If y’all saw this post, you know that the June Spotlight is Fun and Fashion. Before I bring you any fashion, however, I think there’s a very important standard that we should set about the kind of fashion I will be showing you and the kind of fashion you should be getting into yourself.
I’m talking about modesty, yo✌🏾. It’s important for the way we dress to reflect our royalty👑, because, if you are a Christian, you are a daughter of a King 👑, so you better dress that way!
So, join me as I delve into the topic of modest dressing, how to approach modesty, and how to know what is modest and what is not. Hopefully this post will not make things confusing and will make clothes shopping easier, because you know what your standards are and can wisely choose what to buy.
Why Dress Modestly?
Well, there are PLENTY of reasons all over the internet for dressing modestly, but I’ll point you to a list of 27 Reasons for Dressing Modestly done by one of my favorite bloggers, Madi Grace. (No seriously, she has the best website and most commanding authority of any teenager I’ve ever met. And I’ve actually never met her.)
My favorite reason on her list is #6: You don’t look like a hobo.
“I don’t care how fashionable it seems or what the price tag is. Dressing without dignity just looks shabby, like you can’t afford a piece of clothing with enough fabric to properly cover yourself. I’ve never seen a modestly-dressed person who looked like a hobo in need of dignified clothing.”
😝 😝 It’s true right?! Some outfits these days are so skimpy it looks like the person really couldn’t afford the whole outfit!
But obviously, looking like a non-hobo is not the only reason to consider dressing modestly. Modest dressing just plain honors the Lord, and His design for our lives. I will proceed to explain.
Have you ever created a machine? You all are extremely intelligent students so I assume you have. My brother, sister and I create machines from TinkerCrate boxes we get in the mail. They are STEM projects that get mailed to you, complete with directions, supplies, and a video link on YouTube where you can watch all the steps.
Anyway, when you create a machine and you’re trying to show it off, it seems only natural that you’d give directions to work it, right? “Turn the crank right and pull the lever up. That’s how to get the machine to work.”
Imagine, though, that someone comes up to you and says, “Well, that’s good and all, but I think I know a better, cooler way to work this machine. All the other cool people are turning their cranks left and pulling the lever down. I don’t know why yours is different.”
Wouldn’t that be annoying? First of all, that twisted individual could totally go and wreck your machine with their improper handling. Secondly, they didn’t follow your directions, and that stings worse than a bee. (Just kidding. Nothing’s worse than a beeeee. 🐝)
In the same way, dressing immodestly totes spits in God’s face. God created the most beautiful design for like everything, and when we choose to ignore or disobey it, it’s a real slap in the face. It’s like “DUDES! I created these guidelines so you don’t get destroyed. Ughhhhhhhhh. 🙄.”
Immodesty opens the door for things that are not in God’s design for our lives. One day God wants you (unless He doesn’t I mean that’s totally fine 😃) to grow up, get married, and raise a family of identical yous with steroid versions of your worst habits. Girls who dress immodestly often garner the attention of guys who don’t really have anything better to do with their lives and…you know where it goes from there. You’ve seen things like it on the news many times. It really is very sad, but it can all start from a choice to dress suggestively.
My second and probably funniest reason (aside from looking like le hobo) is about you. Have you heard of the Mona Lisa?
The Mona Lisa is a really famous painting by Leonardo Da Vinci. Even though the Mona Lisa is dark, the woman is not smiling, and the painting conveys no message whatsoever, it’s literally worth millions. (Only I have it on here for free.) Why? Because of the painter who created it. Da Vinci, whose contributions to art, medicine, and science have radically changed our world, is the creator of this masterpiece. Therefore, everyone wants it.
Now wouldn’t it be totally stupid if Da Vinci were to have booked a gig to sell this painting, and an hour before he left, he took the painting outside and smeared mud all over it? BOOM––resale value just plummeted! And what’s worse, the painting is no longer worth anything.
Just like the Mona Lisa, you are a beautiful painting, worth more than millions. Your creator is God, whose hand is kenner and sharper than Da Vinci on steroids. And if you believe that you really are worth something, you will dress that way. Don’t choose clothing that puts a smear of mud all over your priceless self. You’re more important than Meghan Markle (and currently she has the hottest wedding dress right now). You are a child of the Most High God. You’re a princess. (If you don’t do princesses, you can be a princess warrior. I go by both depending on my mood.)
