Modesty is not a characteristic of women in our culture (and even in our churches!) And, it’s not just an issue for young women, although that is a time when women often develop their habits and lifestyles. Unfortunately, there are so many moms and even grandmas who don’t seem to have a grasp on the issue. The sad thing is that according to Titus 2:3-5, one of the things the older women are to teach the younger women is how to be pure (or chaste) so that the word of God will not be blasphemed. And 1 Peter 3:3-5 reminds us that as women our beauty should not come from outward adornment, but rather of character that is honoring to God. This doesn’t mean that we should be sloppy and not take care of our appearance, but that our appearance should not be our primary attractive quality.
That makes me think that immodest dressing is in some ways a shortcut—trying to gain attention in a “cheap” or quick way rather than disciplining ourselves for godliness. When others spend time with us, or even meet us for the first time, they should be struck by God’s work in our lives (our character, our pure speech, our gentle and quiet spirits) not by our trendy clothes. Dressing in a revealing or alluring way is really just a shortcut to making a good impression. It’s almost like refusing to shower, but putting on a lot of perfume instead. Or cheating on a test—you might end up with the results you wanted (a good grade, a good impression) but you don’t ultimately learn or grow from the experience, and you’ve really created a false impression.