Is There a Dress Code for Christian Women?
Have You Ever Been Asked, "Are You a Christian?"
While exiting the grocery store the other day I saw two women talking in the parking lot. As I rolled my shopping cart past these ladies I heard one of the ladies ask the other, “Are you a Christian?” Her tone of voice was somewhat condescending and at that moment I could not keep myself from turning around to look at them. I wanted to see why the one lady felt the need to ask the other lady such a probing question. The lady to whom the question was posed was dressed in a sheer white blouse with a neckline cut so low that she was exposing all kinds of cleavage. She was also wearing a pair of skin-tight jeans that looked like they were designed by the vicious claws of five angry tigers.
I could not hear the entire conversation, but I deduced that these ladies might have been in a conversation about religion and at some point the question about the person’s character came into play. If the provocatively clad lady was claiming to be of Christian character, I could see how someone might be a little baffled by her attire. Her words might have said one thing while her clothes said another.
Christian Dress Code
To directly answer the question about whether or not there is a dress code for Christian women, no; there is no specified dress code for Christian women. However, while there may not be a specific dress code, there is a suggested way for Christian women to dress. The Bible says…
Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness – with good works.
1 Timothy 2:9-10 ESV
In Biblical times, tunics, robes, and hoods were practical attire worn to cover and protect the body from the elements of weather and the environment. Over time, clothing also became a fashion statement. People of nobility were able to dye their fabric. In addition, they were able to add stitching and ornaments to denote their elevation in society.
Nowadays, most people have a choice in what they wear. They choose colors, styles, and fabrics to make a statement about who they are and what they represent.
Psychologists say that it only takes a few seconds for people to make up their mind about a person’s character. A lot of that decision stems from the way the person is dressed. In some cultures, people do not have a choice on what they wear. But, when that is not the case, what a person choses to wear says a lot about their character.
Note: By culture, I include religious groups, social stature, and environmental elements such as whether or not a person is told by their leaders what to wear or is poor and cannot afford to buy the clothes of their choice. I consider whether or not the person lives in hot, cold, rugged, wet, or dry terrain. All of these elements somewhat take away a person's complete choice of what to wear.
Dress Like a Christian
When I was a worship leader, I was very particular about the way the band members, especially the women, dressed. We were a Christian rock band, so traditional choir robes were out of the question. I don’t like confrontation, but almost every week, I would have to give counsel to one or two of the women who chose to wear revealing attire. I believed in second chances, so I kept scarves backstage for the occasion a woman would show up at rehearsal in a revealing top and needed to wear a scarf to cover up. I would counsel them on the value of dressing modestly. This counseling session constituted their first and only warning, in which the next occurrence of indecent dress would get them expelled from the band.
The Band: Mosaic
Your True Self Will Shine Through
I believe people should dress in a way that makes them feel comfortable. At the same time, I think people should be aware that what they choose to wear makes an outward statement about their inner self.
As a worship leader, I asked the band members to dress modestly while on stage because I did not want the members of the congregation to look upon the band members and then develop the inclination to ask, “Are you a Christian?”
Know who you are and choose to show others the real you, because even if you don’t say a word, your fashion choices will speak out boldly on your behalf.
How to Dress Modestly
In the following video women discover ways to dress modestly yet look absolutely fashionable. Learn about the top 10 clothing items to include in your modest-dressing wardrobe.
Fletcher, Ben C. (April 20, 2013) What Your Clothes Might Be Saying About You. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/do-something-different/201304/what-your-clothes-might-be-saying-about-you. Last visited 11/13/18.
Fashion Psychology: What Clothes Say About You. Psychologist World. Retrieved from https://www.psychologistworld.com/body-language/psychology-of-clothing-dating-dress. Last visited 11/13/18.
Pena, Azalea (December 6, 2016). How Should A Modern Christian Dress? Christian Today. Retrieved from https://www.christiantoday.com/article/how-should-a-modern-christian-woman-dress/102734.htm. Last visited 11/13/18.
Laver, James; de Marly, Diana Julia Alexandra; et al (April 9, 2018). Dress-Clothing. Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/dress-clothing. Last visited 11/13/18.
© 2018 Marlene Bertrand