But let me ask you a quick question.
As a child of the King, as God’s daughter, as a painting way better than Da Vinci’s painting, you are so worth the full shirt. Girls who don’t believe that they’re worth it choose to dress as though they’re not worth it. Dress like you ARE worth it.
As a clarifying note, I do wear crop tops, so I’m not saying that they’re sinful! I will show you how to modest-ify a crop top a little bit later.
Common Knowledge, Really.
Now that we know why dressing modestly and decently is important, we should probably lay down some ground rules––you know, take care of the common knowledge modesty stuff.
My family and I have simpler guidelines for modest dressing than maybe others, but dressing modestly does not have to be a bunch o’ rules. For us, our first checkpoint is passing the B-B-B rule. (My sister coined this term! 😜)
B-B-B stands for Breast-Belly-Butt. (Sorry, all those words are kind of uncomfortable to read…😕) When we wear clothes, those three b-beginning body parts MUST be covered AT ALL TIMES. If you’re wearing an open back shirt, you can add on a 4th B (back) to remind yourself to throw a tank top underneath an open back. I love open back shirts…I just don’t actually want an open back 😜!
There are certain questions you should ask yourself to evaluate the outfit you just threw on. Sometimes we buy an outfit, mistakenly thinking it is modest, but it turns out not to be so hot after all. Here are some evaluation questions to ask yourself when you shop/dress.
- Do these shorts reach to the middle of my thighs or lower?
- If I bend over, will my shorts/pants sag and show my butt crack?
- Does this shirt show the line that divides the left hemisphere of my chest from the right?
- If I lift my hands, does my shirt expose my belly button…or worse?
- How much of my back can be seen through this shirt? Could my bra strap be potentially exposed?
Yep yep yep. Quick, easy questions that could change the outfit you put on in the morning. Once you’ve evaluated your outfit and you think it passes the security checkpoints, you’re good to go!
What Are My Standards For Modesty?
Now that we have covered some ample ground, we must get to the real heart of the matter: establishing your standard. Everybody has a different standard of modest dressing.
Some people dress modestly like this:
And others are comfortable wearing this, but still say they are modest:
I would say this outfit is modest. I have a pair of shorts like that at home! (I’ll show you later.)
Although a lot of people would argue that God’s standards are not supposed to be relative to sinful humans, but modesty is just one of those choices that each family and Christian sect enforces differently. It’s the same way we have different denominations––because everyone interprets the Bible differently!
Most people like to go to this scripture for explaining modesty and why they dress the way the do:
1 Timothy 2:9 says: 9 Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, 10 but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.
This verse encourages Christian women to dress modestly. Everybody takes this verse differently. Some choose to take it more literally, abstaining from things such as “braided hair” or “costly garments.” Of course, in context, women were not in the same social status as they are today, but that doesn’t change the way verses read too too much.
So how should you dress? Well, like I said before, everyone dresses differently. Judgement upon other standards, however, is hardly modest or even Christian. While we all strive to find our own clothing convictions, I don’t want to be the one to judge others for what they choose to do.
So, after scouring the internet awhile, I found two basic sets of modesty standards. I will delve into each of them. Remember, don’t let me be the deciding factor for how you choose to live!
Trendy + Modest
I hope you’ve never been told that trendy dressing is a sin, because it’s really not. I dress hip and hop all the time. The most mainstream styles out there are usually pretty modest, and if they’re not, well, you can’t buy everything!
When you type “modest clothing for girls” into an internet search bar, you only get skirt stores. If you’re new to the modesty game, got tired of reading me, and went and did that, you probably went, “Oh no. I can’t do that! I play basketball!” or “I swim competitively!” And totally gave up on modesty altogether.
Look here, sista. I dance, and it happens to be at a secular studio. (I also used to do gymnastics, but I didn’t last long. Not the point.) So obviously, I’m no stranger to immodest outfits. Just last week, we had our in class dress rehearsals, and our junior competitive team came out of the curtain wearing a dance costume very similar to this one:
AHHH! Totally not a modest dance costume. If you were forced into wearing this for a meet, what would you do?
