Does God care about trendy clothes and style? the Theology of Fashion.
Does God good care about what you wear? Does He watch the runway? Does it ever feel like there are parts of our life that God couldn’t possibly love or care about? We don’t have any quotes of Jesus talking about high heels, the cut of tunics or in season color schemes. Yet sadly, I think fashion, design and clothing in general has been left out of the conversation about God and in many ways has let secular or worldly designers be the sole voice over fashion. Simply put, God has an infinite amount care, concern and love and there is nothing hidden from Him. So God not only cares about fashion but knows every detail of trend, style and every piece of clothing anyone is wearing at any moment around the globe.
The reason we never talk about this is we usually have a limited understanding of God’s value of beauty. God is the architect of beauty. What blows us away the most, is it not the landscapes of the earth God has made with His hand? Is not God’s creativity and beauty on display with the endless variety of plants and animals that roam the earth? The mundane seems contrary to God’s creative nature. Furthermore, what is God’s crowning design and creation, that he declared not just good but very good? Humans, both man and woman are pinnacle of Gods design and creation. (Gen 1-2) In fact, God’s creation of woman elicits the first ever verse of poetry and romance ever spoken in praise of her beauty:
“This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
(Gen 2:23, I promise it’s more intriguing in Hebrew)
The human form is God’s creation and it is not dirty, disgusting or shameful but instead beautiful and wonderfully made (Ps. 139) Therefore adorning what God has made with materials that God also made should be celebrated as we exhibit the creativity, productivity and beauty that embodies God’s work. Fashion can be very honoring to God. However, the world has corrupted many parts of world of fashion. Often the tighter or more revealing is always preferred and praised, over fashion that simply displays the loveliness of a woman or the masculine strength of a man.
So how does a young lady adorn herself in a way that honors God or a person create fashion that gives glory to God? Here are a couple things to keep in mind. First, all dress can and should promote beauty, display creativity or exhibit personality that God has given you. This could be bold and louder or choosing a minimalistic style, both our choices though. Second, fashion should accentuate and perpetuate the God given creation and roles of men and women. Often in the fashion industry of the past 50 years there has been a movement to make fashion more androgynous blurring the lines between male and female. God has created each sex distinct and special. Our fashion should reflect the feminine and masculine qualities of that person’s creation. Third, the often quoted on women’s attire, 1st Timothy 2:9-10:
“likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.”
This verse is NOT a prohibition against Christian women wearing jewelry or fashion with their hair. Paul is addressing in these verses that Christian women are absolutely not to dress as prostitutes or in immodest ways. The traits from the verse above were the traits of prostitutes in the ancient Greco-Roman world. A good comparison to this is what women would typically wear in a risqué dance club, Vegas casino or would be embarrassed to wear in front out in daylight public is inappropriate. Fashion should be used in self-control, not trying to make males lust after a woman’s body or make other women envious. Fashion is not an art to lead others to sin, but rather art to the glory of God displaying one’s body in modesty, self-control and beauty. Now a woman cannot control the lusts of every man, but she must be considerate to pursue a balance of beauty and modesty wearing fashion that could attract or would be pleasing to her husband, but not invite attention based solely on her looks. Embrace the end of 1st Cor. 10:31 ‘adorn…with good works’ always believe that attracting a spouse should be based on who we are in Christ & the good works He is producing in us, rather than passing attractiveness. Let your good works speak louder of who you are than your fashion ever could.
Sadly, a Cru director once warned a crowd how many young men in his movement deeply struggled with lust after Cru meetings because so many women choose Cru to be place to sport immodest fashions. A great way to think about the latest fashion is an ‘accept, redeem and reject policy.’ Some fashions you can readily accept with little reservation for example: big tees, brightly colored shoes, or boot trends. Some fashions can be rejected, for instance wearing black tights with a shirt that doesn’t fully extend your one’s backside. But this fashion can easily be redeemed! Redeem it by wearing a truly long big tee or better yet wear nike shorts over the tights. Hopefully this is helpful way the process as fashions change and always emerging. Accept, Redeem and Reject. Learn more about this here.
The fourth point to consider is not accept the world’s standard of money to be spent on fashion or the sometimes immoral ways it is made. Often the world bids you to come and spend lavishly on fashion, handbags or sunglasses, etc. Christians can spend money on such things, but once again should carefully reflect on their budget and spend it in a way that reflects investing in heaven and that earth is not our home. We must remember both the poor locally and globally and let our spending not be audacious on ourselves. Take a look here to learn more about where are clothes come from and our purchasing decisions affect the lives of others: www.free2work.org or get involved at http://www.alabamaijm.com/ with issues like this.
Lastly and maybe most important, consider this: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”-1st Corinthians 10:31
All the decisions, purchases, words and creativity in our life must revolve around us giving glory to God in the way we do it and wear fashion that others would see it and naturally give glory to God. If our fashion doesn’t make others glorify God, then we have failed. Creativity and beauty give God glory, let us honor God with our bodies and what we adorn them with. -Justin Karl (and Alana’s help!)