An Honest Look at Pants in the Light of God’s Word

sunflowers-with-bible-verse

Are pants permissible for Christian women to wear? You may be surprised by my opinion. To start out with, here’s what one Christian female author has to say about it:

What about Pants?

We cannot leave this subject without dealing with an issue that comes up over and over again. Is it permissible for a woman to wear pants? Deuteronomy 22:5 is cited as a prohibition against a woman wearing pants: “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.” To cite this verse as prohibition against women wearing pants, one must assume several doubtful concepts. Do pants pertain to men? What verse? According to the Bible, the common garment for a man is a skirt or cloak. Seventeen times the Bible speaks of men wearing skirts, such as Boaz, King Saul, and Aaron. One time, the Bible speaks of a woman’s skirt, and another time it speaks of God’s skirt. So, even God wears a skirt, as did the Scottish men and the Roman and Greek men of Old. American Indian men wore mini skirts. During Bible times, as far as secular history reveals, the only people who ever wore pants were Eastern women.

We want the Bible to be strictly our guide, but there is always a danger of reading something into it to suit our personal sense of propriety. Anyone with an open mind knows that the passage is speaking against transvestitism–cross dressing so as to appear as the opposite sex. The manner of dress would differ from one culture to another and from one era to another. Men and women are not to pervert and besmear the Creator’s designation of their sexuality, which essentially challenges God’s  “and it was very good” declaration of the distinctiveness of his crowning “male and female” creation. It is disturbing to see women blurring gender distinction in the way they dress, and it is absolutely disgusting to see a man dress effeminately. Males and females dressing out of their gender is clearly troubling to God, which is why he addressed the subject in his Word. It is an abomination to him, an affront to his sovereignty in the creation of mankind. Keep that in mind as you choose your wardrobe. Modesty is the principal rule of female dress. If you want to get provocative, do so in private with your husband. In fact, I recommend it, but when you come out of the bedroom and go to church or to the local store, dress as you would dress for the Judgment Seat of Christ.

[Original emphasis. Page 214, Created to be His Help Meet, by Debi Pearl]

When Debi says, “We want the Bible to be strictly our guide, but there is always a danger of reading something into it to suit our personal sense of propriety,” I couldn’t agree with her more. Please don’t be shocked with me here. I have been skirts and dresses only since the spring of 2012, and I love it! There are several very good reasons for wearing skirts and dresses only, which I will list at the end of this post; however, my sense of honesty demands that I admit the Bible never says women can’t wear pants.

I agree with Debi’s assessment of Deuteronomy 22:5, in that God is warning us against cross-dressing and blurring the line between genders. In my posts Abominable Cross-Dressing and So…Why Shouldn’t I Wear Pants? I talk about this verse in greater depth, and I do think that to disregard this admonition is serious. Some people question if it applies to us since it comes from the Old Testament, but I don’t agree with that. Why not? Because the way God created us doesn’t change: God made men to be men, and women to be women. Nature doesn’t change with the culture; people try to twist nature, but they can’t change it. So, since Deut. 22:5 is actually a warning for us to not try and twist nature, I can say with confidence, that YES, it DOES apply to us today.

However, God does not specify which style of clothes to wear. I realize that in Europe and modern North America, women used to wear dresses exclusively, and that changed because of the Feminist Movement; so, we are basically living out the legacy of those who were bold (and ungodly) enough to challenge men and women’s roles and the clothes that symbolized them. But, I think we must differentiate between society’s taste in fashion, and Biblical command. Women didn’t need to start wearing pants because of feminism: they might have just as easily decided that pants were more comfortable. The point is, even though we may not agree with pants because it goes against our “personal sense of propriety,” can we biblically make an argument against their usage by women? I mean, an air-tight, super-clear, no-doubt-left type of argument? And honestly, I don’t think we can.

So, even though I disapprove of pants for women, I must at the same time concede that wearing pants is probably not the same as breaking biblical law. I would like to suggest, however, that if a woman wants to wear pants, or if her parents (if she is still a minor living in her parent’s home) want her to, or if her husband wants her to, that she try to do so while still obeying the Bible’s clear instructions for female dress:

1 Timothy 2

in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.

Titus 2

the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

So, when choosing clothing, one must check it against these guidelines:

