Selected Messages Book 3


Simplicity in Dress

As I have seen many Sabbathkeeping Adventists becoming worldly in thought, conversation, and dress, my heart has been saddened. The people who claim to believe that they have the last message of mercy to give to the world, are attracted by worldly fashions, and make great exertions to follow them as far as they think their profession of faith allows them to go. Worldly dress among our people is so noticeable that unbelievers frequently remark, “In their dress you cannot distinguish them from the world.” This we know to be true, although there are many exceptions. 3SM 243.2

Those who meet the world's standard are not few in numbers. We are grieved to see that they are exerting an influence, leading others to follow their example. When I see those who have named the name of Christ, aping the fashions introduced by worldlings, I have the most painful reflections. Their lack of Christlikeness is apparent to all. In the outward adorning there is revealed to worldlings as well as to Christians an absence of the inward adorning, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price.... 3SM 243.3

Heart Condition Indicated—We warn our Christian sisters against the tendency to make their dresses according to worldly styles, thus attracting attention. The house of God is profaned by the dress of professedly Christian women of today. A fantastic dress, a display of gold chains and gaudy laces, is a certain indication of a weak head and a proud heart. 3SM 244.1

In order to follow in the wake of fashion, many of our youth incur expenses which their condition in life does not justify. Children of poor parents seek to dress as do those who are wealthy. Parents tax their purses and their God-given time and strength in making and remodeling clothing to satisfy the vanity of their children. If our sisters who have abundance of means would regulate their expenditures, not in accordance with their wealth, but with regard to their responsibility to God, as wise stewards of the means entrusted to them, their example would do much to stay this evil now existing among us. 3SM 244.2

Satan's Tactics—Satan stands in the background, devising the fashions which lead to extravagance in the outlay of means. In forming the fashions of the day, he has a fixed purpose. He knows that time and money which are devoted to meet the demands of fashion will not be used for higher, holier objects. Precious time is wasted in keeping pace with ever-changing and never-satisfying fashions. No sooner is one style introduced than new styles are devised, and then, in order for fashionable persons to remain fashionable, the dress must be remodeled. Thus professing Christians, with divided hearts, waste their time, giving to the world nearly all their energies. 3SM 244.3

This entirely unnecessary burden is taken up and willingly borne by our sisters. Half of their burdens come from an attempt to follow the fashions; yet they eagerly accept the yoke, because fashion is the god they worship. They are as truly held in shackles of bondage as is the veriest slave; and yet they talk of independence! They do not know the first principles of independence. They have no mind or taste or judgment of their own. 3SM 245.1

Satan is wonderfully successful in infatuating minds with the ever-varying styles of dress. He knows that while the minds of women are continually filled with a feverish desire to follow fashion, their moral sensibilities are weak, and they cannot be aroused to realize their true spiritual condition. They are worldly, without God, without hope. 3SM 245.2

Taste and Fitness and Durability—We do not discourage taste and neatness in dress. Correct taste in dress is not to be despised or condemned. While needless ruffles, trimmings, and ornaments should be left off, we encourage our sisters to obtain good, durable material. Nothing is gained in trying to save means by purchasing cheap fabrics. Let the clothing be plain and neat, without extravagance of display. 3SM 245.3

Young ladies who break away from slavery to fashion will be ornaments in society. The one who is simple and unpretending in her dress and in her manners shows that she understands that a true lady is characterized by moral worth.—Manuscript 106, 1901 (Republished in The Review and Herald, March 20, 1958.) 3SM 245.4

Self-denial in dress is a part of our Christian duty. To dress plainly, abstaining from display of jewelry and ornaments of every kind, is in keeping with our faith. Are we of the number who see the folly of worldlings in indulging in extravagance of dress as well as in love of amusements? If so, we should be of that class who shun everything that gives sanction to this spirit which takes possession of the minds and hearts of those who live for this world only and who have no thought or care for the next.—Testimonies for the Church 3:366. 3SM 245.5