What to Wear

By Marjorie Foerster Eddington


Does what I choose to wear really matter? What message do clothes send?


In the world today, self-image has become a major problem. Teens are more worried about how they look than about the message they're sending through the way they dress. Everyone, it seems, wants to be popular and beautiful. Unfortunately, popularity and beauty are determined by pop stars and sports heroes, and their clothing is often times overly revealing.

As it is, companies make the clothes, and then teens buy them. The thought behind the clothes worn by the stars is, "How can we make this sell?" Many kids buying the clothes do not take into consideration exactly what the people designing the clothing are trying to sell. More often than not, the designers are selling sex. A lot of teens may not realize this. They don't see wearing these clothes as advertising sex; they just want to look cool, like the pop stars.

And the ages of people who are attracted to the fads that the pop stars set are getting younger and younger. Naturally children copy what they see. If they see a rapper on TV objectifying women, drinking alcohol, and doing drugs, that becomes cool in their minds.

When we read, "And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife" (Deut 21:9), it becomes clear that the issue of appearance has been around for a long time. This man sees a young woman, and by appearance alone, he decides he wants to make her his wife.

But "God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (Gen 1:27). Teens should try to keep in mind that they are created after God, not after fads that pop stars create, and not in a physical image. For these reasons, it is important to be mindful of the clothes we wear.

What you wear affects the way people look at you, and you can contribute positively to the way others think of you simply by wearing a little more modest clothing. In the end, it doesn't matter if you're wearing the most recent fad. What really matters is what message you're sending to the world around you about who you are and about what you really value.

Matt Orlando, age 15

Editor's Note:
Matt brings out some important points about why we should be more aware of how we dress and the impression our clothing choices make on those around us. When we're shopping and deciding what to wear, we may want to consider the following questions:

  • Do my clothes allow me to express my true nature, my uniqueness? Is my individuality shining through, or am I simply copying someone else or trying to look cool to impress others?
  • Can others see my God-given intelligence, beauty, integrity, generosity and compassion? Or are my clothes distracting -- taking away from the message God is trying to send through me?
  • Is an outfit I choose to wear featuring the full body of my character or just my physique?
  • How do I want to be known?

Being made in the image and likeness of God is not boring or out-dated. It's infinitely stylish and always good. What's more, it's your identity forever -- completely unrelated to the rise and fall of pop stars and fashion trends.