I did some more studying last night and this morning. The verse that many people use as the basis of women wearing only dress is generally Deuteronomy 22:5 as quoted in my post below. I did much research and found that what is really being said is that during this time many of the Gentiles worshiped Venus. In part of the worship, because she was considered both male and female, women would put armor and helmets on and take up weapons, and men would dress themselves like the women. Because this was idolatry, God said doing so was an abomination. In several of the commentaries I read they all said that men's and women's clothes had very little distinction- all robed garments.
So again, there is the cultural aspect, the people of that time all wore loose, flowing robe-like garments with several other pieces underneath. I had a bit of a revelation too. I was thinking about how the people in the Middle East continue to dress in long, robe-like garments and how the women in the Muslim religion are so heavily covered and veiled.The men probably made the women dress so cloaked and covered because they knew what was in men's hearts. They know the power that a beautiful woman can have over a man, and if he be evil without the Holy Spirit indwelling him and governing him, then he can and most likely will sin.
A Christian man that has the Holy Spirit can in God's strength control his passions and desires and 'beat his body into subjection' as Paul says. Even so, women shouldn't be boldly tempting men, whether they are intending to or not. A modest heart, a meek and quiet spirit, will be mindful of how she appears to others, and will not in good conscience expose herself in a way to make others sin. Even before I learned much about modesty, if I wore something that might show something private, I felt the pricking of the Holy Spirit in my conscience. Short shorts, two piece swimsuits or swimsuits in general, low cut or backless tops, short tight skirts and tight clothing in general gave me a feeling of uncertainty and without peace. It didn't feel right.
This morning I re-read 1 Timothy 2:9-10
"In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety, not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or with costly array: But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works."
and 1 Peter 3:3-4
"Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.I did the word studies using the Greek lexicon, and from what I am reading and understanding, Paul is talking about the inner man. Especially here in 1 Peter 3:5
"For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:"
The 'holy women in the old times' adorned themselves with the 'meek and quiet' spirit, worth much to God. From what I can see, to the Lord, it doesn't matter. Of course, we as Christian sisters ought to be mindful of the Christian brethren and men in general, and do all possible to encourage and help them live a pure and holy life. How can they do that if they are so distracted by our lack of clothing? Or if we are clothed but every detail of our body is visible underneath?
I think it is important, especially in this time period, that we work hard to look and act like women, to be feminine in appearance and manner. To have that softness and tenderness that Webster spoke of. For me, if I am so focused on what to wear or not to wear, then I lose perspective on what really matters- winning more souls for Jesus! So what have I been wearing lately? Dresses and skirts! Most of the time they are a lot more comfortable and forgiving than pants. But, somethings are just easier in pants. For me I feel more ready to work because I can 'get down and dirty' with pants on and not worry about my clothes getting in the way. I always get my skirt twisted when getting in the car and have to readjust everything. They cover hairy legs, LOL!
Deep down, I want to recapture the beauty and elegance in times gone past; my screen name is Anne at Heart you know, I love how the women looked then. And I think it's great and fun to recreate those fashions and wear them, but certainly not a requirement. So where will I go from here? I'm not totally for sure yet. My husband thinks it's fine for me to wear pants and shorts, but he also thinks I look slimmer and more flattering in dresses/skirts. He likes to come home to us looking nice, whether it be in a dress or something else. I do feel different in a dress- more feminine and more submissive. I feel stronger and more powerful in pants, but not in a bad way. It's just different.
I may give it a try and see how it goes- wearing both. I do wear my one pair of capri blue jeans at least once a week. I think they look good until they loosen (after they've been worn awhile) and start sagging a bit. I reserve them for hot days and working days. I plan to talk with my husband about it some more and we'll decide together.
I hope this makes sense and doesn't sound like a bunch of rambling. I'm not into citing all my references etc. because I'm not trying to prove anything. This is a personal journey and process, not a teaching :)