One of the key benefits of my marriage is that I dress better. My wife, Mary, has good taste, and she makes me look good. If I had never married, I’m pretty sure I would still be taking my sense of fashion from Greg Brady—which would only ensure that I would remain unmarried.
Even today, left to my own devices, people can often tell when my wife is out of town just by the way I dress.
Of course, fashion is a matter of personal taste. Y’know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But can we just agree that some fashion trends are universally dumb?
Let’s begin with these ridiculously-long pointy shoes. These could get as long as 24 inches and were all the rage in 14th-century Europe. The longer your shoe, the higher your social status. Some wearers would run a chain from the toe to the knee just so they could walk.
European men wised up and donated their crakowe shoes to the 14th-century version of Goodwill, but then they lost their senses again in the 18th century. British men would wear ginormous tall wigs, and if that wasn’t bad enough, they put a tiny hat or feather on top. You know this from the song “Yankee Doodle.”
Yankee Doodle went to town
A-riding on a pony,
Stuck a feather in his cap
And called it macaroni.
Thankfully, this fashion trend did not last as long as the song.
Let’s not leave women’s fashion out. In addition to the unwieldy hoop skirt, Victorian women also took to the bustle. At first, these dresses just included a mess of extra fabric draped at the back. But why stop there? Eventually, these bustles were puffed up with large cushions filled with straw. Husbands across America were doomed because there was only one answer to the question: “Does this dress make my butt look big?”
In 1910, Paul Poiret was considered the king of fashion in America, but he could also be the king of dumb ideas—like the hobble skirt. This was a skirt that was so close-fitting that women could only take tiny steps. Apparently, that was cute 110 years ago. If the 14th-century European men had worn this with their Crakowe shoes, they would have been less likely to trip over their shoes.
Unfortunately, our fashion taste has not necessarily improved. I’m sure you have a photo or two where you are embarrassed about what you once wore.
Some might not expect a book as old as the Bible to include fashion tips, but there they are. First for the ladies:
- “The women are to dress themselves in modest clothing, with decency and good sense, not with elaborate hairstyles, gold, pearls, or expensive apparel, but with good works” (1 Tim. 2:9-10).
- “Don’t let your beauty consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and wearing gold jewelry or fine clothes, but rather what is inside the heart — the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” (1 Pet. 3:3-4).
Men, we are not off the hook. For all believers, we are to clothe ourselves with Christ (Gal. 3:27). What does that look like?
- “As God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (Col. 3:12).
- Paul told us “to take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth” (Eph. 4:22-24).
Fashion is OK within reason, but we should be known not by our outer garments but our inner character. Let’s live lives in such a way that, when people see us, they don’t notice what we’re wearing, but they see Jesus.
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