Is it wrong for a Christian woman to wear pants?


Is it wrong for a Christian woman to wear pants of any kind? I always see references to not wearing tight pants but very little on the actual subject of whether pants are wrong, immodest, or a man's clothing. The Bible teaches that there is to be a definite distinction between the dress of men and women, but if a man and woman are standing side by side and both have on blue jeans and a t-shirt, is it enough of a distinction just because she bought hers in the women's clothing section and they are "cut" for a woman's figure?


The Israelites were told, "A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman's garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the LORD your God" (Deuteronomy 22:5). From this, we understand that there is to be a distinction between men and women's clothing. However, the style of clothing is not specified. In the days of Israel, the dress of men and women were basically the same: tunic, robe, and cloak, but they differed in cut and styling. See Ancient Hebrew Clothing for several good illustrations. Clothes in the Ancient World gives greater detail. Neither men or women wore pants.

For Christians Paul states, "In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing" (I Timothy 2:9). The Greek word kosmois, translated here as "modest," refers to clothing that is neat, orderly, or appropriate to the occasion. In other words, showing up at a wedding looking like you are just about to clean the bathroom would not be "modest apparel." The Greek word sophrosune, translated here as "moderation," means that in selecting an outfit, a person is of sound mind, using self-control and good judgment, and is moderate. What is being asked of Christians is that we not stand out in a crowd because of our choice of attire. So long as current fashions match the standards of propriety set forth in the Scriptures, we adapt. We wouldn't be the trends setters in the group; in fact, as a rule, Christians will tend to dress a bit conservatively, but then we are not seeking attention because of our attire. Once again, there is no mention of pants versus skirts.

I recall in my teenage years a controversy over women wearing pants suits. The argument ended when one brother asked another if he would wear what one of the sisters had worn at the last gathering. "Of course not!" was the answer. She had on a pink suit with a rose embroidered on the back. That answer settled it because there was a distinction even though the overall rough style was similar.

Yes, in modern society there are forces pushing for commonality between men and women's attire. It doesn't mean we have to go along with it. If the casual outfit calls for something on the order of jeans and tee-shirts, then select a shirt that looks masculine or feminine depending on your gender. Avoid overly tight shirts that display the contours of the body or skimpy items that give revealing glimpses of skin that should be covered. While jeans are somewhat similar, there still are distinctions being made in cuts. Men tend to wear baggier jeans these days and you can still find woman's jeans with decorative trim. Christian men ought to avoid jeans that are so baggy that they give revealing glimpses of what they are wearing underneath or which threaten to fall down if they are not carefully held up. Women should avoid the jeans that are so tight that every curve of the body is revealed.

When it gets to the point that people see two people from the back and they are guessing which one is male and which female, then we are not making a distinction in attire.

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