Biblical modesty is so much more than an outward appearance, but it's a lifestyle. A Godly modesty deals with the heart and then portrays outwardly.

Mamas, Please Teach Your Daughters about Biblical Modesty

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I was saved for almost two years before I felt led to wear only skirts. I got saved in a Pentecostal church, a religious sect that is widely known for their attire, but I knew I didn’t want to just fall in line with what everyone else was doing.

I needed to know why I was making this sacrifice. I wanted to know that it was the right thing for me, and that I wasn’t blindly following religion, theology, or legalism. I knew that if I did it I’d never go back, so I needed to be prepared for the change. I needed to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was God’s will for my life.

Biblical modesty is so much more than an outward appearance, but it's a lifestyle. A Godly modesty deals with the heart and then portrays outwardly.

When I gave my life to Christ everything changed. I adjusted my dress based upon the scripture in 1 Timothy “women adorn themselves in modest apparel” and wore what I felt was modest. When I went to church, I dressed appropriately, abiding by the beliefs of the body. Not because I felt forced to, but out of respect for both my Savior, and the body of Christ.

We were riding home from a youth camp, I was about 15, and the Lord moved in that camp in ways I had never seen before. It was after midnight when we started the long drive home. I remember laying across the back seat of my mom’s SUV and saying “Mom, I think I’m gonna stop wearing pants.

Here we are, nearly 10 years later, and I’ve never been more sure about anything in my life. But there are a few things that you should know. So let me lay a little groundwork here; I am Pentecostal, I still only wear skirts. But I don’t believe that everyone must wear skirts to go to Heaven.

Let me be clear. I don’t believe that my specific conviction is the only way. Rather, Christ is the only way.

But I do believe in surrendering yourself (Matthew 16). I do believe in self sacrifice (Romans 12). I believe in what the Bible says, we should not look like the world (Romans 12), we should be modest (1 Timothy 2:9), we should be separated (2 Corinthians 6:17) we should be obedient (1 Peter 1:14).

Some months ago there was some sort of music awards show. The following day, all the daily talk shows were chatting it up about the styles that hit the carpet and who wore what. I happened upon a panel of ‘fashionists’ -is that what they’re called?- that were chatting about the trends from the night before.

The short dresses were praised, the plunging necklines were gawked upon, the high slits were ‘gorgeous‘ and the more revealing the ‘sexier‘ they were considered. Meanwhile, I had to practically cover my eyes from all the nakedness. Just kidding. Sort of.

Then there was Adele, and of course the comments began flying about her body image, her style. They made excuses as to why she should show herself off more. They said she needed to quit acting like a ‘grandmaw‘ with her high necklines, her longer dresses and sleeve lengths. Unlike the other women, she wasn’t praised, but objectified for choosing a more conservative style.

Not long after I listened to the panel rant about Adele’s level of self-confidence, or in their opinion, lack thereof, I came across a blog post that pretty much obliterated what was left of my mind. It was titled “Stop Teaching Your Daughter to Be Modest” and the rhetoric was all about the author’s lifelong struggle of self-confidence due to the church’s position on dress code.

Somewhere along the line, teaching our kids to respect themselves by following the Biblical view of modesty has turned into legalism and leading them to be ashamed of their bodies. This idea couldn’t be more false.

I’ve got news for you, folks. We are beautifully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14), but that doesn’t mean we’ve got to flaunt it. When I wear skirts, it isn’t my attempt at undermining my body’s shape or structure. When I check my neckline, it isn’t to cover up my femininity. When my hemline is my concern, I’m not worried about abiding by a corporate a dress code.

Covering my body does not make me shameful, it does not make me less of a woman, it does not mean that I lack confidence. Dressing conservatively is both a cause to protect my purity, my femininity, and a blatant warning against man’s flesh.

Rather a skirt or dress doesn’t get more feminine. A higher neckline conceals the some of the dearest elements of my womanhood. A conservative hemline makes a statement that my virtue is important and that my thoughts noble.

It means that I respect myself as a child of Christ. It proves that my body is a temple of the Holy Ghost. It shows that I am following God’s word by living a sacrificial life. It boldly states I will not conform to society’s thoughts, but to God’s will. It exclaims my love for Biblical principals and my heart after Christ.

My kids are expected to dress according to our conviction about modesty, but I will teach them why we do it as well. Through our example, they will learn about sacrifice. They will learn that empowerment is not using the body as tool for the world, but as an instrument unto Christ. They will learn about Biblical principals, purity, standards, and convictions.

A dress code does not imply that directly outside those limits lies sin. But it does serve as a guideline for you to mold yourself around. It means that those who enforce it love you enough to help you not fall into temptation, which then leads to sin.

If the Lord deals with you to make sacrifice, no matter what capacity, and you don’t do it, it is sin. If you struggle with modesty or lust and you don’t make sacrifice to change it, this is sin.

And sometimes you just sacrifice as an offering to God. No matter how simple, or silly, or blatant and serious it is. God delights in your sacrifice unto Him, and sometimes that sacrifice is just as equal to the obedience.

Modesty defined is “regarding decency in behavior, attitude, actions, and speech“. Biblical modesty is so much more than an outward appearance, but it’s a lifestyle. A Godly modesty deals with the heart and then portrays outwardly. It effects the way that you see people and the way that you treat people, the way that people see you and the way people treat you.

So yes, please teach your daughters modesty.

Teach them the importance of a Godly lifestyle. Teach them to be led by Christ. Teach them to find their worth in Christ, not in people or clothing or words. But in His love, and His might.

Biblical modesty is so much more than an outward appearance, but it's a lifestyle. A Godly modesty deals with the heart and then portrays outwardly.

If you’re looking for some reading material, the Girl Defined book is amazing, and comes highly recommended!

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23 Comments

  1. I am inquiring about a skirt you sold or you put up a pattern for. It was blue, I think wool, and had buttons going down the front or side. I cannot find it to buy nor the pattern. The girl has a cream colored sweater on, standing in the middle of a field.

  2. Catherine Rice says:

    Thank you so much for this post, Brooke! It is super-encouraging to me, as I have recently been convicted to change to a skirts-and-dresses-only lifestyle (for a number of reasons). I had been thinking for quite a while about transitioning away from wearing pants, but had prayed about it recently and God clearly showed me that it’s something He wanted me to do. I found this post encouraging: https://truthathome.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/why-i-wear-skirts-and-dresses-only/ and thought you might want to check it out. πŸ™‚ God bless you, and thank you for standing for Biblical modesty and femininity!

    1. Elizabeth Rochelle Dickson says:

      While I don’t especially go for the Christian view of modesty (I just can’t with the expectations foisted on women that men are not expected to abide by), I do agree with you about how folks whined about Adele not putting all her bits on display. C’mon, really? Why does barely-there equal self confident? I tried that super-short everything trend, and man was I uncomfortable! Felt like my butt was not at all covered, even though the dresses were at least mid-thigh. No thanks, I don’t like it. I prefer at least knee length. I still have those dresses, only now I will be treating them like tunics – there will be leggings under them. Guess I’m a more modest girl after all. And I feel quite confident in my femininity, fashionistas! I just don’t want to show that much skin, and honestly it’s more fun to wear leggings with fun designs, anyway! I have a pair with bats, another with Batman, a ghost pair… yeah. I got fun stuff to wear under those. But usually I’m tooling around in some form of shirt dress (and one or two way oversized men’s shirts that look like shirt dresses on me; I find they’re more comfortable because they aren’t so structured and tight fitting, so I’m not constantly tugging them to ease the feeling of being squeezed by a large and angry fabric snake. Try it! You can even tailor them a bit so you get a more feminine cut, while having it fit you, exactly. It’s a fantastic hack, especially if you have fit issues with women’s clothing) or other.

  3. I think that teaching self-confidence and self-worth are the most important things. Of course if a school has a dress code, it should be followed. However when the topic of modesty for women comes up, I’m always left wondering “and what about the men?” If we are to teach modesty amongst women, we had better also be teaching men to respect women.

    1. Brooke Poston says:

      Hi Nina! I think teaching modesty in our boys is important too. We actually have a ‘dress code’ for our boys, just as we do our girls!

  4. This is a great post! People’s worth is not found in clothes and I think that’s an important point to stress, especially when we are teaching young girls.

  5. I agree that scantily clad women are almost always praised and touted as sexy. It gets annoying and disheartening. I grew up in a Pentecostal style church as well and for a while, we could ONLY where skirts to church. While I don’t agree with the stance NOT to teach your daughter modesty I guess I can identify with the emotion behind it. Oftentimes churches don’t realized how the tone in which these things are taught can be damaging and affect one’s image in the future. It’s not what you say, but how you say it. Respectfully.

    1. Brooke Poston says:

      I think sometimes it’s important to draw a defining line. Like when we go to Youth Camp, there is a very strict dress code. In my opinion, someone is always gonna push the envelope, so it makes things a little easier sometimes.

  6. You definitely need to protect your modesty. I know that my daughter is entering that age where she is receiving pressure to be and do a lot of things. And she has grown to where clothing is awkward for her. And that’s hard. But definitely allowing our kids to be modest and realizing its valuing one’s self when one does so is important.