  1. Is it modest? Clothing should not reveal the crotch, the buttocks, or the breasts. That’s the basics of what it means to be “modest.” I don’t see how anyone can honestly say that tight-fitting pants or blouses fit with the description “modest.” As women of God, we shouldn’t be trying to get away with as little as we can wear (or as tight as we can wear) and still be “kind of” modest; we should be diligent and passionate in trying to do as much as we can to live up to God’s priorities.
  2. Is it proper? Judge for yourself: Is it proper for women to show off their bodies to men who are not their husbands? Is it proper for women to show off their crotches and buttocks in tight leggings to men who are not their husbands? Is it proper for women to show off their breasts when they lean over in loose-collared blouses? I could go on and on, but I think it should be clear to us what is proper and what is not, if we would just give the matter some thought.
  3. Is it moderate? I do think that God wants us to dress and adorn ourselves in a way that isn’t excessive or “blingy.” Wearing expensive clothes does not show moderation; wearing lots of jewelry does not show moderation; and wearing clothes that reveal more of our bodies than they conceal does not show moderation. I would like to add, however, that moderation goes the other way, too: it isn’t moderate to reveal too much, but neither is it moderate to drape ourselves in sheets or sacks that cover everything except our eyes. Let’s not get extreme.
  4. Is it discreet? My box of nursing pads advertises that they are “discreet,” meaning that they don’t show noticeably under clothes. Discreet obviously means to conceal, or hide, something that you don’t want others to see, something that it isn’t proper for them to see. What should women conceal? That which it wouldn’t be proper for any man but their own husbands to see.
  5. Is it chaste? Chastity, to me, means being pure and holy. Virgins are chaste when they guard their bodies from sexual contact; married women are chaste when they guard themselves from adulterous affairs. Both unmarried and married women can practice chastity in their behavior and mode of dress by not drawing attention to those things that would promote impure thoughts in another.
  6. Is it clearly feminine? In accordance with Deut. 22:5, a woman needs to look like a woman, without there being any confusion on that point. What kind of clothes show without a doubt that you are a female? I would stay away from unisex styles, in preference for those that are specifically feminine in style.

If you can create an outfit with pants that meets those criteria, then I could accept that you are probably living within biblical boundaries. Here are some examples I found online that I believe demonstrate this:

Cowl Neck Fleece TunicEmbroidered Yoke Thermal TunicFloral Tunic

[Found on Blaire’s under “women’s tunics”]

Regarding the tops: notice the modest necklines, the loose but not sloppy fit, the feminine details, and the long length. As long as the pants are loose fitting (such as what the girl in the green top is wearing), I think they could be appropriate. I would stay away from tight-fitting pants, or ones in a very light color (such as what the girl in the pink top is wearing–love the shirt, but the pants are too light to be modest).

Now, ladies, I am trying to be open-minded in accepting that there may be several variations on a woman’s attire, including pants, that could still be considered “biblical.” We must be honest, and not try to make the Bible say something it doesn’t, as strongly as we support women wearing skirts and dresses only. And yet, there are some very good reasons for living a skirts-and-dresses-only lifestyle:

  • More coverage. They cover up the “sexy zone” (crotch, thighs, buttocks, hips), better than pants. Even tight skirts, though certainly not advisable or proper, cover up the crotch better than tight-fitting pants do.
  • Promote feminine movement. They force us to cross our legs instead of sprawling them apart like men; they make us take smaller, dainty steps, instead of long, manly strides. They require that we take precautions to protect our modesty that we normally wouldn’t think about if we just flew about in jeans everywhere we went.
  • More feminine. Women often don’t have a problem wearing pants, but most men would NEVER wear a skirt or a dress. So, skirts and dresses are STILL the exclusive domain of women in most regions. Skirts and dresses highlight our femininity by creating a greater contrast with male clothing.
  • More comfortable. As long as they are loose-fitting and long, they can be very confortable. I always wear leggings under mine; they keep me warm in the winter, and keep my legs from chafing in the summer; they also keep me modest if my toddler tugs on my skirt or lifts it up a little.

Denim Button-Front DressTwin Print DressEmbroidered Sleeveless Dress

[Found on Blaire’s under “women’s dresses”]

These are a few examples of dresses that I consider modest (at least they could be, with a little tweaking) and feminine. They are plenty long, and flow loosely. I especially love the denim dress; it looks so comfortable. The yellow floral one is my next favorite; however, the neckline looks a bit low. I would put another shirt underneath. The pink dress is pretty; the only thing it needs is a shirt underneath, since it isn’t modest to show off completely bare arms.

I’m going to say something to the folks who are thinking right now, “so what’s so bad about having bare arms”?

As a woman, whenever I see a man in a sleeveless top, I immediately feel my cheeks blush in embarrassment. Obviously, I don’t see men in tank tops very often; but when I do, I notice biceps and other manly stuff right away. Not because I’m looking for it, but because it’s right there in front of me. I would much rather for men to wear regular T-shirts. Now, put it the other way. If it’s so hard for me to see a man in a tank top, how must it be for men to see women dressed that way?

To conclude:

I think pants might be permissible, biblically speaking, if worn modestly and femininely. Nevertheless, I still uphold skirts and dresses as the ideal for Christian women because I consider them to be superior in modesty and femininity.

So…what do you think? Please share your thoughts on the pants versus skirts/dresses-only issue! What do you think about Deuteronomy 22:5? What do you think it means to dress “modestly”? I look forward to reading your comments!

