Put Some Clothes On, Granny


I have read many, many, many a blog post on the topic of modesty. And not just blog posts…I spent a year or two seeking out every published article I could find, and I’ve read several books about it as well. If you are interested in the topic of modesty, you may very well have done the same, so I am excusing myself from presenting an exhaustive review of the following:

1) Modesty is a biblical principle, although the exact application of it to modern life is a matter that individuals may differ about.

2) Yes, what’s in your heart matters most, but many of us believe that there is a standard of decency that Christian women should follow, and that this standard requires clothing that is quite a bit different from what many women wear (and completely different than what most celebrities wear).

3) We should give grace to those who may not yet know what we have learned, and to those who interpret the scriptures differently than we do.

Are we mostly agreed? I sure hope so, because I’m about to bust right out and tell you that


OK, maybe I exaggerate just a bit, but I see a lot more skin than I want to, and my husband sees a lot more than I want him to. I can’t even count how many young women come to services in backless, strapless, and/or too short garments.  It bothers me, because I’m always wondering– even if these women choose to wear revealing clothes elsewhere, why don’t they have enough sense to put on something decent for church? Oh, wait…..it’s because their mothers and grandmothers are doing the same thing.

I’ll be honest with you, it hasn’t been that long since I went through what bloggers like to call a “modesty transformation,” but one thing that has made it extremely easy is the knowledge that I am neither a spring chicken nor a fashion model, and there isn’t that much of my body that anybody is dying to see anyway! Can I get an AMEN on that?? I mean really…it’s a blessing to me to cover up what needs to be covered, and I know a few trying-real-hard-to-look-hot grandmas who might want to give that idea a try themselves, and be a better example to their younger counterparts.

Can I say this plain and simple? We all have different ideas of what’s pretty and what’s appropriate. But church is NOT the place for any outfit that could possibly be called sexy. It’s just not. Stop advertising if you’re not selling, and throw on a cardigan or something.

And while we’re at it, do you really need to come to church in jean shorts and a graphic T-shirt? Do you really?  I get the idea that nobody wants to get all dressed up on a Sunday morning, especially if the weather is not conducive to that. As a society, we don’t do very much dressing up anymore…it seems we’ve all (except my boss, of course) agreed that we’d rather be comfortable.  I have to dress in “professional” clothes every day at work…like this:





….and you can bet your sweet patootie that there is quite a bit of the wailing and gnashing of teeth when I have to get up on Sunday and put on the exact same type of thing. It’s HOT here, and now I’ll have to come home after church instead of going straight on to whatever else I planned to do and I don’t feel like dressing up today and blah, blah, blah. Oh well, that’s too bad, and I have to get over it and put on something appropriate to where I’m going–just as I would for a job interview, a date, a wedding (to which people also go dressed in any old rag nowadays, and that’s extremely RUDE ) or for that matter, to work out at the gym or clean out the garage. You dress for the occasion, not just to suit yourSELF.

I could show up to my church in denim shorts (if I had any). Women do it every week. And I could wear a sundress, or bare my cleavage and give the pastor a heart attack when he looks down from the altar (no joke, women really are very inconsiderate of the pastor when they do that). I could wear a mini-skirt, or something peek-a-boo with a plunging bare back to give the men in the pews behind me a distraction. (Hey, I didn’t say a pleasant one…just a distraction.)

But I do none of these things, and I don’t think anybody should, and do you know why? Because, in the famous words of “Mammy” from Gone With the Wind…


… “It ain’t fittin’, it jest ain’t fittin.’ IT AIN’T FITTIN’.

24 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lee Ann
    Sep 14, 2014 @ 21:34:01

    I remember several years ago that a young person wore a t shirt with a rock band and jeans to their confirmation. I was perplexed…..surely the kid could’ve worn something. I mean confirmation in my church is a big deal. They go through 4 years of biblical teaching. To top it off the rock band was a bit sketchy if you know what I mean. I don’t think it would’ve hurt that young person to put on some nicer clothes. I don’t mean a suit but something nicer. But I don’t blame the young person, I blame the parents. They could’ve put a stop to it but chose not to. It came across to me as disrespectful for such a big moment in one’s life.

