I feel it is time to write a note about plain dress and why we dress as we do. Much of what I say will be taken from the book "Why Do They Dress That Way?" by Stephen Scott.
First of all, we need to understand that [I]dress is a language[/I]. (I will paraphrase from Scott's book. Paraphrases will be in italics. My comments will not.) [I]Dress speaks. Dress makes statements about[/I] [I]an individual's social and economic status and one's occupation.[/I] I know you have heard this in your own churches, friends. It was often said that you dress a certain way for work, why not for church and God? We are never [I]off-duty[/I] as people of God and so [I]wear our uniform constantly. We wish to be reminded of that every day. We avoid all ostentation and keep competition at a minimum by insisting on a uniform, simple dress[/I]. Now friends, you know that plain dress helps us avoid ostentation and competition. For example, we would never complete at being holier than each other. I wear my skirts at ankle length and you should too. If everyone wore their skirts exactly like me, there would be no competition at all. This is why skirt lengths are legislated. When children outgrow their skirts, I make new ones right way in order to abide by the ordnung, but I know this family who just does not. I don't know what their mother's problem is, not making her children clothes at the proper time. She made excuses about not having the money to buy material and not having the time. I always have the time even though I have 11 children because I make it a priority. That's because I care more about what God thinks than she does.
Moving on, [I]the plain people insist that the church, guided by the Word of God and not the dictates of fashion decide what a Christian should wear. The fashion industry is a deceitful, greedy force. Keeping up with the latest fashions is wasteful, planned obsolescence[/I]. I think it's great that somebody else decides what I wear on every occasion. It either the fashion industry or the church! As for me, friends, I choose the church every time. Would you rather a deceitful, greedy force decide for you or people who are guided by the Word of God?? For me, it's the church, yesirree. When I sit down and sew those new dresses for my girls because they are a half an inch too short, I know in my heart that I am not doing anything wasteful like those in the fashion industry! That is very much a relief to me!
[I]To deviate from the standards and customs of the church is to declare one's dissatisfaction and lack of commitment. Wearing that which is contrary to the order of the church is seen as evidence of a rebellious, worldly heart.[/I] If I don't wear my black shawl and bonnet in public, I know that I am being rebellious and worldly. How do I know that this is how rebellion and worldliness is defined? Because my bishop says so and he is the man of God. You are probably wondering about yourselves at this point. You are probably asking, Am I worldly when I wear my UPC uniform? It is more liberal than Emma's. I can only say to search your heart and seek after God. Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. There is a slippery slope, my friends. Some of you are probably in the world today because you wore that worldly UPC uniform instead of my holier one. But you can't be faulted for that. Your false prophets taught you and you simply obeyed.
One of my favorite quotes is by your own Joy Haney I will quote here: [I]Do not listen to the modern-day prophets of Baal and the beauty parlor owned by Jezebel. She will tell you to paint your face, cut your hair, and be immodest, but where did she end up? The dogs ate her bones and licked up her polluted, wicked blood, after she fell down from a window in which she was preening herself for all to see[/I]. (A Call to Holiness by Joy Haney pg 165) Yes, friends, even though I pray for Joy, that her understanding may be opened to more holiness, I am happy that she understands that if you wear make-up and cut your hair and be immodest like showing your knee in public, you will end up just like Jezebel, with dogs eating up your bones and licking up your blood. This is figurative, of course. You might try to avoid this by not sitting in a window while doing it, but you will probably get hit by a truck and have vultures eat your flesh instead. Be afraid and forewarned.
God bless you all.