How Should a Woman Dress to Go to Church?

24 Apr

Updating an old post that I wrote.

The two positions I noted among Christians were: 1) avoiding extremes, dress to match the society you inhabit (with modesty, being a given) or 2) dress up, as though going to a formal occasion (because many regard church as a formal occasion although that view certainly does *not* match the society we currently inhabit).

I only add one thing, gained from my story of having ballooned to over 260 pounds by way of chemotherapy/steroids and by my own gluttony, then losing 110 pounds and keeping them off for sixteen months thus far.

It is this: many heavy women cover up as though they were Muslim women in burqhas. When I was big, I had a lot of tent dresses that not only were long, but were big in every direction.

There is nothing inherently virtuous in tent dresses. There is nothing inherently virtuous in being overweight and embarrassed about it to the point that you hide your body. I realize not all overweight people get that way due to gluttony, but I did. There was nothing inherently virtuous in that. Quite the opposite.

On the other hand, there is nothing inherently evil in dressing well. As long as a woman is not showing her breasts or thighs, or wearing something skintight, she should be given the benefit of being treated as a virtuous woman.

I say that because I have become aware of a legalistic subset among those who believe that women should wear always wear dresses to church, if not 24/7. That mindset wants to take a tapemeasure to a woman’s skirt to ensure, for instance, that it does not ride up above the knee under any circumstances.

I recently bought a dress online that is a small but is baggy nonetheless. When I put a silver belt on it, it went from being at my knee to moving an inch above my knee when I walk. And I find myself wary of those legalists among us who would take away my virtuous woman badge until I should throw that brand new dress away!

My thought: I was far more selfish and proud when I was stuffing my face with everything I wanted to eat (even pursuing habits like spending $8 at Starbucks 2-3 times a week when we were living on one income) than I am now, when my dress occasionally flutters above my knee when I walk. Really!

And . . . if a man is noticing that one inch difference when I walk . . . well, even a burqha would not align his heart in the direction it needs to go.


I Timothy 2:9, 10, “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.”

It strikes me as odd that the above passage has been used in two opposite ways as a proof text for what women should wear to church!

One side says that it forbids expensive clothing and jewelry and therefore confirms that a woman should dress by the standards of her time (i.e., jeans nowadays) to go to church.

The other side says that it calls for us to give God our best effort and to avoid immodesty.  This side believes that women should only wear skirts or dresses to church, avoiding anything too snug, too lowcut or with too high of a hem.  

While the Bible does have things to say…

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