Personal Guidelines for Modesty

When we went out to party, it was evident that I was supporting the party lifestyle.  I was not to be confused with a “nice girl.”  I drank, smoked, cussed, and cavorted with the best of them.  I was proud of who I was.  I could hustle you at pool and look good doing it.  I was the hottest girl in the room, and I knew it.  I made sure of it.

Was I a Christian? 

Well, for the first 16 years of my life I went to church three days a week.  I knew a lot about the Bible, and I always wore a dress to church.  When I married my first husband, and we went to his church, I taught Sunday School.  However, we lit up a big doobie as soon as we pulled out of the church parking lot.  We would do drugs and drink alcohol with friends, all while inviting them to church.  We snorted coke on Christmas.  Was I a Christian?  The fruit of my spiritual tree all point to “No.”

So understand that when I speak about modesty that I haven’t always been modest.  These days, I cling to modesty, because I know the things that I brought upon myself by professing to the world that I had no boundaries.  The world was more than eager to take me up on that invitation.

What does all of that have to do with modesty?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know:

  • Jesus loves me no matter what I wear
  • modesty starts in the heart
  • guys shouldn’t be looking at me
  • people shouldn’t be judging me based on what I wear

The reality of it is this:

  • Jesus loved me in my sin, but He doesn’t want me to keep living in it
  • If my heart is right, it will show up on the outside at some point
  • Guys are going to look, especially if I am putting my goodies on display
  • Don’t act like you don’t judge people.  If I see a man dressed like a police officer, I’m going to assume that he’s a policeman

Before Jesus pulled me up from this wallow of sin I used to live in, I had a different set of guidelines for my clothes.

  • If the skirt was below my knees, it was too long.  Mid-thigh was best.
  • I only wore shirts that showed my cleavage.
  • It was essential that everything be skin tight.

What I wear does matter.

Not sexy by accident.

If my intent is to look sexy when I step out of my house, then that does matter.  It has ramifications on me, my husband, my children, other Christians, and God.

I do have control over what my children wear.  Don’t ever show them any compromise when it comes to protecting them through guiding them in their modesty.  Even though I homeschool, I still try to support our local community.  I took my 9 year old son to a beginning of school welcome pep rally, and I left after about 15 minutes.  Ironically, the school boasts on their team shirts, “We pray before we play.”

Is it really necessary to play volleyball in your panties?

Parents, why are you allowing your daughters to wear uniforms that so completely go against any grain of modesty?  I’m not saying they need to be in skirts, but I am saying that they are setting themselves up for sexual impurity by wearing the popular sports uniforms.  What message are you sending to your young impressionable daughter?  “It’s okay to look like a hooker as long as you’re supporting your school”?  You DO have a choice.  Don’t you teach your own children that they have a choice about making good decisions?  Start setting the proper example.  Don’t you know what those teenagers and grown men are thinking about doing to your daughter?

Here are my personal guidelines for modesty:

  • Nothing should be tight.  It’s too revealing and unless I’m a supermodel, it doesn’t look good anyway.  Back fat and muffin tops are not appealing.
  • Skirts should be long enough so that when I sit down, the skirt still covers my knees.  Note:  my knee continues down past the top of my thigh.

    The red line is the end of your knee.

  • If my skirt isn’t tight, there should be no need for a slit.  But if my skirt does have a slit, it should not go above my knees.  Make sure I check the view from the back.  When I’m climbing up onto the platform, no one needs to be seeing my thigh.

    Skirt with Slit

  • My neckline should not be more than 1″ below the clavicle.  This is to prevent a peep show from happening when I bend over.

    The website bills this as a modest shirt. Let's see---skin tight and very low neckline. Nope, not modest.

  • Sleeves should come to the elbow or below.  Why would I want to show off my jiggly arm anyway?
  • Shoes are a very big turn on to men.  If the shoes I buy make me feel sexy, then don’t buy them.  Do you know how many fantasies that men have deal directly with naked women in strappy high heels?  When a woman wears a very high heel, it causes her to walk in a sexier manner.  Not only that, but it also emphasizes her calves, which makes her look sexier.  Just ask your husband.

