158 thoughts on “Dress for Success”

  1. By the way, this is a pretty good lesson in how to make up a religion. I know that isn’t the intended purpose, but still πŸ˜€

  2. “It is wrong to wear any garment that arouses an emotion in another person that cannot be righteously fulfilled outside of marriage.”

    Translation: “If your dress causes a man to think about having sex with you, it’s your fault.”

    Honestly, I understand what they are tying to say, but Fundies air our their true feelings when they feel they have to go above and beyond to define standards. What’s wrong with just saying, “dress modestly?”

    1. That point is especially hilarious because I know several men personally that have said they are much more attracted to a woman in a skirt or dress rather than pants. So whatcha gonna do about that, huh??

        1. Dr F, yes, I am cynical. πŸ˜‰ My comment was not meant to be so, just pointing out the obvious.

        2. I’ve thought about this alot too. But then again, the fundies say that you can see the curve better on a woman wearing pants, and that also induces ungodly lustful desires in men as well. so… how can you really pick the best kind of garment to wear? pants — you can see the curve! oops.. so i’ll wear a dress or skirt — you can see skin!..oops…so i’ll wear an extra long dress that you can’t see curve OR skin (do those actually exist??!?) …but oops.. men still like ’em cuz they would give easy access. So what CAN you do?? lets just go naked..then maybe they’d be so embarrassed they’d look away & we wouldn’t have any problem at all. haha =)

    2. Wickedness does not come from outside a person. For out of the heart proceeds all manner of evil.

      – Paraphrase of a smart guy

      1. Funny how the Smart Guy is only valued for the one thing He did at the end of his life and NOT for the words He spoke and the deeds he did while living.

        1. Oh my gosh, yes.

          It amazes me how little attention fundies pay to the Sermon on the Mount…considering that it takes up THREE entire chapters in the Gospel of Matthew. You’d think that very fact would convey something about its importance…but nah. I’ve even heard local preachers say it’s “not for the Church Age”(meaning us, pre-“Rapture,” presumably :p). Then why on earth did God bother devoting THREE chapters to it in Matthew and a sizable chunk of space in Luke, too?

        2. No kidding, Catholic Gate-crasher. I heard that said too. Ironically, Jesus Himself said, after His resurrection, to His followers to go into all the world and preach the Gospel, making disciples and teaching them to observe ALL that He had commanded them! Jesus didn’t seem to add, “Except for the Sermon on the Mount stuff. That was for the kingdom which the Jews rejected so now it’s the church age so you can ignore that.”

        3. Of course, Bill Gothard based his entire homeschooling curriculum on the sermon on the mount. Of course, he got math and science lessons out of every verse, so I don’t know that it counts!

    3. So if there’s a woman who happens to be physically hideous, and she covers her disfiguration with a sweater and skirt, which makes her look like a normal woman and men still happen to lust after her, should she instead run around naked, forcing men to turn away in disgust?

  3. Not sure who Diane Hay is. She sure do like hersef some rules.

    Same old guilt trip & blaming females for “emotions” (WTF?) aroused in a man. (Diane: That’s not an emotion.)

      1. Ahhh yes.

        All of my children loved the Wilds. One still goes there. My wife and daughter are going there next week for a mother-daughter thingey. No doubt they will come back more “spiritual.” Sigh. Just what this fundamentalist escapee needs ….

        But it makes sense that the wife of the director there would cook up something like this. All these rules remind me of what Paul said about such things — the “touch not, taste not, handle not” asceticism of worldly thinking — that these things do not produce spirituality, but only a pretense, an outward show. And they don’t satisfy the flesh either! That makes them pretty much worthless all the way around.

        1. When my husband was a youth pastor at an IFB church (GARBC), we attended a youth worker conference at the Wilds. Pretty much no one spoke to me the whole time there (and I was wearing the uniform too – a jean jumper).

          This was years before we considered leaving the IFB, but that sure left a bad taste in our mouths.

      2. Ahhh, I remember the Hay name now. That shows me where I need a little more brain bleach. The Wilds of North Carolina!

        Bleach, stat!

