Daughters of God


Give a Good Example in Dress

Fannie Bolton was employed for a time by Ellen White as one of her helpers. The following is a portion of a letter written to her in 1894. DG 157.1

I have a word to say upon another point. Our sisters who have come from America have an account to render before God of their example in dress; in this matter they have not been approved of God as His missionaries. We need to be converted—soul, body, and spirit. Shall we by our example lead to pride, to selfish indulgence and selfish expenditure of means in dress that testifies that we are not the doers of the Word? The principles were presented before me, which are not as God would have them. I am not called upon to specify, but to warn you to take heed. DG 157.2

The spirit that characterizes your work, Fannie, is not discerned by many—yourself or others. They cannot see the true inwardness of these matters, but it manifests itself on certain occasions. Although you are full of activity and zeal and stir and push, there is so much of one-sided, impulsive, ill-developed movements that the results are of the same order as the working. God's chosen vessels will work under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. You have worked largely under the sustaining influence of the self-satisfaction you have cherished, feeling that you were doing a large work. But winnow the wheat from the chaff and there will be very few kernels of pure grain. But the many judge from outward appearance, not from the spirit and real results. DG 157.3

We are living in an age represented as being like that before the Flood. All who now plead for souls should in their dress and deportment carry the modesty and marks of the Lord Jesus. They must wait, watch, and pray for the Holy Spirit to be abundantly bestowed. We must take in the idea of Christianity; in conversation and in dress we must represent the truth. A decided guard must be placed upon the human agents in regard to the impressions they are making upon others in deportment and in dress. The Bible is our guide; study its teachings with a purpose to obey, and you need make no mistakes. DG 158.1

Our dress should be in strict accordance with the character of our holy faith. [1 Timothy 2:9, 10; 1 Peter 3:3-5 quoted.] There is need of putting more of the Bible precept into the dress, as well as the inward adorning into the character. DG 158.2

Fannie, wherever you go, wherever you may be, you need to study that the colors and material and style of your dress should be adapted to, and correspond with, your age and to the faith you profess. You remember I made the remark to Elder Olsen that when at Preston you were destitute of suitable clothing and felt too poor to supply yourself with what you should have. The remarks you made showed that you did not understand me. I want to be understood now. DG 158.3

You need comfortable underclothing, which you must have in order to have health. But I certainly do not, in all respects, approve of your style of dress. I felt rather sad and ashamed when you stood upon the platform before the large crowd under the tent, with that light, large-figured dress. It was not appropriate for the occasion. Your judgment in the matter of dress may be much improved. I hope you will not consult your dressmaker but [consult] those who are of sensible minds and who will not flatter you or have any guile in their mouths as to suitable clothing that will make a proper impression upon the minds of both believers and unbelievers. We who claim to be in the light, and who take prominent positions to instruct others in children's meetings, need to be severely plain, yet tidy and tasteful, in dress; we should not give a semblance of excuse to any for patterning after the worldly, changing fashions of this corrupt age. Those who dress after the order given in the Bible can, with appropriate words, help others to reach a proper standard. DG 158.4

Do not come to me to ask how you shall dress. If our sisters have the Spirit of God abiding as a living principle in the heart, they will not in a single instance give occasion for any to turn aside the counsels of God by quoting the ministers’ wives or those engaged in giving Bible readings. Ever have your dress of good, durable material, and modest colors; let it be made plainly, without adornment. You certainly need to improve in your style of dress.—Letter 7, 1894 (Printed in entirety in The Fannie Bolton Story, available at the Ellen G. White Estate.). DG 159.1