This is part two in my series about why I personally choose to wear skirts every day. For part one, please read here.
Modest clothing signals to men that I respect myself as a woman, that I respect my body, that I respect my sexuality, that I respect the way men are visually wired and that I respect God – or, that it is at least possible that I respect those things!
I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. I Timothy 2:9
Men treat women very differently depending on their clothing. I have noticed that many more men open doors for me since I have changed my wardrobe. And I always make sure to smile graciously and thank them. When men treat us with special care because we are ladies, we need to show some beautiful gratitude!
OK – some ladies need to skip to the next subtitle here, please! You know who you are, precious sisters! :)
Immodest clothing broadcasts the message to men that I do NOT respect God, my body, my sexuality, or men – that I plan to use my body to try to have power over them, or that I am sexually available to them. Yes, you read that right. A man’s brain is wired so that the clothing a woman wears tells him a great deal about how sexually available that woman is to him regardless of his intentions and regardless of her intentions. That is why prostitutes dress to advertise their bodies. IT WORKS!
I know that sometimes we are not intentionally immodest, but when we bend over or kneel down to take care of our children, things can be seen that ought not to be seen. And here’s the deal. Whether it is intentional or not, immodesty causes problems for many men. That is why I think it is important to choose clothing that won’t have “wardrobe malfunctions.” We will have to bend over or lean over or kneel down sometimes, so we need to be sure that we are being modest even then.
Immodesty can actually trigger some men to look at women as objects to be used. There was a study at Princeton in 2008 that did brain scans of about 20 young men while they looked at pictures of modestly dressed women vs women in bikinis. And some men, not all, but for some – the area of the brain that would be active when looking at the pictures of women in bikinis was the part of the brain that is for “tools” – things to be used, objects. For these particular men, the frontal lobe of the brain did not immediately activate with the bikini-clad women – the part of the brain that acknowledges that the image is a person with thoughts and feelings. Now, this initial brain reaction IS overridable by men. A guy can stop his thought processes and consciously recognize that he is looking at a human being with thoughts and feelings. But I don’t see the point in purposely making things more tempting and difficult for the men around us – especially if we belong to Christ! Men in our culture are bombarded with sensual images and immodestly dressed women all the time. We can be an oasis of relief for them. AND when we dress modestly, we draw attention to our faces, our thoughts and feelings and our love for Christ instead of drawing attention to our bodies.
Whatever we use to attract men is what will keep them with us.
Godly men want women they can respect. They want women who dress so that other men aren’t ogling them. Our clothing is a billboard to the world that communicates a great deal about our level of respect for so many important areas of our lives! Our clothing, demeanor, behavior, attitudes and words are a reflection on our husbands – so we do need to look our best, feminine, attractive and beautiful – but not seductive in public. And our clothing, our behavior, our words and our attitudes are also a reflection on Christ. I pray we might choose our clothing wisely and find things that honor God and our husbands!
My little girl started watching PRINCESS movies around the same time I was studying about godly femininity. And it hit me – if Cinderella, Rapunzel or Aurora was wearing jeans and a t-shirt – it just wouldn’t be the same! Clothes obviously don’t make the person. The person is much more important than the clothing. But clothes do project a lot about our identity and priorities and about how feminine we are – to ourselves, to our husbands and to others. We have to wear SOMETHING! So – maybe it could be fun to wear beautiful things!
I really love choosing colorful, beautiful skirts to wear every day and it hasn’t been that big of a deal to me for the past 3.5 years not to wear pants/jeans anymore. Some women are afraid to suddenly change their wardrobe – they think people will ask a lot of questions. I guess it helped that I made my sudden change the week I started a new job. At my old job, we had to wear khaki pants and a red shirt EVERY DAY – so after 3 years of that, I was more than ready to try some feminine, colorful skirts for a change!
A few women have asked me about why I wear skirts all the time. Sometimes I just give a short answer, “I love skirts.” If they really seem interested, I may go into some of the reasons behind my choices. I have NEVER had a man ask me why I always wear skirts. I thought that was pretty interesting. Most of the time, people just say, “Oh! I LOVE your skirt!”
I wear sandals or flip flops in the summer and boots in the winter. I always wear a slip if the skirt is not completely opaque. I kept my jeans and khaki pants for about a year – and then realized, I don’t need them! I do wear yoga pants when I run. But other than that, and some pajama pants sometimes at home, I only wear skirts. I did ask my husband’s permission when I wanted to change my wardrobe and he was ok with it. For the most part, I only wear long skirts. There are a few dresses/skirts that come to my knees that I wear for my husband on special occasions.