    Now don’t get me wrong. I have worn pants and yes, jeans to church. Egads!!!!!!!!That has not happened in a very long time but it has happened. And I don’t want clothing to be a barrier for someone. You know they may feel that they don’t have nice clothes and in deed they may not. I think what is in their heart is much more important than what they are wearing. Having said that I do think churches today are going way overboard with being casual.


  2. Sarah B.
    Sep 15, 2014 @ 11:51:03

    You did a great job of discussing a topic that (in my lowly opinion) is not given enough thought! Over the last year I’ve been majorly convicted about how I dress–not that (im)modesty was a problem, but that I was looking terribly sloppy and overly casual in my dress. It’s amazing how once I started dressing nicely for each day and its activities how much better I felt about myself, how much more seriously other people took me in whatever task I was doing, and just how much more ‘respectful’ I felt toward life (does that make sense at all??). I’m more aware of what a blessing from God each day is, and more and more I want to be respectful of the time he’s given me and the people with whom I interact. (Plus, overall I just feel more attractive and it really helps me remember that I should be a representative of Christ wherever I go!)


  3. Lea
    Sep 15, 2014 @ 16:12:51

    My mother-in-law is a lovely woman in so many ways. One way that she is detrimental to herself and her family is by trying to “look hot” (her words). My children spent a week with her and my father-in-law this summer and my 9-year-old daughter came home and said, “Grammie really should wear grown up clothes. I mean Mom, she was wearing clothes that Auntie A’s won’t wear and she’s 18!” Out of the mouth’s of babes, you know. My SIL is beautiful and extremely tall and dresses wonderfully because she realized at a young age that most clothes make her uncomfortable – knee-length skirts hit her mid-thigh, etc. So she often wears lovely skirts or dresses or otherwise appropriate clothes. Too bad her mother hasn’t figured that out yet!

    Thanks so much for writing this!


  4. Jan Hatchett
    Sep 15, 2014 @ 16:43:18

    Amen! I love this article! Too many people claim that nobody should be looking at their body lustfully and that men should control themselves if a woman walks around naked. I can buy that, but what does it say about the woman who wants to appear “hot?” I mean, isn’t that deliberately seeking out attention that may not be of the best kind?

    I am not the best example of how to dress, but I do stay covered up. I’d like to see (and my hubby and teenaged sons to see) far less skin and provocative stuff everywhere–particularly by their Christian counterparts outside of church. I mean, seriously, do we believers really think that God is locked up inside that church building while we are gone and has no idea what we are doing???

    Found you through the Modest Mom Link Up!


  5. melanie
    Sep 15, 2014 @ 17:44:37

    Its unfortunate how many people don’t have any pride or dignity when dressing today. I always was a dressing up kind of gal, since I was small but back in the 60’s and 70’s that’s how it was anyway. I also cannot understand how they don’t get embarrased when they are dressed wrong for the occasion (church, wedding
    fancy restaurant,etc..) I wear like what you do on a daily basis, even if Iam home and don’t know what my plans will be for the day, but at least I will be prepared.
    I don’t do heels-to uncomfortable- but a nice loafer, or flat refined style shoe that looks nice with dresses/skirt. I DON’T feel uncomfortable when Iam dressed
    differently from others, because this is who I am, and this is how I dress. As a matter of fact I would feel uncomfortable if I did dress like everyone else. To me
    nothing is more unfeminine than jeans, sneakers, t-shirts. YUCK! not to mention how ugly it is. (unless it’s a picnic, or sport game)
    Loved the article, love your posts.
    I especially loved the quote you mentioned on Mammy! haha, just perfect!