  7. I agree that neither Adele, you, nor anyone else should be criticized for wearing what they are comfortable in-but I do mean ANYONE. Meaning if it’s “conservative dress,” OR plunging necklines-we should let people do what makes THEM feel unique, beautiful, and comfortable without judgement.
    I appreciated reading your post. As a writer, I really enjoy reading views that are radically different than mine.
    That being said, I have to respectfully disagree with this statement:
    “Dressing conservatively is both a cause to protect my purity, my femininity, and a blatant warning against man’s flesh.”
    Your views and practices are your own and I in no way mean to challenge your closet. However, that line of thinking is dangerous. Correlating “femininity” with purity, and breasts, and bodies etc, can be belittling to a variety of people and harmful to women’s self-esteem if, say, they have “impure” (natural) desires (which we all do). “a blatant warning against man’s flesh” borders on victim blaming. The length of a woman’s skirt does not promote or protect her from sexual assault-perpetuating the idea that “modest” behavior will protect a woman from a predator is very false, and if something does happen, she’s gonna question herself and blame herself and probably get very depressed as a result. Men don’t rape because women have plunging necklines.
    I wish you and your family the best and I hope you know that I don’t mean any disrespect-I simply disagree with you.

    1. Brooke Poston says:

      No disrespect at all. When I said the words “a blatant warning against man’s flesh”, I didn’t mean a literal man. I meant, man kind. Dressing appropriately keeps my flesh in check too. It is a tribute to both my God, and myself. And I definitely didn’t say anything about being sexually abused or assaulted is a result of the way that we dress. I think that’s just a result of bad people.

    2. You leave out “respect”. Women, who dress, showing off their body, is very disrespectful – whether they are skinny or obese. Men, who do not wear shirts, are being disrespectful. America has list the idea of respecting each other. It is the same as people wearing pajamas to the store – no self-respect and no respect for those who dressed appropriately.

      You are incorrect with the idea of less modest clothing does not lead men to think lustful thoughts and some men act on them. Some men do not need a immodest woman to molest her and will molest her anyway because his mind is there. But neither do I want to provoke ideas in men and I do have a responsibility dressing improperly.

      We now live in a society without God, yet it us He, Who formed us, it is He, Who set the standard for “love thy neighbor”, “think of others”, do not steal, do not lie, etc. Whatever it is that you think is “good” in this world, it comes from the Lord God Almighty.

  8. Interesting post to say the least. Your definition of modesty is based on how you received the Word. It works for you and I’m happy for you.

  9. We have a family member who flaunts in. She’s an in-law and I love her but some modesty would def. be welcome.

    1. Brooke Poston says:

      Pahaha. New sign, Modesty is welcome here!

  10. One can only admire you for living up to the strength of your convictions and for setting a great example based on that for your children. I agree that there is far too much flaunting and not enough emphasis placed on modesty and elegance.

  11. colleen wool says:

    A nice post. It definitely is an important topic.

  12. Great post! I love that you described your personal experience and scripture to explain your reasoning. I wear pants ( I love my jeans!), but I do agree that women should be more modest. It’s horrible watching my sons struggle to avoid pornography and respect women when they are surrounded by half-naked women who feel like they have to “flaunt their stuff” in order to feel of value. I wish women knew, and were taught from a young age, that the men they attract by wearing skimpy clothes are not the kind of men that they would want in their lives.

  13. This is an interesting post. The first one of that kind I red. I don’t think modesty should come in how you dress (coz you should never judge a book by a cover) but how you act. And then, should you also teach modesty to your sons? xx corinne

  14. Elizabeth O says:

    The beauty of this planet we share is that we can choose to worship God the way we know best, and live our lives according to the dictates of our diverse cultural and religious or even non-religious upbringing.
    I believe all paths have merit as we are all children of God. I can’t help but go back to Luke 7:36-50 and say that what matters is our love, faith and spirit, above all, not our clothing or external labels; to each his own. I enjoyed reading your post. πŸ™‚

    1. Dear Elizabeth, after reading your comment in which you refer to Luke:36-50, I felt compassion for you. The scripture in Luke refers to the woman, Mary, who had been a prostitute, but who had been forgiven by Jesus and had turned away from her sinful lifestyle. She was so filled with loving gratitude for Him that she poured out the expensive perfume upon His feet, which, though others did not forsee, was a prerequisite to His crucifixion. There is no space for a Bible study here, but there was a time during the dispensation of conscience where every man did “what was right in his own eyes.” The result was chaos., which is the condition of America today. We cannot choose how to worship God. We must come to Him as sinners, repent and turn away from living according to the world system in which we are born. We cannot live our lives according to the “religious” systems of this world and please God. We are not all His children,but born in sin. Please study God’s Word fully and see in the Book of Acts the plan of redemption and the teaching of the disciples after Jesus ascended. “To each his own” is why our world is filled with murder, hatred, prejudice, and is on the verge of once again being destroyed by a Holy God, for not receiving His offer of salvation. I pray God open the eyes of your understanding as you study the whole Word and not leaning to your own understanding nor the dictates of this world system, controlled by Satan . He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and all who worship Him must worship Him according to His way, by being filled with His Spirit, into His Kingdom according to His plan and taking His Name in baptism, to become His children.

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