What does the Bible say regarding proper dress for women?

Through His Word, the Holy Bible, God gives us a simple and clear yet general instruction in I Timothy 2:9: “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel…” The word “modest” is defined in Collin’s English Dictionary as: 1. having or expressing a humble opinion of oneself or one’s accomplishments or abilities; 2. reserved or shy; 3. not ostentatious or pretentious; 4. not extreme or excessive, moderate; 5. decorous or decent. Therefore, God expects a woman to dress in a proper, well-mannered fashion—certainly not in a provocative, outlandish or excessive way. Christians are to be examples to those around them, living the pages of the Bible for those who never read them. Their appearance and actions should exude stability and good judgment.

Although this does not mean we must dress so out of fashion as to be offensive or strange, it may be more difficult, especially during certain situations in this end time, for a woman to be fashionable and modest at the same time. In addition, one should wisely consider the financial aspect (and the motives) of constantly purchasing stylish clothing, even if it is modest.

In any case, one’s clothing should be suitable for the situation—respectable swimsuits for the pool or beach, jeans for work in the garden, and dressy outfits for formal occasions. At all times, a Christian woman should endeavor to look her best for those who are especially important in her life—her husband, family, etc.

God instructed the nation of ancient Israel in Deuteronomy 22:5 as follows: “The woman shall not wear that which pertains unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord your God.” This is a command against transvestitism and still applies to men and women today! However, some have mistaken what God is referring to here, believing that it is wrong for a woman to wear pants—this is not the case—clearly, God is referring to a woman dressing up to look like a man and vice-versa.

A truly converted woman will convey a “meek and quiet spirit” (I Pet. 3:4), and this will be reflected in the type of clothing she wears. Her apparel will be appropriate for the occasion and stylish if affordable, while remaining modest and proper. The heart of such a woman will be pleasing to God.