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How Much Clothing Can We Really Take Off?

By: Bethany Baird

“Forget the rules. If it makes you happy, wear it!”

Those are the words plastered on the wall of a well known and hip shopping center in downtown Chicago.

As soon as I read that quote I immediately thought of the girls (and women) in that massive city I was exploring.

As I walked around the streets of downtown Chicago, I felt like I was in the melting pot of females who had made that quote the mantra of their wardrobe selections.

Here’s what I saw over the past ten days on my trip:

  • Shorts are no longer intended to cover up the body, but to show off as much of the leg and rear as possible. It doesn’t matter your age or body type, just wear the shortest, tightest shorts you can find and you will be a fashion diva.
  • Midriff is all the rage. Girls who can rock the tiny crop top *confidently* are right on point. The tinier the shirt, the better.
  • Transparent shirts are the best way to show off your under garments. In fact, undergarments are no longer considered a private accessory. Don’t worry about wearing a camisole under your transparent shirt, just wear a hot pink bra and you will be set.
  • Undergarments are now optional. If you feel like wearing a tight shirt without anything under it, go for it. In fact, shorts are so tiny these days that you don’t even need to bother with underwear. Forget the rules ladies. If it feels good, do it.
  • Wear as little as possible when hanging out in downtown Chicago. If you choose to wear an outfit that decently covers up your body, you may be the only girl in the entire downtown area dressed that way. Modesty and decency are sooo last year.

Sadly, I’m not exaggerating at all when I say this:

I struggled to find more than one or two females in downtown Chicago dressed in a half decent/modest way.

For the most part every single girl was dressed in clothing too small, too tight, too transparent and too non-existent to be considered decent clothing.

After seeing the major lack of decency among young girls (and grown women) I couldn’t help but write a post on it.

Ladies, we need to re-introduce the words modesty and respect back into our vocabulary.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a Christian or a non-christian, we as females, need to stop and think about the direction we are heading. We need to think about the messages we are proclaiming about ourselves through the clothes we wear *or don’t wear*.

How much more can we really take off?

What good are we doing ourselves, or the people around us, by dressing in such a degrading way?

I realize that the media, fashion industry and celebrities totally promote this way of dress. I’ve seen it. I get it. They undress and say this is the new “in” and we all blindly follow along without stopping to question where we are going.

Let’s stop and think.

Just because the media promotes something doesn’t make it right. Just because it’s popular and trending doesn’t make it appropriate. Just because everyone is doing it doesn’t make it the best option.

We don’t have to undress and show off our bodies to be cool and hip.

We as girls can be totally fashionable and trendy without showing off our every curve. We don’t have to wear the tiny booty shorts to be in style. We don’t have to show of our entire stomachs to be beautiful.

It seems like we, as women, are losing our sense of dignity and it is saddening.

I want to take some time to remind you of 3 basic facts about your femininity:

1. You are a Lady.

You aren’t an object. You aren’t an animal. You are a beautiful creation crafted from God’s hand. You were formed to be feminine and breathtakingly beautiful.

2. You are Valuable.

You were created with value. You were created in the image of the King of the universe. You have a maker in Heaven who cares about you more than any guy ever could. You don’t have to prove your worth to anyone. No one can add a single bit of value to your life. God already says you are completely valuable in His sight.

3. Your Body is Precious.

You have the body of a female. Beautiful, soft and full of lovely curves. Your body is different from the male’s body on purpose. You are unique. You are designed to be a woman. You are precious because God is your designer. You (if your are a Christian) are a daughter of the King. You are precious because you are His child.

Let’s raise the bar and set a higher standard.

Girls, we don’t have to give into the pressures of our culture. We can raise the bar. We can set higher standards. We don’t have to tramp around in clothing smaller than our underwear.

We can dress in a way that reflects virtue, honor, and respect for ourselves and for those around us.

Remember, just because the culture shoves a certain “fashion trend” down our throats doesn’t mean we have to accept it.

Just because everyone’s doing it doesn’t make it right.

If you are interested in honoring God in the way you dress I would highly encourage you to dig deeper into this topic.

We (GirlDefined) have written several blogs on this topic and I would encourage you to read them, pray over them, and raise the modesty bar in your own life.

The Naked Truth About Why We Wear Clothes 

When Looking Hot Gets You More Attention

Guy Thoughts: Come on Girl, Keep it Modest

Who will join me in raising the bar and setting a modest fashion trend?

I want to challenge you to join me (and Kristen) in setting a new fashion trend. If you are one of the few who wants to go against the grain of pop culture and dress in a way that reflects decency, modesty and respect, leave a comment below.

I would love to hear why you’ve chosen to dress decently and respectfully. Share your thoughts below and we can talk about this some more.


How Much Clothing Can We Really Take Off?

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  • Funmi ✞

    What an awesome read Bethany! As Christians we need to emphasize the importance of preaching Christ with our clothing and I love how you’ve done it here by addressing the elephant in the room.

    • Funmi, I totally agree! We need to reflect Christ in every area of our lives including our clothing choices! Thanks for pointing that out! 🙂 -Bethany

  • Grace O

    Such a wonderful and encouraging post! Thanks for this! I especially like the three points that you made near the end. “You are a Lady, You are Valuable, and You are Precious.” Not only do we need to dress modestly to help our Christian brothers in their walk, but we should also do it because we are made special by God. 🙂

    • Grace, so glad you enjoyed this post! The three points were a great reminder to me as well. We have an awesome God who loves us more than anyone else ever could! He is our designer. When I remember that I am encouraged to continue fighting for modesty! 🙂 -Bethany

  • Rachel

    I have chosen to dress modestly because the only thing guys see first about a woman is her clothes and the way she dresses. Girls if you turn guys on because your dressed immodestly then there is something wrong! It doesn’t pay to dress immodestly because you attract the wrong kind of attention! Remember a guy should lead you closer to God than himself if he wants to be worthy of you!!

    • Rachel, great points! We should definitely honor and respect the guys around us in the way we dress. Thanks for pointing that out! 🙂 -Bethany

  • Elizabeth Williams

    I definitely value modesty and have chosen to dress that way even though it’s not the popular thing to do. I’m glad you have too 🙂

    • Elizabeth, so glad you are choosing to go against the culture and dress modestly! Keep it up girl 🙂 -Bethany

  • CT

    Three ways to describe this post: aggressive, head-on, and extremely accurate!! It almost disgusts me when I see blatantly uncovered skin. You’re so right, Bethany. This post has made me think into why I have the standards that I do, and what I’ve come to conclude is that as God has worked on my heart in many areas of Christianity, He has changed my attitudes and intentions. My modesty standards have changed over the past five years, from preteen to now late teens, and it’s something that my conscience tells me, this doesn’t fit right. And I’ve learned from experience that dulling my conscience can draw me away from God and wreck my life, so I trust that it’s the Holy Spirit leading me and asking me to make my dress honoring to God.

  • Melea

    Great post! I am definitely all for modesty, but the culture is hard to fight! I’m in this with ya 🙂

    • Melea, so glad you are fighting for modesty! Keep up the good work girl 🙂 -Bethany

  • Thank you for writing this post. I feel like modesty, even in the Church, has only gone down. I believe a woman’s body is only for her husband’s eyes and therefore you are not respecting that when you show it off. Even if you aren’t married yet, you can still respect him and cover yourself properly.

  • I refuse to intentionally expose my body because I believe Christ’s body was exposed on the cross not only for the sake of my sin, but also so that I don’t have to expose my own body to earn the approval of men. I wish more girls knew this. The way they dress communicates that they are unaware of their value, have disregarded their value, or have forgotten their value. We must do what we can to convince them otherwise. This is a topic I am personally passionate about and I enjoyed this article.

  • lyn

    Thank you for this post! May God bless you in your ministry. Your blog has really helped by addressing problems that arise in my life just as they seem to pop up. The way God works and His Timing is infallible.

    • Lyn, I am so glad you were encouraged by this blog post. God works in awesome ways 🙂 -Bethany

  • Taylor

    Thanks for writing on this topic! Its really hard especially to stay modest when I see so many other great, Christian ladies that are wearing clothing that exposes more of their body. My parents don’t let me wear cut off shorts or any of that, but it’s still hard to be the one that stands out from the rest. Have your parents always taught about modesty & enforced it in you home, or was it your choice? Could you maybe write a post on what are some cute summer outfits that you wear that are modest? Thanks!!

    • Hey Taylor, I totally agree with you. It can be very hard to dress modestly when you see other Christian ladies dressing like the culture. Our reasons and heart motivation for dressing modestly should be rooted out of a desire to honor Christ. If that is our hearts motive it doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing. Our goal will be to please Chriat. To answer your question no, I didn’t grow up dressing extremely modestly. My parents were first generation Christians and were learning about modesty when I was 10ish years old. I’m grateful that they were open to learning and quickly taught me about modesty in my pre teen years. Modesty has to be a personal conviction and choice though. Although my parents are completely pro modesty and promote it and encourage it in my life, I have had to choose for myself to dress this way because I want to honor God.

      I have great news! We are getting ready to launch a modesty campaign in the next few weeks. We will launch a video showing our favorite summer outfits which will include tips on dressing modesty in the hot summer months. Keep your eyes peeled 🙂 -Bethany

      • Liz H


  • Melissa Van Den Assem

    This is the first time I’ve commented on a post, but I have been following your blog for about a year now. And it has become one of my favorite blogs, if not my most favorite. Thanks for the great job you do helping us become a light in this world by being separate and different!! This was another awesome post that hit the nail on the head! I also would love a post about some cute summer outfits. 🙂 I enjoy trying to find modest, but cute fashionable outfits to wear!

    • Hey Melissa, thanks for reading and commenting for the first time!! We always LOVE hearing from our readers 🙂 I am so glad this post was an encouragement to you! I have great news, we are getting ready to launch an entire campaign directly geared towards dressing fashionably and modest. The campaign should launch in the next two weeks or so! Keep your eyes peeled 🙂 -Bethany

  • Kimberly

    Purity and modesty are two topics I’m very passionate about. I post on Pinterest and Facebook about how I value both. I have four nieces and I want them to know how important it is to respect themselves and the Word of God. They are ambassadors of Christ, saved by grace with one mission~ to glorify Jesus! I ask, if Jesus stood beside us, would we be comfortable in the clothing we are wearing or embarrassed? The enemy entices us to be like celebrities, fashion models, or like our unsaved friends. All it takes is accepting a deception like “just a little cleavage,” “it’s your body,” it’s your choice.” These lies will lead to lust then sin. If only young women could be taught this before the enemies lies grab hold of them and lead them to destruction. We are either lined up with God’s kingdom or the enemies. Dressing modest is one of the best choices anyone can make. Jesus says, “be ye separate, come out from among them.” We are to be His voice, His light among a world polluted and deceived by evil.

  • Natalia

    Thank you for such a great post! I think you did a great job explaining why we should be modest, and I love your writing style. I also think that this is a very real issue that many girls are confused about ( I know I can be at 13 ). I personally don’t believe that modesty has to be a set of “rules and regulations”, but I think it’d be so extremely helpful if someone posted something about specific tips and tricks of keeping things modest (hint hint ;). Just an idea, but I think it’d be really helpful to girls like me, who want to be modest, but aren’t totally sure what is and isn’t, since we see immodesty all the time. Thanks again! 🙂

    • Tiffany

      Hey Natalia! I know how it can be confusing and hard to stay modest in the world we live in and the age we are (I’m 14). Here are some tips I have personally learned from the Bairds to tell if clothes are modest.
      Shorts: Are they fingertip length or longer?
      Dresses: Below or right above the knee is great!
      Shirts: Are they too tight? Are they lower cut than your hand flat from where your your neck ends and your chest starts? (Sorry if that last one wasn’t too clear).
      If you are looking for how to make clothes more modest/a modest fashion blog, I would highly recommend Merrick’s Art. She does things from how to wear a basic tee to how to add length to a dress. She is one of my favorite bloggers. Also the Baird girls said in another comment to be on the lookout for a video showing their favorite summer outfits and how to stay modest in the hot summer months. I am praying that you will have wisdom and peace about staying modest. I accept the challenge to stay modest and I hope you do too!

      • Becky Menke

        Not a law, but this helps my girlfriend and me before we head out the door: Keep your cleavage, knees and thighs for you husband’s eyes (or future husband’s eyes).

