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.

6 thoughts on “How Should A Woman Dress?

  1. This is really good J.S. I love how you put the ball for personal responsibility back in each person’s court. Living in a “blame the other guy” culture we often make it too easy to push off our logs onto other people saying “it’s your job to fix me.”


    1. I’m reminded of a sermon by Francis Chan where he talked about “blame culture,” and how Christians usually blame their churches or pastors for their own shortcomings. Man, that was a tough sermon: but he was absolutely right.


  2. Very good perspective. Never heard it put this way before…but I still think it’s pretty obvious what’s modest and what is not….yoga pants and leggings should always be worn under a dress or skirt!


  3. I really appreciate this!! Such a good perspective on the modesty issue. You’re exactly right – anything we do for other people will eventually fizzle out. Only God can make lasting changes in our lives 🙂 Good job on this post!


    1. Yes! I have to quote this post too, very balanced and thoughtful:
      “A lot of people will try and tell you that a woman should watch how she dresses so she doesn’t tempt you to look at her wrongly. Here is what I will tell you. It is a woman’s responsibility to dress herself in the morning. It is your responsibility to look at her like a human being regardless of what she is wearing.”


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