~Jessica  

 

 

 

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48 thoughts on “An Honest Look at Pants in the Light of God’s Word

  1. Great post Jessica! I pretty much agree with everything you said. I don’t wear dresses and skirts because I believe it is a Biblical command, but because I want to do everything I can to be as feminine and modest as possible. I do believe that it’s possible to do those things and wear pants, but it seems silly to put so much effort into finding the right kind of pants that go with the right kind of top etc., when I can just wear a skirt (and I also find that the physical symbol of it reminds me to keep God on my mind throughout the day).

    I will however admit that I have been wondering about certain activities. My husband and I like to snow shoe and also go sledding with the kids a lot. Here in New England there is a lot of snow and very cold temps. I used to wear snow pants to sled and winter ski gear for snow shoeing and this is my first winter wearing skirts only, so it’s been on my mind.

    I think I could snow shoe with a long skirt and warm leggings, but I think that would be an issue sledding (the snow pants keep you from getting soaked when you fall in the snow). But seeing as how snow pants are so puffy and basically make you look like a fat snowman I don’t think there is an issue of modesty. I know you are in Arizona so you might not have dealt with this issue, but any thoughts?

    God Bless,
    Corinna

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    • Hi Corinna!
      I think that snow pants should be fine. Like you said, they are puffy enough to cover your body, thereby keeping you modest. I would say that snow pants could be an exception to the skirts and dresses only lifestyle, since they do have a practical purpose, and perhaps even help you stay safe (no tripping over your skirt in the snow, no getting soaked). I wonder if there are any websites dedicated to “modest snow skirts”?
      Jessica

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      • If you were out in the elements, wearing a skirt and exposing your skin to harsh elements would not be wise. You need to dress accordingly: a hat, coat, gloves, under garments to keep not only warm but safe from the cold. You wouldn’t think of doing those activities without proper gear by the same token cover your lower extremities. It might be silly to put on a skirt over the puffy gear but that is for you to decide. Still, we have to be practical. Loved the article.

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      • Thanks, Felecia! I agree that we need to be practical. In the winter, I wear leggings under my skirt, which keep me very warm! There are fleece-lined leggings, too. I’ve heard of women wearing sweat pants under a long skirt in very cold weather, and they say that they feel very warm and comfortable!
        Jessica

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  2. Jessica,

    The Lord has blessed you with such a beautiful gift of sharing your thoughts so eloquently. I am glad that you chose to write about this topic, since it is one that rested on my heart for many years. It is just this month that I have cleared my closet of all pants, shorts and skirts that went above the knees.

    I whole heartily agree with your viewpoint. It is true that a woman can feminize her pants outfit, however, it takes more time and thought on how to do so. I love how the Lord blesses us women with simple gifts, such as head covering and modesty.

    It is interesting, in all of my working career, I witnessed women trying to break the glass ceiling, and they were always wearing pants on that act of climbing upwards. I suppose they thought there was a sense of power and authority found in wearing pants. However, I find that since I am wearing skirts and dresses, I find myself joyfully under the authority of my husband.

    Truly, this is blessed gift from the Lord.

    Melissa

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    • I think that you can feminise a ‘pants’ outfit with a feminine top etc and make it more modest by wearing a top which covers past your rear. But as you say it is a contrivance and my husband would point out that women wearing pants or leggings sits like a man and behaves like a man.

      You are right in pointing out that dressing appropriately does help you assume a more Godly role in all your relationships especially with your husband.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Melissa, I agree with everything you said! I only concede that pants may be allowable because I don’t want to read in to the Bible something that it doesn’t say (such as “women must only wear skirts and dresses”). But, just like you said, wearing pants does do something to us psychologically; or, rather, wearing pants can often be an indication of a psychological process that has already taken hold within us–that of wanting to be like a man.

      Thank you for the encouragement! I’m so blessed to know that what I have written has been helpful to you.
      Jessica

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  3. Thank you for this post. I think i agree with most of it but i had to grin when i saw the pictures of women with pants. Thats exactely how my grandma dresses and i love her but she is anything but modest.I have never heard anyone tell more dirty jokes but her. So for me personally these pics proof also that true modesty must begin at the inside not the outside. The fine tuning so to speak will be different from person to person but i d say if it is important to a person she will do her best to live out modesty.
    But i also think as sincere christians we are also a bit in danger to ‘oversexualise’ the world around us. A bit a relaxeder approach to what we see might make thing deasier. I notice in my non christian fsmily that they do things without any bad thought at all. They just dont think about it. So i tell myself to dont feel bothered to much and try to be a role model but only very discreet

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    • So, Ruth, you’re saying that my taste in clothing is the same as your grandma’s? Ha, ha. 🙂 Yes, I’m pretty conservative, and I love to wear stuff in pastel colors with flowers and beaded patterns.

      I agree with you that modesty is a dual pursuit: we should endeavor to cultivate inner modesty at the same time we exercise outer modesty. What we look like on the outside should be an outworking of what’s on the inside. But, even if our outside and our inside don’t quite match up yet, we can still dress modestly as a way to help remind ourselves to have modest behaviors. So, we don’t have to wait until we’re perfectly humble and feminine in attitude before we start to dress in a humble and feminine fashion. It just may be that what’s on the outside may help “pull” our inner maturity forward a bit.

