What we choose to wear communicates who we are and who we want to be, it allows us to communicate our dignity without saying a word, and that is truly beautiful. The Catholic church passionately teaches others about the value of modest fashion, not as simply a way to “help men,” but, as Pope St. John Paul II wrote in Love and Responsibility, “because it is good for the woman herself.”
What is Fashion?
Fashion is best defined simply as the style or styles of clothing and accessories worn at any given time by groups of people. Before the modern era of fashion, the style was mainly practical to serve a purpose or a trade. The fashion industry gives the power to choose a style you like and express your individuality. For many of us, the clothes we wear can have very real consequences. Did you know that 80% of someone’s first impression of you is in WHAT YOU WEAR? We should be intentional with what we wear, and know what effects that can have on our lives and the people around us.
Why is it that we care how we look?
As women, we love to look and feel good. God made us that way. God loves beauty. And He loves you and me, exactly as we were created. Here are two questions for you to think about:
Does it really matter that we are making a “fashion statement” in the clothes we wear? Can faith play a role in fashion?
What we wear portrays to the world an image of who we are. We all have a common denominator, we are all created in the image and likeness of God. We are made out of love for love. Clothing is a silent and yet powerful communicator, it can build and destroy our image. Our clothes tell a lot about us, our talents, our personalities, our beliefs, our dispositions, our needs and creates a means for one human being to evaluate another human being. Giving up our identity isn’t what Christ asks of us, is it? Yes, we are called to constant conversion, but we are not called to suppress our personalities.
Why not allow clothing to make a statement, rather than your body. How you dress, how you look, how you do your make up etc does matter as you are a walking billboard for Christ, a showcase that you are a temple for the Holy Spirit. When people look at you, they shouldn’t just see you, but also a part of Christ and that you love the body God has given you. Yes, women are very defensive about fashion and how they look, but we have a huge responsibility to dress in a way that tells the world something about us. If I put on clothes that say ‘I belong to Christ’, in a way that still shows off my style that is being a real fashionista! Remember the God of the universe thinks you are amazing, “The King is enthralled with your beauty” (Psalm 45:11).
Stepping out in faith is difficult. The fear of the unknown prevents us from really pursuing our dreams and conquering all the difficult scenarios which pop up regularly in our lives. Think of it this way; if we never trust fully in God, and truly believe in our Heavenly Father’s promises, we will never fully reap the benefits of being a daughter of God, a princess of our Heavenly King. Express your faith through the clothes you wear, live a life that is pleasing to God, and in doing so, you will find that those fears will just fade away to the point of completely disappearing.
For me, making adjustments to my fashion sense was a joy for me. How modesty integrates into a woman’s life is an individual journey with many ups and downs. Modesty is compatible with stylishness. When you marry style with modesty a sense of peace comes to the heart, knowing we are in tune with God’s will. Edith Head once said, ‘a dress should be tight enough to show you are a woman and loose enough to prove you’re a lady’. We need to reclaim what beauty really means. To objectify simply means to take a part away from the whole. When clothes objectify us, they tend to put the focus on just a part of us, or literally a body part, to the point of distraction. To be beautiful is to be whole. In order to communicate modesty, we must live it. What you wear on the outside affects you on the inside.
FOR THE MEN READING THIS….
A side note for the men out there, we want virtuous men and we know that you want authentic love as much as we do. We need strong men who will say no to the downfalls of popular culture, who are strong enough to turn to Jesus for help, love, forgiveness, and mercy. We are praying for you and remember to pray for us.