This article was originally published on VICEStyle.
Growing up in a conservative town in the American Midwest called Zionsville, with its town hall based in a former church, let's just say I'm no stranger to the strong views many Christians have about clothing. And I can tell you that there is a whole lot more to dressing Christian-like than wearing W.W.J.D. bracelets and the souvenir t-shirt you got from Laguna Beach Christian Retreat in Panama City, Florida.
CHRISTIAN FASHION TIP 1: GOD CARES IF YOUR SHIRT DOESN'T COMPLEMENT YOUR SKIN TONE
Do you think it's merely a coincidence that the woman mentioned in Proverbs 31 is clothed in fine linen and purple? Well, “It doesn’t say she puts on her ratty sweatpants and old T-shirt to go about her business," reasons Shari Braendel, USA's "most sought-after Christian speaker on the topic of fashion," in her popular book Good Girls Don’t Have to Dress Bad. After seven years of introspective thought and analysis, Shari came to the conclusion that God does care if the colour of your blouse doesn’t complement your skin tone. “If God addresses a woman’s outside appearance in the Bible, he must think it’s important for us to talk about it too.” Braendel encourages us to consider the following: "Think of yourself as a package, a beautiful package for Christ! If given a choice, would you pick a present wrapped in old newspaper, or one lovingly and carefully adorned with shiny gold paper and a spectacular bow? The answer, of course, is obvious."
Seems like pretty solid reasoning to me. We all know Jesus would totally pick the chick in a shiny golden dress over the chick who just threw on some joggies and socks with sandals, so contrary to whatever you thought, God actually does care what you look like. As Shari concisely puts it, “Friend, our inside and our outside matters. God said so.” Amen Shari.
Shari’s not the only Christian who feels fashion is a very important subject for believers to address. There is an entire world of Christian fashion blogs and ministries, like model4jesus.com, all with tips on how to be the shiny golden present God wants you to be.
CHRISTIAN FASHION TIP 2: INVITE CHRIST INTO YOUR CLOSET TO "DO IT THE CHRISTIAN WAY"
According to Pure Fashion, a Christian fashion ministry with a seven month-long program that teaches young girls how to "enhance their beauty in the proper way," the first step to becoming that shiny gold present that Jesus actually wants to open at the party, is to "invite Christ into your closet" to "do it the Christian way." Sounds like an effective strategy.
Pure Fashion also hosts the largest annual Christian fashion show with thousands of guests, which according to Taylor Vickers is the "most phenomenal fashion" event she’s ever seen in her 20 years working as "a professional model and actress" in Atlanta. Out of curiosity I looked Taylor Vickers up on IMDb, but the only Taylor I could find played a single role credited as a "hooker" in some film called Love Crimes from 1992. God, I hope that’s really her.
CHRISTIAN FASHION TIP 3: MODEST IS WHAT GUYS REALLY WANT
You know that revealing clothes forces guys to think impure thoughts and get boners in church? Not attractive. Plus, excessive make-up is like false advertising before marriage, which is like lying, i.e., a sin. Guys want to know the reality of what they’re signing up for at the altar.
CHRISTIAN FASHION TIP 4: GOD CAN HELP YOU PULL OFF OUTFITS THAT WILL PLEASE YOUR HUBBY
This Filipino Christian fashion blogger is feeling down because her “hubby” didn’t find her brilliant "modesty chic" styling of a paisley maxi-skirt over a conservative black midi dress with a collar and puff sleeves remotely attractive. What to do? Pray, duh! Despite the marital strife her Christian fashion choices sometimes cause, she knows that if she just prays hard enough, God will give her the power to make her husband crazy about her skirt-over-dress combos.
CHRISTIAN FASHION TIP 5: GOD IS COOL WITH FUR COATS
Sure, above the knee skirts and cleavage are off-limits according to the guidelines detailed in nearly every Christian fashion show I found, but fur, leather and other animal products are a-OK. Sorry PETA, God is with the fur trappers on this one.
CHRISTIAN FASHION TIP 6: STOP DISHONORING GOD WITH THOSE JEANS, YOU SKANK
When the same popular Christian fashion blogger was asked about her thoughts on pants during something called "Modest March Fashion Week," she responded, "I felt like God was leading me to wear skirts, so I did! I don't believe the Bible says you HAVE to wear skirts. I do believe the Bible says we should dress in feminine, God-honouring apparel. For me that means wearing skirts most of the time and trousers on occasion."
So basically God wants you to wear skirts. Trousers are cool if you’re doing something practical like cleaning out the garage or touching up the paint in the foyer but if you’re wearing jeans out to the movies, you’re pretty much giving God the finger.
CHRISTIAN FASHION TIP 7: JEGGINGS MIGHT KILL YOU AND SHORT-SHORTS MAKE GOD CRY
Jeans were already borderline, but what could be more immodest than jeggings and denim cut-offs? A JCPenney flyer advertising short-shorts nearly brought this Christian fashion blogger, Rachel Lee Carter, to tears when she found it innocently tucked inside the Sunday paper. The "insensitive, indiscreet fragment of denim" made her heart ache for the poor young boys that would "struggle at the sight of them." God is crying with you Rachel.
CHRISTIAN FASHION TIP 8: CHRIST DOESN’T WANT TO SEE YOUR BRA STRAPS. EVER
Christ might be all-knowing and all-seeing but that doesn't mean he wants to see your bra. The blogger who was nearly brought to tears by the short-shorts at JCPenney, also mentions that one of the 10 modesty guidelines God "gave to her" was that visible bra straps are never acceptable under any circumstances, and it's even recommended to wear a strapless bra, if you have to.
CHRISTIAN FASHION TIP 9: GOD DOESN'T THINK EVERY BODY-TYPE CAN PULL OFF BELTS
In addition to her books, our expert Shari hosts the Fashion Meets Faith Conference with Proverbs 31 Ministries – get it? – and the teen conference and fashion show, Modesty Rocks, where she explains her revelations in great detail. For example, in this lecture she explains why if you have an "H" body-type, i.e., balanced hips and shoulders, you should "never wear a belt" because "it just decorates your fluff." H-types should also forget about ever tucking in their shirts again – something that I’m sure this woman who she personally humiliates on stage will never forget!
CHRISTIAN FASHION TIP 10: GOD ISN'T DOWN WITH POLY-WOOL BLENDS
Leviticus 19:19 translated: any piece of clothing mixing different natural fibers is a no-no, basically for the same reason that you shouldn't mate a cow with a chicken or sleep with a sheep. So back away from that linen wool blend coat, and the sheep too, you sick fuck.
Like this? Like VICEStyle? Try these: