“Ten Modesty Makers”
By Shauna Wallace
I’m coining a new word today. Modestize. Here’s my dictionary definition:
mod●es●tize (mod′ә stiz′), v. 1. the action of taking an item of clothing or an outfit and making it modest. 2. a choice to love another by covering all sensual areas of the body. 3. adorning one’s outsides with inner beauty. 4. daring to defy the expectations of the world in order to glorify God with our bodies.
As we stand in closets and clothing stores everywhere, let us seek not just to modernize and accessorize, but to …
modestize. As Romans 12:1-2 exhorts:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Sometimes it’s hard to sacrifice a latest fashion to present our bodies holy and acceptable to God, but the alternative isn’t pretty: “As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion” (Proverbs 11:22).
What a picture! So let’s get practical. Here are “Ten Modesty Makers” we can use to guide our style selections…
- If in doubt, layer, or don’t wear it at all.
- If a top gapes when you lean over or sit down, revealing its contents, layer with an undershirt. A good rule of thumb might be that an undershirt or top should cover the entire décolleté to above the start of cleavage (or the valley of skin and bone, in my case), and no fullness of the breast should be exposed by the neckline.
- If you’re not sure about a particular piece or outfit, ask your husband: “Would other men find this sexy?” If the answer is yes, modestize it or change. If you’re a single mom, ask your son or another conservative, godly, and respected man in your life.
- For daughters, let dad have the final say. Ask the same question: “Would boys find this sexy?” If yes, modestize it or take it back. Again, single moms, seek the opinion of another man who can give you honest, biblical feedback.
- Consider your figure. Different styles have a different effect on different shapes. A skirt or pair of shorts that are the perfect length for my 5’ 3” body may be sexy and inappropriate on a 5’ 7” long-legged lady. A top that’s modest on my nearly flat chest may not cover enough on someone a little more busty.
- Know the fine line between close-fitting and tight. There’s nothing wrong with more tailored styles, but if something is so tight that absolutely nothing is left to the imagination, consider something a little looser. Many times, buying a size or two bigger solves the problem.
- When choosing an appropriate length for shorts and skirts, consider the shape and visual impact of the part of the leg that remains exposed. Whether a skirt is below the knee, just above the knee, or a certain number of inches below the crotch, measure the sexy of it and go from there. Skirt or dress too short? Add leggings.
- Establish standards early. If you don’t want your daughters wearing sexy bathing suits when they fill out, don’t let them get used to those styles as young girls. If you don’t want your daughters to wear plunging necklines, don’t wear them yourself. If you don’t want your daughters wearing mini-skirts and short shorts when they’re teenagers, set the standard early, and don’t let them wear them when they’re young. It’s easier to establish expectations early than to change them when they’re learning to challenge authority later.
- If an item or style is normally worn by a boy, let that be its use. Same for clothes or styles intended for girls. The Lord distinctly designed women and men to be markedly different in their looks, and our clothes and styles should not blur the line (Deuteronomy 22:5).
- Listen to the Holy Spirit. He will lead and guide you in all truth, even when it comes to fashion.
Overall, I want to challenge all of us to be radical in living for Jesus, including our dress and how we shop. When standing in the mirror or considering a purchase, ask: What does this outfit do for me? Why do I love it? What kind of response might it elicit from a male? At home, go through your clothes and ask: Which items are questionable and how can I work with them? What layering items can I add that will allow me to utilize the clothing I already have?
Make a list and have it with you when you shop. Take the time to be strategic. It will save you time and money in the end. If fashion and style elude you, ask that friend, you know the one, who can pull anything off and never pays full price. See if she’ll come to your house to help you assess your closet and assemble your list. I guarantee she’ll love it!
Lord, thank You for constantly refining us as we become wholly Yours, even in the way we dress. Help us modify our wardrobes in a way that brings You glory.
An inspirational writer, teacher, and speaker, Shauna Wallace burns with passion to see women experience the fullness of God’s grace, faithfulness, peace, joy, protection, and provision by becoming wholly His. Finding hope and life in God’s word motivates her to help other women discover God’s power to transform lives. Transparent and real, she opens her life and heart to encourage others. She and her husband, James, serve their church, community, and clients of their custom home building business. As a homeschooling stay-at-home mother of four, Shauna treasures the privilege of being James’ helpmate and training her children in the ways of the Lord.
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