If you dress more conservatively, you probably would’ve quit dance a long time ago! But if you’re more versatile in your modest options, you just layer. Layering literally saves everything.
By throwing a tan bodysuit underneath the outfit, you can close up the midriff. Most studios allow girls to do that, and respect your modesty convictions. If they didn’t, that would be discrimination, since every religion has different convictions.
**Once, in my attempt to be modest, I wore a polka-dotted undershirt under my dance costume. Big boo-boo! Check with a teacher before pulling your own street-clothing modesty hacks. They don’t work as well with a dance costume.**
My family and I shop at mainstream stores all the time. Don’t think that modesty means hiding in the closet because no store sells good, decent clothes. Everyone is different, but honestly, most clothing comes modest or can be made modest with a little layering. Throw leggings under short shorts and tank tops under crop tops to cover up.
There are also modest swimsuit options, too, like tankinis or swimsuits with shorts. You can also grab one-piecers. I wear two-piecers, but they are not bikinis. My top is similar to a tank top, and my bottom is like a little skirt or pair of shorts. Very modest and fun! If you swim competitively, however, you may just have to forego modesty a little bit, but it’s only a few hours of practice. Your coaches don’t want excessive clothing that will slow you down.
So maybe you read all that and you’re like, “I dunno…I’m not comfortable showing that much skin.” That’s okay! You might lean towards the conservative side, and that’s fine. That side is definitely a harder choice, but not an impossible one.
Dressing conservatively (wearing a dress and head covering) is never going to be the easy route. In fact, its easier to head back to my first standard or even to totally throw in the towel! Sometimes you’ll be like, “Look at Anna, wearing shorts so short I can see her buttcheek. But that style is popular. My friends always tease me for looking like a nun. 😕” But that’s when you have to stand up and say, “I chose to dress this way so that I can set an example as a modest young woman. Doesn’t matter what Anna and her friends think.” And, as a side note, pray for friends that don’t mind you wearing longer clothes! You might even wanna ask for friends that wear clothes the same as you, so you’re not tempted to recede.
Judgement is a horrible, horrible thing, you guys. I want to remind you that judging either side is totes unacceptable. What I see with conservative dressing a lot of the time is that they tend to look down upon those who free up the skin a little bit. While they have good reasons for what they do, don’t use your “knowledge” as an excuse to look down on others and say “Oh you’re not modest, you’re wearing a cold shoulder shirt!” Anytime I see immodesty, I try to think “I don’t want to wear that.” instead of “Why is she wearing that?!” Turn everything back on yourself, as a lesson and a warning for yourself.
Don’t Listen to Legalism
Modesty is so simple, but sometimes others complicate it. Now I don’t want to judge ANYBODY here because that’s not right, but personally I don’t know how helpful it is to place all these rules on modesty. It doesn’t make being modest appealing to people––Christian or not! Nobody wants to be a Quaker! I know I would not want to dress modestly and honorably if I had to wear a dress, a head covering, and long sleeves ALL THE TIME, or if I could not swim in public. For those of you who do do that, I commend you for going to such great lengths to dress honorably. But some people are a little bit freaked by going that far, so I hope to make things simpler through this post.
One of the things I’ve heard concerning modesty is that you don’t want your clothes to point to yourself, but instead to your character. That’s why certain groups choose to abstain from earrings, nose rings, finger rings 💍 (I guess except if you’re married), bracelets, anklets, necklaces, colorful clothing 👘, high heels 👠, and the like.
I don’t know what you believe, but not being able to express myself through my clothing, even if it’s modest, is not right. Girls, I am not at ALL telling you that being modest means to dismiss half your wardrobe and your makeup💄collection––NO. Sport your makeup. Sport your trendy clothing. Sport your jewelry. SPORT IT! You are not sinning by having a little bling going on, and while some argue that you are, don’t listen to that! Why? Because there’s Biblical evidence IN FAVOR of women wearing bling.