There are actually some VERY practical aspects to wearing skirts I had never considered. When I wore jeans, it was a daily battle trying to figure out which pair fit on any given day – or even at different times during the same day – ladies, I know you know what I am talking about here! I love skirts because they are much more forgiving and if you gain or lose a few pounds or have some tummy issues, it doesn’t really matter much. LOVE THAT! And no riding up like with jeans and pants. Love that, too! And, in the summer, you get a lot more ventilation which is important in the south! I used to wear jeans all summer, that was REALLY HOT! I also love that in the winter you can hide all kinds of things under long skirts like leggings, long johns or yoga pants, and if your legs aren’t perfect, it doesn’t matter! No one has to see the spider veins or imperfections. If you do wear long skirts – just be careful going up stairs! You’ll have to hold your skirt up a bit so you don’t trip. :)
It can be difficult to find long skirts without slits. I had the best success online. A few places I have gotten some of my favorite skirts are Soft Surroundings (but they are a bit pricey – ranging from $75-$120), and several sites for muslim women. Their skirts are always ankle length, lined and no slits and have some beautiful embroidery work. There are also Christian modest clothing sites (www.hannahlise.com), and Jewish and Mormon ones. I often googled “modest long skirts.” And I have also had great results looking at Good Will!
Here are some sites to try. Some are not afiliated with any religious group, some are Christian, others are Muslim, Jewish or LDS. I am not promoting the theology of the non-Christian sites – but just letting you know where you can find some modest clothes if you are interested.
http://www.hayaaclothing.com – big selection of long skirts with no slits for under $30!
http://www.downeastbasics.com – a good selection of knee length and long skirts under $30! Also, this site has some slip “skirt extenders” that you can wear under shorter skirts to make them come below the knees. Very cute. Their tops tend to be a bit longer than many are today, which helps to keep things modest even when you bend over. They have dresses that go to below the knees and run $36-$45 for many choices.
http://www.hannahlise.com/ – a Christian site with long skirts and dresses without slits for women and girls.
http://www.jenclothing.com – very attractive modest dresses that come below the knee and have decent necklines. The swimwear is more modest than some styles today, but there are other sites with much more modest swimwear.
http://www.apostolicclothing.com – stylish, modern modest clothing and some vintage styles
http://www.livingmodest.com/subcategory_details.asp?ID_subcategory=9 (this is a list of different companies with modest clothing)
http://www.enwrapturevintage.com/36inchsilkwrapkskirt.html (wrap skirts made of vintage clothing. I LOVE these!)
For tops, I usually wear a crew neck t-shirt style solid color top. Button down shirts often gape on me and are sometimes tight around my belly so they just don’t work well for my shape. But I am sure they would work just fine on many figures. Some shell types of blouses with crew neck or jewel necklines work for me, but sometimes they are too sheer. Every woman will have to decide what she likes, what feels beautiful for her sense of style, what fits her budget, what her husband likes and what is modest for her particular figure.
The definition of modesty can vary widely depending on the culture, country and religious view various people have. My main goal is to try to cover my bases so that most men will hopefully not have an issue with temptation when they look at me. To some degree, each individual man who is looking at us has his own threshold of temptation. But since I really can’t interview them all and make sure I’m not causing them to stumble, I am going to do my best to be respectful and modest and then leave the rest up to them and God.
My favorite definition of modesty is “humility in clothing.”
I think it can get dangerous to have strict rules about specific inches and lengths – we can easily become very legalistic about this issue. I don’t think that glorifies God, either. Legalism makes it all about us trying to earn God’s favor – and we can never do that! It’s just not possible. That’s why He gives us His grace. That is a big problem with most of the facets of Christianity – they are about heart issues and wanting to serve and please God – they often can’t really be legislated with a bunch of rules. Modesty is NOT about demanding that other women must wear certain things. Modesty is a gift I give to the men around me and to God out of my reverence and love for Christ.
AM I SAYING ALL WOMEN MUST ALWAYS WEAR SKIRTS OR DRESSES?
This was a decision I came to because I believe it brings honor to God, my body and my femininity. I think there are modest, flowing pants that may not present much temptation to men – but the tighter the clothing, the bigger the temptation, and the less fabric, the bigger the temptation. Pants tend to be an issue for many men because – honestly – the eye is drawn to the hips and crotch area with pants. Each woman will have to hammer out the specifics for her wardrobe and style with God and her husband. I don’t judge what other women choose to wear. I just enjoy the freedom and blessings of my choices and savor my femininity every day!
I believe that we as women have to ask ourselves some tough questions
- WHY do I want to wear this outfit?
- Whose attention am I seeking? God’s or men?
- What is my purpose in dressing this way?
- How can I best glorify God and draw attention to Him with my clothing choices?
- Is it possible that my clothing could cause my brothers in Christ to stumble? And if so – how can I act in love to not put a stumbling block in their way?
I pray that You might work in our hearts. We live in such an immodest, ungodly culture. We have largely adapted to the ways of the world. Open our eyes to the lives You desire us to live and help us to obey You even when it is hard, even when it is inconvenient, even when it is unpopular or weird. Let us look and act different from the world to bring great glory to You alone!
In the Name and power of Christ,
The pink/brown one is from Taqwa Imam, the blue one is from Good Will! The dark green patterned skirt is from Soft Surroundings. The light blue and brown one is from Taqwa Imam, the purple one in the top left is from Israel!
this is a wrap skirt from enwrapturevintage (they are reversible and can be worn many different ways)
this is one of my favorites – from Newport News – very light and flowing viscose fabric