Summer is my favorite season of the year with one exception—too much skin is exposed. While lightening the color depth and fabric weight for spring and summer garments, at the same time the fashion industry tends to minimize the amount of fabric that they contain. As a Christian who desires to please your heavenly Father, you have the challenge of selecting clothing that brings glory to Him (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). So, you are faced with a dilemma—must fashion and faith be in conflict? If you wholeheartedly embrace biblical standards of modesty, must you eliminate from your wardrobe anything fashionable? Let’s take a look at what Scripture teaches.
Modesty is a word that is not heard very often anymore—and when you do hear it is often classified as a practice applicable to the Victorian era. By definition modesty means “having or showing regard for the decencies of behavior, speech and dress.” 
Spiritually, modesty is an issue of the heart. If your thoughts are focused on the attributes found in Philippians 4:8-9, then more than likely your external appearance will be modest. Perhaps the following scriptural principles will guide your clothing choices:
- Romans 12:1-2—Christians are “in” the world but not “of” the world. A mature believer develops the ability to separate himself or herself from an ungodly society, including the area of clothing selection when it is contrary to biblical principles.
- 1 Timothy 2:9-10—clothing is to be modest, with propriety (or what is proper), and with moderation (a command for Christian women but equally applicable to the man who desires to please God in his clothing selections). This can be applied to the style of clothes as well as the quantity of clothes we have; both should reflect the principle of modest. 
- James 1:13 —neither men nor women should dress in such a provocative way so as to entice the opposite sex into immoral sexual thoughts or behavior. We are children of our heavenly Father. Since He tempts no person with evil, neither should we.
TRUTH IN LABELING
When I grocery shop, one of the items I first look at is the label to determine that I am purchasing the product that best meets my need. As a consumer, I expect the label to provide accurate information about the nutritional value, serving sizes, and perhaps how to prepare the product so I will get the best results from using it. I also know that the United States government requires accurate labeling on products produced in America. I would be upset if I purchased a product whose label informed me that the package contained the item described only to find, upon opening it, that it contained a different product!
Just as I assume that the label on a product is accurate, so God’s Word challenges me to dress in such a way that my outward appearance is an accurate label for my character. Mark 10:19 says that failure to do so sends a conflicting message to others. As you contemplate your fashion choices, consider responding to the “Truth in Packaging Inventory.”
TRUTH IN PACKAGING INVENTORY
- Since your clothing is a label for your character, what does it communicate about you?
- What values determine the clothing that you wear?
- When you select your clothing, what are your first thoughts?
- When you dress for the day, whom are you thinking about pleasing?
- What is your response to the question, “Must fashion and faith be in conflict with one another?”
- How will the “Truth in Packaging Inventory” influence your future clothing choices?
THE EYE STOPS WHERE THE LINE STOPS
The shape of a garment is created by design lines. The actual shape of the garment has a lot to do with your shape. Lines create the mood of the garment. They are either straight or curved. Straight lines tend to look formal, severe and business-like. Curved lines suggest delicacy and softness. They can make a person appear rounder, friendlier, and less formal.
Lines can be used for both structure and decoration in a garment. Structural lines are created by seams and darts—the construction which holds the garment together and creates the fit. A skirt, for example, can be straight, A-line, very full or very tight. A jacket could have a diagonal line or a zipper down the front. Trim, logos, and insignias that are added to a garment provide decorative lines. Pockets, collars, and lapels create edge lines. Whether the line is structural, decorative or edge the design principle is the same—the eye stops where the line stops.
When any aged man or woman allows the line to stop at a private part of their body they may be allowing others to focus on areas that are not meant for their eyes. If they are seeking to glorify our heavenly Father, they choose to only reveal private body parts to the person they marry.
MODESTY IS APPLICABLE TO ALL AGES AND BOTH GENDERS
Teaching modesty begins in the crib. It is pretty unlikely that teens will dress modestly if they are allowed to wear skimpy clothing when they are children. If parents dress their children modestly when they are young, and set a good example themselves, more than likely modesty will not become a major issue when they are older.
Given that, according to the Scriptures, faith and fashion do not have to be in conflict, let’s focus on some clothing selection facts that assist men and women in making modest clothing choices.
- Your face displays your character. Draw attention to it by selecting garments that showcase it.
- Tight clothing outlines the body and often draws attention to parts that are private. Provide adequate wearing ease in your garments.
- Tops that expose the waist, hips, or midriff cause the eye to stop at that part of the body. Make sure you choices model the teaching of James 1:13.
- Low necklines cause the eyes to focus on the chest. Select garments that move the eyes to the face.
- Make sure you can sit and bend comfortably in the garment.
- Underwear should not become outerwear.
- Slogans, logos or insignias placed in a private area of the anatomy causes the eye to stop there. Select garments whose slogans, logos or insignias rest against a neutral part of your body.
- Test your garments for wear-ability. Do this by positioning yourself in front of a mirror to observe what others see:
- Bend over to check how revealing your neckline is.
- Sit down and cross your legs to check the length and diameter of shorts and skirts.
- Bend over to see how high far your skirt or shorts move up.
- Take a large step to examine skirt slits.
- Place your hands above your head to see how much of the midriff is exposed.
- Check what part of your anatomy any writing, logos, or insignias emphasize.
Customs of dress change almost with the seasons, and fashions are as fickle as the wind. Wise is the individual who directs his or her energy on ensuring that their fashion and faith always complement one another.
Visit The Everyday Homemaker next week as we explore the topic “Higher Education for a Higher Purpose”.
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Blessings on your week as you focus on making your house a home!
 Random House Webster’s College Dictionary, 2nd ed s.v “modesty.”
 See Pat Ennis and Lisa Tatlock. Designing a Lifestyle that Pleases God. (Chicago: Moody, 2004) 221-257 for further elaboration.