Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Catholics and Fashion

Q: I normally wear a brown scapular. But I like to wear clothes from Aeropostale and Abercrombie. A lot of people tell me that it is clinging to the world and not living like Jesus. I don't wear the clothes to impress, I just like the way they fit and the way they look. What do I do?

A: Good for you for wearing a scapular! I must confess, every time I’ve tried to wear one, it would irritate me endlessly and I’d take it off after a few days. Anyway, hope I can answer your question!

Clothes have always been important, ever since Adam and Eve’s fashionable, “environmentally-friendly” fig-leaf loincloths. Fashions have come and gone throughout the ages. We all know what it’s like today. People tell us what to wear, how to wear it, why to wear it, and to not care what it’ll cost us, whether it be money or our dignity.

But what does the Bible say about it? 1 Peter 3:3-4 says, "Your adornment should not be an external one: braiding the hair, wearing gold jewelry, or dressing in fine clothes, but rather the hidden character of the heart, expressed in the imperishable beauty of a gentle and calm disposition, which is precious in the sight of God."

Mind you, that doesn’t mean you can’t dress fashionably or wear jewelry. Peter is just reminding us that the external is not what’s important—it’s your “hidden character” that’s important. If you’re dirty inside, your apparel will reflect that mindset. In the same way, if you’re holy inside, your apparel should represent it—if not, then you don’t know the meaning of true beauty and modesty.

In your case, I understand you like Aeropostale and Abercrombie—not to impress, but for the comfort. But people are judging you for it, claiming it’s too worldly. What to do? One thing they have to realize is, no matter what you wear, it was considered “worldly” at one time. Believe it or not, your grandma’s clothes were fashionable at one time—and they may come back into fashion! Even the Jews had their own clothing clique (albeit very modest).

But, on the other hand, those people may have a point, depending upon how immodest your clothes are—upon how much they attract people to your body and not your personality. For girls: really tight clothes, cleavage, and lots of skin. For boys: sleeveless shirts, extremely tight “emo” pants, and way too baggy pants, “showing off” their boxers (by the way, guys, this is not in any way attractive).

If your clothes fit one of those descriptions, do yourself a favor and get a new wardrobe (I recommend Good Will highly)! Though they will attract people to you, you have to ask yourself: what type of people do I want to attract? Do you want people who will like you for your body and choice of clothes, or people who will respect you and love your personality?

Plus, you might want to consider how Abercrombie & Fitch advertises itself. “Immodest” and “inappropriate” are understatements. Go to their website and see for yourself. Then ask yourself: do I want people to think of images like that when they look at me? Do I want to be wearing a brand that promotes itself like this? Think about it; it’s your decision.

Through all the fashions that come and go, always remember these words in Ephesians: “Put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all (the) flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Put on the armor of God! If you wear that, you’ll awe people with your inner beauty shining forth. They’ll forget all about judging your clothes.

God Bless,