      I think that non-Christians don’t think about gender differences much because they’re so influenced by society instead of by God’s Word. I don’t care if people think I’m not relaxed, since being relaxed is not my goal. I want to uphold gender distinctions as God teaches them and not get sucked into this world’s unisex lifestyle. Do I want to be gentle, kind, patient, and long-suffering with others? Yes. But I don’t have to do so at the cost of sacrificing the Bible’s clear teaching.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
      Jessica

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    • I gueß i annoyed you a bit with my comment. Sorry. But i personally tend to think too much about this modesty topic and i also tend to judge too much. I wish so much to see more christians care about these things.It would be great if it would just be the normal thing to do. Yet the reality is far from that. I am out of a family who does not believe in a life for Jesus. They wouldnt deny God but they certainly dont feel obligated to look into the bible for guidance. I am daily confronted with people who see things not nearly as conservativ as I do. If I would feel compromitted every time i see a man in a slefless top or if i see a ladys bra somewhere trough her top i d go insane. I gave it a lot of thought why they dont care more. But in the end thats just the point they dont care. It goes on from there. They life together without beeing married they watch movies that would scare me off… The only thing we can do is to create a pure home for our family. But the children still see at least some of it and they will have to decide for them selves. So my goal has become to stay as positive as possible and to try to not care too much for others .decisions. I hope by beeing very positive about our lifestyle we could make others curious.
      And yes taste is different for all of us. If yours matches my grandmas thats cool because exept for beeing sassy shes a tough and yet loving old lady. She had to duffer incest as a child. For years.And she has not been crushed by it but i gueß sexuality lost anything pure for her then.

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      • Sorry i got off the topic here just feel free to delete the comment but i wanted to explaine what made me writhe the first comment. I wear very often skirts and use pants for when i work outside in the cold season or also for winter sports or some outdoor stuff like biking or canoeing. This works well for me but my husband and i definigely prefer skirts as for a feminin style of dress. I believe these things can be handeld in various ways when modesty is kept in mind.
        I wear dark or black pants with a very simple style if i do.

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      • No worries, Ruth! Actually, I can identify a lot with you. I have faced that same tension of having Christian people in my life who dress immodestly or do other things that I truly don’t believe are biblical, and needing to be gracious toward them. For me, it is easy to start to feel bitter. Alone. Abandoned. Misunderstood. But, those feelings don’t help, just as you point out.

        I don’t feel I need to relax my views (so I may have misunderstood you), but I have found it necessary to relax my attitude. Instead of feeling resentful and discouraged, I maintain the hope in my heart that God is able and willing to speak to their hearts, in His time. I remind myself to have patience with them, just as the Lord continues to have patience with me. I remember that nobody is perfect, not even me (ha, ha), and that change takes time. I also remember that people can be stubborn, and they need prayer for God to break through the deception that is currently clouding their eys. And lastly, I try to be a model of cheerful obedience to the Lord, trying to “entice” them by my joyful, happy, peaceful attitude to come along with me on this journey.

        So yes, I understand what you are saying. 🙂
        Thanks!
        Jessica

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  4. Like Ao dai of Vietnam,some traditional garments for ladies in Asia are of long tunic with loose pants.
    10-20 percent of population are cathoric in Vietnam.In rural area,many cathoric ladies still wear Ao dai as modest formal dress when they goes to church,I heard.

    My neighbor Vietnamese girl wore Ao zai for her first communion.She is also cathoric.

    Nowadays surely many Asian people wear western style fashion.Maybe in some countries of Asia,what modernism and feminism brought in fashion means mini skirt,tight pants,short pants.

    My Phillipina friend told me that some churches in Philippines highly recommend ladies to wear dress and skirt while mass.(Long pants is also admitted.)
    Their traditional dress is loose one-piese dress.

    What we feel ‘It’s modest.’ may depends upon our traditional culture sometimes.Because in most culture,people think that lady’s traditional garment should be modest.

    I was struck by your seriousness.Thank you for sharing!

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    • Thank you, Sanae!
      Yes, I do think that there may be different variations of “modest” and “feminine” styles depending on the culture. I looked up Ao Dai, and I agree that if worn loosely and with plenty of coverage, it could indeed be acceptable as modest and feminine dress for Christian ladies. I’m glad you pointed that out!
      Jessica

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  5. As always I am impressed by your application to Biblical teaching.

    To me it is very simple. God designed us as women, distinct from men with a completely different role and purpose and he asks us to glorify his name by accepting and embracing that role by expressing our femininity.

    For many many many hundreds of years in Western culture women have dress in skirts / dresses and in our culture they are an outward expression of our femininity. They also have there origins in the belief also from God that we should cover our bodies modestly which means not disclosing the shape our bottom, crotch or thighs – arguably of our legs – full stop.

