We have looked at what the Bible says about modesty and a little of the blessing of modest dress. Now I'll share a bit about the way a Mennonite woman dresses.
In a past post about Mennonites, I mentioned there is a wide variety of clothing standards among us Mennonites. Some Mennonites are indistinguishable in dress from the world around them. I'm not trying to judge them or anyone else. Each person must decide before God the clothing God wants them to wear.
But many Mennonite women are known for wearing a distinctively plain dress called a cape dress. Jane Martin shares some of her thoughts on the cape dress.
In the past several months, I opened a little store online to sell modest dresses for women and girls. I am both blessed and challenged by the women I meet, many of whom dress modestly and cover their heads. All of them feel alone in the journey. Often they are the only ladies in their community or family that have chosen to wear modest clothing.
There is many options for modest dress, but since I sell mostly cape-style dresses, I'm asked frequently “What is a cape dress?” A cape dress has a cape or piece of cloth worn over the top of the dress to conceal the figure. The cape is usually sewn to the dress at the neck and the waistline, providing a second layer over the bodice of the dress. One of my favorite things about a cape dress, is the ease for breastfeeding. An opening can be sewn under the cape, providing quick and discreet access.
Thanks, Jane, for your input.
Many of you know that I did not grow up in a Mennonite church. I was part of a Brethren church that, in many ways, was similar to the Mennonites. My mom taught me the importance of dressing modestly and femininely. I wore mostly dresses, skirts, and jumpers but not a distinctive cape-style dress.
When we married, my husband was part of a Mennonite church. Together we decided to make his church ours. One of the things this church asked was for all their female members to wear a cape dress. It is not that they considered every other kind of dress immodest. As a church, they had chosen the cape dress as a good application of the Biblical principles of modesty and separation from the world.
Since I was joining this church, I needed a new wardrobe. I can sympathize with anyone who radically changes their clothing standards. It is not fun to throw out favorite garments. I didn't always have a good attitude. There were days I dressed, stood before the mirror, and scowled at the reflection.
But time and God did a work on my heart. I now gladly wear a cape dress and have no desire to change to any other style. As Jane mentioned, the cape dress is very forgiving in all the changes of childbearing. I love that I no longer become frustrated while shopping for nice, modest clothing. Now I only need to visit a fabric shop, find a fabric I like, and sew a new dress. (Of course it helps that I like to sew!) I'm not bound by the fluctuating styles. My pattern can stay the same despite the changing fads. What some may see as bondage to rules has become a means of freedom to me.
As Jane mentioned, if you are one who is seeking to dress modestly, you are not alone. Please be encouraged; there are many women searching the Scripture to find direction on dress.
But I will caution you to beware of a trap I've fallen into: pride. How quickly I can go from seeking God's will on what to wear, to comparing myself with others and feeling superior because of my choices. God says that He hates a proud heart. All the fabric in the world can't cover a sinful heart. It is important to follow God's direction on modesty, but it is also important to cultivate a proper attitude of humility.
I would love to try to answer any questions you have on modesty. Again, I don't want this to be a debate. Each of us will answer to the Lord Himself on what we wear. May the Lord bless your journey as you walk with Him.