Does modesty change with the times and cultures? Should we be dressing like the women did in Little House on the Prairie? Should cultures in times past define modesty or should the Bible? Are bikinis modest? How should we know what modesty is when different cultures have different modesty standards than ours? What is truly biblical modesty?
This topic causes a lot of confusion with women. We know our standards shouldn't align with culture but with God's Word and His Word never changes so what are the modesty standards we should live by today? Should we only wear dresses? Is it okay to show cleavage? How are we suppose to know?
God's Word has everything we need for life and godliness. It is not that difficult to find out. Titus 2:3-5 commands older women to teach young women to be chaste and discreet. Chaste is defined as "pure in style; not excessively ornamented; simple." Discreet means "modestly unobtrusive; unostentatious which means to not attract attention." 1 Timothy 2:9 states, "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with boided hair, or gold, of pearls, or costly array." Shamefacedness is not wanting to draw attention to yourself
From these verses, we learn what biblical modesty looks like. It does not draw attention to oneself. It does not spend a lot of money on clothing. This doesn't mean you only have to wear dresses. It doesn't mean you can never show your knees or arms. We all must prayerfully consider these verses and allow the Holy Spirit to convict us in our clothing, not society or even other Christians. Our freedom in Christ gives us this ability to make our own decision based upon His Word and the Spirit. The first place to begin is asking your husband what he thinks looks modest on you.
When a woman's cleavage is showing, people look. If their bottom is hanging out, people look. If your bathing suit is skimpy, people look and you are attracting attention to yourself. You don't want to draw attention to your body, according to God's Word. This isn't too difficult to figure out. If there were hard and fast rules about this, God would have given them to us. Study God's Word. Ask the Holy Spirit to convict you and then go about living out those convictions. Model modesty to those around you. Yes, you may look different than most but that is okay. We are a remnant and we should look like God's chosen people.
If you are not married, ask the godly, mature men in your life what modesty looks like to them. Most honest men would say bikinis and leggings are immodest. Showing an excess amount of flesh is immodest. Wearing extremely tight fitting clothing is immodest. I believe this would hold true for most societies that ever existed. Be modest, women, and obey the Lord in this very important command to us.