modern day black women sitting down on university campus grounds. Dressing well

The importance of dressing well – Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise

modern day black women sitting down on university campus grounds. Dressing well
Photo: Nadine Ijewere/Polo Ralph Lauren

Hello ladies. How’s the new year treating you? – I’d love to know! Is there anything new you’re embarking on? Are you attempting to develop new habits, like dressing well? For me, I want to be more organised with my time and take the initiative when reaching out to friends and family (so far it’s bearing much fruit, I thank God!).

In this post, I want to talk about the way we dress. From observation, whether it be from my own two eyes in day to day life or from watching old movies, I have noticed the decline in the way we dress. There are different ways to look at this and to some extent, it is a subjective matter, however, perhaps we can all agree that there are ways of dressing that are universally acceptable and reasonable and most importantly modest? Furthermore, it is one of the things we can have complete control over, so why not be more thoughtful about it? In my view, dressing well as a woman is a key part of embodying femininity with self-respect, class and modesty and I believe it needs much more encouragement and examples today.

Why dressing well is important

Dressing well is not only great for your mental well being but also in particular, when you dress feminine, you are essentially giving praise to your Maker, God, who unmistakably made you a woman. A sense of acceptance is demonstrated. In today’s society where androgyny or “unisexing” is trending and praised, it is no wonder why the sexes are so confused about who they are and what they are. Society tells women to adopt masculine traits in order to get ahead, and tells men that all their masculinity is toxic. We are steadily shoe-horning ourselves into a masculine driven and dominated society with little room for femininity.

My point here is not that we must have so many clothes, nor that we should dress ostentatiously. It is that, even if we have very few clothes, each clothing item purchased should be fit for the occasion it was intended for, and that the minimum standard of quality possessed, should be a good standard of quality. Furthermore, effort should always be made in looking presentable.

Ladies, even if you’re just quickly popping over to the convenience store, please do not wear your pyjamas! Too often have I seen this and it is a most sorry sight. This extends to church. We should not regard it as any other day, but that it is a holy day, it is the Lord’s day, it is for us to worship him, to revere him and to praise him. When entering the house of the Lord, we should look presentable and have on our ‘Sunday best’. I’m sure if you were to meet the late Queen, you would have, so how much more the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Okay, so what happened?

This would require an in depth study which I’m not going to do here, but if you look at home movies and family photos, as well as entertainment films before the 1990s, you’ll see that men and women dressed well put together. It makes you wonder why we strayed so far off track. Take for example jeans, which was initially worn to do physical labor activities and gardening etc, it is now an everyday staple for many, which in my opinion has contributed to an over-casual society. From research the everyday wearing of jeans was a symbol of the rebellious youth in the 1950s with the actor James Dean in the film Rebel Without a Cause popularising it even more. Dressing casually was then seen as ‘cool’ and ‘hip’; a socialist breakaway from the past which seemed to be more focused on social class and capitalism (or more honestly good etiquette, traditional values and growing up). However, it can be argued that this move towards not caring about what one wears is a major factor in ushering in an increasingly loose and carefree society. What’s more is that now we have regressed even more with thinking that yoga pants is something to be worn everywhere!

Interestingly in the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, there are two youthful characters, one a man and another a woman, that were dressed well (for the most part), but were famously, the recipients of mockery, by the fact that the characteristics of buffoonery and dimness were attributed to them respectively. There’s so much more to say on this, it requires a piece on its own for further analysis and discussion.

Style is linked to success…

I recall clearly when studying at university, this one girl in my Chinese class. She would always dress in a suit for every presentation she gave. For her, being in the mindset to perform and give her all, didn’t just stop in the mind and preparation, but also in her outward appearance. Doing this, helped put her in the right frame of mind to do her utmost and best, and she really did. It reminds me of the following verse:  

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might…

Ecclesiastes 9:10

This same girl went on to relocate to China and do big things there.

… and it commands respect

When I was in my final year of university, a few months after I had received the Lord into my life I coincidentally had a great interest in watching old movies, particularly from the early to mid 20th century. I so admired how the men and women used to dress and the etiquette from time past that they still held to, which clearly stemmed from biblical teachings. This was during a time when my prayers to God were focused on him guiding me in my life as a Christian woman. My heart and desires continued to change and so did my wardrobe to that of more feminine pieces. I was always into style but watching these movies gave me an encouragement to step out of my comfort zone and wear more dresses and skirts, even though I was only going to my lectures. The last sentence may sound funny to you, but whenever I wore a skirt or dress, I was often asked if I was going somewhere! The response was immediate, I would be greeted well by shopkeepers and talked to in a more respectful and careful manner. The cynical may say perhaps they were doing it before and that may be so, yet I believe that when you set a standard for yourself it causes others to subconsciously meet that in the way they behave.

Many Christians have experienced times at work when a colleague misspeaks by swearing and knowing that there is a Christian around, they will apologise, right? We all have a conscience and know what is right or wrong, though we may oftentimes suppress them. Ladies, we fool ourselves if we have no part to play when we dress licentiously and are met with distasteful reactions from men – both parties will have to answer for their actions.

BUT…Good style without a good heart is vanity

It’s very important to note that I may be dressed to the nines everyday and put effort into my outward appearance, but if I do not have a good character then I make myself ugly and horrid. Before marriage, my dear mother would often say to us girls that charity begins at home and there’s no point dressing nice for the world to see yet the way you behave and treat others is not good. The bible points to this:

3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.’

1 Peter 3:3-4

Clearly there’s nothing wrong in doing these things, and it has its place in how we present ourselves when done modestly – Yet what is most important is our heart and a Christ-like character is the best adornment to have on. Furthermore, I must add that we do not dress for people to look at us or to be prideful, but to present ourselves giving glory to God.

What are your thoughts?

So what do you think? Am I being too harsh here, or do you resonate with my thoughts? Honestly I just think that more discussion needs to be had on dressing well, because it does play a part in the characteristics of the inner man and woman. It reflects who you are. I assume there may be comebacks to this on the lines of “who cares!” “we should care more about how kind someone is” and yes the latter is true, but as with anything in life let us do to the best of our ability and pay at least some attention to it.

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  1. Thank you for the post. I good reminder. Especially concerning charity begins at home. Do you think there a combat between dressing comfortably at home and dressing well?

    I wonder how many things that have been normalised today we would not have partaken with at their inception. Good food for thought!

    1. Well said and written,in the years past you could tell between a married woman and single woman. Today’s lifestyle is different which is a shame. Most really men like there women to dress modestly

    2. Thank you!

      There doesn’t need to be a combat. How you dress at home may be very different to how you dress once you step out of your house.

      At home it’s very easy to dress both comfortably and presentably, especially if you are wanting to accomplish a number of tasks – it’s one good way to get you in the right frame of mind.

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