A skirt is a traditionally feminine, tube or cone-shaped, waist-tied, leg-covering garment. A skirt is not divided like pants. A design with a hemline that reaches the upper thigh or could be low touching the ground is also considered. A skirt can be a draped piece of clothing produced from a single piece of fabric, but the majority of skirts are cut from light to mid-weight fabrics like denim, jersey, worsted, or poplin and have gores, pleats, or panels.
Why Should I Wear Skirts?
“In the last few years, I feel like God has been urging me towards a more modest feminine dress but I’m not sure what that is yet. I went through a short phase of wearing only skirts. But now that we are homesteading (garden, sheep, chickens, etc) skirts seem impractical, especially during tick season. What do you wear?”
I get this question a lot. Until now, I’ve always answered the query directly, but I’ve come to realize that for every lady out there asking, there are many more wondering how I apply this issue in my own life. I hate to bring it up, really, but it just breaks my heart to see so many agonizing over this choice and feeling sinful when they’ve heard or read that the godly way to dress is in skirts. God give me grace and help me give a response that glorifies Him because I’m afraid I’m going to rub a few of you the wrong way.
I’m a “Sola Scriptura” Christian. If you don’t know what that means, it’s a term from the Reformation that Christians use to say that their standard for faith and practice is God’s word ONLY. Nothing more, nothing less. In other words, if a man started making rules to follow, we throw them to the wayside and only concern ourselves with God’s revealed will for man as found in the Holy Bible.
What do I see this meaning in regard to how I get dressed when I wake up in the morning?
3 things: 1.) Don’t cross-dress (Deuteronomy 22:5); 2.) Be modest (1st Timothy 2:9); and 3.) Don’t draw attention to yourself (1st Peter 3:3-4).
Are there other verses about clothing in the Bible? Sure. But I don’t think they are commandments, so much as comments. [Otherwise, all of our clothes would be purple silk. (Proverbs 31:22)] And I’ve just gotta point out that the word translated as “modest” in 1st Timothy is translated as “good behavior” later in the very same book… Food for thought. (1st Samuel 16:7 comes to mind.)
So that’s my standard when I’m choosing what to wear. (That and the weather forecast.)
Man has gone and interjected a lot of opinion and logic into the subject to say that women must dress “as feminine as possible” so as to avoid the appearance of cross-dressing. And that even the door on the bathroom sign has a woman in a simple skirt so surely that must be our standard for clothing choices. (I don’t make this stuff up.) That our clothes should draw attention to our faces and that is best done by covering neck to ankle. My friend told me that in one Amish group, the elbows have to be covered as the bent elbow looks like a breast and will cause men to lust?! Those of us who love the Lord Jesus and are overwhelmed with gratitude for His sacrifice will want to keep His commandments.
We are eager to be “godly,” “virtuous,” “feminine,” “modest,” and an example of all of these things to our daughters. But we’ve got to make sure we’re eager to do it His way and embrace the liberty He has given us where He has given it to us. God doesn’t ask us to close our eyes, drop our finger on a timeline and dress like they did as my little daughters say, “back in then.” If that were the case, the only acceptable, Biblical, way to dress would be like the Jews did. But He didn’t give us a dress code that is applicable across all times and all cultures and all situations.
I believe that Christian women can look godly, modest, and distinctly feminine in our current culture regardless of whether they wear pants, skirts, cotton, or polyester.
(This assessment is the most balanced and honest on the subject of modesty & the “sinfulness” of wearing pants I have read.)
I have learned that there is nothing modest about lifting a cattle panel in a long skirt, getting it stuck up on the end of the panel, lifting the skirt up, and flashing your whole family. There’s no responsible stewardship of your life when you have a bull charging you and you have to be quick at jumping that fence and your skirt is in the way, slowing your escape. There’s nothing feminine about a long skirt you can’t tuck into your boots and schlepping through mud and manure that clings to the hemline and wicks its way up higher and higher till somehow you’re knee-deep in 4 inches of “mud.” You can’t wear skirts in a foot of snow while breaking the ice in your stock tanks. Before long your skirt will be so wet & frozen that you might as well be wearing shorts for all the protection a skirt will afford to your skin.
How Is Wearing Skirt Affecting My Homesteading Life?
Skirts worked fine for me when I was just gardening or tossing scratch to the chickens but having to manage livestock in waist-high pastures with the fear of getting ticks in my nether regions where I’m never going to see them or getting wild blackberry brambles whipping up into my skirt and cutting my legs is highly impractical. But since most homestead skirts are made out of hard linens, they are a bit challenging for the laundry.
During our morning devotions using this book, we’ve been discussing the conscience as we lead up to the topic of the moral law & the Ten Commandments. One of the points that we discussed was how while the Lord has given us a conscience to convict us of sin and point us in the right direction, our conscience is marred with sin just like the rest of us and will sometimes convict us to do things that God has not called us to do in His word. I used skirt-wearing as the perfect application for this topic.
