Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Modesty - Do I Have to Wear Skirts?

No, really, do I? It's not a rhetorical question, so if anyone stumbles on this and has an opinion, I'd like to know.

The 'skirt' issue isn't one that I've really felt strongly one way or the other about. I like skirts. They're feminine, they're pretty, they're practical. I will only wear skirts to Mass, I've never set foot inside a church in pants. Why? I was raised understanding that skirts/dresses were the only appropriate clothing for church. But why?

I found another great blog, Country Mom. One of her latest posts was A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words. So, of course, I was reading through her back posts on 'Biblical Womanhood' and 'Modesty'. And it made me start thinking about it again.

5 A woman shall not be clothed with man's apparel, neither shall a man use woman's apparel: for he that doeth these things is abominable before God. - Deuteronomy 22:5 (Douay-Rheims)

I buy my pants in the Women's section of the store. They are, therefore, 'women's apparel'. Problem solved! Only, not so much, maybe. Historically, traditionally, pants are mens clothing. Women wore dresses/skirts. Aside from that, skirts are, inherently, more modest than pants on women. And I'm thinking of proper skirts, not skin tight, mini, see through - skirts. When I think of a skirt, I'm picturing something that goes to my ankles, at least. I think pants, even loose ones like I wear, might draw a little too much attention to a womans...'assets'. Which is not something that anyone but her husband should be thinking about.

9 In like manner women also in decent apparel: adorning themselves with modesty and sobriety, not with plaited hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly attire, 10 But as it becometh women professing godliness, with good works. - 1 Timothy 2:9 - 10 (Douay-Rheims)

So I'm trying to figure this out. Do I have to wear skirts? Is that the next step here? I'm apparently doing this backwards, because, reading, most women start out with the skirts and then add headcovering. I'm running around covering in pants.


  1. My own skirt wearing came on about the same time as wearing a headcovering for prayer, but I have always believed that a skirt or dress just looked more respectfully dressed up than pants. I've posted on my OldFashionedLady blog about long skirts, which I find that the more I wear them, the more I prefer them for comfort and for helping me to remember to be "feminine". I also posted about the salwar kameez style of the eastern world, that is very feminine even though it is in fact a "pants" suit, and I have a few of these to wear too. I personally don't think it is a sin issue, unless it really does get to be a "heart issue", such as when a woman might refuse to wear a skirt due to a sinful prideful attitude, such as in rebellion against authority, or in trying to make her role equal with a man and deluding herself as to the differences between God's reasons for creating men and women. If that last line makes sense. So, who says you "have" to wear skirts? If your conscience approves, and your husband or father agrees that it is femininely pleasing (not the sexual way, but the uplifting way), then go for it. If you have a job where you're climbing steep hills or ladders for a living though, I wouldn't advise it. :) For now, LisaM

  2. Lisa,

    See, that's the thing, I agree with you that long skirts look more dressed up, feminine, etc. They're comfortable! They're easy to move in! I tried, one time at home, going through the motions of the Mass, the standing, the kneeling, etc. in pants. It's so much easier in a skirt.

    I don't think that I'm sinning, exactly, wearing my pants, it's just that the idea that it would be better for me to wear skirts keeps nagging me. And with my love for skirts, why haven't I switched? That's what's bugging me. I prefer skirts, just from a practical and modesty standpoint, so why don't I want to switch over?

    Unfortunately my parents and I aren't exactly on the same wavelength with this sort of thing, so asking my father is only going to get me the reponse, 'Do whatever you want.'

    Heh. No, my job involves a great deal of sitting and typing, so I'd be safe. :)

    At this point I've decided to do it by attrition. I just won't buy anymore pants, and eventually, all I'll have left to wear will be skirts and dresses.

    And Lisa, thanks for responding. You made perfect sense. :)

  3. Hi Amber!
    I have written and deleted three responses for you and realized something while deleting each one.

    Being modest and being in God's will are reactions because of the action of receiving Jesus Christ as your Saviour. But that being said, needing a Saviour is because we are sinful and can do nothing to fix that, hence the need of a Saviour.

    Works do not do anything for a person. I can be covered and modest and feed the poor and tithe and on and on, yet if I have not received Christ as my Saviour this all means nothing. The Bible is clear on works. Now I find that I desire to live the way the Lord wishes for me, so as I study and read His word, I am convicted by reacting in ways He desires.

    Cleansing the internal self, by filling up on His word leaves little room for foul language, loose flirtatious clothing or the likes. More often then not,you will not realize that you have changed but other around will begin to notice. Perhaps they cease forwarding the crude emails or refrain from cursing.

    Volumes are spoken before another even speaks so in the 21st century if you are convicted of being a dresses/skirt wearer you will be professing your stance in modesty long before another speaks with you. Dressing in this manner makes you stand out even though one tries not to draw attention to oneself. So in addition to dressing modest because the Bible says to we must be cautious in our outings not to become Pious and proud that we are modest and another is not.

    btw- I live on a farm and have found anything I wish to do in a dress or skirt is possible.

    Praying for you in New Mexico.

  4. Jennifer,

    Thank you. :) I agree with everything you wrote. The 'skirt issue' is sort of an evolving one for me, and it's (mostly, I think), driven from my desire to be modest.

  5. I was asking my husband about this one time, and wondering about how pants fit across a woman's rear end and whether it causes thoughts, etc. and his respone: "Skirts are good!" (He's not loquacious on issues such as these.)

    Check out my post at www.freetocover.blogspot.com about roller skating in a skirt today!

  6. Hm... I'm about where you are now. I cover and have recently begun thinking about moving to skirts only. But I work in nursing, so the skirts I currently own are probably not the most appropriate to wear to work. So, I'm working on wearing skirts when out of the house but not at work. and then see where it goes from there.

    good luck, and I will be checking back in here!

  7. Alana,

    Loved the post on rollerskating. :) You really can do everything in a skirt.

    I did, actually, ask my father about skirts v. pants, and his exact words were - 'Women in pants don't bother me. Do what you want.'


    Welcome to the blog. :)

    Don't they make nursing uniforms that have skirts anymore? Assuming you have to wear a 'uniform'. They sort of all wear the scrublike clothes now, don't they? Like you, I'm wearing my skirts as often as I can, and wearing pants only when I don't have another option, thought the reasons are different. While I don't feel as strongly about the skirt issue as I do about covering, I feel skirts are, in general, more modest, so I'm switching over, slowly.


  8. This post might be a little weird but I'm coming more from a clothing historian point of view that's moderated by a biblical scholar point of view. The funny thing is in the time the Bible was written everyone wore robes. Pants were a non-issue as except for a few northern groups (northern europe and britain) no one really wore pants. The pants vs skirts issue didn't come about untill the middle ages. And at that time the most common form of "pants" was hose. Which can be really formfitting so you can see how it would not be ok for a woman trying to be modest to wear that version of pants. Because everyone wore a version of robes or tunics in that time period, the differences between men's and woman's clothing was often in the little details such as the way a overgarment was wrapped or a headcovering. I don't thinks it's inappropiate to dress in pants that are feminine because it would be appropriate attire for a woman of our culture in the same way it would probably not be appropriate for a man to wear a robe of the kind they wore in bible times because it would look too much like femine attire in our culture. But in a culture such a polynesia a male sarong would be perfectly acceptable male attire. All that said, If you thik you should be wearing skirts to further your walk or witness then go for it. Leggings are great to wear underneath to ward off the unexpected and help you keep warm.


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