Christian Fashion: the myth of modesty (pt. 2)

christian fashion--what should christian girls wear

If you were on the internets at all last year –even up to this spring, you may have seen an inordinate amount of blog and news coverage on…wait for it….yoga pants and leggings! Because…standard facebooking Americans!

Anyway, the discussion got pretty heated with all sorts of hashtag haters on both sides of the controversy. The arguments basically went like this.

Position 1: Yoga pants are immodest and distract people—especially young men.. They should not be worn as pants at school, or possibly even in public as one law-maker suggested.

Rebuttal:  Young women should not be taught that they need to change their appearance because they are distracting men. Women should be proud of their bodies and have the freedom of personal expression, which includes wearing yoga pants if they so choose.

Remember this now?

Yeah. I just jogged your memory, and I did my jogging wearing yoga pants.


Here’s the interesting thing: no matter where you stand on this particular issue, we are talking about the same topic. Modesty…what is it? What does it matter? How does it affect my real life?


Now I admit, that when I heard the phrase “modest is hottest” I thought it was cute! If one of my friends asked me how they looked, I’d be like. Girls, yaaaas. Modest IS hottest. Rock that maxi! But then I realized I had no idea what I was even talking about.

What is modesty, exactly? The Bible talks about it as a virtue in 1 Tim 2:9—but there is no place where I read…”Though shalt ensure thy hemline is no more than a hymnals length above the knee.

So what is it? Is it the difference between an inch or two of fabric on your shorts or scoop neck top? Is it a one piece instead of a bikini? I want to submit something to you—modesty, as it exists in many of our religious systems is a hemline measuring myth!See, the word translated as “modest” in 1 Timothy is less about how much flesh you have showing, and more about your heart.The word means, well-ordered or prepared, appropriate to the situation. In other places modesty is also translated as humility…as one who comes with a heart empty of self.

True modesty is a humbleness of heart and Christian modesty seeks, not to lift up self by wearing too little, too much, too expensive, too cute, but to lift up Christ. See you can be fully covered and immodest. You can also have less on and be fully modest (ie..king david dancing in his undies for the Lord).

The question is, in your dress—do you seek to exalt self and self-expression, or is your wish to express Christ and his Character?


I’d love to hear your comments on this thought about modesty as a heart issue vs. a hemline issue—have you heard this explained this way before? Lemme know below!


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  1. Nela

    Hey Amie,

    No, I have not heard it explained this way in particular but in theory it goes along with the statements in the Bible & Spirit of Prophecy about modesty, since surely a person whose heart is turned perfectly toward God would not be purposefully clad in something that would cause her brother to stumble or fawn over her instead of keeping his mind (prone to visual stimuli) on God, and surely a person who is more concerned with the salvation of souls including her own would be less likely to wear anything revealing or tight enough to remove all guesswork about the shape of her most intimate parts in public. I remember reading a rebuke that Ellen White wrote, to her niece i believe but could be wrong, about wearing see-through garments and having one’s limbs scantily clad especially in cold weather; she also clearly stated that dress is a reflector of the condition of one’s heart, so that may be the closest I’ve come to hearing modesty explained from that perspective.

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