So, rest assured, you will not find me binding your conscience that you ‘oughta be enduring all of those scenarios and more that I mentioned a moment ago so that you look as lady-like as you can in order to set the clearest distinction possible that you are not a man! Please buy yourself a pair of hot pink Muck boots to tuck your jeans into. Wear a shirt with a flower on it, comb your hair, pop one of these lovely, feminine, and headache-free clips in your hair to keep it out of your face, and put on some tinted lipgloss. Nobody is going to confuse you for a man.
Have you ever seen the movie Wives & Daughters? (It’s one of my favorites.) In it, the heroine dresses beautifully & modestly throughout in old-fashioned Victorian dress. That is, until the very last scene where she has gone to explore Africa with her new husband and she’s wearing a pair of khaki trousers and a white blouse. She still looks lovely and you certainly do not confuse her with the man standing at her side, but she has dressed very appropriately, practically, and safely as she serves her husband and helps him while he labors to take dominion over the field of science in a foreign land.
That, my friends, is what I picture when I think of true biblical womanhood. And that is the picture I strive for as my husband and I work to fulfill our callings that the Lord has given us.
Joann Allen says
Thank you so much for this article. I used to wear skirts everyday . I don't live on a homestead just a regular old city house. Then one day I just got out of the habit and now about 5 years later I'm wearing pants and I truly don't like pants at all. I keep thinking about going back to the skirts but I've just gotten stuck in this circle. Your article has given me thought to think and pray on. I also should mention that I am a very large woman so skirts don't look that nice on me but I still loved wearing them. Th as nd you agsin. Blessings joann
Amanda Morgan Schwindt says
Thank you for writing on this sensitive topic. That takes courage! I have been wrestling this very thing and have settled on wearing pants when working the homestead and skirts when I leave the homestead (most of the time) more because it's nice to appear pretty and leave the muck on the farm than out of fear that someone will mistake me for a man or (ha!) lust after me. 😉 Thanks again for the post! From one Sola Scriptura sister to another.
Well said Quinn! I learned this the hard way on the farm (I did exclusively wear skirts for a while). It simply is not practical to wear skirts doing some of the things I have to do here on our farm. However, I do love wearing skirts & usually will if I’m going to town or even if I don’t have any specific farm jobs that we are working on that day. This is simply because I love wearing them!
Yes, it is more feminine to wear skirts, but it’s not feminine or modest if I’m flashing my son while milking the cow or flashing the shearers while working in the sheep yards.
Thanks for sharing!
I love wearing my skirts too! They’re so much more comfortable than pants, aren’t they? Bonus points for feeling pretty while being comfy! But what a relief it is to put on a pair of those pants to go do chores so that you simply don’t have one extra thing to worry about holding it up, tucking it away. You can just do what you’ve got to do and be done with it. Sure women used to do it “back in then” so we surely can too, but I’m glad I don’t *have* to if I don’t want to. Thank you for sharing your experience Renata! Blessings 🙂
Angi Schneider says
What a grace filled post! I get so sad when I hear godly women fall into the comparison trap of who is more modest. One of the things we've talked with our children about (esp. our girls) is the idea of appropriateness. For instance, it's completely appropriate for our teenage daughter to wear her leotard, tight and ballet skirt or her dance shorts at dance, but it's not at all appropriate once she walks out of the studio, so she needs to have street clothes on over her dance clothes when she gets in the car. We talk about body shap e and how a dress on one person might be completely appropriate and the same dress can be inappropriate on another person. We also talk about how modesty means not drawing attention to ourselves, that means how we act and speak and not just how we dress.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts publicly, that took a lot of courage.
Kelli Bates says
Thank you Quinn! It's funny. We love listening to Mike and Debi Pearl's wisdom via book, You Tube, etc. and I love Debi's section in her "Created to Need a Helpmeet" book titled "What About Pants?". It's true that some of the most religious-looking women who seem to have it all together are actually dominating over their husbands and truly enjoy more and more rules (while they are not quite Biblical at most). Who doesn't like rules? We all do! Especially those who have come from very sinful, worldly backgrounds growing up. We cling to them! However, we must always be like the Bereans, researching and pouring our hearts out to God for revelation/faith.
You are a blessing! I don't blog very often these days since taking over our homestead full force, but I was thinking about all the blogs I don't follow anymore (I don't simply have the time). However, yours is one I check often. Thank you for your ability to be raw with your readers, even when things get difficult or you may lose a few readers over truth.
May the Lord richly bless you this Christmas season!
Reformation Acres says
I think it's sad that we have to wrestle with it at all. After having done so myself for so a few years, I'm at the point where I'm looking back and feeling like it's bologna that common sense wasn't dictating my decisions instead of Titus 2-style blog posts. Once again, I have another palm to the face moment and wonder why I wasn't being a "Berean" (as Kelli points out below) sooner. Looking forward to that day when I will no longer be seeing through a glass, darkly! Soli deo gloria!
Reformation Acres says
That sounds like a tough position to be in Joann, having to choose between what flatters your figure and what makes you feel the most comfortable. I understand the dilemma well. I'm pretty short and have to carefully chose what I wear. Certain skirt lengths have a way of cutting my legs off and make me appear even shorter even though they're flattering and totally appropriate for other women. Most pants don't have that effect at all but I do love the comfort and swing of a good skirt so have found style that works ok for me and I'm happy with. Hoping you find a compromise that works for you!
