Child Guidance


Chapter 67—The Fascinating Power of Fashion

Fashion Is a Tyrannical Ruler—Fashion rules the world; and she is a tyrannical mistress, often compelling her devotees to submit to the greatest inconvenience and discomfort. Fashion taxes without reason and collects without mercy. She has a fascinating power and stands ready to criticize and ridicule all who do not follow in her wake.1 CG 432.1

The rich are ambitious to outdo one another in conforming to her ever-varying styles; the middle and poorer classes strive to approach the standard set by those supposed to be above them. Where means or strength is limited, and the ambition for gentility is great, the burden becomes almost insupportable. With many it matters not how becoming, or even beautiful, a garment may be, let the fashions change, and it must be remade or cast aside.2 CG 432.2

Satan, the instigator and prime mover in the ever-changing, never-satisfying decrees of fashion, is always busy devising something new that shall prove an injury to physical and moral health; and he triumphs that his devices succeed so well. Death laughs that the health-destroying folly and blind zeal of the worshipers at fashion's shrine bring them so easily under his dominion. Happiness and the favor of God are laid upon her altar.3 CG 432.3

The idolatry of dress is a moral disease. It must not be taken over into the new life. In most cases submission to the gospel requirements will demand a decided change in the dress.4 CG 432.4

The Price Some Pay—How contrary to the principles given in the Scriptures are many of the modes of dress that fashion prescribes! Think of the styles that have prevailed for the last few hundreds of years or even for the last few decades. How many ... would be pronounced inappropriate for a refined, God-fearing, self-respecting woman.... Many a poor girl, for the sake of a stylish gown, has deprived herself of warm underwear and paid the penalty with her life. Many another, coveting the display and elegance of the rich, has been enticed into paths of dishonesty and shame. Many a home is deprived of comforts, many a man is driven to embezzlement or bankruptcy, to satisfy the extravagant demands of the wife or children.5 CG 433.1

Salvation Imperiled by Idolatry of Dress—Pride and vanity are manifested everywhere; but those who are inclined to look into the mirror to admire themselves will have little inclination to look into the law of God, the great moral mirror. This idolatry of dress destroys all that is humble, meek, and lovely in character. It consumes the precious hours that should be devoted to meditation, to searching the heart, to the prayerful study of God's Word.... No Christian can conform to the demoralizing fashions of the world without imperiling his soul's salvation.6 CG 433.2

Love of Display Demoralizes the Home—Aided by the grace of Christ, women are capable of doing a great and grand work. For this reason Satan works with his devices to invent fashionable dress, that love of display may so absorb the mind and heart and affection of even professed Christian mothers in this age, that they have no time to give to the education and training of their children or to the cultivation of their own minds and characters, that they may be examples to their children, patterns of good works. When Satan secures the time and affections of the mother, he is fully aware of how much he has gained. In nine cases out of ten he has secured the devotion of the whole family to dress and frivolous display. He reckons the children as among his spoils, for he has captivated the mother.7 CG 433.3

Little children hear more of dress than of their salvation, ... for the mother is more familiar with fashion than with her Saviour.8 CG 434.1

Parents and children are robbed of that which is best and sweetest and truest in life. For fashion's sake they are cheated out of a preparation for the life to come.9 CG 434.2

Not Brave Enough to Stem the Tide—Many of the mother's burdens are the result of her effort to keep pace with the fashions of the day. Terrible is the effect of these fashions on the physical, mental, and moral health. Lacking the courage to stand firm for the right, women allow the current of popular feeling to draw them on in its wake.... Too often professedly Christian mothers sacrifice principle to their desire to follow the multitude who make fashion their god. Conscience protests, but they are not brave enough to take a decided stand against the wrong.10 CG 434.3

Parents—Take Care—Parents frequently dress their children in extravagant garments, with much display of ornaments, then openly admire the effect of their apparel and compliment them on their appearance. These foolish parents would be filled with consternation if they could see how Satan seconds their efforts and urges them on to greater follies.11 CG 434.4

A Problem That Faces Many Mothers—Your daughters are inclined, if they see a dress different from that which they have, to desire a dress similar to that. Or perhaps they want something else that they see others have, which you do not feel would be in accordance with your faith to grant them. Will you allow them to tease this thing out of you, letting them mold you instead of molding them according to the principles of the gospel? Our children are very precious in the sight of God. Let us teach them the Word of God and train them in His ways. It is your privilege to teach your children to live so that they will have the commendation of Heaven.... CG 435.1

Let us not encourage our children to follow the fashions of the world; and if we will be faithful in giving them a right training, they will not do this.... The fashions of the world often take a ridiculous form, and you must take a firm position against them.12 CG 435.2

The Fruitage of the Love of Display—Love of dress and pleasure is wrecking the happiness of thousands. And some of those who profess to love and keep the commandments of God ape this class as near as they possibly can and retain the Christian name. Some of the young are so eager for display that they are even willing to give up the Christian name, if they can only follow out their inclination for vanity of dress and love of pleasure.13 CG 435.3

Families who spend much time in dressing for display may be likened to the fig tree that Christ saw from afar. This fig tree flaunted its flourishing branches in the very face of justice; but when Christ came to look for fruit, He searched from the topmost twig to the lowest boughs and found nothing but leaves. It is fruit that He hungers for; fruit He must have.14 CG 435.4

Unsatisfying to Daughters of God—There is enough necessary and important labor in this world of need and suffering without wasting precious moments for ornamentation or display. Daughters of the heavenly King, members of the royal family, will feel a burden of responsibility to attain to a higher life, that they may be brought into close connection with Heaven and work in unison with the Redeemer of the world. Those who are engaged in this work will not be satisfied with the fashions and follies which absorb the mind and affections of women in these last days. If they are indeed the daughters of God, they will be partakers of the divine nature. They will be stirred with deepest pity, as was their divine Redeemer, as they see the corrupting influences in society. They will be in sympathy with Christ and in their sphere, as they have ability and opportunity, will work to save perishing souls, as Christ worked in His exalted sphere for the benefit of man.15 CG 436.1