As she walks in the room, you pause your discussion, every attribute of her unique character diverting your attention. There is no particular point of emphasis in the picture she presents, though she is a purposeful arrangement of colors, contours, and textures. None of it is self-referential, but rather an introduction which piques your interest in what seems to be a vast and thriving world, of which she is an important and integral part. Her clothing speaks of intelligence; a maturity that exceeds her youth. She is young, but by the refined designs she wears, you can quickly surmise that her heritage is an estimable one. She has been instructed by some of the finest minds, and unlike the masses, she benefits from provision. You can tell by her choice of patterns and fabrics that she has an intellect free from the normal frivolity of youth. She is not affected by uncertainty or self-consciousness. No, she has a refined, confident air mingled with a fresh, radiant spirit, a youthful vitality governed by gracefulness and honor. Every aspect of her wardrobe calls for your approval of her character. There is nothing disappointing about her. Not a hint of hypocrisy, inferiority, or self-indulgence. It’s almost as though you can see her flourishing right before you! But who is she?
You’ve just experienced a unique individual. You are able to learn a world of knowledge about her in just a short space of time, as her clothing and comportment speak silent volumes. She has been a witness to you of her world, one that is strikingly different from the drab greyscale of modern day to day interactions.
In 1 Peter 3:1, God describes a fascinating tool through which a woman can influence others; her conversation. Her behavior or manner of living carries the ability to powerfully disciple, teach, and edify others. A woman’s clothing is just one aspect of her conversation, but it is one which communicates to those around her, often more loudly than other aspects of her deportment. She can use it to speak intelligently or incoherently. It’s the language of her worldview and a context through which we can understand what she truly loves; it reflects on her God and the men in her life. It can either seize and overthrow or edify and exalt. (1 Corinthians 11:3, Ezekiel 16:45) Scripture has much to say about clothing, beauty and how we should testify to the world the power and influence of a sovereign God. (Ezekiel 16, Isaiah 3:16-24, Proverbs 31; Psalm 45)
Sadly, we find in American culture today the very antithesis of God’s wisdom concerning fashion. The world has stolen ownership of beauty and adornment, and it is not meant to be theirs. (Psalm 24:1) Someone has thought through and designed every article of clothing we’ve ever laid eyes on, down to the minutest detail. These designers understand the power of feminine accouterments, and have painstakingly infused their ideals and high ambitions into the styles of the day; not only in what is worn, but in how it is worn. These designers understand that every piece of clothing is a declaration of worldview!
The world is speaking through us. Daily we are encouraged to promote ourselves through vainglory, lawlessness, chaos, spontaneous emotionalism, ugliness, carelessness, and self-righteousness. Essentially we have become billboards for the world’s antagonistic messages. It’s time to return to our duties. Clothing is a field of dominion, and Christian women are called to think it through with diligence. (2 Corinthians 10:5). It is an art form that we can use daily to serve as ambassadors for a majestic, all-powerful King. (1 Corinthians 6:20)
So, in answer to our question, “Who is she?”, she is every one of you if you choose to be her.
You have been given the task of designing a wardrobe with specific parameters as to what you should communicate. It will take work but you can illustrate Christian womanhood in all its glory; and by it an element of a Christian woman’s culture at it’s finest, in modern-day America. Through many discussions with your parents and much scriptural study, the importance of communicating through fashion can be reinforced by a godly vision for redeeming this area of a woman’s life.
As women, we truly can speak of our creator and reflect his glory through this simple art. We can influence and disciple others. We can give our families a platform and presentation which will validate their message to the world. We can be the articulate of our culture. Most importantly we can represent Christ without hypocrisy.
Kelly and Andrea Reins are daughters, sisters, and co-authors of Ah, the Life.