    The advertisement itself billed this shoe as sexy.

  • Lacey, decorative panty hose.  I don’t think I need to elaborate on that one.
  • Just because I wear an undershirt underneath a sexy, revealing top doesn’t hide the fact that the sexy, revealing top is highlighting my boobs.  If I am wearing two bright red triangles over my boobs, men are going to be looking at my boobs, regardless of if I have on a white undershirt.

    Quit staring at my boobs! What kind of guy are you!

I’m not going to chase all of the rabbits that this post brings with it.  When God delivered me from drugs, alcohol, and Marlboros, He also delivered me from the desire to be sexy.  I am rooted in my beliefs, because I have invested many hours into studying and praying over God’s word concerning these matters.  The advice that I give my own children is to please study the Bible for yourself and pray for God’s guidance.  Some would say that they have freedom in Christ to dress sexy.

I say that I have freedom in Christ to not have to be that woman anymore.

Other arguments you might have:

  • My husband likes me to look sexy when I go outside of the home.
  • There’s nothing wrong with being sexy.
  • I’m single, and I want to find a man.
  • I want to fit in with the world.
  • I don’t care what anybody thinks.
  • I can’t help what other people think about me.

At the end of the day,  I am responsible for my own actions.  Am I making good choices?  Am I dressing in a way that would cause my Christian brother to stumble?  Do I care?

In closing, I want to say that I am not perfect.  I don’t have a perfect attitude all of the time.  I like to sleep late.  I don’t pray everyday.  I’m not judging you.  If you have prayed and sought God’s will for your wardrobe and He has given you peace, then that’s between you and God.  This post is reflective of the personal convictions that God has given me.

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; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.– 1 Timothy 2:9-10

Be sure to read my follow up post:  Bold and Unashamed

Here is a great article on another site:  I love this because she studies the words.  Excellent read!


36 thoughts on “Personal Guidelines for Modesty

  1. Thank you for boldly sharing and being so transparent. I agree with what you have brought up here. I too, have been there and done that, and am so happy to be delivered from it. This is so important for us to stand strong… without wavering in raising our girls. Bless you!

    • I am boldly going where no minister’s wife has gone before, lol. Thank you for thanking me! I am transparent to a fault, but I have an awesome testimony. I am learning to be transparent with tact. It’s a long process…. : ) So often the ministry is shrouded in a gauze of perfection, whether they place it on themselves or allow the congregation to do it. If you’re perfect, then you can’t have much of a testimony. Thanks again for sharing with me!

    • Thank you! I think so many of the points are often overlooked because a lot of girls/women don’t really know what thoughts they are provoking in men. They might think they know, but I assure you if they really knew, they would make more of an effort to protect themselves (and their daughters) from it. Having crossed over from “the dark side”, I know what they think and I know how to dress and how to talk and how to walk in order to solicit specific responses. I don’t ever want to be that person again. Dressing modestly helps me keep my own heart in check as well as those of my Christian brothers.

  2. Hey Sis Melinda! It’s Melissa from FB! I LOVED reading this! It’s so true! Has enspired & encouraged & confirmed my beliefs & why I set guidelines for myself & my 2 daughters… Thank you for falling in love with Holiness…. & sharing your beliefs so boldly but graciously! God bless!

    • It’s good to know that I came across as gracious : ) Sometimes even when I think I’m being gentle, I’ve been told I’m not. But, again, I am a work in progress and that’s what this blog is about. And those beautiful daughters of yours are going to need lots of protections! Thanks for joining me over here!

  3. Pingback: Modesty Matters | Paths of Wrighteousness

  4. Great post! I too have lived a life of immodesty at one point– thank God for His grace and mercy! With two young daughters (so far), I don’t want to do anything that causes them to stumble or leads to confusion in their walks with the Lord because I’m sending an unclear message with my own actions (or dress). I appreciate your boldness and passion on this subject and with sharing your testimony.

