...a God to serve...a family to love... a work to do...

Question and Answer ~ Dresses and Church?

This week’s question is about wearing pants and going to Church…..

First, I would like to know if it is wrong if I wear pants?
I see so many Christians wearing pants, but then I also see so many
who condemn it and only wear long dresses or skirts. Which is right?
And I work a part time job, to help bring in extra money for bills
and etc., and the job requires me to work on Sundays very often, the
early morning shift.  I do occasionally get a Sunday off, but when i
do I usually feel too tired to go to Church. What should I do? Is it
wrong if I only pray at home?

Thank you for taking the time to read this. God Bless,

Dear Kasey,
You didn’t mention if you are a Christian, so I am going to assume that you are. Otherwise I don’t think you’d be concerned whether or not you are right or wrong about what you wear and if you go to Church.

There are going to be people on both sides of these issues.  I can point out particular scriptural principles for you and you will need to pray and come to a satisfactory answer for yourself. God really expects us to do that. He wants our belief in Him to be one of faith in what He says. He speaks to each of His children through His Word and through other Christians. I know you wanted an “answer” to these questions, so I will tell you what conclusion I have come to about your first question based on my own study and searching. The second question has no wiggle room as you will see.

There are times in all our lives when God convicts us and has us to stand out and be different for His purposes in our lives.  So there may be a time in a Christian woman’s life where God has her wearing dresses only and during that time He will be teaching her something. Then at a later time He may release her from that particular conviction. I have experienced this many times in my life.

God’s Word is made up of direct commands and principles. A principle is an accepted rule of action and a fundamental truth. Where God’s Word is silent, we must remain silent. Where the Word speaks it can give us a command or a principle to live by.

What women and men wear is addressed in the Old Testament as a command. What women and men wear in the New Testament is addressed through principle and it takes into account what the Old Testament says as well.

God’s main concern about what we wear is that it is modest. He is also concerned that we do not defraud others concerning our gender. He created us in a particular way, a specific gender, and He wants us to be what He created us to be.

The principle that God’s Word teaches then on how we dress is this; we should be more concerned with our inner woman and our walk with God than our outer facade, we musn’t wear anything that is immodest, that reveals private parts of our bodies or could cause a brother or sister to stumble and sin, and we must not defraud others about our gender.

So, should women never wear pants?
Let’s look at some scripture that is commonly used to support the belief that women should wear only dresses and then I will discuss these scriptures.

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
1 Peter 3:3-4

The above verse does not teach us that women are never to wear gold and plait our hair. If it did, then it would also mean we wouldn’t be able to put on apparel or dresses. It refers to the wearing of these things as the means of bringing out our beauty or making ourselves beautiful when we should be relying on God to to make us beautiful from the inside out. That’s true beauty.So this verses isn’t about wearing dresses only, at all. Its about finding our worth in Christ and prioritizing our lives.

A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.

Deuteronomy 22:5

Further study on this passage, especially a word study, reveals that the meaning here is related to God’s requirement that the sexes be distinguishable. It is important for men and women to be distinct. In fact, it is so important to God that men and women who attempt to appear to be of the opposite sex are called an abomination to the Lord.

When a Christian woman in our society wears pants she is not usually attempting to look like a man.  In our culture, even our Christian culture, pants are appropriate clothing for men and women. Some Churches frown upon women wearing pants. It is another principle of God’s Word that, in order to keep peace and not offend brothers and sisters in Christ, we women not wear pants if we are part of a Church like that. God is very concerned with how we treat each other and how we show respect to one another as Christian sisters and brothers.

Since it is important that we identify with our own gender, it’s important that we be careful in what we wear and how it makes us look. Knowing this, I choose to dress in dresses and skirts instead of pants. Frankly I do this because I simply don’t like the way I look in a pair of pants.  Even wearing pants we need to be aware of whether or not we are modestly clothed.  As someone said, pants aren’t always modest even though they cover our legs!

Dresses are still a very distinguishable attire for women in our culture. Any time we see a man in a dress we immediately think of perversion. This is definitely a cultural issue. In some societies long flowing robes, which we might say resemble ‘dresses’, cover the whole body and are standard for both genders. There will be identifying touches though that tell others in that society who is male and who is female. If we are familiar with that culture’s gender rules we will know what those touches are and we will not be defrauded concerning who is female and who is male.

Even dressed in pants, women are usually easily distinguishable from men.  Hair styles and mannerisms, as well as clothing, all are ways that we convey our gender to others. God’s principles tell us that He is most concerned with how we live our lives and whether or not we are confusing our gender for ourselves and others.

Concerning Church Attendance ….
I strongly believe that all Christians should be attending a worship service somewhere regularly and should be affiliated with a local Body of Christ. Church attendance and participation in the life of that Church is not an option for a Christian, we are commanded to attend and be a part.

Hebrews 10:25 gives the command in no uncertain terms: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Church attendance is necessary if we are to carry out the other commands of God to comfort one another (2 Cor. 1:3-4), encourage one another (1 Thess. 4:18), bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2).