  6. Sweet-Water-and-Bitter
    Sep 15, 2014 @ 21:27:43

    Thank you, everyone, for the feedback so far. Yes, I agree that there is a lack of dignity in both dressing for sex appeal and dressing too sloppily. I’d like to mention that there was another comment I didn’t approve; not because she disagreed with the post but because I doubted she had read it very closely. The comment was along the lines of “Go ahead and be ageist and age-shame older women who are already feeling rejected and redundant.” Well, that type of thinking is exactly what’s wrong with older women dressing for sex appeal. Have you nothing more than your body to offer the world? I understand the sadness we feel as women when we realize that it’s been a long time (years, maybe) since a man gave us an appreciative glance. But really, what are men thinking when they ogle a woman flaunting what she’s got? I don’t actually have to guess, being married to a man who does not censor himself in front of me. He will make a comment like, “Wow, she was about to pop out of that shirt!” It has nothing to do with him thinking that she is a lovely woman; he is merely attracted to the sight of a pair of breasts or whatever it is she’s showing. Revealing dress is not appropriate for Christian ladies of any age. But it is especially saddening when the “flaunter” is an older woman, supposedly mature in her faith. Ladies, are you that desperate for attention? Do you not know that nothing is an object of greater scorn to a young man than a woman the age of his mother or grandmother who flatters herself that she appeals to him? Yes, I understand that we are vain creatures, and we’d rather have a man do a double-take over our beauty than to have him hold a door open for us and call us “ma’am.” But I’ve learned to content myself with being treated with the respect due to an older lady. I’ll choose that over scorn and ridicule, any day.


  7. Lydia Sherman
    Sep 15, 2014 @ 23:39:11

    Please do not let anyone intimidate you for this post. It is very good. Other people do put up good articles about modesty but people come along and try to shame them into removing them, by asserting that e article is judgmental, mean spirited or lacking in “compassion”. We can complain about immodesty of youth but the grannies lead the way.


  8. Helene
    Sep 16, 2014 @ 00:18:44

    I was really interested in your article. Although my perspective is a bit different, I think it is very important for us to consider modesty carefully and especially in situations like church where we are purposefully setting an example. http://www.maidservantsofchrist.com/detail.asp?DetailID=421&Return=bymonth.asp?Start=9/1/2014


  9. Lisa
    Sep 16, 2014 @ 12:00:13

    Amen and amen! The older are to teach the younger, and that includes teaching by example. Excellent post! Stopping by from the Modest Mom link-up. And I am your newest follower! Looking forward to future posts. :)


  10. joanneviola
    Sep 16, 2014 @ 12:23:35

    Well put. May we as women take ownership of the fact that when we dress inappropriately it is an offense – to God. May we also come to take responsibility for the messages we send out. You said much with just enough humor to lighten the message yet get it across. I visited from Titus 2 Tues. & I do think this was my very 1st visit. So, “nice to meet you! “


  11. Theresa
    Sep 16, 2014 @ 16:01:58

    At a funeral for my daughters 15 year old friend last year, I was shocked at the bar hopping attire some of the young girls were wearing. My sister who is a child and youth worker wisely said they are only dressing in a way that they have been taught. They think they are dressed appropriately for a funeral because they likely have seen the women in their lives dress the same way. I honestly had never thought about it like that. How sad that some young girl who may honestly have no impure intentions does not know any better.

    As for church, the most shocking thing I witnessed was a 20 year old wearing white see through capri’s with a black thong underneath. She was in the front pew no less. This would not offend me as much if this was not a girl who attends church regularly and actually should know better. The adults around her are failing her if she has not been told that outfits like that are inappropriate.


  12. Gentle Joy
    Sep 16, 2014 @ 19:31:45

    This is a great post, but it will probably light some fires among those who want to defend their “right” to dress the way they want. We needed to find a church many years ago… and one church we went to had great preaching, BUT the modesty was quite low… after attending the adult Sunday School class for several weeks where one woman, especially, came each week, dressed in a very short skirt and showing lots of cleavage,(the Sunday School class sat in a big circle, so there was no avoiding looking at her) we decided this was not the climate in which we wanted to raise our children. The Lord led us to the church we are in now, which has been a huge blessing… for the most part, the dress is very modest… not ugly, but modest and in good taste and also beautiful. The women are striving to be the older women teaching the younger women, even by example… I am thankful for this.

