Knowing how to dress modestly is a tricky subject because there is no set definition. Most of the time we have to rely on a “know it when I see it” approach, but everyone has a different idea of what modesty is.
Instead of getting hung up on details of how long a skirt should be or how tight a shirt is, it’s important to know what the Bible says about modesty and to address your heart first.
Why Dress Modestly
We are to dress with modesty because God calls us to. 1 Timothy 2:9 says “women are to dress themselves in modest clothing, with decency and good sense.” We are not to focus on external beauties, but cultivate attributes of Christ-like patience, love, self-control, and joy.
When we love others, as Jesus has commanded us to do, we should want to help them avoid sin. In Romans 14, Paul beseeches the church to make choices in love and concern for their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Making conscious choices that would cause another to suffer is not loving.
Romans 14:19 says that we are to pursue choices that promote peace and that build each other up. No, you are not responsible for another person’s thoughts, but you are responsible for your own choices. You can dress wisely and modestly as the Bible instructs because you love God and you love your brothers in Christ.
How to Dress Modestly
There is no official Christian attire (that would make us a cult), but the way you present yourself should reflect that you are not conforming to the standards of the world.
Dressing modestly shouldn’t be a chore, but it may take some time to figure out what designs work best for your body type. Modest outfits will look nice and not draw attention to or highlight features suited for only your spouse (or future spouse).
When you live your life for God’s glory, the Holy Spirit will convict you if you are continually wearing clothes you know to be immodest. Right now you might even have a certain article of clothing in mind that you know you shouldn’t wear again.
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An easy way to determine if something is immodest is if you’re asking yourself in the first place. If you’re worried an outfit may be too revealing, assume it is.
Because modesty is so impacted by culture, it’s important to find a local church to get involved in. Especially for students—when there’s so much pressure in school to look like everyone else — how to dress modestly is an important value to establish early.
Proverbs 27:17 says “as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” This means that surrounding yourself with like-minded Christians will help you all work together with accountability and growing in your sanctification.
The Best Tip
1 Peter 3:3-4 says “Don’t let your beauty consist of outward things . . . but rather what is inside the heart—the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” What a comfort to know that the attributes which truly matter are the ones within ourselves.
The best tip for how to dress modestly is to follow after God and spend time in scripture and prayer. The more you love God and understand His grace and mercy, the more you will want to obey.
For more clothing tips, you can check out our Fashion section.
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