Ok, so... my next post is on modesty! Definitely a 'hot topic' among christians today. Recently, I've even seen guys posting on this topic!
Before I launch into what I believe modesty to be and what I use as my guidelines, I want to touch on a much more important factor in modesty.
Modesty is, above all, a matter of the heart. If your heart isn't right you might view this post in the wrong way. Maybe you think I'm 'high and mighty' and that I think that my idea of modesty is the only right way. I'm not trying to present you with my view of modesty, but the Bible's. I can't say that modesty is something I've struggled with as far as the issue of wearing pants vs. skirts, but I have and still do struggle with finding a right balance of cute and modest clothing.
I've often read articles that say the same things I'm trying to say: 'modesty is a matter of the heart'... 'it's all about submission'... where these statements are very true, I think they are often misinterpreted. In these articles the authors go over their struggle with modesty and how they found their 'release'. They say that they realized that modesty wasn't about what you wore but about submitting to what God wanted them to wear. Some have said that once they realized that, they realized it was ok to wear pants... I disagree. If, as a daughter still living at home, my mom told me to do something... say, wash the dishes. I can agree with her that the dishes are washed. I might even rinse them and stack them. But, unless I carry out her orders the way she has instructed me to do them, I have not obeyed her.
Another thing I've heard ladies say is that they're not 'convicted' to dress modestly, even though they know it's in the Bible. Again, going back to the dish washing example... if my mom asks me to wash the dishes, but I tell her that I don't feel 'convicted', it won't go over to well. As my Pastor's wife points out "Conviction often follows obedience,not proceeds it".
"The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God."
"In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array."
I Timothy 2:9
Now I believe that the King James Bible interprets itself all the time, and that it can be taken literally. Modest means modest... "that which pertaineth to a man", pertains to men.
When women first started wearing pants, they wore men's pants. There was no such thing as women's pants. I know that now you can argue that there are 'male' pants, and 'female' pants, but I disagree... all pants 'pertain to men'.
Also, let's revert to some Greek here... in I Timothy 2:9 the Greek word for apparel is Katastole, meaning a long dress. Kata means down- a garment flowing down; and Stole- a long garment, covering, or wrapping.
Now, try to be honest with yourself! I've never seen a FLOWING pair of pants or shorts. Long lends itself to setting a certain length that makes a skirt modest.
Now is the moment where you can make a difference in your life, or you can just keep things the way you like them. I can't make you decide... nor will I try to. You have to take what I've given it and give it to God with an open heart. What does He want you to wear?? Remember, conviction often comes after obedience.
Now, I would like to share with you what I use as my 'guidelines' for dressing modestly. Everyone has different standards, there are some that are preference, some that are biblical... it changes with each person. I have different standards than my mom does. That doesn't mean that she dresses modestly and I don't, or vice versa. Again, as each individual makes the decision to dress modestly, they need to seek the Lord's will in all the specifics.
Neckline: I use the "two finger" rule. I feel for my collar bone and then allow two finger spaces below that.
Sleeves: I don't wear sleeveless shirts. I believe that the shoulders can be very 'alluring', so I stay away from showing them. I have read some guy's testimonies that they believe a sleeveless shirt can be almost like a 'teaser', if you raise your arms they can see your chest and armpits... I also try to make sure that my armpits don't show when I raise my arms because of that.
Shirts: I make sure that when I bend over or reach up - no matter what I do - that my shirt doesn't 'separate' from my skirt. 99% of the time I wear a tank top under my shirt, whether it's to cover up my neckline or not, and tuck it in to my skirt so even if the shirt comes up, the tank top is still covering my stomach/back. When I was in college I struggled with how tight my shirts were. Partly because I gained quite a bit of weight (gasp!! Don't tell anyone ;)), but also because I had never set a good standard. My dorm mom helped me out with this. I raise my arms, and check for tightness throughout my stomach and under my arms... (hmm... typing this delicately... I'm sure all ya ladies can figure it out :)) You should always try to make sure that your clothes are tight enough to show your a woman, but loose enough to show your a lady!
Skirts: Again, the rule "tight enough to show your a woman but loose enough to show your a lady" comes in handy with this. You should be careful that no curves are showing. Slips are very helpful with skirts made of lighter material as they tend to cling to your 'shape'. For length, I always keep them below my knees. I pay attention to the length when I'm sitting, especially with my legs crossed. When you're sitting, if your skirt is to short, people can see right up your skirt! My rule of thumb is three inches below the knee, but who carries a ruler to the store with them?? A good help is a dollar bill (or $5, $10, $20, whatever you have :)) folded in half, placed below your knee...
I hope this post helps you as you decide what God wants you to wear!!