Is It Wrong to be Fashionable?

This coming week I am giving a lesson on modesty to a group of girls.  In the lesson we will be discussing the “why” of dressing modestly — as revealed in my post, “If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It“.  But while I know so many Christian girls hold to the idea of modesty, choosing to honor God and their future mates by doing so, there does come the perfectly justified question of, “Is it wrong to look “fashionable”?”  In this post I am going to explore this question, if my readers will follow along.

First, let’s explore the word “fashionable”.  According to Webster, “fashionable” is “observant or conforming to the fashion; stylish”.  Another definition was:  “having elegance or taste or refinement in manners or dress; “a little less posh but every bit as stylish as Lord Peter Wimsey”; “the stylish resort of Gstadd” “.  So in essence, there are two different ways to be “fashionable”, and it would be beneficial to be able to determine which is more in line with the Christian walk.  As women of God, we are not to be conformed to the world (Rom. 12:2).  The trends in and of themselves are not all sinful or wicked.  There are some very attractive clothes that the world manufactures — but we’ll talk about that in a moment.  To begin this discussion we must first and foremost address our motivations.  WHY do we dress the way we do?  If a girl is addicted to the latest trend, self-conscious if she does not “fit in”, then fashion is an idol in her life.  She is conforming to the world through her attitude, not so much the clothes she wears. 

The second definition will be the theme of this post.  A woman with “elegance, taste, and refinement” fits with the description of the Proverbs 31 woman we all aspire to be.  Thus, it would logically follow that the Proverbs 31 woman was fashionable – but she was not conforming to every whim of the culture.  How do we strike this balance? How can we fulfill the potential of our beauty, and still honor God?  Some girls deny that any of the world’s fashions and styles are acceptable.  Others give our culture a little too much grace.  There is a median to be found — and while it will differ girl to girl, it is still worth thinking about.

By no means should anyone give a list of modesty do’s and don’ts concerning today’s styles — personal beliefs and standards differ too much to do so.  Rest assured, that is not what this post is about.  However, perhaps this will help my fellow women of God to think about their own style, and reconsider the why’s and how’s that go into it.  Let me establish one thing:  it is not a sin to be clean, hygenic and feminine.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that God expects it of us if we have been given the means.  We, as Christians, have a duty to represent Christ well.  Unfortunately, our culture is very externally focused, and will judge Christ by how we look.  Are we conforming to society by looking feminine and fashionable (in the best sense)?  No.  We are presenting Christ in cleanliness, purity and the beauty of our character and our external bodies. 

Looking stylish, or ‘classy’, as I like to say, should not be a lot of work, nor should it be a haphazard tossing on of clothes.  Every girl wants to beautiful, and every girl’s body is different.  Dress your body to enhance your natural beauty, not emphasize it.  What is the difference between ‘enhance’ and ’emphasize’?  To “enhance” is to simply build up, support and nourish what is already there.  To emphasize is to accentuate and draw attention to something.  Do you see the difference?  Good fashion will enhance your natural beauty, simply giving a classy, satisfying overall look without announcing “look at me!”. 

Now for the ever-present male factor:  yes, the guys will always be there, and they must be considered as well.  First, most fashions you will see today are indeed designed to draw attention to certain body parts that need not be “emphasized”.  However, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!  All that is necessary is discretion and prudence while shopping for a wardrobe.  If Christ dwells in you, He will guide even your fashion choices — and your motivations.  We must not — and you all know this by heart now — cause another brother to stumble by how we dress. 

On this topic, there can come a lot of confusion.  But I am going to go into only one facet of it.  There has been a statement in the past — “you are dressing for a man”.  While at first glance you may say, “No, I am not!”, in essence, you are. I am.  So is every girl and woman.  The married ones dress for their husbands, and we single girls — well, how you dress will determine the kind of man who will be attracted to you.  I am not saying you are consciously dressing to attract attention, which is what that statement implies.  I am saying that how you clothe yourself — punk rocker, athletic, frilly, or plain — will give a man an instant look at your personality, determining if he wants to get to know you when that time comes.  Dress immodestly, you get a lustful man.  Dress sloppily, you may get a lazy man.  Dress athletically, you may attract an active man.  Dress with frills and lace (which I lean toward), and you will probably attract confident, “macho” men.  The point here is NOT to dress for the purpose of attaining a man or male attention.  The point is that even subconsciously you are determining who you are and who you may befriend down the road.  Your fashion choices reflect who you are. 

 A godly woman, a classy woman, knows that fashion should be neither idolized nor ignored.   She knows that God must be supreme over every area of her life, including her dress.  She knows that vanity creeps in easily, and she keeps an eye on her pride.  And yet she is still clean, lovely, and presentable; an honor to Christ, her family and her future husband.  She is “elegant, tasteful, and refined”; refined in more than dress.  Refined in the heart.  Do you want to be this woman?

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4 Responses

  1. You may find the articles on my blog useful; also one that ‘Deb’ sent me which you’ll find as well, + a survey.
    mine:In the Town Square Corridors
    Garlands of Prudence-for sale

    Debs: Update to the Eleventh Hour

    online survey of guys: see Amazing Survey I Found Online

  2. Yes I do! 🙂

    Great, informative post, Phylicia! I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you for biblically explaining this difficult subject and giving light to our heart’s motivations. Keep up the great work!

  3. Dear Phylicia,
    Thank you for bringing up a sensative topic. It is important to dress in a way that pleases the Lord. In so doing we also need to keep in mind, as classy ladies, that the poor gentlemen around us have eyes and notice our beauty. What beauty do you want others to see first? You Godly inner beauty or your flesh? I am not against wearing pants and t-shirts but we really don’t need to be hinting at how robust our chest is or how clean shaven our legs are in order to dress classy.

    So, is it wrong to be fashonable? That all depends on each persons defanition really. Dress in a way that if it were God himself walking beside you He wouldn’t be taking off his rain coat to cover up all your specailties. *smile* For ladies, if a gentleman loves us for who we are on the inside then he will stick around forever. There is no need to wear a gunny sack, but really no need to “let it all hang out” either. *smile*

    Alright, I will go now. Just thought I would get my thoughts on the subject out here where you brought up the topic. *smile*

    Remember to keep God number one.
    Blessings, -me- (Mommy of two little blessings)

  4. Hi Phylicia! I found your blog through Kaycie’s. 🙂

    This was a very thought-provoking post. Fashion is a bit of an art form, I think. There are as many metaphors, symbols, connotations, tones and moods in it as there are in any literary or artistic work. You make a statement about yourself in the way you dress — it’s like a visual biography that speaks of your priorities and your goals. As you said, it should enhance what’s already there — both physical- attitude-wise — rather than painting a picture that is completely different from who you are.

    Great food for thought! Thanks for sharing, and have a blessed evening!

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