I have a shocking confession to make. I do not wear pants.
As a Christian teenager in the late 1990s, I made a decision based on my personal convictions and religious beliefs. I decided to give up pants. Instead I began to wear only skirts and dresses. This was not a popular choice in an American public high school at that time. I heard my share of rude comments and jokes to be sure. I even had a classmate ask me if I was Amish. He was serious.
When I decided to stop wearing pants, it was for two reasons. The first was that pants go against my personal standards for modesty. Most pants are made to conform to the shape of the wearer’s backside. When pants fit correctly, the fabric in the seat of the pants is filled out by curves that were created to attract the male gender. I was simply not comfortable advertising my curves to every boy at school. The second reason I stopped wearing pants was that I felt a desire to be more feminine. Many other girls in my school were choosing to clothe themselves in either painted on pants or big, flannel shirts that were originally made for men. I wanted my clothing to showcase my femininity but not my sexuality. I also wanted to have an appearance that I believed would be both pleasing to God and inspirational to others who may be looking for Christianity in their lives.
Choosing clothing is a personal matter. I know many wonderful Christian women who choose to wear pants. I am not suggesting that this is the right choice for every woman. For me it is an expression of my womanhood as well as my faith.
I have three beautiful daughters, and two of them wear skirts and dresses exclusively. These two are still very young, and I buy or make most of their clothing myself. My older daughter, however, is exploring her options. Her father and I are supportive of this as long as her choices are modest. I am not crazy about the idea of her in pants, but I can handle it as long as they are not tight. She doesn’t bare her stomach or wear skirts that are cut above the knee, and necklines stay at or above the collar bone. We allow her this freedom, and will give the same to her sisters, because we want her to learn how to choose modest clothing on her own. If she chooses to wear skirts exclusively, that will be her decision to make.
I believe that the majority of Christian women can agree that dressing modestly is a priority. However, the definition of modest does vary widely. The bottom line is that we must all create our own standards in relationship to our faith and values. From there we must make the choice that allows us to be both physically and spiritually comfortable.