    I wear a skirt to cover my body as God commands and to glorify him in proclaiming to the world that I am proud to follow the path which he set for me and my daughter.

    .

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    • Wonderful, Susanne! I agree with you. I think that long, flowing skirts and dresses are softer and more gentle, a true reflection of what our character should be as women.

      Skirts and dresses also “curtain” our feminine areas; this is important for visual purposes, but I think, also for health purposes. It isn’t good for us to have tight clothing in our feminine areas since it restricts blood flow and rubs in places that are sensitive during pregnancy and after childbirth (which is what God made a woman’s body for, contrary to what our birth-control crazy society believes).

      I feel the same as you, that modest and feminine dress glorifies God because it proclaims our submission to the role He designed for us. Absolutely!
      Jessica

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      • There is absolutely no doubt that skirts and dresses are more compatible with the ‘design’ of our bodies and much more flattering on the ‘real’ shape of women who are mothers. It also depends on your standards of modesty but I don’t feel that the trousers / pants even loose ones are ever really modest.

        Of course a skirt / dress needs to be long enough to completely cover your knees whatever you are doing, not to be see through and not to cling.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Just to dip in to the comments, I think that a more fitted top goes best with a looser bottom end of things, and vice versa. I don’t think we need to hide our on top contours as women, just dress in a nice well-fitting way. If the top were more fitted, then a looser skirt is probably appropriate. I think too much looseness is just not flattering, especially in winter with the heavier fabrics.

    I wear jeans on occasion only now, and do feel manly when I do (it has been a gradual thing, and I have to say since covering my head I have felt much more conscious of it). I also wear jodhpurs for riding and jogging trousers for the gym.

    Really though, I personally think that it comes down to fear of the Lord. When we have that, it will be imparted to how we dress. I think there is a real lack of fear of the Lord even in Christian hearts, and that is why there are so many overlaps with worldly ways of living/dressing etc. The fear of the Lord surely should be our distinguishing feature as Christians and how we dress is one way to demonstrate it.

    Thanks for sparking discussion on this!

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    • You make to very good points. That this is ultimately about the fear of God, and how you feel about how you dress, what you show and how it expresses his design for you as a woman in his sight (a big factor with head covering as well).

      Secondly I think the point you make about feeling “manly” when you wear jeans and how increasingly that feels wrong is also true.

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  7. Wow! I’ve never heard anyone who lives this lifestyle actually concede to that point, and that is one issue that I have had with it. I think that most people who stick so staunchly to the Deuteronomy verse to explain this lifestyle of theirs HAVE to know, at least to some extent, at least subconsciously that this issue is not what that verse is addressing.

    That being said, I surely do understand the point of “skirt-wearing” (as the blogosphere has affectionately named it) that you have explained. As someone who, for a while, has been struggling to redefine my Christianity and truly find God and myself in the process, this is a refreshing take on it. I attempted “skirt-wearing” and, honestly, I didn’t think one way or the other about it. My main problem was that I could not say with a clear mind one definitive reason why I should continue, other than “Well, some people think this is what God wants for women, so I’m trying it out.” Doing this, however, even for a short period of time did teach me a lot about what it really means to be “modest.” Although I haven’t continued wearing skirts only, I am not opposed to it if something were to happen and I felt without a doubt that’s what God wanted for me – AND I now am more careful about the way that I dress. I never dressed “for attention” so to speak, but now I am careful to intentionally do the opposite.

    I think that it really all has to do with your intentions and heart. If your intentions in wearing skirts is to gain attention from it, that is certainly not holy nor pleasing to God in any way. But if you do it to be meek, that’s another story.

    God bless, Jessica. Keeping my eye out for new posts. 🙂 ❤

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    • Thanks, Priscilla!
      I personally don’t know anyone who wears skirts to gain attention. Every lady I know who wears skirts/dresses only does so to honor God, DESPITE how uncomfortable it makes her.

      I think sometimes we are quick to excuse ourselves from obedience to God’s standards (in this case, modesty and discretion) by debating whether to do so would not be a case of our “drawing attention” to ourselves; however, might that not be our flesh trying to worm it’s way out of doing something that makes us uncomfortable? Could it be that maybe we are too weak-willed to go against the crowd? I’m not saying you are, I’m just pointing out something I’ve observed. What do you think?
      Jessica

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      • I agree although I just don’t get why women consider it so difficult or uncomfortable to wear a skirt.

        My personal experience is that the conviction for modesty and then the conviction that to do so should mean skirts and dresses only grows as you do so.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Honestly, I do feel that you are trying to say that I am “weak-willed” by the nature of your comment. I’m not mad by that, think what you will, just pointing that out. 🙂

        My thoughts on this subject come from a strange place, as I grew up moving from church to church, different denominations and different beliefs about certain things. I do not believe I am too weak-willed to follow God’s way, so to speak, to go against the crowd. I do, however, know plenty of women and men who subscribe to the “skirt wearing” mindset and they don’t really care about any other aspect of their faith. I mean, they do, but they don’t – if that makes any sense. When my family attended this specific church a few years back – although that I had conformed to their belief of skirts-only while we were there, since I didn’t grow up there my hair had obviously been cut – and they condemned me for that. One of the girls I knew there, of course she was maybe 17 so her words may have been tainted with naïveté, but she told me that I was basically going to go to hell because I had cut my hair previously.

