How The Modesty Wars Ruin Fashion

When I read an article about fashion and clothing written by Christians, why do I nearly always feel guilty and discouraged?

Most articles seem to be warnings against sinfulness for women. Don’t be too sexy and force men to lust, don’t dress to attract attention, don’t be consumed with worldly things. I can already see some of the headlines. It’s summertime again, don’t wear halter tops! Why you should care about God’s glory, not the latest fashions. Bathing suit season – you should probably wear shorts and a shirt over your one-piece. While modesty is a biblical virtue and warnings against sin are valuable, the one-sided barrage of negative fashion-related articles is defeating. Not only does this inculcate women with a sense of guilt over having breasts (especially curvier women), but it deflates any notion that we can celebrate fashion and style as Christians. Why do we automatically assign negativity to fashion and clothing? Why does “honoring God with our appearance” always seem like such drudgery?

We have sucked the life and joy out of fashion and style.

When we boil style down to the most effective way to hide our bodies, and when we boil fashion down to a thing to be regarded with suspicion,  we resort to joylessness.

God created you as a being meant to embrace and love beautiful things, a being made in His image. God created Cashmere goats and silkworms. He created a horizon with an innumerable palette of colors that Pantone will never be able to fully recreate. He created the couturier’s hands that meticulously sew gowns of breathtaking beauty and skill. He created the designer’s mind that imagines and then executes the style of clothing that will mark a decade. He created you that finds immense pleasure in dressing well.

We should honor God in the way that we dress and revel in the privilege of adorning ourselves with clothing that reflects, in some small way, the beauty of the world He created. For a love of style–like any love–need not necessarily be an idolatrous or otherwise misguided one.

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  • Jeff Cavanaugh

    There are a whole host of problems with the way conservative Christians tend to approach modesty (It tends to flatten beauty into bodies and bodies into sex and sex into sin, for starters) but this is one that’s often overlooked. Well said!

  • Jaclyn Hoselton

    I heartily agree!!

  • Faith Newport


    And welcome aboard–I’m excited that you’re here!