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Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
1 Peter 3:3,4
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




How Does God Want Women to Dress?


Timeless principles on dress have been given to the daughters of God. By following these principles, godly women receive tremendous blessings. But Satan is doing everything he can to discourage the discovery of these truths. He knows that raising the standard in dress will do much to bring holiness, happiness, health and humility to the women who claim to trust in the Lord and follow His ways. So he tries every trick in his book to keep Seventh-day Adventist women ignorant of these standards, or else he promotes prejudice, ridicule or outright rebellion against God's principles of dress.

There are 4 basic principles that God has given to guide His daughters in what we are to wear: Modesty, Simplicity, Femininity and Healthfulness. These divine principles are applicable to any time period. While each one is important, they do not stand alone because they are interwoven and interdependent. If you violate one of them, the way is opened to violate more, or perhaps all of them.

We need to understand that Satan really hates these principles! It's utterly amazing to study into the history of fashion to see the lengths he has gone to destroy these standards of dress. He has raised up various movements whose agenda revolved around attacking God's principles relating to dress. He has used subtle tactics to catch us off guard. He has bombarded us with worldly fashions until we have no idea that we are in violation of God's standards. He has become incredibly successful in his scheme, and most Seventh-day Adventists are totally unaware that God's standards have been hijacked, and that they are rarely followed.

There was actually a time period in history when women's dress, as worn by worldly society, generally followed God's principles. This was in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Extravagance in dress has always been a problem for women, because of the natural pride in our hearts. But if care was taken to leave off the extra trimmings, so that the dress wasn't extravagant, the fashionable dress of that time period met the criteria of being modest, simple, feminine and healthful. It consisted of a dress/skirt that reached nearly to the floor, but didn't sweep the ground. It required no tight corsets, hoops or bustles. It had long sleeves, and long underwear was worn underneath the skirt. It did not reveal the form by being too tight or too low cut. Therefore, it was a modest, simple, feminine and healthful dress, of which God could approve.

Unfortunately, this fashion didn't last long. It seems as if Satan was just biding his time, waiting for God's prophetess to die before he started stirring up his fashion designers to do his bidding.

He began shortening the skirts, inch by inch, creeping their way up the leg. The principle of modesty was being compromised.

By that's not all. Satan had another plan to undermine God's dress standards. He knew that God's prophetess had counseled women in over 35 separate statements that the limbs need to be clothed, both for modesty and health. God's prophetess clearly explained the reasons, and they make perfect sense to those who are willing to study the counsel. Satan knew all this. So he invented fashion that leave the limbs uncovered, compromising the principle of healthfulness as well as modesty.

Most Adventist women dutifully followed fashion's dictates and raised their hemlines year by year. As the skirts began to rise, the legs became increasingly exposed to cool air, both in winter and now, in summer air conditioning, which is not only uncomfortable but unhealthful. The stockings got thinner and thinner until they were sheer nylon stockings, doing little to provide covering. Through the 1930s to 1950s, the hemlines became high enough that the exposed legs caused a measure of discomfort in cool weather. And then with the advent of the miniskirt in the 60s, the legs were totally exposed. This violated 2 vital principles: modesty and healthfulness. Because of this, the door leading to violation of the principle of femininity, which had been creaking open little by little -- now swung open widely. Pants on women, which God has specifically declared was too close to men's attire to be acceptable [even when covered by a short skirt], now seemed modest compared to mini skirts!

Do you see how Satan works? If women's fashions had switched from long skirts directly to pants, Seventh-day Adventist women would have clearly seen how close to men's attire pants really are, in comparison to a floor-length skirt, which is very modest and feminine. Drastic changes like that aren't even readily accepted by society at large, much less by God's people. But since the majority of Adventist women had been faithfully following the fashion trend of rising hemlines, compromising on both modesty and healthfulness, they were all set up to compromise on the principle of femininity a few years later.

