One of the most difficult things to address in terms of modesty and what to wear is the fact that fashion and what society wears changes over time. We’ve previously discussed the concept that men have not always worn pants, and the cultural bearing on what we wear, but I’d like to look deeper into what’s going on in our world today.
The Sexualization of Society
I find it interesting that the very first thing that happened when Adam and Eve fell was that they found out that they were naked. Certainly this had to be a strange thing for them– they probably expected to die from eating the fruit, but instead they were overcome with shame and wanted to cover their bodies. This is one of the things that I find interesting about evolution. If we’re all descended from animals that don’t have shame nor do they cover, why do we? How did we evolve shame? But I digress.
From that time until this, people have had a natural desire to hide their shame and cover their bodies. Now, granted, each time period has things that they want to show, for different purposes at different times, but that doesn’t stop the natural inclination to cover up.
There has been, through time, clothing that indicates the intent of the heart. As early as Jacob and Tamar we see that if a woman covered herself and wore a veil that it signified that she was a prostitute looking for “work”.
Today we have seen sexual desire– a very powerful and good thing within marriage– being used to sell beer, cigarettes, auto loans, Internet domain names, and even used to get people to church! It seems that sex sells everything– and it’s gotten to the point that the image of the woman that is baring it all is reinforced from all corners.
Beauty vs. Body
The difference is that every woman is given a body, but not every woman is given true beauty. You see, just like Tamar looked the part of the harlot– which attracted Jacob physically– she could also dress the part of the widow and carry sobriety and reflect her true person.
What you wear has the effect of telegraphing the message of what you are inside. Just like the bride’s gown shows that she’s about to or just has gotten married, what you wear and how you carry yourself have a big impact on what you are advertising– more so than you would imagine.
You see, to me, a lot of the conversation in this area has to do with “how long a skirt should I wear”, “how tight is too tight” and “does this blouse go down too far.” Those are really the wrong questions. For one thing, if it’s so close that you’re asking, don’t wear it! Secondly, a lot of things that could be borderline can cross simply by who you are on the inside.
This is why you get questions like “Can Pants be Considered Modest?” The answer is more obvious than is seems– it depends on who the woman is that is filling them.
Attitude is Half the Battle
Take, for instance, this picture on the right. By all accounts this could be considered to be a modest top. The sleeves are capped so no shoulder is showing. There’s no obvious cleavage, though it does show a lot of chest. This would be borderline in my book.
And yet look at her eyes and her face. Obviously this is the look the woman was going for– a “come hither” look. And that’s what makes something that could be considered borderline go over the edge. Now this picture says to me that the girl is teasing, and is going too far.
But I’m Just Trying to Stay in Fashion!
Have you ever really taken a look at what’s coming down the runways. I’m sure there must be a blog somewhere poking fun at some of the more ridiculous things that people wear that’s declared high fashion. Some of it I’m sure they’re only able to squeeze into once!
But I know what you’re saying. No woman (or man for that matter) wants to look like his clothes are frumpy. However, we must have these things in mind when looking at clothing:
- They’re selling clothes to make women think they are sexy. They are selling the tease.
- They do not care whether or not you are modestly dressed, whether it fits, or what body parts are displaying. They are interested in sales.
- We must search for things that are modest without question.
If we keep these things in mind, and cultivate a pure heart, we will be radiating the beauty from within– and any attention that we get will go to the One that made us.