        As an adult trying to navigate the deep waters of Christianity and marriage and how those connect together, I found your blog and decided to give skirts another try. In doing so, I did my research and found out the exact same thing that you posted in this blog. The Bible DOES NOT say anywhere that you have to wear skirts, or never ever cut your hair for that matter. (Yes, I know the “hair is the woman’s glory” thing, but if you read up on the Nazarite vows you might find out some more interesting information on the subject.) Does this mean we should walk around naked? No. Does that mean we should, as you say, get away with as much as we can? No!

        I think my original comment was misconstrued. I never said that it made me uncomfortable. An actual quote from my original comment about why I decided skirts-only was not for me: “My main problem was that I could not say with a clear mind [one definitive reason] why I should continue, other than “Well, some people think this is what God wants for women, so I’m trying it out.””

        I hope you understand what I’m saying. I am not disagreeing with your original blog post, and I don’t think that I said anything mean in my original comment. If you took it that way, I apologize. I meant it as sort of an outsider-looking-in perspective, because I do read your blog, and I do enjoy it, although I don’t prescribe to all of your specific values.

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      • Hi Priscilla!
        You bring up an interesting topic when you refer to the Nazirite vow. Here is an article from The Head Covering Movement which deals with that:
        http://www.headcoveringmovement.com/articles/what-about-men-like-samson-who-had-long-hair

        I think there is one important thing which should be kept in mind regarding the Nazirite vow:
        It was an EXCEPTION to the normal order. An example proves useful, here. God tells us, “Thou shalt not murder.” Murdering/killing another human being is wrong. How then, could God command the Israelites to kill the people already living in Canaan when they were coming in to the Promised Land? Isn’t that against His own command? It is, but since He’s God, He has the right to make exceptions to His own commands. Similarly, the Nazirite vow constituted a God-ordained exception to the normal order of things. Exceptions are, by their very nature, NOT the norm. So, we should not consider long hair on a man, or short hair on a woman, as biblically NORMAL or ACCEPTABLE, UNLESS God allows for an exception in that person’s case.

        As for skirts and dresses: I have only addressed the Deuteronomy verse in this post. However, there are good reasons (from the Bible) to believe that God considers a long, tunic-sort of garment (similar to skirts and dresses for women) to be sufficient coverage for our nakedness. Pants are usually tight-fitting, and though they may cover the skin, they don’t cover our “nakedness,” since they reveal the SHAPE of our bodies beneath. Therefore, my opinion is that we should either wear modest skirts or dresses, or wear pants that are LOOSE enough to conceal the curves of our bodies (with a long shirt which covers our bottom paired with it). This doesn’t mean wearing a sack; it does mean, as you say, not drawing attention to ourselves. Do our pants conceal the shape of our buttocks, crotch, hips, and thighs?

        I suggest this, for anyone who is unsure: Look at yourself in a mirror. Turn around and look at yourself from all angles. Do you look “attractive”? (in other words, do you “attract lustful attention”?) Do you look “sexy”? Are your buttocks clearly outlined? Is the shape of your legs and thighs clearly outlined? Is your crotch neatly outlined? Can you HONESTLY say that you are “modest,” “discreet,” and “chaste”? Doing the right thing isn’t about receiving a sign or a feeling from God; it’s about knowing what the right thing to do is, and doing it. If we are unsure of what the right thing to do is, we should study His Word diligently to find out. And yes, study usually takes time. People change slowly. This is true for myself, as I am sure it is true for others. And sometimes, even after much study, we will still disagree, and that is okay.

        In my experience, I have seen that people do tend to excuse themselves from obedience to God by saying that they don’t want to “draw attention.” But, this is often just a “misdirection.” I once heard a young man say he didn’t like to wear T-shirts with Christian messages on them because he didn’t want to “draw attention” to himself. I wondered if he said that because he was humble, or because he was trying to avoid embarrassment. I’ve heard headcovering opponents say they don’t want to “draw attention” to themselves by wearing a headcovering; or that other Christian women who do use a headcovering are “drawing attention” to themselves by their practice. And, I have often felt that this accusation was just a way of diverting our attention from what the Bible actually teaches in favor of doing what makes us less uncomfortable. Because, I’ve noticed that people don’t mind drawing attention to themselves by wearing nice jewelry, or by sporting a cute jacket, or by driving a shiny new car. No, they are only against “drawing attention” when it has to do with something that is not the common practice, religiously.