That's how Satan works, sneakily and slowly, trying to catch us off guard. There was a constant adjustment required as the fashions were changing. And once we're on the fashion train, we've got to keep up with the changes so we won't be out-of-date.

Presently, older SDA women, when they do wear dresses, tend to wear them a little longer than knee length, year round. Most of them still wear nylon pantyhose, which are quite uncomfortable. And of course, uncomfortable dress shoes, or heels, look best with dresses that length. So it is quite understandable that these ladies can hardly wait to get out of these uncomfortable clothes into their pants. And of course the young girls, shivering in their short skirts with their bare legs and sandaled feet, are eager to slip into their jeans.

How foolish we are to follow fashions! Satan sees to it that most worldly fashions are in violation of at least one of God's principles. We have to choose which we will put as our priority: following worldly fashions or following God's principles. That doesn't necessarily mean that we have to be out of style when we follow God's principles. There are times when fashion allows us to dress according to God's principles and still be in style. But if our priority is fashion over principle, we will inevitable be led away from upholding God's principles.

The excuses that are devised to avoid following divine standards of dress can be quite amusing, although tragically sad as well. Of course pants are more modest than mini skirts, or even than skin tight skirts with a slit all the way up. And jeans are more practical and healthful than flimsy skirts and bare legs. But why do we compare one wrong outfit with another wrong outfit?

A long flowing skirt, dress or jumper, with material appropriate for the occasion, that allows one to cover her legs comfortably—with no tight bands constricting the body—along with comfortable shoes, provides healthful, modest, feminine attire that is extremely comfortable and practical. When you put it together just right, you simply can't find anything more delightfully comfortable that this! Many Seventh-day Adventist women are discovering that they can do anything they need to do in their skirts. There are many options for keeping the legs warm, such as long underwear, leggings, leg warmers and comfortable boots.

As a side note, in my research I uncovered at least a hundred web sites dedicated to promoting skirts on heterosexual men. These men have discovered how comfortable skirts really are, and they have decided they want to enjoy the same comfort that woman have available to them. So they wear skirts! Judging from the web sites and forums, it seems that there are well over a thousand Western heterosexual men going around wearing skirts. You may see some of them in your local area before long! This is quite interesting in light of the fact that many women claim that they wear pants only because they are so comfortable!

In reality, this is really quite a sad development when we consider God's design that there should be a plain distinction between the dress of men and women. Satan's design is that the clothing and hairstyles of men and women should be interchangeable. Imagine a crowd of people in skirts and pants, being worn by either sex. Babylonish confusion!

Whenever the subject of God's dress principles comes up, someone is sure to produce a quotation from the Spirit of Prophecy that would tend to make one think that God's really doesn't care what we wear these days. And everyone breathes a sigh of relief and the women settle back in their pants and immodest clothing. And Satan laughs.

“Human reasoning has ever sought to evade or set aside the simple, direct instructions of the Word of God. In every age a majority of the professed followers of Christ have disregarded those precepts which enjoin self-denial and humility, which require modesty and simplicity of conversation, deportment, and apparel. The result has ever been the same--departure from the teachings of the gospel leads to the adoption of the fashions, customs, and principles of the world.” {CG 430.1}

God does care what we wear, more than we realize. His heart is grieved when His children look just like the world. And Ellen White was grieved even in her day. What would she think today?

“As I have seen many Sabbathkeeping Adventists becoming worldly in thought, conversation, and dress, my heart has been saddened. The people who claim to believe that they have the last message of mercy to give to the world, are attracted by worldly fashions, and make great exertions to follow them as far as they think their profession of faith allows them to go. Worldly dress among our people is so noticeable that unbelievers frequently remark, "In their dress you cannot distinguish them from the world." {3SM 243.2}

We are nearing the close of probation. What is to be our duty at this time?