    • Thank you! When I think of the life I used to lead, it makes me so ashamed. So, yes, thank you, God, for giving me grace and mercy that I didn’t deserve. My daughter is definitely a motivating factor in my walk with the Lord. I never wanted a daughter because I was such a mess as a teenager/young woman. But God had a plan, lol. Ain’t no high like The Most High!

  5. Oh, I love this post! I have been restructuring my own wardrobe lately (and my daughters’!) because God was dealing with me on this issue. Things I never thought about nefore like the clinginess of a shirt. Great post!

    • I’m so glad you liked it! I have dressed “modestly” for 9 years and going through my wardrobe is a constant for me. Things slip in. I have to die to self daily. Dressing sexy was such a part of me for so long, and I really have to guard against it. It’s our sin nature to want to be desired by all men. It’s our desire for godly living that helps us to reign that in for just our husbands in the privacy of our home.

      • A friend of mine posted a link to this on FB. I also grew up in church and always wore a modest dress/skirt to church and church related activities. I also grew up in a christian school with a very strict dress code that was literally enforced. ( ex. taking a girl to the bathroom and asking her to lift up her dress so the teacher could make sure you are wearing a slip.) Yes, that happened to me. My family didn’t and still does not believe in dresses/skirts only. I grew up wearing modest clothes because I had to and then going home and putting on shorts/pants. Once I had my 2nd child,our daughter, the Holy Spirit convicted me of my attire. From that day forward,almost 5 yrs ago, I have gladly dressed to please the Lord. Now there were bumps in the road. My husband was deployed to iraq when I made this decision. He was not happy and didn’t understand. He wanted me to wear shorts and pants and low cut shirts. It took a couple of years of praying for him to understand and for the Lord to help me explain it better. Finally, 4 yrs later, he understands and is happy that he has a modest wife. I did keep his fav pair of pants and other items also. I wear those for him only(not even in front of the kids). I think I would have had a better attitude towards modesty as a teen if I understood the reasons for it. But nothing was explained,just enforced. As our now 4 children grow up, I will be explaining through scripture why it’s import to be modest. If we are willingly living and dressing to please our Lord, then our attitude will be right. Thank you so much for explaining modest dress in a humorous way. Not in a “I’m better than thou” way.

      • Love your comment! Without explaining the “why” then it just becomes a “do as your told” modesty mantra. Hmmm…modesty mantra. That sounds like a great title for another post, lol. My gears are always spinning!

        I am so glad that your husband came around. I’m sure he wouldn’t have it any other way now.

        And just like we should be protective about discussing private matters with our husbands in front of our children, we should also be careful about confusing the little ones, so kudos to you for doing that!

        The church organization that I’m affiliated with does have a bad rap for being judgmental. However, that is an era that is dying off. There are so many of us young couples that embrace modesty and godly living without passing judgment on others who haven’t been given the same personal convictions. We’re all a work in progress.

        There will be plenty of “Christians” left behind, because even though their outside was “right” their heart was rotten with self-righteousness. My focus is God, my family, and then being a witness to others through testimony and love. I pray against causing my own family to stumble. Hypocrisy is the devil’s best tool. I don’t want to be used of the devil.

  6. I found it interesting that you brought up sports uniforms. I played volleyball in high school and even among the many Christian schools we played our team was the only one that did not wear spandex shorts. I appreciated reading the words of someone who is strong on their views in modesty and consistent with the guidelines they set for themselves.

    • And yet it’s the Christians that stick to Christian principles that are judged so harshly by other Christians. Mind-boggling isn’t it? Thanks for commenting! I’m having to reign myself in to not go all blog-post here in the comment thread, lol.

  7. You know, sometimes things need to be said with boldness and there is no shame in that! Your post was wonderful and really explained it in a way people seem afraid to explain modesty. I am always telling my daughter, who is 12, that we don’t wear shirts with pictures or words on the front because it draws eyes directly to our chests, same with bottoms with words on the butt. The whole point of that is to get people to look. Sadly our society seems to revel in sexualizing our children by manufacturing and/or purchasing this clothing. Its nice to see someone stand up and say “this is why we don’t wear” this or that!