        Am I aiming that at you? Not necessarily. I am pointing out an observation I’ve made, in the hope that we will ALL benefit from a more balanced view of things. You were worried that some people might wear skirts and dresses in order to draw attention, and therefore warned us against it. So, I made it a point to balance out your (fair) warning by asserting that it is not ALWAYS the case that people are doing so to draw attention (though I know you weren’t saying that is always the case; I merely took that precaution for the public in general who may have that idea). Maybe it is sometimes the case, but not in my experience. If you find that your motives are being challenged, that is for you to decide. I don’t know you well enough to say. However, I can say that it is always a GOOD thing for ALL of us to analyze our motives, since as human beings, we are usually very accomplished at self-deception. Sometimes it is useful to hear from someone else who, as you say, has an outside perspective.

        As for your experience with those weird people from one of the churches you went to, I am sorry that someone told you that if you have short hair, you are going to hell. That is WAY out of line, and COMPLETELY inaccurate. Dressing modestly, wearing a headcovering, having long hair, etc. are things I (and many other women) do because we want to please our beloved Savior, NOT because we think it will save us. And you are right, there is much more to the Christian life than skirts and dresses! I think we should treat the Christian life HOLISTICALLY, and try to not emphasize one area out of proportion from the others, but work on all areas SIMULTANEOUSLY. Obviously, though, some areas do deserve more attention than others; but, ALL of God’s commands are for our benefit, and if we neglect them, even the small ones, things will slowly get out of order.

        Priscilla, I appreciate your honesty! I’m truly pleased to see that your are so open-minded! So, don’t think I’m attacking you, or something. I just noticed that you are open to a good discussion, and since I love good discussions, I am more than willing to contribute. However, I don’t want to seem argumentative. So, please forgive me if I’ve come across that way! 🙂

        Thanks for reading my blog, and for taking the time to respond to some of my posts.
        Jessica

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      • To be fair, the Bible also says and records instances of men having long hair and wearing skirts or tunics. If women are to do this, according to your logic for God’s glory, shouldn’t men also? Men must also be modest. It would be unfair to simply put that upon women if it is, in fact, the way that things were intended to be – especially since the Bible states that God does not “see” gender the way we do.

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      • Priscilla,
        Which men in the Bible had long hair? Could you be more specific? I can think of Absalom (who was a vain man–certainly not an example to follow), Samson (Nizirite vow), and John the Baptist (Nizirite vow). I know that Paul took a temporary Nazirite vow, and shaved his hair off at the end of it, in order to get back to the “normal order” of things. Even though we see a lot of paintings of Jesus in long hair, those are only creative inventions. Jesus most likely had short hair, as was common for all Jewish men of his time.

        Men wore tunics in Bible times, and I never said I am against men wearing tunics. Men in the Middle East wear tunics and long robes, and I think that’s fine. I do think pants are fine, too, since they cover the same areas of the body that a long tunic would. BUT, they need to be loose and not tight-fitting.

        I agree that men also need to be modest. They should wear loose pants, and not tight ones. I don’t see any inconsistency. However, we do need to observe that men and women’s bodies are different, so the way they approach modesty will naturally be somewhat varied after taking their different body shapes into account.

        Also, their roles are different (as prescribed by God), and their clothes should reflect those differences.

        I don’t know about God not seeing gender the way we do. What do you mean by that? I get my ideas on gender from the Bible, which tells us how God sees gender. Sure, in Christ there is neither slave nor free, neither male nor female; but, that doesn’t release us from living within the roles that God has designed for us, and by extension, the clothing that helps symbolize those roles.

        Thanks for deepening the discussion with those points.
        Jessica

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      • I agree that we should look at Christianity and our relationship with the Lord “holistically” as you put it. That’s a great word for it. 🙂 Also, just a disclaimer, I wasn’t stating that you or even the majority of people who wear skirts only are doing it for attention. I was using it and my experience as an example – that the intention, and that the heart behind something makes a huge difference.

        I think this “holistic” approach should also be translated over to our interpretation of the Bible – taking into account not only the original language it was written in, but also the historical background and geographical area. I am absolutely NOT (caps for emphasis not emotion lol) saying that some things in the Word are not “for today” or anything of the sort. But what I am saying is if we look at their culture and HOW it relates to ours, we can better apply the scripture’s commands and morals to our lives. And quite honestly, I think that may look different for different people depending on who God inherently created them to be.

        Paul even wrote to the Corinthians, I believe, concerning all of the Christians’ in that area’s very different and very specific beliefs about different things. Essentially, he told them all to just live with it. Lol. So I think it is good to converse and read about and fellowship with those who believe differently than you even in your own religion.

        Wow, rabbit trail. Anyway. I will end it with this: the truth is that I don’t know whether God prefers me to wear a skirt all the time or not. Part of me thinks that as long as I am doing my best to glorify Him He doesn’t care, so long as I’m not dressed in nothing. Haha. But you know what I mean.

        I think the same is true for you too, but that you should certainly follow your convictions as I follow mine.

