Why and How to Set Personal Modesty Standards

modesty series 2

This is part 4 of my modesty series. Be sure to read part 1 (the Biblical foundation), part 2 (what modesty is), and part 3 (why we dress modestly)!

So you understand what modesty is and why it’s important. But if you aren’t used to dressing modestly, where do you start? How do you know what’s modest and what isn’t?

If you try to do research, it can only take a few articles before you start to be completely overwhelmed at the different opinions and standards out there. Some people say women shouldn’t even wear pants; some people just say not to wear bikinis and leave it at that. How do you know what God really wants?

There’s a truth I would like to establish here, right off the bat:

Everyone’s standards will be different. 

There is a starting place for our standards, of course; some things are obviously immodest. But when it comes to the more grey areas of modesty, your standards may be different from other peoples’, and that is completely okay.

Two things to remember here: don’t judge others if they don’t follow your standards and don’t feel guilty if you aren’t as conservative as some people. 

If you are very conservative, that’s great! If God has convicted you to dress very modestly, maybe even stop wearing pants, that is what you should do. But not everyone will be convicted of that, and you should not expect everyone to follow the same strict standards. If they truly are dressing immodestly, that’s one thing, but if it’s a matter of Christian liberty, let other people determine their standards for themselves.

On the flip side, if you are a little less conservative, you should not feel guilty about that. If you truly think you need to dress more modestly, then yes, you should try to make some changes. But if you have thought through your standards and come to the conclusion that you are dressing in a God-honoring way, don’t feel that you have to dress more modestly to somehow be “more Christian”. That’s not the way it works.

With that said, how should you go about developing your personal standards?

Pray about it. 

Start by praying. Ask that God would show you how He wants you to dress and convict you of anything you’ve been wearing that is not modest.

Write them down.

As you think about what your standards are, write them down, whether in a journal, on a sticky note, on your computer, or on your phone. Having them written down will make you much more accountable to yourself.

Be as specific and detailed as possible. 

Cover as many situations as you can. That way, if you’re ever in a position of doubt, you won’t be tempted to dress immodestly. Prepare as much as you can ahead of time!

Consider sharing them with someone else. 

For extra accountability, share your standards with a Christian family member or friend. They can encourage you if you feel discouraged in modesty and gently remind you of your standards if you start to let them slide.

Things to think about as you create your standards:

  • How low do you feel is okay for a shirt to be? Up to your collarbone? A little lower? Try measuring this in finger or hand-widths.
  • Are you okay with sleeveless shirts? Spaghetti straps? What about strapless? How much of your back needs to be covered?
  • Do you believe that Christian women should wear pants? How long does your shirt need to be if you are wearing pants? Does that apply to all pants, or just tight-fitting ones?
  • How long should your shorts be? Do you wear shorts at all? Should they be knee-length? Halfway to the knee? Just longer than your fingers at your sides?
  • How long should skirts and dresses be? Knee-length? A little shorter? Longer?
  • How tight can a skirt or dress be around your legs?
  • You will likely want to avoid bikinis, crop tops, super-short shorts, and super low-cut shirts altogether, no matter what the rest of your standards are.

Pray over your standards again once they are completed. Ask God to bless your modest dressing and help you not to be legalistic about it, but rather to use it as one more way to showcase his glory to the world.

A final note: your standards may very well change and evolve as you grow older and more mature, and that’s totally okay! Convictions will change and develop as our faith develops.


What do you think? Do you have modesty standards already? If not, will you make some? Did these tips help you? If you want, share some of your standards with me in the comments! I’m curious to know. 

love, grace

Also check out some of my other posts:


7 thoughts on “Why and How to Set Personal Modesty Standards

  1. Mary Ann says:

    Great post.. I always considered myself to be modest.. but when the world became increasingly immodest, I was so bothered by it, I made changes. Through the years my tops became higher, and my skirts longer.. I believe Jesus works within us, even through lessons in society..


    • graceevalyn says:

      I’m glad you liked the post! It has definitely gotten harder to be modest as the world’s standards have gotten looser and looser, but we have to let that push us closer to God and not further away. Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. emily @ for the bookish says:

    I’ve loved following your modesty series, Grace. My mom, sister, and I always love reading Dannah Gresh’s perspective on modesty. She says, “The greatest sin of immodesty is that we’re saying ‘Look at me’ instead of ‘Look at God.'” Thanks for the fabulous posts, as always! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • graceevalyn says:

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying it! I haven’t read anything by Dannah Gresh, but I need to. That quote is so true!


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