Some time ago, I was interviewed by author, Malu Ortiz, about how women can look their best and should look their best. I found our conversation in my archives and thought to share some of the practical advise here…
Malu: Why is it important for a woman to dress properly and look her best?
Joy: Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Because of this, we should take care of our body and the way we look. At the same time, the Bible encourages us to not be overly focused on our external looks (1 Peter 3:3–4). We are to cultivate the inner qualities that make us truly beautiful and not neglect these.
Personally, I believe that we should make the effort to look our best, whatever season we are in — single, married, pregnant, etc. Why? As followers of Christ, we represent Him. If we don’t put effort into taking care of ourselves physically, then what does that say about Him? At the same time, if we are obsessed with the way we look and draw our self-worth from our appearance, then we aren’t trying to represent Christ; we are trying to represent ourselves.
This is when vanity can creep in. We concern ourselves with what others think of us. We keep comparing ourselves to others. Or, we base beauty and fashion on how the world defines these.
In contrast, God wants us to know that He loves us just as we are. Our sense of security and self-worth must be anchored on this truth first. In 1 Peter 3:3–4, the Bible says we must NOT merely be concerned about our outward appearance, which means that it’s not wrong to look good and to try to look good, but our greater priority should be pleasing God with our inward character.
Malu: Can you cite any Bible passage that encourages women to look their best?
Joy: One would be “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31, nasb). And, “She makes coverings for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple” (Proverbs 31:22)
Malu: What practical tips can you give to a woman who wants to learn how to dress better?
Joy: Work on being physically fit, then clothes will naturally look good. Wear the right colors to enhance your features and skin tone. Don’t be suckered by trends. Buy a few pieces each season, but in general, go for silhouettes that complement your body type and make you look classy, elegant, and sophisticated.
Dress modestly. For example, remember that the shorter your hemline is, the shorter the heels of your shoes should be. If you wear a form-fitting top, don’t do the same for your bottom half. You don’t want to reveal too much of everything all at once. Don’t ever show underwear, ever. Like don’t wear a black bra under a light top. Do you really want the world to know what color your underwear is?
Furthermore, anything that keeps you from bending over because it’s too low in front or too short at the bottom is probably too low in front and too short at the bottom.
When you wear jewelry, don’t go for drama everywhere. For example, big earrings, a big necklace, and lots of bangles on your arm, all at the same time. If you wear a statement piece on your neck, go for smaller earrings or no earrings. There must be a focal point that creates interest when it comes to jewelry, but you don’t want to look like a Christmas tree either.
I like this quote by C.J. Mahaney. “Your wardrobe is a public statement of your personal and private motivation. And if you profess godliness, you should be concerned with cultivating these twin virtues, modesty and self-control.”
Malu: What practical tips can you give to a woman who needs to work within a budget?
Joy: Get items you can mix and match. Go for accessories to change the look of each outfit. Wear makeup if needed to make you look more put-together and intentional. Pinterest has these capsule wardrobe ideas that show you how to mix and match items, especially for traveling.
Check out these practical tips from Flip and Style to build a capsule wardrobe.
Sometimes, just a little lip gloss and mascara already makes a big difference, too! Of course, eyebrows are key. Take care of your eyebrows because they frame your face. You don’t have to buy expensive eyebrow make-up, just make sure it’s the right shade. And remember, if you are fit, you can look good in a simple t-shirt and jeans. Exercise isn’t expensive. You just need to set aside the time to run or workout at home.
Malu: For a Christian woman, what should “dressing your best” mean?
Joy: Your best is about glorifying God and not yourself. Can you highlight your God-given features like your eyes, your face, and your form? Yes, of course, but not if it makes men want to undress you or check you out in a sexual way. Your more important priority is drawing attention to the beauty in you that points people to the Lord. Women argue that it’s not their fault if a guy stumbles because of what they wear. But the truth is we also have a responsibility to safeguard the hearts and minds of others. Therefore, we ought to pay attention to what we can control. If a woman is really curvy and she tries her best to dress modestly and guys still ogle her, well, that’s not her fault anymore. It really goes back to the motivations of the heart and why we dress the way we do. Is it for ourselves … to gain attention and to build up our sense of security or self-worth (which is anchored on our looks), or is it to be a good steward of the looks God has given us so that we can attract people to Christ?
Malu: What motivates you, personally, to dress your best?
Joy: I’m a follower of Jesus and I think that one of the first impressions we make is by the way we carry ourselves and how we dress. I want the impression to be a positive one. I also want to look my best for my husband. Generally, my greater focus is on staying fit and making sure that I don’t let it go when it comes to my figure. So if that means eating less sugar and exercising, then I do these things. I don’t think it’s fair to expect my husband to be attracted to me if I don’t try my best to look good for him. He doesn’t pressure me to look like a model or to have perfect proportions. However, he greatly appreciates it when I make the effort to stay attractive for him and to be intentional in the way I dress. Furthermore, if I tell people that I follow Christ but I look sloppy, unkempt, and totally unstylish, I think that it makes me less credible as a witness for Him. I want to exude the joy, order, and beauty that comes from Him!
“God is the creator of beauty. God delights in beauty. All we need to verify this fact is to consider the beauty He created all around us: whether t is an elegant flower, or towering trees, or a meandering river, or billowy clouds or the majestic night sky. Every time we stop to take in one of these breathtaking scenes on display in God’s creation, we can’t help but be convinced that He delights in beauty! Because we are created in the image of our Creator, each of us has this propensity to make things beautiful. That means, when we decorate our homes, or plant a lovely flower garden, or seek to add some form of beauty to our surroundings, even when we attempt to enhance our personal appearance — we are actually imitating and delighting in the works of our Great Creator.” – Carolyn Mahaney