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My dearest daughter, 

Right now, I can dress you however I want. I can put you in adorable little dresses with cute little bun huggers that show off your chunky baby thighs. You don’t even have to wear pants and it’s cute! But a day is coming when showing that much leg is no longer cute.

I’m writing you this letter now so that when that day comes, you’ll know that I’ve thought this through. I might be making up a lot of parenting as I go, but not this.

What I have to say may not be popular. But my motivation for a dress code comes purely from my love for you and a deep desire to protect you. I want you to know that I’m going to stand my ground on this. I’ve seen enough of life to know a little more than you at this point. Plus, the basis of this code comes from God’s Word which never changes and never steers us wrong. 

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14) Your body is beautiful. You were made by God Himself. Every single part of your body was designed by Him. You do not need to be ashamed of your body. I’ve been called a “body shaming misogynist” because of my stance on modesty. But nothing could be further from the truth. I don’t want you to hide your body because it’s bad; I want you to respect your body because it’s good.

“How beautiful you are and how pleasing, my love, with your delights.” (Song of Solomon 7:6) There are certain parts of your body that were designed by God to be attractive to men and used during sex. Again, you don’t have to be ashamed of this because God created your body and God created sex. He said that all He created was good. 

“Marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed kept pure.” (Hebrews 13:4) God designed sex to be within the covenant of marriage. He gave us a good gift that we were meant to share with only our husbands. So, those attractive body parts we were talking about should be kept for your husband only, too.

“But I tell you that anyone who looks lustfully at a woman has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28) This verse right here states very clearly that men are held accountable for their responses to women. No man ever has a right to take advantage of a woman, no matter how she is dressed. Still, it isn’t fair to intentionally dress to tempt or tease a man. Dressing modestly is a courtesy to your brothers in Christ. Help a brother out. Also, remember that your appearance sends messages whether you want it to or not. If you are choosing to have private body parts peaking out or openly visible, just know that it will attract attention. Most likely the unwelcome kind. Bottom line: don’t bare it or share it with those who only want to use you and abuse you.

“Your adornment must not be merely external-braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” (1 Peter 3: 3-4) There is nothing wrong with wanting to wear cute clothes! You can wear make-up (in junior high or high school). You can enjoy fixing your hair. You can paint your nails and pierce your ears. But that shouldn’t be the source of your beauty. Your true beauty comes from inside. It comes from God. Think about it. What do you want a man to notice you for? Your legs in a dress that way too short? Your breasts in a plunging neckline? Overdone make-up? Or for your beautiful spirit? Your heart? Your laugh? Your brains? Your God-given talents? You are more than just a body! Dress like you understand that. 

So what can you wear? I don’t want to be legalistic about this so I’m offering general guidelines that an old friend referred to as “covering up the 3 Cs”. Follow these and you should be OK. Your dad and I reserve the right to veto outfits on a case by case basis. 

Do a “bend over test” to ensure the prevention of a wardrobe malfunction. Avoid low-cut tops. Wear a cami underneath to cover the girls. 

Just say no to it. Wear a belt, a higher rise pant, or wear a longer tank underneath. Showing your butt crack isn’t even sexy. It’s just gross. Don’t do it. 

Make sure your pants aren’t too tight through the crotch and that your shorts/skirts/dresses aren’t too short. I realize that calling something “too short” can be arbitrary. In general, if you have your arms hanging by your sides and the fabric hangs longer than your fingertips, you are good.

A few additional considerations. Are you comfortable wearing it? Is it appropriate for the activity or event? Know where you’re going, what you’ll be doing and dress the part. Remember that your clothing communicates. Ask yourself what message your clothes are sending. If you don’t know, ask me. 

My dear, a lot of people have strict rules about all this. But at the end of the day, this isn’t about rules. It’s about respect. You deserve respect, so dress like it.

You are beautiful and I love you. 

You may also like: 

Dear Daughter, Modesty is About Strength, Not Shame

Why I Stopped Criticizing My Body in Front of My Daughter

Dear Teenage Daughter, I Remember What it Was Like to Be You

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Shannon Lenz

I am a wife to my best friend, a mama to a sweet boy and baby girl, and a dog mom. My mission is to write words that encourage, comfort, inspire, and draw my readers closer to the Lord. When I'm not writing or chasing after my kids, I'm singing, reading, or cheering on the Huskers. You can read more from me at http://shannonlenz.com/.

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