Genesis 24 says that: 52 When Abraham’s servant heard what they said, he bowed down to the ground before the Lord. 53 Then the servant brought out gold and silver jewelry and articles of clothing and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave costly gifts to her brother and to her mother. 54 Then he and the men who were with him ate and drank and spent the night there.
Hello! Did you catch that? Abraham’s servant gave Rebekah gold and silver jewelry and clothes. I can’t even afford gold and silver bling, so I have to get mine from Target. If God didn’t strike Rebekah down for wearing bracelets, He won’t strike you down either.
Style and modesty go hand-in-hand. For example:
I found this outfit on Tea Collection I think. They usually have modest clothes. (Their bathing suits are another fish to fry.)
I love cold shoulder shirts. I own like six or seven. (I need to rethink my life 😳) Anyway, the “in” thing now is to wear crop tops that expose your midriff. Ehh…not the most modest way to stay cool, is it? Instead I let the breeze in with cold shoulder shirts. Perfectly modest and also very “in.” (I like to wear “in” clothes 😋)
I once heard a woman say (well, read, actually) that cold shoulder shirts were immodest because they were a bad representation of Christ. Since Christ paid for our sins in full, and the cold shoulder shirt is only part of the shirt (the shoulder is removed), the shirt doesn’t represent Christianity and therefore should not be worn in public.
Look, if you think that, I’m not here to judge, but really? Really? How does that style choice make people think differently about God? It would be different if the woman were referring to a shirt which exposes the midriff, now that I understand. But a cold shoulder shirt doesn’t have the same ramifications as a crop top, because the shoulders are a perfectly fine body part to expose.
And that’s where I think legalism can breach modesty. I think that sometimes people complicate modesty, enforce rules, and make generalizations. Just think about it. How attractive does it look for a non-believer to see another Christian woman dressed like she stepped through a time machine to the 17th century? I’d be thinking “That’s why I don’t do religious stuff…I don’t have time for that!” How are we leading others to Christ if we’re so counter-culture that our lives are wayyy unattractive?
“Yeah Zella, but we’re in the world and not of it,” you say. Hehehe 😀. When Joseph worked among the Egyptians, serving the Canaanites during famine, was he wearing Hebrew garb? Was he like “Sorry, I can only honor God if I wear this, and if you want to become a God-fearing man, you will have to forego your regular outfits and wear only this.” No! He got his head shaved and his ears pierced, he wore skirts and gold jewelry and makeup. And that’s what we need to remember! If modesty becomes complicated, nobody will want to be modest! And then we don’t get anyone wanting to follow Jesus because they can’t possibly give up wearing shorts.
Another argument I’ve heard is that women wearing “men’s clothes” is a gateway for the feminist movement. If you’ve ever heard that EVER, that isn’t true. Just because you are a bold dresser, you wear lipstick, and like to wear 5-inch heels doesn’t mean you’re a girl-power-guys-suck feminist. Confession, girl power is my fave 😆. And that doesn’t mean I’m a feminist! God created me and maybe some of you to go big or go home. You like fancy clothes. You like makeup. You like to look good. That doesn’t make you immodest or a feminist. That makes you YOU. God created you that way and I don’t care what the internet has told you. You are allowed, as a Christian, to be that way. We will chat more about that laterrrrr! 😉
Don’t think that to be modest you can’t be cute and have fun. You can––just for the right reasons and in the right way. God actually loves when you dress up and strut your stuff. He’s like “SLAY GIRL!” (Maybe he doesn’t say that, but, I dunno, maybe he does.) He loves it when you express yourself through clothing. And let me be completely clear, shorts and cold shoulder shirts are completely modest and God laughs with delight when you put something on that matches you and who you are. (Just…B-B-B it first, kay?)
Analyzing Some Outfits
We’ve gone extremely in-depth today regarding the topic of modesty. I am so, so proud of you for reading through this article. It’s been very long, that’s for sure, but I hope it’s been helpful to you.
In this portion, we are going to analyze some outfits to see if they’re modest or not. Ultimately, we want to either approve or decline it as something we will add to our closets. Some of the outfits presented can be made modest and can be added, but some are just not for us. And that’s okay. As Christians, we may do things different from the world, but like I said above, why fit in when you were born to stand out? So let’s evaluate some outfits!
Outfit 1: Tank + Hoodie + Shorts
If her shirt if immodest up top, she’s got a hoodie to cover it up. Sometimes that’s the best way to forego upper-body cleavage. Now, her shorts appear to cover her rear end, so that’s good, but they do expose a lot of leg. Depending on what your length preference is, this may or may not be a modest option. But all cards on the table, I think this outfit is
Outfit 2: Tank Top + Shorts
For starters, I am immediately drawn to the fact that this young lady is wearing a tank top shirt. There’s nothing wrong with tank tops, sometimes I wear thin straps too, but sometimes they can be revealing. Thin straps don’t cover thick bra straps well, and nobody needs to see that. Some thin straps expose extra back that isn’t necessary to show either. I would advise staying away from thin strap shirts unless you have ways to keep coverage under control, like a hoodie or sweater. (I commend the model in outfit 1 for putting on a hoodie!)
It’s a little harder to tell because the photo is blurry, but this young lady also exposes her midriff underneath the criss-cross design at the end of her shirt. Too many outfits these days encourage stomach exposure, but if we go back to the B-B-B rule, we see that modest dressing means stepping away from those types of styles. Unfortunately for this young model, her outfit is
Note that you can always make this outfit more modest by switching out the shirt. Those paisley shorts look really cute, and this girl wouldn’t be an example if she’d just put on a tank top with thicker straps and full coverage. Remember, we’re dressing as though we’re worth a full shirt, not a 3/4 shirt. 😏
Outfit 3: Jean Romper
This here’s one of my favorite outfits because it’s nearly as modest as you can get. Rompers are my fav––simply because there’s absolutely NO room for midriff exposure. It’s like wearing a one-piece swimsuit at the waterpark versus a bikini––hardly any exposure. Although some rompers are flowy and can expose the butt cheeks during windy weather, a pair of black capri leggings will totally eliminate that problem. If that sort of thing has concerned you so much that you shy away from rompers, I encourage you to layer with leggings and try it! It’s something you can wear and always feel confident in.
Thanks little lady, your outfit is
Outfit 4: Cozy Sweater + Shorts
I only see one problem with this outfit, and that is the pair of shorts our young model is sporting. How she is comfortable with a pair of skimpy shorts that are exactly the same length as her shirt I don’t know. I’m going to have to say
Of course, you can always modest-ify this outfit by wearing longer shorts. Just look at some of our earlier examples. Those girls wore lovely shorts with modest length. This girl could’ve done the same. 😕
Outfit 5: Short Sleeved Shirt + Overalls
If I can find this outfit at the store, I’m totes buying it. I’m impressed at how fun it can be to dress modestly. I hope you’re having fun and seeing that modesty is not being a Quaker!
Our model is wearing an overall/jumper of sorts. Because she values her upper body and wants to cover it decently, she is wearing a white, short-sleeved shirt. A lot of companies are promoting overalls and nothing else, but this girl is taking a stand to dress modestly. Nice work on her part, because she is
Outfit 6: Crop Top + Shorts
I really like this girl’s shorts, and her shirt is real cute. The problem is, her shirt also exposes her midriff…a LOT. I don’t think I need to say much in order for you to figure out that this outfit is
But you can make it more modest by slipping a tank top under that crop top. It’s just a little extra layering, and it won’t kill you.
Let’s recap everyone––this was a long article!
- It’s important to dress modestly and reflect your kingly nature!
- Everyone has different standards of modesty in their family/religious culture. Do not diss someone because their “modest clothes” are different than yours.
- Take your outfits through a security checkpoint before wearing them out of the house. Ask yourself the questions I mentioned above and “B-B-B” yourself.
- Don’t listen to legalism. Modesty is not bondage. You are still allowed to wear makeup and bling.
- Be prepared when you go to the mall. Immodestly dressed people and immodest styles will surround you. Remember this post and these tools. Choose the right outfits and God will bless you.
It won’t be popular to be modest, believe me, it won’t. But you’ll feel better about wearing honorable, trendy clothing without compromising your beliefs.
Let me know in the comments if you want a part two…addressing swimwear! We all know we’ll be swimming this season, right? 😉