Writer Hope Bonarcher concedes that some of the outfits around today make her wince but here she explains why she refuses to 'outfit shame'.


Source: Ron Lach / Pexels

As a Christian woman in the 21st Century, there can be a lot of temptation to "outfit shame": to make a woman who dresses immodestly feel like a bad person because of her lack of attire. I am one of those moms who scrunches her nose at every crop top and pair of shorts my long-legged pre-teen shows interest in. My response is always a curt “no” before she even broaches the question.

I believe wholeheartedly that the Bible is clear on how a woman should adorn herself. Although there is not an abundance of biblical teaching on the subject, women who dress without bringing attention to themselves are lauded, while women whose bodies are used to arouse male interest. For example, Herodias whose suggestive dance leads to the assassination of John the Baptist. This shows not only the manipulative influence of the female form but also it’s potentially destructive power.

I regularly cover my children’s eyes at the sight of a young girl’s butt cleavage escaping out of an ill fitting outfit

In this day and age, scantily clad girls and women are everywhere! I regularly cover my children’s eyes at the sight of a young girl’s butt-cleavage escaping out of an ill fitting outfit. Or I'll manage to speedily swipe past Barbie Movie advertising featuring Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice’s title track so as not to have to answer uncomfortable questions. A few years ago I waxed lyrical about Kanye’s seeming Christian conversion but now I’m hoping they don’t catch a glimpse of his new wife and her fashion choices. If 2023 is the year of the liberated woman on steroids, surely any Pentecostal mom worth her salt should be ready with an assault-weapon-worthy tirade of condemnation and judgment at the first sight of a bra strap, right?! Wrong. And here's why I'm not.

Flashback to summer 2005, it's New York City and pre-Christian me walks into my dad’s Brooklyn home wearing a playsuit so short most teenagers wouldn’t have fit into it! When I scoffed at my dad’s negative comments, insisting it was a perfectly reasonable outfit given the sweltering weather. He responded: “I’d hate to see what happens if it gets any hotter!” I was the girl who masqueraded at Halloween as any normal themed costume with the word “slutty” in front of it. I can remember shorts I used to wear in public that are smaller than the average pair of knickers I now wear as undergarments. I’ve given birth to four children, ok? I’ve earned my comfort!

The person who told me the gospel didn’t say a word about any of my inappropriate clothing.  

There’s a wonderful place in scripture where Jesus talks of the free gift of the Holy Spirit, explaining that: “He will lead [us] into all truth.” I remember the miraculous day after I was born again, walking along the same New York City streets and literally feeling liked I’d received new eyeballs! Nearly everything I saw was somehow different! The Holy Spirit, true to his word, had given me “eyes to see”! For the first time ever, things that God saw as unholy stuck out to me. This new, spiritual sight wasn’t anything I’d come up with on my own. It was something beautiful and supernatural God blessed me with when His Spirit came to live inside of me.

I’d taken the first step of repentance and asking God for salvation; His grace, so mercifully, did the rest for me. The person who told me the gospel didn’t say a word about any of my inappropriate clothing. He shared Jesus with me gently and honestly, letting the Holy Spirit do his work of conviction. This personal experience has persuaded me, it’s important I do the same.