Feminine Fridays

On Feminine Fridays: dressing like a lady.

What does it mean to dress like a lady?

I had a fun chat with Catie a couple of weeks ago, looking at 1 Peter 3 together, and hoping that we don’t have to take it as a ‘What Not To Wear’ declaration:

 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—  but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. [1 Peter 3:3-4 – ESV]

Particularly since we both happened to be sporting ‘braided hair’ at the time.

I personally don’t think that I’m going to find a style blueprint in the Bible (unless you count 1 Cor.11 as a dress-code – and I don’t), but I do think God made my body as well as my soul, and so I think he cares about what I put on that body, and with that in mind I’ve invented my own rules of feminine style, consisting of two standards: modest and pretty.

As it happens this has led me to make another wardrobe decision, specifically, I don’t wear trousers. In fact I don’t even own trousers.

I used to, but nearly two years ago I learnt to use a sewing machine and in the pursuit of improving my skills I turned all my trousers into skirts.

The thing is – unlike some bloggers out there (if you have a spare hour or two, have a look here) – I don’t actually consider wearing dresses and having long hair to be a mark of being a proper Christian, but I do wear dresses and have long hair.


  • I like my long hair and I like dresses and skirts. I think they are pretty, and think pretty things are nice.
  • Dresses are comfortable (no waistband is good).
  • Dresses are modest (as long as they’re not too short, natch.) since you don’t have the awkward low-slung-underwear-on-display situation when sitting that often comes as standard with jeans.
  • Not showing my underwear to all and sundry is pretty important to me.
  • Wearing clothes that make taking part in dodgeball tournaments, attempting high-ropes assault courses and/or climbing over fences to play a mandatory game of ‘bat & ball’ impossible is an added bonus.

Ultimately, one of the things I love about being a girl is the fact that God has made us beautiful. There is a danger in that beauty – when, like with all of the other good gifts from God, we forget the Giver and obsess over the gift – but that’s a post for another week.

Today I feel like enjoying the gift and thanking him for it. I think what’s going on in 1 Peter 3 (and 1 Timothy 2) is not a list of what not to wear, but rather a reminder to keep our focus on the heart behind it all.

Braid your hair, wear jewels and pretty things, but remember that the most beautiful thing about you is the fact that your heart is turned towards the beautiful One – Jesus.

What about you? What does dressing like a lady mean to you?

In summary: I heart skirts.

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  • Reply fiona lynne February 4, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Yes to focusing on the heart first. Too often these discussions become very legalistic and therefore morph into a weird scale of holiness dependent on some (culturally specific) set of guidelines.
    Grace makes us the beautiful women we were meant to be. And that internal beauty was amazingly designed to be reflected externally, not the other way around. Over the last few years I’ve become more comfortable with enjoying my beauty and complimenting it in others when I see it, because it is not something to be ashamed of. It only becomes a problem when the external is the only beautiful thing about a woman.
    And I love too that beauty is by nature diverse. We see beauty in so many shapes and forms in nature and it is the same in women. Recognising beauty in all it’s fashions, sizes and shapes is I think one way we can be counter-cultural and I kinda love that.

  • Reply Rachel Emily Nellist February 5, 2012 at 2:47 am

    I don’t own any trousers either and also turned a pair of trousers into a skirt! On a whim of needing a denim skirt for a night out and without the fabulous textile skills of my favourite sister! It still exists and in one piece, although not sure if it fits! I would add that skirts/dresses are awesome but require either at least 60 deniers, leggings or a modest length to reach the ‘dressing like a lady’ level! Particularly if you are as pale and interesting as me!

  • Reply Catie Eliza February 6, 2012 at 8:37 am

    I agree with your motivations all, except for not being able to join in with fence-climbing-overing or games and silliness. I used to be really really ‘modest’ but realised I was obsessing just as much as the very ‘un-modest’ girls… and then I stopped caring as much and just wore what I liked. I still wear what I like, and since I am liable to climb on things I tend to wear shorts when I wear a dress or a skirt, but I try not to be legalistic cause at the end of the day we could all wear sheets over us like ghosts and avoid the problem of lust etc… but I think it’s important for men to take some responsibility and DEAL with the problem rather than just avoiding it. ;] I have to admitt though, sometimes I kind of enjoy the idea of being ‘outrageous’ just to see if anyine is actually bold enough to challenge me directly on it… but this kind of mischievousness is not very righteous. ;] xx

  • Reply fiona lynne February 6, 2012 at 8:49 am

    I’m still thinking about this. I’ve read that one of the main criticisms of burkah’s and other full-coverings for women is that it simply objectifies a woman’s body even more – rather that solving the problem of lust and all that comes with it, it makes their bodies the sum total of their person. And horrifically, it can make young prepubescent girls at risk of harassment for being immodest, which makes my blood boil. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/27/naama-margolese_n_1170655.html)

    Our Western cultures are over-sexualised and so it’s good and right to have discussions about modesty. But it’s better to take the conversation out of the “appearance” category and into the “character” arena (like you did). Otherwise we risk objectifying women just as much. We are more than our bodies and only when we understand that can we give them the proper respect and care they deserve.

    (See, when you bring up the topic of my dissertation you’re bound to get me going… 😉 )

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