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Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Ladies, Your Clothes Are Talking by Zana Reichen

dressing modestly

Ladies, your clothes are talking. I hope I can help you know what they are saying. Proverbs 7:10 says, “And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot and subtil of heart.” Quite simply, a harlot wears clothing that purposely draws attention to her body, especially certain areas of her body -bust, legs and backside.


Before I comment on the immodest clothing some women wear, I would like to point out one example that is too familiar to all of us. That example is the Christian woman who appears this way far too often: t-shirt not tucked in, jean skirt or old, casual, yet comfortable skirt, socks and tennis shoes. There may even be a run in her hose. Most likely her hair is pulled back in a ponytail, if given any attention at all. You ask, “If she is modest, what is wrong with that?” My answer is, “Nothing, if she is planning to clean out the closet or go hiking with her kids.”

1. Too many Christian women bring criticism to Christianity because they look sloppy in their appearance.

When they dress this way frequently, they are giving off the message-“I don’t care how I look.” Of course, as daughters of the King, we want to look our best.

2. The tight-fitting garment.

The following is a way to know if a garment fits too tight on top. If your garment cups under the bustline or around the bustline, it is too tight. You can test this in any full-length mirror. You will be surprised at what you see. If your garment cups your bustline as described, you are giving off this message-“Look at my bust.”

3. The too-sheer garment.

The way to know if your garment is too sheer is to see if your undergarment straps (bra and slip straps) can be seen through your outer garments. If they are visible, this could cause thoughts in the mind of a man that you really do not intend. The message your clothes are giving if too sheer is-“Look at my undergarments.”


4. The skirt or dress with a slit.

We all know there is rarely a time when we can purchase a garment with a slit and find that it is already sewn for us to meet our Christian standards. Perhaps you are thinking, “What’s the harm of a few slits? I wear skirts and dresses. That in itself is a big change for me!”

May I give you a good rule of thumb which will answer the above question. A good rule is that your slit should be no higher than two inches from the floor when in an upright kneeling position. Anything higher than that reveals your thigh. Remember, the harlot reveals her merchandise to drum up business. If your slit is higher than the standard given above, you are giving off this message-“Look at my legs.”

5. The too-low neckline.

It is quite frustrating sometimes to shop for a garment which has a high enough neckline to meet our standards. So, many times we settle for what the stores have to offer because we want to stay in style. We can be in style in a modest way without lowering ourselves to the world’s standards.

Find the “U” right below your neck and at the top middle of your collar bone. Now, place your four fingers closed together at the bottom of your “U.” If skin is showing below your four fingers, your garment is too low. Anything worn with a low neckline draws attention to your chest area. Just remember this: “The lower the neckline, the more curious a man gets.” Surely we do not want to put men in that position. I believe many Christian women are ignorantly doing this. When your neckline is too low, you are giving off this message-“Look at my bust.”

6. The tight skirt or tight-fitting part of a dress below the waist.

The following test will determine if your garment fits too tightly below the waist. Stand in front of a full-length mirror. If your skirt cups under your backside or abdomen, it is too tight. One thing I have seen that is a turn-off and quite unbecoming is panty lines showing through a skirt. If the skirt would have been looser, I would not have had to view this, and neither would our Christian men who are trying hard to keep their minds clean. Also, we want to avoid being sensuous. When your skirt is too tight, you are giving off this message-“Look at my backside.”


It would seem that there are only two reasons why women dress immodestly:

1. A mind problem.

Women do not think through how they look each day in front of a full-length mirror. They should take a few seconds each morning to quickly check the bustline, backside, slits, etc.

2. A heart problem.

Women are now aware of the messages they give when they wear certain types of garments or wear them are an immodest way. Some women continue to wear immodest apparel or try to hide behind excuses or simply know better but do it anyway. They need to be reminded that the harlot was “subtil of heart.” “Subtil” means “cunning” or “clever.” In other words, she knew exactly what she was doing. Christian women need not be “subtil of heart.”

— Zana Reichen, Instructor at Hyles-Anderson College, Crown Point, Indiana, Quote found in A Christian Lady’s Dress and Appearance by Art Kohl


  1. Avatar

    Disparaging the ponytail…tsk tsk tsk. I happen to think it is a very attractive look.
    Bruce, you find these sparkling examples of the fundamentalist psyche, I suppose a more important metric would be the size of their audience and the impact on people. The obvious problem with Christianity and other prescriptions for unnatural behavior is that without “revival” people rapidly revert to their old habits. The truly sad cases are those that impose this on their children. When religious garb is readily apparent this no doubt causes grief for adolescents when they don’t fit in.
    There is also the problem of wearing heavy cloths in summertime: Sometimes, “modern day Ruth”, it isn’t a matter of “look at my legs”, it is “I’m swimming” or “It is 90° in the shade”.

  2. Avatar

    As Daughters of the King – I thought Jesus was more or less promoting poverty as a lifestyle…. Not so much dressing our best…

    And modesty was about not being boastful in one’s clothing, so as not to make other people jealous. Not about skirt length.

    • Avatar

      You know I’ve never thought about it (in fundie context), but I have to say it was a bit of an issue growing up. Designer clothing and name brand shoes can be an ostentatious display. People would wear Nikes and Jordache jeans to assert themselves in the pecking order. I remember for gym class I bought a cheap pair of K-Mart trax shoes and someone made a comment about it. It didn’t really bother me, about the time I started spending my own money I was done with that kind of b.s. to the extent I seriously laughed it off.

  3. Avatar
    Melissa Montana

    A bunch of rules for women, but none for men. How about the guy in church in a tank top, shorts, and sandals, with his hairy armpits, chest, back, and legs showing? (Yes, I’ve seen it in real life.) Or the guy in jeans, T-shirt, and baseball cap? Or little girls dressed on fancy clothes while the boys are in jeans, and are so dirty they look like they have been in combat? No, it’s not about modesty, it’s about making sure women are never comfortable or in control. And about allowing men to do whatever they want.

  4. Avatar

    At least Muslims take this to its logical conclusion; just cover everything. It’s exactly the same thinking.

    I’m never quite sure about the exact rationale (not that thinking in this area lends itself to much in the way of reason). Is it that dressing immodestly by inadvertently revealing a kneecap reduces men to slobbering rapists? Is it that women are showing deference to their male superiors? Or is it that God disapproves of….skin? In which case no showering! And presumably a little ‘builder arse’ is out of the question.

    • Avatar
      C.E J

      I honestly see this as a control and responsibility issue. Control as in the church and whoever has authority says this is immodest then it’s immodest and no longer acceptable. It’s also an issue of responsibility in that it’s the women’s clothing that’s making the men sin; men have lower or no culpability in their own sin.

  5. Avatar

    Yet another example of sick self-harm. Over each evangelical church entrance should be a large sign saying:
    How can I harm thee…. let us count the ways!

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