Is that a dress, or did you forget to put your pants on?

Hi Zipporah

I was in town the other day and I saw a girl wearing a “dress” and high heeled sandals, tottering around the shops and it got me thinking about fashion today. The girl in question, or rather the dress in question, resembled a longish t-shirt. It looked like the girl had forgotten to put her jeans on, and she knew it too by the way she kept tugging at the hem to pull in down. Another girl in a fashion store had the skimpiest, see through singlet over her lacy bra. Just gross (and she was serving customers). What was she thinking?!

So much of what we wear is a matter of context and culture, though I am not sure if there would be any context for wearing the above that would be acceptable, except in the red-light district, very late at night. Most young women just know when they are wearing something that isn’t appropriate, or at least the first time they wear it, they know. You see them tugging at the hems of their ‘dresses’ or pulling up their tops, but gradually, wearing these sorts of clothes on a regular basis, hardens them up though. Our hearts are wicked and deceitful above all things and our consciences are quickly seered and our hearts become hard. We enjoy the attention we receive, “it makes me feel more womanly” then justify what we wear to keep wearing it.

However, what we wear (and how we wear it) is a reflection of our heart attitude. It is of no use for me to dictate to you, how short your skirts can be before they are too short or how low your top can be before it is too low. It would be a natural desire to keep pushing those limits. Instead, think about your attitude every time you get dressed. Actually, I have been very pleased with the way you have been dressing while you have been overseas. Hawaii would have been a difficult environment to dress in a way that was cool (in the sense of temperature) and yet covered all the necessary bits, sensibly. ­čÖé I particularly liked the photo of you at the beach with the girls from uni and they were all in bikinis and then there was you, at the end, in shorts and singlet. Bikinis are just as if you were wearing your underwear in public for everyone to oogle at. And it’s not just the young guys that do the looking either. Every male on the beach would have looking at those girls bodies. Keep up the good work. I am sure that now that you are in Europe in winter this particular difficulty is not a problem, but what about wandering around the dorm in your pjamas? Just a thought.

So often girls like the attention they receive when they are wearing revealing clothes. Unfortunately, that doesn’t get respect from guys, just lust. Some girls can be blissfully unaware of the effect they have on men by not dressing in a decent manner. Believe me, boys, young men, old men will look and they are trying to connect up the dots/curves etc. It, all too often, gives the message that the girl is cheap and available (even if she had no intention of giving out that message). I had one young lady say to me “that it doesn’t matter what I wear because I already have a boyfriend.” Oh yes, it does matter. Firstly, she is tempting her boyfriend to lust after her by her provocative clothing, along with probably every other male she comes in contact with. She certainly looks more like the ‘world’ than is right or good and people would have difficulty believing she was a Christian.

However, I am not advocating that young ladies should wear a burqa either. I believe that a Christian woman should wear clothing that would be acceptable for a princess to wear. After all, we are daughters of the King of Kings. Clothing that is elegant, stylish, yet ┬ámodest, not frumpy or look like you couldn’t care less what you wore.

If you are uncertain whether something is ok or not, appropriate or not, think about whether it would be suitable for a king’s daughter to wear. If the top tends to sag a bit, pop on a scarf or wear a singlet underneath. If the skirt is a bit short, wear black 3/4 tights underneath. Perhaps think about going through your wardrobe with these things in mind and get rid of them. If it is too hot to wear a scarf or singlet, throw the top out, then you aren’t tempted to wear it. Take your mum shopping with you, haha, she’ll tell you what is ok.

Firstly, clothe yourself with the ever lasting beauty that comes from the inside. It is most dissappointing how the flesh sags and wrinkles up and bulges out as you get older (take my word for it) so work on your character and let it shine forth. When all is said and done, a truly beautiful woman is one that radiates peace, serenity, joy, love and care… in other words, Christ’s character. That is the beauty that really lasts.

Context and Culture: There are clothes that you would wear at the beach but not to the mall. There are clothes that you would wear to a bbq that you wouldn’t wear to church. There are clothes that are ok to wear in western countries that definitely would be unwise to wear in eastern or middle-eastern countries. It is a matter of wearing suitable clothing for the context and culture you find yourself in, within reason. This isn’t a license to wear what everyone else is wearing (like on the Hawaii beach) but it is about thinking about dressing in a decent and appropriate clothing.

Remember, work on who you are. Your character, your personality in Christ. That is the beauty that will last and really shine forth.

P.S. Wearing pjamas to the supermarket is never appropriate. (just so you know!)

N.B. A note to Mums who may read this:

(a) Start training your girls at a young age about suitable clothing. Don’t buy into the world’s thinking that a 2-3 girl should look like a mini adult. Keep going when they are 14 and wanting to look like their friends. Refuse to let them out of the house if what they are wearing is inappropriate for the event. Stick to your guns through the tears and the “I don’t have anything else to wear.”

(b) Look at what YOU are wearing. Are your tops a bit low, jeans a bit tight or dresses a bit short? Your daughters will follow your example and then push the envelope further. Women sometimes wonder why their daughters dress a certain way and yet the daughters are just following their mothers.

(c) For as long as your daughters are still living at home, you have the parental right to tell them what they should or shouldn’t wear. Even when Zipporah comes home from uni, I still talk to her about appropriate clothing, on the odd occasion it arises.

(d) Get your daughters to ask their father or big brother whether something is appropriate.