Clothing, jewels, hair and makeup
“In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.”
Modest apparel, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing — what does this all mean?
Interestedly it means many different things depending on who you ask. For some women it means only wearing skirts and dresses, to others it means covering up but wearing trousers. Some women wear old-world clothing, others go for the modern look. Some women choose to limit their jewellery to the bare minimum, others wear necklaces, earrings, bangles etc... Some women believe that they wardrobe should only contain a few items of clothing, others have no issue with the amount they buy. Makeup can vary from none to lots.
Who is right—this is a very personal issue that we are alone will be accountable to God for. This is my take on these two verses:
* Modest apparel—Modesty has nothing to do with being dowdy. It has nothing to do with looking ugly or plain and it doesn't mean you can't wear colour or lace, modern designs or something very pretty. Modesty can most certainly be beautiful, elegant, graceful and feminine as I have shared with you in previous posts. What it does mean is dressing in the a way that is does not cause men to stumble, it doesn't dominate our lives or draws unnecessary attention, does not become an idol or eats up our money. This doesn't mean I should dress poorly, in Proverbs 31 ".... her clothing is fine linen and purple", but her outward appearance is not as important as "... a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised". Serving the Lord is always far more important to what we wear.
* Braided hair—There is nothing wrong with styling your hair in different ways, nor is there an issue with a trip to the hairdressers for a trim. We all like to play with our hair but when it starts to cost lots of money and takes up much of our time it becomes a concern as it means it is taking precious time away from our "good works" and that is a problem.
* Gold or pearls—I wear my mothers pearls quite often, pearls love to be wore, the heat of the body keeps them in very good condition. Paul wasn't saying we can't wear pearls, gold or other jewellery, it comes down to moderation and making sure that our focus is less about the outward appearance and more about inner beauty.
Wearing a necklace is harmless and often jazzes up an outfit and makes it special, my mother always put on a brooch or some beads (pearls on Sundays) when she was going out. They didn't dominate her outfit and she never wore anything that was over the top or of great expense. If you choose to wear jewellery, remember to buy with care and not make it your passion and idol.
* Costly clothes—I found a deep red long skirt the other day online, it was beautiful and would been very modest, however, it cost $2,500. Whilst modest, it was very costly and I shouldn't be wasting that sort of money on one skirt, regardless of its modesty. Our thoughts should not be on the next seasons fashion or how many shoes we own—we should have enough clothes to meet our practical needs and no more. What message are we sending others when we parade around in costly clothes and dripping with expensive jewels, certainly not one of Christian moderation. What do others think when they see you in a different outfit everyday—a woman who spends lots of her wardrobe and certainly not one with Christlike attributes. Its not our clothes or jewels that should be shining rather our hearts.
In all things we do, including what we wear, as Christians we are to bring honour and glory to the God we profess to love, doing nothing out of vain conceit (Philippians 2:3) and remembering that “man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7)
Our true beauty is not our clothing or our jewels, it is our gentle and quiet spirit. Our outer beauty will fade with age (nothing we can do about that), but our hearts should be exceptionally beautiful and "precious in the sight of God" (1 Peter 3:4).
Links to other articles on clothing: