Why Guys Aren’t the Reason I Dress Modestly

By: Bethany Baird

“Sometimes I wonder why I even dress modestly. I mean, guys see immodest women all the time anyways. It’s not like they don’t know what cleavage is. I’m starting to wonder if modesty is really worth it.”

Those were the words of a girl who was feeling super discouraged about modesty. As she shared her heart with me, I felt like her words could have been my own. At this point in time (mid high school) I had some very similar thoughts running through my own mind.

Why am I even doing this?

Do guys really appreciate the effort that dressing modestly takes? Do they realize how inconvenient modesty can be at times? Do they even appreciate it?

I clearly remember days of feeling down, discouraged, and not even wanting to dress modestly. I felt like I was dressing modestly for guys, but then most of them didn’t seem to appreciate the effort I put into it anyways.

I’m sure some of you girls can relate to my feelings of frustration.

Looking back on my middle school/high school years, I clearly see where I went wrong with my perspectives on modesty. I see how my priorities were out of whack. I understand why I was feeling discouraged. I can see why I wanted to give up on modesty. And I can see where some of you might be going wrong as well.

My biggest problem was this: I was ultimately dressing modestly for guys and not for God.

That’s where I went wrong. I had my priorities out of place and that is why I was discouraged about modesty. I was doing what I was doing for people rather than for Christ.

As we all know, people will fail us. People will let us down. If “people” are the reason for why we do what we do, we will lose our motivation and desire.

I now realize that my motivation for modesty (and anything else in life) must be rooted in a desire to honor and glorify my King.

Christ must be the ultimate reason for why I do what I do.

I now dress modestly for a bigger and better reason. Guys are no longer the main reason for why I dress modestly. God is the main reason I choose to dress modestly.

Here are a few reasons for why I now dress modestly:

I dress modestly because I understand God’s big perspective on the purpose of clothing.
I dress modestly because I desire to honor God with my life.
I dress modestly because I love God and want to reflect Him well in the way I represent Him.
I dress modestly because I understand that God created men and women differently and I want to bless and encourage the men around me.
I dress modestly because I want to point others to Christ and not my body.

If you desire to understand the “why” behind modesty, I highly encourage you to check out my e-book, Project Modesty: How to Honor God WIth Your Wardrobe While Looking Totally Adorable in the Process. Kristen I dig deep into the purpose of clothing and show you the big picture for why we even wear clothes. You can also check out my blog post, The Naked Truth About Why We Wear Clothes.

My encouragement to you is this…dress modestly out of a desire to honor and glorify Christ.

Dress modestly because you love God.

Dress modestly out of an overflow of your understanding of why God created clothes in the first place. Dress modestly because you understand the value of the Gospel and you understand how your clothing is a reflection of that incredible truth.

Don’t make “guys” the main reason for why you dress modestly. Make “Christ” the main reason for why you dress modestly.

I’ll never forget the words Susan Hunt shared with me at conference a few years back. Kristen and I were talking with her about our new book, Girl Defined: God’s Radical Design for Beauty, Femininity and Identity. We were asking Susan for advice relating to our book and this is what she said (in a nutshell).

“Make sure that everything you write is centered around Christ and the gospel. He should ultimately be the center of why you do what you do.”

Wow! That applies so perfectly to the topic of modesty. Christ should be the number one reason for why we dress modestly. Everything else should be a secondary reason.

I want you to evaluate your own heart. Ask yourself these questions:

Why do I dress modestly?
Why do I have convictions in this area?
Who am I striving to please?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Share with me in the comments section below and let’s continue the conversation.

Photo Credit

girl tugging on pants

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  • Seeking truth

    The guys who don’t appreciate or value modesty are the same guys you really don’t want to be around…unless, of course, you want them staring at your cleavage. Another way of looking at it is by asking the question: “If dressing modestly was intended for guys, in what way(s) should it be expected for them to show their appreciation for it?”

    Like your book points out, the great thing is that God designed women with very noticeable and admirable beauty even when dressing modestly. A simple, heartfelt smile on the face of any Amish gal should convince anyone of that truth.

  • Elizabeth Fry

    We must keep our convictions grounded in love for Christ and His commands, otherwise we’ll fall into either a judgemental or devil-may-care attitude. It’s not about keeping the letter of the law or exercising your freedom but loving Christ with our all and loving our neighbors. Bethany, thank you for your practical, encouraging posts about the everyday struggles. Keep pointing to the beauty of Christ!!!

  • Mikayla

    I think that this is the main reason why most people don’t understand modesty. People need to know that we are dressing to honor God, not the world.

  • Elisabeth

    I dress modestly so I won’t give away what’s my husband’s,and so I can tell my kids I did right by their dad.

  • Hannah R

    Hey, so I’ve been reading a bunch of these posts of yours talking about modesty lately, and it’s been making me feel much more strongly about dressing in a way that’s God honoring. My question is, how do I start dressing more modestly without going out and buying a whole new wardrobe? The shorts I have for this summer are old and a bit small, and I just have jeans and leggings as a backup. I don’t think I’m comfortable wearing a lot of it. I have plenty of t-shirts and nice longer tops, so I’m not as worried about that. But I can’t really go out and buy a bunch of new things (although I’d like to!) because, well, that costs money, which we don’t have a lot of to spare right now. So, do you have any ideas for me? Any tips on how to be more modest? I want to be honoring God with how I dress, and also, just make myself feel better, because if I’m honest, I feel really self conscious in shorter, tighter clothes. Thank you! ^_^

    • Olivia W.

      Shorts can be a big problem especially this year where the super short shorts seem to be the most popular. My mom was able to find me some that are an acceptable length, thankfully. What I would do if I couldn’t find any shorts that are long enough for a decent price, is just take some older jeans (seriously even goodwill ones would work) cut them to slightly longer than the length you want them to be, and roll them up some. Cutoffs hardly ever go out of style, and nobody would no that they used to be jeans. I’m not ashamed to most of my tshirts came from goodwill or are handmedowns 😉

    • ABolin

      Hannah R,
      You might try taking some of your clothes to a local consignment store and then using the money you earn by selling the old stuff to buy newer, more modest items.

    • Jade

      Hey Hannah! A few years ago, (when I was 11) I read a few books or blogs or something and something changed. One day I put on a pair of shorts I’d always worn to go for a walk to the park… and when I got there, I suddenly felt really self-conscious! (They were quite short shorts). I slunk back to our house and quickly changed, and haven’t worn anything like that since! I also got rid of my shorter swimming shorts and traded them for knee length ones. I really had no skirts and dresses, and I’ve built up my wardrobe of them the past few years. I personally don’t feel a conviction to wear only skirts and dresses, but I do enjoy wearing them. I also like to wear jeans and things like that in winter, and the most helpful thing I’ve found is to (like one of the other commenters said), cut a pair of jeans and roll cuffs to make shorts! Also, the best thing you can do for your wardrobe is to shop at Goodwill! I’m from Australia, but I did spend a year in the US and loved Goodwill 🙂 Op shops are amazing because you can get very good brands if that’s what you’re after, even brand new things, or things in very good condition at a very cheap price. I”d much rather buy 4 things at an op shop for $40 than one thing at a new shop for $40! And I just want to say one more thing: keep studying what God’s Word says about this. It’s encouraging that there are girls out there doing exactly that. And since people at my church aren’t really aware of it or they think it’s legalistic to talk about it or something (which bothers me greatly), I find online to be my greatest source of encouragement! Where I can read and study and interact with like-minded girls. God bless you in your journey to honour Him in the way you dress!!! Love from Australia 🙂

      • Hannah R

        I hadn’t even thought about Goodwill but that’s a wonderful idea, and i think there’s one right down the street from where I live! Thank you! Honestly, it’s really encouraging to me as well to see other like minded girls that want to dress modestly and live according to God’s Word. It’s reeeaaallllyyy easy to get discouraged, so thank you for the encouragement! Also, like you said, I’ve found myself becoming more interested in skirts/dresses recently. When I was younger I always prided myself on being a “tomboy” and HATED dresses, but this blog especially is helping to change my views a bit. ^_^ God bless!

        • Jade

          You and I sound so similar! I have only brothers and so naturally was a tomboy. And that’s really hard to grow out of, ha ha! I agree, it’s super easy to get discouraged. Most girls seem to get all the attention but keep in mind that they’re getting the cheap attention. I like to picture this: there’s a tree with apples on it. Most guys walk past and pick an apple off the bottom of the tree, that might have a worm in it or a rotten spot, throw it away, pick another okay apple but not finish it etc. (Apples representing girls). But occasionally a good guy will come past and climb to the top of the tree – where he will find apples that are not cheap, that have been waiting! That’s how I’ve heard it explained.
          When I first starting really consciously trying to dress modestly (not that my wardrobe before was terrible, I always was a leeetle different) I sort of went to an extreme and tried to wear skirts and dresses ALL the time. Now I do enjoy again wearing jeans(not super tight) and long shorts. But I mean I don’t really think there’s any biblical grounds for saying that women should only wear skirts. That verse in Deuteronomy saying there should be a differerence seems to just be saying there should be a different – not women have to wear skirts. And back them apparently everyone wore skirts. The Bible even talks about God’s skirt! (or so I’ve heard… in one passage. I haven’t actually read it myself as far as I can remember). Sorry… I’m ranting. Basically, I love Kristen and Bethany’s ideas! I’m going to buy their project Modesty e-book but unfortunately can’t buy their new book because the postage would be super expensive 🙁 PS. I do love to wear jeans in feminine ways. Have you thought of wearing a tunic/long shirt/short dress over jeans? That can look cute. A modest fashion blog I quite like is Fresh Modesty. Anyway… sorry for ranting!! Ha ha!!

          • Hannah R

            You do sound like someone I’d totally be friends with! (if we lived any closer, haha!) I’ve heard the apple thing before somewhere, it’s a good picture!! And I agree – i don’t think women have to just wear skirts and dresses. There should be a difference between men and women though, because God designed us differently. It’s really just about the heart and the reasons for the way you’re dressing. It’s not even really about how long your shorts are, (although in my opinion it should be taken into account) it’s about trying to be God-honoring in the way you dress and the way you live! That’s really the most important part.
            I’m really excited for the book too, hopefully I can get a copy at some point! Did you see Bethany and Kristen’s sister’s modesty fashion blog? It looks super cool. And YES I really like wearing long shirts/dresses over jeans, it’s super comfy, casual, and cute! I love it!

          • Jade

            No I haven’t seen Bethany and Kristen’s sisters’ fashion blog – what’s it called? If you can tell me what it’s called I’ll definitely check it out!

            Absolutely agree, it’s the heart behind the way you dress.

            And it is a shame we live so far away…. (I’m assuming you’re in the US 🙂 ). But it’s so nice to chat with other girls online and read blogs and stuff for encouragement 🙂 This is definitely one of the blessings of living in the digital age!!

          • Hannah R

            It’s called hello modesty, it was just recently started up by their younger sister Rebekah!

            And yes, I’m from the US 🙂
            What a wonderful thing the Internet can be! 🙂

          • Jade

            Thanks, just checked it out. Nice!

  • Hannah H

    “Christ must be the ultimate reason for why I do what I do.” Yes! This is key.

  • Belle

    Of course, you dress modest for God first, but it can be for guys too. For them not to stumble by what your wearing ,and by saving yourself for your (future) husband and not giving anything for other men to enjoy.

  • Adalie

    Thanks a lot! I love wearing dresses, and modest clothing. But I find it really hard in our culture today.
    In order to defend my beliefs, I need the proper wording, and I realy liked what you said about God’s purpose of wearing clothing. This reminded me of Genesis, and when God first clothed man and woman, it made me realize I’m doing just what God wants me to, and I can, with confidence tell others why I do what I do…so thank you so much!
    God realy uses you to speak through!

  • Elaine

    I dress modestly because my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. I try to honour Him with my body, though at times I know I fall so far short. I’ve actually come to the point where I don’t care if our culture looks down on me for dressing modestly, because I want to please my Lord in everything. I want my life to be pure, and since my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in me, I am deeply moved to honour that. I am grateful that He wants and expects me to, because He sees me as valuable.

  • Christ Believer

    Are standards of modesty only a personal conviction for some Christians? You all do a great job with honoring God through your fashion choices 🙂 But some of the other Christians (in school or the media) I see who also love God don’t seem to be dressing modestly, I think it is because they don’t realize it or it never occured to them. Are your standards something that God convicted you of as you matured in Christ and He just brings different believers to these standards at their own pace in their faith?

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