Balanced & Beautiful

Dressing for the Glory of God

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by Laurel Damsteegt, Part 11


Do you want a practical, tasteful wardrobe? Begin with a careful look at how you spend your time. Is a large part of your time spent in a schoolroom? Do you have a lot of babysitting jobs? Are you in a traveling choir or orchestra? Do you spend several hours a day in hard, physical labor? Is hiking, canoeing, or rafting your passion?

If you homeschool and are at home most of the time, you probably don’t need six suits. But neither should you live in “sweats” all the time. Dress nicely even for family! After all, they’re the most important people you know!

In choosing your clothes, aim for a classic look and avoid fads. Begin with a few basic pieces with simple lines, traditional styles, and a central coordinating color. Basic colors are black, brown, navy, gray, and beige. Often it is best to choose a basic color, and then add pieces with coordinating accent colors. With a little thought and planning, the different pieces can be mixed and matched. You don’t need to stay with only basic colors. Just make sure that all you choose will still coordinate with the foundation you have laid. Then your wardrobe will hang together.

In the 1970s, John T. Molloy did extensive research on the best way to dress in the business world. The result was the book, Dress for Success. The principles he described are still valid today. In fact, many of his basic principles apply to Christian dressing. For example, he recommends sticking with simple clothing of classic quality.

A few years after Molloy’s book was published, color analysis became popular. Color analysis can be helpful in finding the colors that best suit our particular complexion types.1 Also, when we find which basic colors look best on us, we can stick with that color family and coordinate from there. If you look best in earth tones, you may want to steer clear of navy and black. If you look most striking in black, brown may not be your color.

Dressing for church calls for special care. For example, a girl or woman who will be on the platform should make sure her skirt will drape modestly when she sits down. No one is comfortable when the lady on the platform is constantly tugging on her skirt! For those helping in a children’s division, washable, non-wrinkling clothing might be the best option.

Above all, remember that the main function of clothing in church is not to attract attention to yourself, but to assist in worship. “All should be taught to be neat, clean, and orderly in their dress, but not to indulge in that external adorning which is wholly inappropriate for the sanctuary. There should be no display of the apparel; for this encourages irreverence. The attention of the people is often called to this or that fine article of dress, and thus thoughts are intruded that should have no place in the hearts of the worshipers. God is to be the subject of thought, the object of worship; and anything that attracts the mind from the solemn, sacred service is an offense to Him.”2

Distractions from another worshiper’s clothing can be a hindrance to worship. On the other hand, Sabbath is a special day and we show respect for God by wearing our very best—not to look good for our own sakes but as a very act of worship.

“Many need instruction as to how they should appear in the assembly for worship on the Sabbath. They are not to enter the presence of God in the common clothing worn during the week. All should have a special Sabbath suit, to be worn when attending service in God’s house. While we should not conform to worldly fashions, we are not to be indifferent in regard to our outward appearance. We are to be neat and trim, though without adornment. The children of God should be pure within and without.”3

That’s dressing for real success!


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1. “Taste should be manifested as to colors. Uniformity in this respect is desirable as far as convenient. Complexion, however, may be taken into account.” Ellen White, Healthful Living, page 120.
2. White, Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5, page 499.
3. White, Testimonies for the Church, Volume 6 page 355.