How Should A Woman Dress?

image living-loved asked a question:

Hey! So I was talking to some of my sisters about this topic and wanted to ask a brother about this too. I know guys struggle with lust more than woman (however, contrary to popular belief in the Church, we struggle with it too) but I don’t think we (as in the girls) realize how big of a struggle this is for guys. The topic we were discussing was tight clothing, specifically yoga pants and leggings. Do these really cause guys to lust? And what else does that doesn’t seem obvious? Thank you!


Hello! I wanted to say first: Thank you for trusting me to answer this question.  I’m always humbled.

I know this is quite a sensitive topic.  I totally understand that men and women should be mindful of how they dress, and I also understand that women have the complete right to exercise their freedom — but I believe the important thing is the motives that determine these decisions. 

I wrote a semi-angry post on this a while ago here.

The thing is: If a woman only dresses based on, “I don’t want a dude to stumble” — that’s usually not a good primary motivation. 

I know you’re not saying it is, but the first thing really is to dress for yourself in light of who God has made you.  If you worry mainly about being a “stumbling block,” this can only be a self-enslaving mentality which turns into legalism. 

For guys: Even if all the women in church decide to dress appropriately, there are still MANY women in the world who choose not to.  So all us guys need to learn how to bounce our eyes and have some self-control.  It’s cool if a sister helps with this, but again: a woman’s main motive can’t be only to help a brother out.  Dudes need to learn how to discipline themselves.  No dude should ever blame a woman for their own lust issues — which is exactly how we ended up in a rape-culture.

I say all that to say: While we should absolutely humble ourselves for one another and be gracious about our sensitivities, the number-one issue of the heart in any action has to be between you and the Lord.  Otherwise it’s not sustainable.  When it’s worked out with God, that’s also how you’re empowered to carry out your conviction at all. 

After that, then you can begin to see how your actions, whether it’s clothing or speech or social media, is affecting your brother or sister.  And you’ll be changing not to please people, but because you’ve already worked it out with God, and you want to for His sake.

— J.S.