“It is now the duty of God's commandment-keeping people to watch and pray, to search the Scriptures diligently, to hide the word of God in the heart, lest they sin against him in idolatrous thoughts and debasing practices, and thus the church of God become demoralized…” {RH, May 17, 1887 par. 10}

And what is one way that our church will be demoralized?

“There is a terrible sin upon us as a people, that we have permitted our church members to dress in a manner inconsistent with their faith. We must arise at once and close the door against the allurements of fashion. Unless we do this, our churches will become demoralized.” {4T 648.1}

Following worldly fashion brings this demoralized condition:

“Having before us the picture of the world's demoralization upon the point of fashion, how dare professed Christians follow in the path of the worldling? Shall we appear to sanction these demoralizing fashions by adopting them?” {RH, March 31, 1891 par. 6}

What is it that makes a fashion demoralizing? Godly morals are uplifting, leading us to submit to God's plan and order. Satan's demoralization through fashion comes from rebellion against God's design. As we study the origin of certain fashions, the demoralizing influence becomes obvious.

One particular demoralizing fashion replays an age old controversy, the great controversy that started in the Garden, the failure to submit to God's will. When we follow fashions which blur the sex roles, we act as modern Eves, repeating the ancient sin over and over again every time we accept the agenda crafted by our enemy. You see, Satan convinced Eve that she could attain to a higher sphere than that which God had assigned her. But as a result of Eve's sin in reaching for that forbidden level that seemed so appealing, she fell lower than she was before. She was now placed in subjection to her husband, and her sorrow and pain was multiplied.

Many women strongly resent their God-ordained role, so much so that they want nothing more than to attain a higher sphere than which God has assigned to her. These women are angry at the thought that they are to be in subjection to their husbands. So they have decided that they want to rise above their God-ordained sphere. They have taken an openly rebellious stance against God.

Some of these women, in the mid 1850s decided that the quickest route to true equality of the sexes was a complete disintegration of gender roles and distinctions. These women saw the wearing of pants for women as the way to achieve their goal. The most obvious and elemental motive behind the movement to wear pants was an effort to do away with traditional patriarchy—the authority of the husband as the head of the home. Their defiance of God's Word is clearly recorded. They were not willing to accept the role God ordained for them.

A study of the history of the wearing of pants by women clearly reveals a bid for power over men. A radical women's libber wrote: "The end goal of the feminist revolution is the elimination of the sex distinction itself," Shulamith Firestone (The Dialectic of Sex, 1972, p.11) She also wrote, “Natural reproduction is neither in women's best interests nor in those of the children produced.” She actually felt that babies should by artificially produced by technology, and the motherhood role removed. One can feel the blatant rebellion against God's order vibrating through those words. God designed this sex distinction; God ordained the motherhood role of woman. The radical feminists want to eliminate patriarchy, heterosexual marriages, families which have the father as the head, calling it the root of all evil. They want to completely do away with sexual identity. They want to destroy everything God has set up regarding the family. This direct defiance against God that is revealed should cause us to flee from any cooperation with this movement. These rebels are the type of women that pushed for pants on women as a way to remove the distinction between the sexes. Numerous examples could be given to substantiate this fact.

Is this not the sin of Eve erupting in our modern society? There is the desire to rise higher than God's ordained plan. Does it not show rebellion against God in trying to break out of God's established order for the roles of males and females? A close study of the history of pants on women will bring forth overwhelming evidence that this ungodly rebellion was what drove the fashion agenda to put pants on women.

There is much documentation that reveals Satan's insidious agenda to assist women in their rebellious quest for forbidden power over men. In fact, one can discover this evil agenda attached to such movements as Marxist communism, the Illuminati, Spiritualism, and the New World Order, and well as other godless organizations.

Women of God, let us fill the role God has designed us to have, cheerfully and humbly. Let us be willing to wear feminine clothing, in modesty, simplicity and healthfulness. Let us allow God to have His will and way in our lives, so we may glorify and honor Him!