Reformation Acres says
I really appreciate your thoughts here Angi! Those are some wise words and it sounds like your daughters will have mature, balanced sense of modesty. Thank you!
Reformation Acres says
Ah, yes, the Bereans. How often I have failed at being like them despite having the admonishment to do so! The last few years have been a time of shattering previously held notions of mine and a time of growing and a time of giving grace. I'm so thankful for it! Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragment Kelli! May the Lord bless and prosper your efforts in your home and on your homestead!
Gail Ford Dimmitt says
This article was wonderful and timely. I am a very conserative Christian senior. Many times in a rebellous youth I dressed wrongly and my mother called me on it, however being strong willed and disobedient, I did it my way. Rest her soul, my mother's teachings rubbed off on me many years ago and I returned to my Christian roots. Now as the scriptures say older women teach younger women, I attempt to impart the important of Godly attire in women's dress. I do wear slacks because of warmth in the winter. I do always say "Mother, is this what a modest Godly woman would wear?" I see so many out and about I want to grab a sheet and cover them up. Thank you for allowing me to speak my heart. Gail
Olivia Atherton says
I used to wear skirts growing up…we lived on 400 acres and I was constantly outside. I wore skirts to ride horses, fish, swim, ride bikes, weed the garden…I did everything in skirts. When I graduated we stopped going to that family integrated church and my dad told my sisters and I we could start wearing pants, because we were begging too. I didn't put a skirt on for a year after that day. I'm 22 now and have my own homestead. I wear skirts some now, mainly if i do it's to church. I remember the freezing legs in the wintertime and I have scars all over my legs from wearing skirts in the woods (berry picking, playing etc.) I don't think that it's fair to call pants cross dressing I think it's a cultural thing. Back in Bible days both male and females wore skirts, the just the females and now both males and females wear pants. I've had my share of mud filled skirt lines and realize that there's an easier way. Thanks for sharing though…I just thought you might like to hear the other side.
Lisa Llick says
I read somewhere that modesty is an attitude: it is quite possible to be covered from neck to ankle and still be immodest in your behaviour. It is possible to cultivate a gentle and quiet spirit whilst wearing a pair of jeans as you serve your family in the everyday chores of life.
Dena J. Burch says
I read this out loud to my hubby as he was driving us to my mom's bday dinner! I loved it!
And I love you Quinn! Farmstead on!
Dos Pinos says
Love your blog! I have gone through many a farming outfit trying to find what is most comfortable and practical while still feminine. I love wide leg linen pants! During the summer they are very cool and can sometimes look like a skirt. They tuck into boots nicely for inclement weather or mucky chores. During the winter I wear insulating leggings underneath to keep me warm. Looking forward to seeing what works for you!
Quinn Veon says
Yes! That's the style you'll find in my closet most often 🙂 I've been able to find really nice, inexpensive trouser pants on Thredup almost any time I've shopped there. (Pretty tough to do otherwise when skinny jeans are the style.) Thanks for bringing up the pratical & modest style!
CeAnne Kosel says
Growing up in the world without a religion and then later in my Catholic years, after my conversion, I discovered how modest skirts are I have to say skirt wearing took an adjustment for me. Though over the years I’ve learned skirts can accommodate any situation. I’ve traveled to forigen countries in skirts and now we are working on turing our 2 acres into a homestead which so far includes chickens, two pigmy goats, 4 cats and a sweet rabbit along with 4 adopted children. We live in wonderful rainy (most of the time) Oregon on a hillside where there is always sure to be mud along with animal muck. A good denim skirt dedicated to outdoor work does wonders and to keep warm there are lots of different kind of leggings out there to help paired with some good muck boots. I have yet to have a problem doing farm work in a skirt. It might snag on blackberries and soon to be barbed fence but growing up pants always got stuck on those same things. I’m thankful to be a skirt wearing mama <3 Glad to hear that others are choosing to dress this way as well! Thank you for the lovely homestead/farm tips on your blog!
Jeannie Collins says
I really appreciated this article. The elbow thing made me laugh aloud and go and check it out in the mirror. I think that the issue there is more on the thought-life of the viewer than anything… In the past, I have often wondered if I should wear skirts more, especially when the styles are such that it is nearly impossible to find modest pants. Usually what would end up happening, though, is I would wear skirts more frequently, and then realize the many awkward situations one can find themselves in while wearing one. I found, as you mention in a comment, that shopping thrift stores is a great way to find nicely broken in pants (especially barn jeans!) that are more modest than what is in stores and definitely less expensive. Anyway, this skirt issue was on my heart again when I got engaged. So I asked my now-husband for his thoughts on women wearing skirts for modesty sake. He laughed and said that his experience was that most men find a woman in a skirt (even long, modest ones) way more attractive than a woman in nearly any style of pants! Apparently it has something to do with leaving something to the imagination and the idea that most women's figures are more flattered by skirts (they often help create that hourglass figure). I then realized that modesty had a lot more to do with heart attitude. One can dress modestly and femininely in a variety of ways and cultures–there is no one right way!