In Marriage & Love on
19 November, 2014

Modesty is not about giving up freedom (or leggings)


When I was in college, there was nothing better than rolling out of bed at 6 AM knowing I could throw on a sweater and a pair of leggings, grab a cup of coffee at Starbucks and head to my boring geology class. I loved being both cozy and caffeinated, even if I was about to sit through an hour-long lecture on different types of rocks.

Yes, I admit I went through a phase of wearing leggings carelessly to class and even to church at times. They were comfortable, cute and even pretty warm. They looked great with boots, cozy sweaters, fashion scarves and winter hats. What’s not to love?

Since that time, which was about four years ago, I have realized that leggings (spandex gym-wear aside) are not the most modest fashion choice. At least, not when they’re paired with a regular length shirt (a complete substitute for jeans or pants). The reason they are immodest is the same reason bikinis are immodest: they leave very little to the imagination and put on display everything that should be viewable only by one’s spouse.

But how can I encourage girls to go against fashion trends in the name of saving their bodies for a future husband they haven’t even met yet? It’s so hard to convince anyone that modesty is important in a culture where celebrities are constantly Instagramming themselves breastfeeding and posing nude for magazines (despite the beautiful gift that nursing is, both of these are immodest displays of a woman’s body).

As you can see, it’s not normal to be modest. Girls will say it’s their own right to be proud of the bodies they’ve been given and to show them off. It’s all about freedom and expression and choice. Yeah, I get that. You want to be free to do as you please. But what about pleasing your Creator — the one who gave you those curves to begin with?

I never thought I’d write a modesty post so close to the start of winter. I usually write them in May or June when my Facebook feed fills with swimsuit selfies. But I believe this is necessary. When a girl wears leggings without a proper tunic or dress to cover her rear end, she sends an open invitation to wandering male eyes. (Pause here. While we are not responsible for the sins if men around us, we are called to lift our brothers up and not do things to make them stumble. It’s biblical. See 1 Corinthians 8:13.)

I believe wearing leggings as pants is immodest because I believe what the Word says about modesty (1 Timothy 2:9). I believe what the Word says about doing everything to the glory of God, whether we are eating or drinking or whatever we’re doing (1 Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 3:23). I also believe that a woman’s body should be saved so that it can be treasured and enjoyed by the person she marries (1 Corinthians 7:4).

I also can’t help but share what blogger Kelli recently said about leggings, which spurred me on to pen this post after several winters of staying silent on the topic.

“Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. That’s my new legging motto. Sometimes it is worth drawing a line against the flow of cultural fashion trends. Some things are best left mysterious.”

By choosing modesty, I am not giving up my freedom. Rather, I am surrendering to God and freely choosing to honor Him. I am also choosing to leave a little mystery for the man I marry, and saving myself only for him.

And believe it or not, I am also choosing to wear leggings this winter, but I’m going to wear them like this or this. After all, I love fashion and all things girly. Modesty never has to get in the way of that.

So ladies, if your desire is to glorify Christ, before you throw on that pair of leggings, I ask you to consider how you wear them. I ask you to never let a fear of being frumpy keep you from doing what is right.

Note: if you have worn leggings as pants, this post is not meant to make you feel like crap. Like I said, I’ve worn them immodestly, too. This post is mean to, with love, encourage you to change your mindset and discover a new way to bring glory to God in all that you do. 


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  • Lindsay

    I think modesty is relative and its assuming to put a guage on what u feel everyone else should be doing. Please do what u feel encouraged to do for yourself but don’t make other girls to feel immodest because they don’t agree with your standards

    20 November, 2014 at 1:00 am Reply
    • Jennifer Hope

      Hi Lindsay,

      I really appreciate you reading my post and taking the time to respond. I firmly believe that one major definition of modesty is dressing in such a way to avoid intentionally encouraging sexual attraction in others. That being said, when a girl wears leggings as pants, that stretchy material (which is often see-through) hugs areas of the body that are sexual. Just like with bikinis, leggings accentuate intimate parts of the body when no proper tunic or dress is paired with them.

      My goal is not to point fingers or make girls feel bad, but to offer for consideration a perspective they may not have thought of. If a girl doesn’t want to come off as being for sale like prime rib at a meat market — if her goal is modesty — she should dress accordingly. Sadly, not every parent talks with their daughters about modesty, so I believe my post will be helpful for some girls out there.

      20 November, 2014 at 6:08 am Reply
  • Kirsten LoGalbo

    Thank you for posting such a lovely post. I think its great that you wrote this no matter what time of year it is! Everyone needs to remember who created them and who we really should be pleasing. LOVE it!

    3 March, 2017 at 11:54 am Reply
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