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      • I should add, that even though some women wear skirts/dresses only to honor God despite how uncomfortable it makes them, the discomfort is usually only at the outset. Initially they feel uncomfortable, because the change is still so new, and they are worried that other people will think they are weird. But eventually, they really start to enjoy wearing skirts and dresses only, because it is often more comfortable than pants-wearing, and because they discover how beautiful and feminine it makes them feel.
        Jessica

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    • 🙂
      I think it can also be vice versa. I mean, just speaking personally since I didn’t grow up in a skirts-only household for the majority of my life, when puberty hit I wasn’t really aware of my body. So, looking back at some pictures of my 13 or 14 year old self, I can say that I was in fact dressed “immodestly,” BUT it was never my intention to do so. I believe that God doesn’t consider this specific phase of my life to be me living in sin, so to speak. Because it was never my intention to show my breasts to everyone. I just didn’t really realize that I actually had them for like 3 years lol. God bless.

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      • I am sure you are right – innocence is hardly a sin ! In fact I think you are very lucky to have grown up in an environment where you were able to retain such a degree of innocence. Although perhaps your mother should have been more careful on your behalf and guided you accordingly.

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      • Indeed I was. Of course, I faced my own set of problems because of my particular situation, but doesn’t everyone? Haha.

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      • It is a whole other topic but I do believe that as parents we have a real responsibility to protect and preserve the innocence of our children (one reason I am very much opposed to sex ed in schools etc). But at the same time to instil a sense of modesty into children from a young age and especially for our daughters to really understand how important it is to dress with dignity.

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      • Oh, certainly. I don’t have any children of my own but I plan to do just that. My own situation growing up was rather… Different. I was taught about God but, there were extenuating circumstances I’m not going to get into. Anyway. As an adult it is now my responsibility to know and be aware of such things.

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      • Sadly secular culture and feminism would have us believe that instilling modesty into children is wrong because it gives them ‘hang ups’. Clearly the opposite is true our culture of immodesty has lead to huge teenage body image issues.

        I’m afraid we believe that modesty should be taught in an age appropriate way but from as soon as possible and included in that for my daughter has always been awareness of modesty in a skirt / dress.

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  8. I have studied this topic a lot since i part of a church that held ‘skirts only’as just next to the croß salvation issue. Then they dropped the dreß code.Things have changed completely after that.Preachers who advocated this theology quoting the Deutronomy verse switched their opinion to the opposite reacting annoyed if anyone dares to still wanting to discuß the ‘skirt issue’. We are free in Christ is now the slogan. There has been a church split over this. Since i didnt grew up in this church all this has been very irritating to me. When i joined them i honestly thought, wow, THATS the real thing. After experiencing this proceß of change i wanted to know wha the bible really teaches. And what i found out is matching Jessicas conclusions. It was nice to read your sincere post on this and sparked some further thought but also renewed conviction. This blog is a nice place to go 😃

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    • Regarding whether it is attention seeking, how about if it is to gain attention for our King?! I don’t mean in a self-glorifying way, but I do see it like the make up issue. I would love people to see how I dress and to think that I look womanly and neat and attractive (in a healthy, ordered sort of way), and for them to attribute that to me being a Christian, or to see it as somehow part of my ‘religion’ (not my word!). Or for it to make them think – to notice anything about me that may be a witness to God’s reality and the power of Jesus in a life (that is my ideal, I’m not saying that has ever happened so far as I know!).
      So I guess the only attention I don’t want, is any that would be non-glorifying to God – and when I rush out without having really made an effort with what I’m wearing, I do often feel like that!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Such good points, Jacqueline! Kind of like what you said about another post: “Why shouldn’t we be joyful in how we adorn ourselves, since our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit?” (I paraphrase you, obviously). I agree with you: as long as the attention is of the sort that would ultimately point back to God, then it’s okay to draw attention.
        Jessica

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      • I understand your point. 🙂

        I think it is important to note that people do this, too, though. It’s easy to get caught up in what you’re doing rather than who we’re serving, just from what I have observed in churches that prescribe to this lifestyle.

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    • Thanks, Ruth!
      I can relate to your disappointed and irritated feelings over what happened at your church. Just keep hoping in God, and praying, for the change of heart that is needed in your church. 🙂 As I’m sure you already are doing.
      Jessica

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  9. Only to add that when I started to wear skirts exclusively I didn’t see it as that important – as long as you were modest that was fine. But I do now think it is important, really important both because it is inherently more modest (I’m talking modest length etc etc) but also because we are women we are designed by God to be different – for a completely different role to men and we should show that we welcome and embrace that role.

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    • Good point, Susanne! I do agree that the fact that skirts help to define us more as women, and make the differences between males and females more apparent, is a strong argument in favor of their use.
      Jessica

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  10. One further point is that the opinion of your husband or if you are younger your parents is hugely important and I suspect that 90% of fathers and husbands would say that a skirt is more feminine.

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