and how you carry yourself have a big impact on what you are advertising– more so than you would imagine.

You see, to me, a lot of the conversation in this area has to do with “how long a skirt should I wear”, “how tight is too tight” and “does this blouse go down too far.”  Those are really the wrong questions.  For one thing, if it’s so close that you’re asking, don’t wear it!  Secondly, a lot of things that could be borderline can cross simply by who you are on the inside.

This is why you get questions like “Can Pants be Considered Modest?”  The answer is more obvious than is seems– it depends on who the woman is that is filling them.

Attitude is Half the Battle

Brunette ModelTake, for instance, this picture on the right.  By all accounts this could be considered to be a modest top.  The sleeves are capped so no shoulder is showing.  There’s no obvious cleavage, though it does show a lot of chest.  This would be borderline in my book.

And yet look at her eyes and her face.  Obviously this is the look the woman was going for– a “come hither” look.  And that’s what makes something that could be considered borderline go over the edge.  Now this picture says to me that the girl is teasing, and is going too far.

But I’m Just Trying to Stay in Fashion!

Have you ever really taken a look at what’s coming down the runways.  I’m sure there must be a blog somewhere poking fun at some of the more ridiculous things that people wear that’s declared high fashion.  Some of it I’m sure they’re only able to squeeze into once!

But I know what you’re saying.  No woman (or man for that matter) wants to look like his clothes are frumpy.  However, we must have these things in mind when looking at clothing:

  1. They’re selling clothes to make women think they are sexy.  They are selling the tease.
  2. They do not care whether or not you are modestly dressed, whether it fits, or what body parts are displaying.  They are interested in sales.
  3. We must search for things that are modest without question.

If we keep these things in mind, and cultivate a pure heart, we will be radiating the beauty from within– and any attention that we get will go to the One that made us.

MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.