    • That is exactly what I want my blog to be used for–helping others in their own life and their children’s. I know that I say a lot of the things that other people think and just don’t say (in person and on the blog). The blog does allow me to sound more graceful, though. The “delete” key is my friend!

  8. I love this! I have always taught my girls with these standards and my church ladies! You don’t find that too much in more though. Thank you!

    • That’s why I had to title this “Personal Guidelines”, because even in my church affiliation that used to be known for modesty, my version of modesty and the new on-the-rise version of modesty is not the same. Everything I hit on can be found in “grounded” members of our church, sometimes all in one outfit, lol. It is a struggle for me to not judge. I have to keep my eyes firm on Him and seek His guidance in removing the plank from my own eye, especially when focusing on that plank keeps me from seeing all those knees and cleavage, lol.

  9. Pingback: New Fabrics for Upcoming Skirt Tutorials « Musings of a Minister's Wife

  10. Pingback: Bold and Unashamed « Musings of a Minister's Wife

  11. GREAT post! I’m wondering just why isn’t modesty a topic that is taught more in church! I was leading a Bible study with 6 other women (all of us approximately 28-38 years old), and we got to the topic of modesty one night. We searched the Scriptures, talked about the cultural changes and what brought them about, and we had a lengthy discussion about the matter. It was AMAZING! BUT…word got out about our Bible study discussing the topic (modesty) and the church shut my Bible study down! I’m still a bit heartsick over it. 😦 Thank you for being so bold and unashamed on the matter! It simply isn’t taught!

    • Melissa,

      I hate to preface any statement I make with “In my opinion”, because obviously it’s my opinion if I’m stating it, or at least that’s what my high school English teacher told me, so just know that the following is “my opinion.” : )

      Churches don’t want to come across as “legalistic.” You see, if they actually teach something outside of “Jesus loves you just the way you are”, then they might lose members. And when they lose members, then they lose those members’ money.

      That song “Just As I Am” is not meant for people who have been in the faith for any amount of time. That song is for those making the first step. After that, we are required and commanded to change. Not only that, but if we have really received Jesus, then we will WANT to change.

      Thank you for leaving a comment. : )

      • I totally agree! I go to a church that would be called a “mega church”…and it wouldn’t be the same without the tithes and offerings from the members. Now…having gotten to know our pastor and his wife personally, I don’t believe they are in it for that–but the money does allow our church to do most of the things that we do.

        I also agree that it is a “first step” song! The doors to our church–and my own personal arms–are wide open, even to a woman who stepped off the street corner on a Saturday night and walked into church on Sunday morning! Jesus wants her to choose to accept His gift and to follow Him right where she is! But…as soon as she makes that choice, her life MUST be different!

        I do have one VERY random question for you…what is source of the volleyball photograph above?

        Oh–and I just posted on the subject of modesty at my blog


      • Wow! So true. I am an Associate Pastor’s wife, and I attest to that fact. Many churches are too afraid to be considered ‘legalistic’, so don’t did into certain issues because they don’t want to take away from the ‘grace’ they teach. The mistakenly believe the Christian ‘freedoms’ Paul writes includes a whole lot more than Paul ever meant for it to mean.

  12. Well said! I have a group of ladies that I would love to share this with. Can I make copies and give it out?

  13. Thank you for your boldness! My daughter just did a post on modesty on my blog on Monday…a topic not spoken about often enough!

  14. Pingback: Talking back to patriarchy, part 4: Joining the great modesty debate | Strange Figures

  15. I have had ladies come tome and ask why thy could not war pants, because they had a ladies pants section in the store. I explained it this way.
    For centuries ladies wore dresses and men wore trousers/pants. It has been an identifiable part of a woman sieve before the 1700’s. God is not author of confusion so why would we confuse society now? Women be women!
    Also if you study women first wearing pants in America they were the flappers and they did it in rebellion, rebellion is as the spirit of witchcraft God is the same yesterday today and forever f hated witchcraft in the bible he still hates it today. Why would our Godly women want to be associated with witchcraft a d u pleasing to God?

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