Faith & Fashion?
Updated: Sep 3, 2020
The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. 1 Corinthians 15:41
“If you really have a mind for Christ, why do you care what you wear, and if you have a passion for fashion, how spiritual can you possibly be?” When I tell people one of my interests is fashion, I sometimes get that questioning look. That’s what they’re thinking, if not outright telling me.
It’s a valid question. So many women have been distracted by fashion and looks that they forgot to strengthen their faith. But the question itself mistakes the world’s definition of fashion and beauty for God’s. Magazines, television and high fashion say there is only one kind of beauty, so change yourself to fit into it. And occasionally about every decade or so, they shift what that one definition of beauty is.
I lived this firsthand in my teen years. I grew up in the 1980’s when tans and the beach look was in. I am the opposite with a light complexion and blue eyes. To make things worse, the set director of Miami Vice popularized a look that became a fashion mantra for years: “No earth tones.” As it turns out, earth tones look good on redheads like me. The poison neon green, hot salmon pink, and bright yellow of the day just made me look sick. And no matter how much I tried to tan, all I ever got was lasting sun damage.
Decades later, I finally found a fashion ministry that explained to me what true beauty, God’s beauty, looks like. Turns out, variety is God’s beauty and Godly fashion is the art of maximizing that beauty. The creator of the universe designed the mighty beluga whale and the dainty bumble bee. He’s not limited to one height, one size, one complexion of beauty. God points that out in 1 Corinthians 15:41. “The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.” God created each star with a different beauty, and he did the same for us.
Fashion, Christian fashion, is about teaching women how to make the most of the beauty God gave specifically to them. It’s individualistic, not cookie cutter. In fact, I once had a 15 minute FaceTime with Shari Braendel of Fashion Meets Faith. My husband encouraged me to ask her, “What’s the one question you wish someone would ask that no one ever does?” She thought for a minute and said that she wished women would ask her how to make the most of their own beauty instead of trying to copy the latest Hollywood it girl. We need to spend our energy enhancing our own beauty, not chasing after what God gave someone else.
When I talk or read about fashion, I can always tell who is giving the advice. A woman who understands and honors her own uniqueness will encourage other women to find theirs. She will make suggestions based on who is receiving the advice, what they need, how God made them, and which current trends suit them. A woman confused by the worldly beauty will simply give you the latest list of fashion ins and where to find them.
So what do we do? First, we need to remember that our beauty is moonlight. Technically, is no such thing as moonlight. Moonlight is sunlight reflected off of the moon. When we are dressing and taking care of the beauty God gave us, we are reflecting His light. And if you’ve ever been out in nature away from city lights on a full moon night, you know even reflected light can be pretty bright.
Secondly, we need to be curiously introspective about the beauty God gave us. How did God make you? It’s not selfish. We spend so much time marveling at God’s other creations like a fiery orange sunset or a calm forest. Shouldn’t we give our own beauty as much respect? Only when we understand how God made us can we walk in it. In fact, walking in the beauty God gave us is the ultimate gratitude. It’s saying, “Thank you, God, for making me the way you did.” And when we do, we are encouraging all the young ones coming after us to accept how God made them.
God gave me the beauty of a complete glitter girl. I grew up in South Texas among women who believed more was more, and I was toddling on my mother’s snake skin heels before I had all of my teeth. God also made me outspoken, which is a nice way of saying I’m 10 pounds of personality in a 5 pound package. Edna from The Incredibles is kind of my hero.
What kind of beauty did God give you? Start by telling me your fashion style, but go further than that. How can you honor God by celebrating it? If you want to go further, I’m a fan of Fashion Meets Faith ministry. No, I’m not getting paid in any way to say that, but I’ve been working with Shari Braendel for a few years now and following the advice has given me the courage to do things I never thought I could, like writing my own blog.
Remember, love God, serve others and take care of yourself.