Style Sense: Jewelry and Modesty

SS1Proverbs 27:19: “As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.”

We Christians are to be “in the world but not of the world.” People say it’s okay to be stylish, and personally, I really like to be in fashion. But if we dress in the latest styles (including the showy jewelry), even if modest, we look like the rest of the world. Aren’t we supposed to be set apart? We don’t want to be of the world… and doesn’t that include looking like the world? Where do we draw the line then?
– Anonymous

Great question!

I believe the two verses you are referencing are Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” And, 1 Timothy 2:9: “in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing.”

I agree that if we are saved, and the Spirit of God lives in us, we should not have the “appearance” of unbelievers. Matthew 7:16 tells us that Christians are recognized by their fruit. I believe our fruits are the primary way we either look like the world or not (Galatians 5:22-23). Yes, it is important that we are following God’s word regarding our outward appearance and dress (1 Tim. 2:9). However, sin is as deep as our hearts (Prov. 20:9), and our heart is the most important place where we as believers should not reflect the world, but our Father’s glory (2 Cor. 3:18).

I believe that there are often bigger, heart issues when someone dresses immodestly or showy. It is not just a matter of what they are wearing, but what they are trying to communicate. Are they prideful of the money or body they have? Do they want attention from others—men or women? Do they have the attitude that God’s word is outdated and inapplicable? Then, yes, they are reflecting the world’s values with their appearance.

SS2However, we need to remember that even some of the most modestly dressed women have deep sin in their hearts, and pride that they are doing it “right.” They tend to feel judgment toward others who are not dressing “appropriately” by their standards, when they should instead be lovingly teaching others through word and example.

Even when dressed modestly, we may still reflect the world with our attitudes. We look like the world when we complain about our chores or the price of groceries. We reflect the world’s attitudes when we justify staying angry with our families or traffic or the waitress (Ephesians 4:26). We need to prayerfully resist these sinful attitudes and instead make sure we’re continually striving to reflect God’s love by always having the fruits of the spirit at heart (Galatians 5:22-23).

2 Corinthians 3:18: And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

– Lisa Grimenstein


  1. In Proverbs 31:21-22, the virtuous woman was commended for making scarlet clothing for her family, and clothing of fine purple linen for herself (colors associated with royalty at the time). I suspect that if she went to the trouble of making sure they were clothed in royal colors, she also made sure the patterns were stylish, and everything she did, including providing this clothing for her household, pleased her husband (verses 29-29) and God (verse 30).

  2. I have never thought of jewelry as being immodest. Maybe some women are showy or flashy with it, but I have never even considered jewelry as being immodest before. Sometimes I wear big jewelry but I never thought of myself as being showy. It just went well with my outfit. I usually wear a necklace, watch and earrings, and sometimes a bracelet. I don’t think as Christian women, that we have to be “odd” either, because that draws attention to ourselves just as much as wearing extra jewelry. I like what you said about making sure our hearts and our attitudes are right even if we have outward appearances as being a godly woman. I try to take a daily personal, inventory of myself to make sure my heart and attitude is right with God. Sometimes I come up short so I make the adjustments that I need to make. I will ponder what you have said and study more about it.

  3. Your point about this being a “heart problem” really highlights the core issue of modesty. If we are dressing/accessorizing a certain way to “keep up with the Joneses,” match the magazines, or get the “oohs” and “aahs” of others–then definitely, no matter how “modest” our clothing or jewelry choice, we have a modesty issue in our hearts!

    I also appreciated your point that even if we are dressing very modestly, we may still have issues deep inside with pride over our piety.

    When our hearts are constantly devoted to pleasing God and resembling Him in every aspect of our lives, we will not have a problem dressing/accessorizing like daughters of His. A challenging task, but one of the most humbling and wonderful.

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