What length pants or shorts should men wear?



I attend a church of Christ here in a small town. I had a question regarding modesty. I’ve studied tremendously on this topic and am still left with questions. Your articles are very sound and accurate so I figured you could help:

  1. Are shorts ok to wear that don’t all the way hit the knee?
  2. Are watching sports like football sinful since the uniforms might not be modest due to the players wearing tights?

I’ve read so much about this topic I’m just getting confused. I did read some of your articles on modesty, as well, but I’m still wondering. One article on another church's website, that I read, even concluded that showing anything above the ankles is wrong. I’d greatly appreciate your help.

Thanks so much.


If it were wrong to show any part of the leg, then girding up your loins would be wrong. In biblical times, men would wear tunics that could be converted into shorts by girding. See Girding Up Your Loins: An Illustrative Guide. Interestingly, in the Song of Solomon, a detailed description of Solomon is given and it mentions: "His legs are pillars of alabaster set on pedestals of pure gold" (Song of Solomon 5:15). In other words, Solomon's legs were strong (like pillars), his skin-tone was pale (alabaster is a white stone), but the lower parts of his legs were tanned (the gold pedestals). This would indicate that Solomon wore knee-length tunics outdoors.

The reason knee-length shorts are recommended is that God told the priests to wear shorts under their tunics to cover their nakedness. "You shall make for them linen breeches to cover their bare flesh; they shall reach from the loins even to the thighs" (Exodus 28:42). Most understand the phrase to mean covering from the waist down to the knees so that the thighs are also covered.

In football, the players wear protective padding, so while the top layer is tight to limit the grabbing of clothing, it is not exposing the shape of the private areas of the body.

For more information, see Modest Dress.

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