    In our culture, it is encouraged that we stand up for our “rights”, we defy those who want to “hold us back”, etc… but the sad thing is that we SHOULD show restraint… as God’s Word says… Restraint, denying ourselves, and more have become “old fashioned” and the stuff of ridicule…. then those who forge ahead feeling justified in their rebellion, become pitiful creatures, indeed. We can also become that… we must keep our eyes on the Lord and dress to please Him and our husbands.. not our own vanity. It is so easy to be sucked into the world’s way of measuring beauty. “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30


  13. Candice
    Sep 18, 2014 @ 02:30:26

    LOL when I read the name of this post I the image of my mom telling me, “One day when I’m old you will be telling me to “put my cloths on granny”” LOL Anyway great post! My church is more conservative in dress so no tube tops or mini skirts :)


  14. Katherines Corner
    Sep 18, 2014 @ 11:36:03

    I appreciate this post and the sentiment of it. I do think it is important to dress for the occasion. But, I am often torn by this topic. I am happy to see young people at church, I am grateful they are part of our Parrish and wish to celebrate and learn about our Lord and savior. So, although I don’t like the way they dress sometimes. I am grateful they choose to worship God (Luke 4:8; John 4:23; Rev. 4:10), study His Word (2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Cor. 4:6), pray (Acts 2:42), love one another (John 13:35; Phil. 1:1-4), help each other (Gal. 6:2), partake of baptism and the Lord’s supper (Luke 22:19-20), to learn how to live as godly people (Titus 2:11-12), and to be equipped to evangelize the world (Eph. 4:12; Matt. 28:18-20).Thank you for sharing and for linking up to the Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop.


  15. Mary
    Sep 18, 2014 @ 12:50:31

    I totally agree with you; however…and I hesitate to even post this, but I speak from experience…we need to be very careful not to judge young people for what they wear when it’s not what we would approve of. Showing too much skin is wrong, yes. But too often we are judgmental when it’s not our place. My daughter once wore a very short skirt to church. Yes, it was wrong. But I also didn’t know she had put that on. I left before she did for worship team practice. Another woman in the congregation said to her, “Nice of you and your short skirt to come to church.” THAT was uncalled for. And my daughter never forgot it (and never liked her after that!). If she had a problem, she should have come to me. My thought was, “Yes, it’s an inappropriate outfit, but at least she’s in church.” We were having issues at that time, and I was glad for her to at least show up. So, if a young person has on jeans and a shirt that we may not approve of, we need to try to overlook our own judgment because we may not know the difficulty around getting that young person to church. Please understand that it’s not my intention to offend anyone, and I completely agree that we need to dress more modestly and set the example. I just want to offer the perspective from sort of the other side…


  16. Gloria Doty
    Sep 18, 2014 @ 12:56:22

    I enjoyed your post and your sense of humor. I agree with you for the most part. I have 5 children, all grown now, but I remember their teenage years and the occasional struggles on Sunday mornings. I did allow them to wear jeans and t-shirts (absolutely no gross pictures or slogans on them) but I never allowed any clothing that would be offensive to them, me or someone else such as low-cut tops or short shorts. I didn’t allow that kind of attire for everyday wear, let alone church. The jeans and t-shirts were okay with me because I was more interested in them being in God’s house and hearing his word than I was in the fact they were not all ‘dressed up.’
    I visited from Katherine’s Corner.
    I invite you to visit my link-up or my blog, Writing by Gloria


  17. Sweet-Water-and-Bitter
    Sep 18, 2014 @ 23:15:37

    Thanks again for visiting, ladies. You know, I didn’t say this, but I was really thinking about adult women (and men for that matter) when I was fussing about the jean shorts. Maybe my whole distaste for them being worn to church stems from a childhood experience I had. I was about 9 or 10 and I had been playing all Sunday afternoon with my cousin in our small Mayberry-like town. When evening came, her mother permitted us to walk on over to our church–in our play clothes– for the youth meeting. I remember feeling rather surprised and jubilant that she allowed this, but an adult had said it was OK, so I took her word for it. I’ll never forget it, I had on jean shorts and a navy and white striped tank top. After the service, I proceeded to walk to my home. My mother opened the door for me and asked where I had been. “Youth group,” I said innocently. Her eyes nearly popped out of her head. “LIKE THAT?” she yelled, and I got a spanking I have yet to forget. Apparently she and my aunt had different standards, but my mother said “YOU know better than that!” My mother wasn’t even a particular proponent of modesty. Just appropriateness. But this would have happened in the mid-70’s. :-)


  18. sarahgirl3
    Sep 21, 2014 @ 16:12:10

    When I was growing up, my Dad wore a suit to church and we had to dress up. Well, now the church my family and I go to is very casual-I mean even our pastor wears flip flops. Sometimes I love it, and sometimes I wonder what people were thinking when they got dressed….


  19. jesthepilgrim
    Sep 22, 2014 @ 11:58:50

    I couldn’t agree more! I almost wonder if some blame should go to the church for not *pointing out* and addressing the topic to the ladies… I do have grace when it comes to unbelievers… but it is hard to understand those who profess to be Christians and dress so…

    Thank you for sharing at the Art of Home-Making Mondays! The new link up is up and running so please join in ;)


  20. Donna Reidland
    Sep 22, 2014 @ 14:48:47

    I appreciate your post so much! It’s something that, unfortunately, needs to said (in love, of course) over and over. I counsel full time at my church and it’s so sad the marriages where porn and other kinds of sexual immorality have been (or are) a struggle. I’ve had wives say to me, “I should be able to come to church and not wonder where my husband’s eyes are going when there’s someone in front of us (and everywhere else) dressed inappropriately.

    Thanks for writing on the subject and for Linking up at Mondays @ Soul Survival.



  21. Serena | simpleholisticgirl
    Sep 23, 2014 @ 16:04:09

    Visiting from Thriving Thursdays! This was a great post! Now my church is known for a “come as you are” atmosphere. They even encourage people around the holidays to NOT go out and get anything new. For those that may not be able to afford to go out and buy clothes it’s a great thing so they still feel like they belong. However, sometimes you do get those that know better and have better and still choose to wear the less appropriate outfit so I see your point.


  22. simpleholisticgirl
    Sep 23, 2014 @ 16:04:51

    Visiting from Thriving Thursdays! This was a great post! Now my church is known for a “come as you are” atmosphere. They even encourage people around the holidays to NOT go out and get anything new. For those that may not be able to afford to go out and buy clothes it’s a great thing so they still feel like they belong. However, sometimes you do get those that know better and have better and still choose to wear the less appropriate outfit so I see your point.


  23. Sweet-Water-and-Bitter
    Sep 24, 2014 @ 22:23:17

    Thanks for your comment, Serena. I’m sure nobody wants anyone to feel unwelcome at church because they may not actually have or be able to purchase traditional “church clothes.” However that brings up another point. Suppose that same person who didn’t have any church clothes was asked out on a date by the crush of their dreams. They might not “have” a date outfit hanging in their closet, but I bet they’d make it their business to get one. What if they were starting a promising new job or had an interview for one? What if they were going to see their old friends from high school and wanted to give the impression that their life was going well? They might not happen to have clothing suitable for these events, but very few people would say “Oh well, I’ll just go on my date or my job interview in my comfy sweats…it doesn’t really matter.” I believe most people who come to church dressed sloppily or inappropriately do so because they lack respect for the worship service. It’s not that they are unable to do any better–they’re just unwilling.


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