    • Hey Natalie! We are excited to let you know that a new video and series of blogs will be launching in the next few weeks discussing the topic of modesty. Our goal with the video will be to show you girls how we dress fashionably and modest all at the same time. Keep your eyes peeled 🙂 -Bethany

  • SomethingBeautiful

    I read this somewhere and thought it fit right in: “Dear girls, dressing immodestly is like rolling around in mud: You will get attention, but only from pigs. signed real men” If we want to be treated like ladies, we need to act and dress appropriately. I see so many mixed messages these days, especially in Hollywood. Women want to be treated with respect, and yet look at the way they present themselves. I feel bad for men because women target and blame them the most for the way they are treated. It’s so

  • Annika Smith

    I’ve gotten much more passionate about modesty over the last year. I was never immodest but I’m more stingy about it than I used to be. I’ve gotten into an argument with my mother about it when we went swimsuit shopping (we’re over it).
    And the reason is because this blog reminded me that guys will be tempted depending on how I dress. I don’t want to be a stumbling block to every (or any) guy who sees me, and I want to feel confident that I’m doing what God wants me to do.

  • Raeya Anderson

    Thank you for posting this. I’ve been reading quite a few of these girldefined and honestly its helped a lot. I’m 14 years old and these are all very good tips and ideas to follow, so thank you for taking the time to write and investigate about everything, and for caring enough to set an example. I’d like to join in being modest and mainly not worrying about what others think about of how I look. Thank you for reminding me of how God really sees me. 🙂

    • Raeya, praise the Lord the blog has helped! We know that being a Christian in these modern days is not an easy thing to do. Our prayer is that the GirlDefined blog will encourage you to continue on in your fight for purity and God defined femininity! 🙂 Keep up the good work girl! -Bethanh

  • Thank you for this much needed post!!

    • Rebekah, so glad you enjoyed it! -Bethany

  • CRL

    Love you ladies! I’m a 36 year Daughter of the One True King! I have struggled with body image for as long as I can remember! Now I’m raising two lovely daughters, ages 11 and 8. This world has and will continue to taint our minds. I will stand with you and the other bra e woman/girls and dress modestly and teach the younger generation about Modesty and Respect!

    • CRL We are encouraged to hear you are still in the fight and are now teaching your daughters about modesty and respect! Keep up the great work 🙂 -Bethany

  • Anonymous

    Where do y’all shop for decent clothing?

    • We shop for classier brands because those tend to be more modest. We love shopping at second hand stores (Clothes Mentor is our favorite) and finding great deals on clothes from stores like Banana Republic, Gap, Anne Taylor, LOFT, and others. We do some shopping online and we also sew some of our own clothes (we love sewing skirts and dresses). 🙂 Hope that helps!

  • Wileen Archua Bonghanoy

    I was raised by a very strict mother who is very strict with my clothing and looking back, I realized I am so blessed having a mom like her. Thank you for this post. I am so blessed!

  • Christianna

    Please could someone tell me how to dress modestly?! Everyone always says be modest, but what does that mean? Can I wear shorts? How short is too short, and for a shirt, how low is too low, how tight too tight etc. I asked 2 separate guys I know and they said they have no idea what I’m talking about, they don’t struggle in that way at all. I have friends who say all Jenes are immodest and others who say that bikinis are fine…and they’re both Christians. I would buy the modesty e book but I live in a different country and the paying system doesn’t work for some reason.
    Please help someone!!!!

    • Well, I’m kind of outside of Christian culture, obviously, but I’ll try to help. Here’s maybe a place to start: Ask yourself if you feel naked in it. I feel naked if I have no sleeves, or at least something there to cover the top of my shoulders. I don’t know why, but that’s just me.
      Of course, this is a very basic question, and every single person will have a different view on what’s modest. The problem here is that you are potentially dressing for other people, not for yourself and your own standards (or what YOU believe God’s standards are). But if you believe you should dress modestly, maybe take a careful look and ask yourself if you think an outfit is too sexy, first. That would at least be a place to start, I guess.
      Hope I’ve been helpful. I hope this makes sense, too.

    • Hannah T.

      Sorry about the late reply! I always stick to long bermuda shorts. If your shirt hugs you, it’s too tight. I think that if you have to question if something is modest, it’s better not to go with it. Hope this helps!

  • I thought decency referred to how you behaved towards others, not how you dressed. I think people should dress in what makes them comfortable (and on hot days, that might mean less or looser clothing).
    Perhaps you dress in the way that you think honors God, and good for you. But there’s at least a small chance that God may have called other women to something different than He has for you. I remember those verses about some people eating meat, and some not, and some people regarding one day as holier than another, while others regard all days as the same, etc.

  • Snarky

    “How Much Clothing Can We Really Take Off?”

    All of it…technically

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