There is more to Church attendance than praying. We need it all. Paul has told us, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” 1 Thess. 5:11. You just can’t do that outside of going to Church and being an active member there.

If you are not going to Church simply because you are tired, I would have to say, you need to make the effort. Is God going to strike you down because you aren’t going to work sometimes, due to work schedule? No.

But Christ died for the Church (Ephesians 5:25) and shouldn’t we love what Christ loves?  Church attendance is a command for the Christian and its truly for our benefit as well as for the benefit of the Church.


  1. Marg

    This has been on my mind lately so thank you for this post.

  2. Linda

    I would like to give an example that was once presented in a Sunday school class. The teacher held up 2 pictures. One of a woman wearing dress slacks and one of a woman in a modest dress was presented. Both seemed fine at first. Be very honest with yourself. When you see the woman in the pants, where do your eyes go? When you see the woman in a modest dress, where do your eyes go? The pants outline the intimate parts of the woman’s body; a modest dress draws one’s eyes to the woman’s face. This settled the question for me. It wasn’t so much should a woman be able to wear pants as it was a question of modesty.

    • Sylvia

      Linda, thank you for stopping by!
      Yes, I agree, the main issue is modesty, not pants. Of course a pair of pants can also outline the intimate parts of a man’s body. So then it becomes an issue of personal self control and not allowing our eyes to wander. But again, modesty is at the heart of the matter.
      That is precisely why I do not wear pants myself. I have a few pair but I am not happy with how they look on me, so I stick to my dresses and skirts.

  3. Marcia

    This was a wonderful post Sylvia. I love how you brought everything back to scripture. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Kasey

    Thank you very much for replying to this. I actually contacted the church and found out they did indeed have a small evening service! I loved the idea and would like to send thanks to Gidget for suggesting it.
    I love your advice Sylvia! I love how you pointed out script. and actually showed me their meaning. I myself dress very modestly and not in tight clothing, so I feel a bit more confident in my clothing in God’s eyes. (Though on a personal note, I may not be 100% committed on the need for purely dresses, but I do agree and believe that women should have long hair.)
    Your words were very encouraging, and I will definitely put forth the effort! Thank you very much Sylvia!


    • Sylvia

      Kasey I am so glad you came by to comment! God bless you, dear. How exciting that you have found a Church with an evening service! I am so glad you are working out these things in your life.

  5. Virginia

    I love this site, so glad I’ve found it, and love the wonderful, non-judgemental, and perfectly scriptural advice that you gave Sylvia! May He greatly bless you. Also, there are lot of people concerned if the woman should or should not hav eher head covered. If one would ask you, what would you answer, please? As I would like to give an answer that is also whilst non-judgemental, but to be in conformity with the Scripture. Personally, I feel better when I wear something (cover my head while praying) and I know God loves me when I forget etc to cove rmy hed, but the question is what are we supposed to answer to be Scriptural and in a way that someone does not feel judged, but loved. Thank you.

    • Sylvia

      Dear Virginia,
      I’m so glad you stopped by today. Head coverings are something that we’ve discussed and talked about for years here at CHK because it is something that many women think about from time to time a nd most Chrisitan women just want to do what is right. It is very important to me to point people to their Bibles and to prayer as the best way to have questions answered, however, I realize that many time we need the input of other mature Christians in our lives.
      If you feel better when you pray to have your head covered, then I believe you should most definitely cover your head while praying. I can’t really say that I have this all figured out in my mind, but I do not cover my head.
      I have studied this for years, prayed and asked God to show me His will. Over and over again His will works out to me being obedient to my own husband in this area and not cover.
      What I have counseled other women to do who have asked about head covering is to get together with their own husbands and have a Bible study where their husband reads and prays with them and then together decide what God is saying, then take action to do whatever God commands.

  6. Gidget

    That is a great point on both accounts. I personally wear both. I wear pants especially when I am working with the little ones due to having to crawl or run around. As far as church, there are many that have alternative service times either Saturday or Sunday evening. That may be something to look for.

    • Sylvia

      That’s a very good idea, Gidget. 😀

  7. Ella

    I don’t think God cares how you dress, and I’m sure He’s not keeping attendance. He hears your prayers everywhere, and you can praise Him everywhere!
    At my church we wear skirts and dresses only, (at church and at home). We also keep our hair long. But those are personal convictions. There are women there who wear pants. And some with short hair. And we don’t really care what you look like as long as your there to worship God! 😀
    I’ve noticed though, the closer I get to God, the more my convictions change. When I first started going to church. I wore shorter skirts and revealing tops. But after a while, I wanted to please God more. Not just in worship, but in every part of my life. I felt like I needed to cover up a little more.
    I usually wear blue jean skirts and t shirts. It’s comfortable and modest. Luckily now they make some cool looking skirts, instead on the plain boring stuff! LOL!


    • Sylvia

      Yes, in my experience that is how it happens. We change over time as we understand more and more about God.
      I do agree that God hears our prayers everywhere! I am so thankful for that, aren’t you? 😀 But I do believe He desires us all to be a vital part of a local Body of Christ.

  8. Becky Foster

    Excellent response!