      1. Yeah, OK, we had one bad day. But the Tide will roll again! Meanwhile, I hope A & M stomps the living [[ca-ca]] out of Ole Miss this coming Saturday. C’mon, Aggies! Do it for Kenyan Drake, our star RB, who suffered a horrible, agonizing, and possibly career-ending injury last Saturday — whereupon one of those classy Rebels kicked him. Stay classy, Ole Miss!

  4. After prayerfully reading this and asking for the Holy Spirit to convict me, I have come to the conclusion that the only proper attire is a burlap bag.

    1. acceptable as long as you wear flesh colored underwear and it is not too tight, defined generally as the ability to pass 2 fingers between the garment and any body parts without stretching the fabric.

    2. Did the Lord thy God also reveal unto thee the particulars regarding length and width, for surely the Lord would not leave such subjectivity up to us to decide?

      1. Yea verily and he doth instruct his people that wives and daughters must needs have this burlap head covering from the top of their head to the top of their shoulders. Yea, verily it shall have openings cut wherewith she may see the glory of her husband, and his glory alone.

        And lo, if thine husband should tell thee, “My emotion is aroused and I have need for thy body” thou shalt fall upon thy knees and comply, even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him “Lord”. So shalt thou call thy husband.

      2. The problem is that it is in cubits, and the scholars can’t decide whether it is the common cubit, the royal cubit, the old Amiga game Cubit (almost old enough to be OT!), the elementary information particle Qubit, or the mathematical function, Cube It.

    3. No, no, no. You see, the only way to really get men to stop lusting is for all the women to walk around naked. That way we don’t have to imagine what they look like under those clothes. Problem goes away.

        1. Geez, where to begin?
          “Does this garment accentuate my private areas?” Well, I once read that when a woman wears pants, it looks like a line pointing straight to the crotch. Apparently, it doesn’t do that on a man.

          “Is it a badge, or an accepted, neutral part of society?” What the heck does this even mean? I would say that if you are only wearing a badge, you’re not wearing nearly enough! Seriously, aren’t jeans an “accepted, neutral part of society”?

          “Will it draw attention to itself and not to me?” Really?!? ‘Cause when people see a group of women in ankle-length denim skirts, they only notice their character…

          So glad to be done with this insanity!

        2. Good points!

          And girls wearing culottes to an amusement park or skirts over snowpants to go skiing are TOTALLY drawing attention to themselves and the weirdness of their clothing choices.

    4. I’m thinking the only answer to this problem of females “arousing emotion” is for us women to don burkas. That should take care of the problem of drawing attention to our private areas.

        1. Exactly! If the Fundies are going to stay with that ONE verse in the OT about clothing, then why on earth won’t they obey all the other commands for the Children of Israel?!?!

    5. Or none at all, if you’re physically hideous. Better not conceal those blemishes and mislead people into thinking you’re approachable.

    6. A guy at BJU once suggested from the pulpit (he was the fearless student body leader one of the years my brother was there) that he would prefer that all the girls on campus wear burlap sacks so that he wouldn’t lust after them.

      Fortunately, this provoked horror and outrage from the student body, both male and female. But still… he said it. It was super creepy.

      I knew his brother a little when I was there, and he fortunately was not a Creepy McWeird, so I’m not sure what happened there.

  5. Which men have to be comfortable in your presence?

    -Hugh Hefner – only comfortable if you are dressed as a bunny
    -A radical islamist – only comfortable if you are in a Burkha
    -A nudist?

    1. LOL, yeah, that “comfortable” thing killed me.

      And talk about wrenching Scripture violently out of context, then torturing it till it says something completely different from what the inspired author intended.

      1. It rains here. It snows here. Though it would come in handy during hurricane or even gale-force winds, this outfit is far too impractical to wear outdoors.

  6. Under “Modesty” (B4)–some men are aroused when they see women wearing burlap sacks. Why is it always the woman’s fault when a man is having a “sexual” moment based on how she is dressed?

    For the record, I’m a a fairly modest dresser, as i do think that is an important point in Scripture.

    1. Yes, I agree. And most especially in a church or work environment.

      But if a guy can’t control himself because he sees part of my bare leg in mid-thigh shorts, he’s got such big issues that me wearing knee-length shorts or dress isn’t going to help much πŸ˜‰

      1. Did the Lord thy God also reveal unto thee the particulars regarding length and width, for surely the Lord would not leave such subjectivity up to us to decide?

      2. Whoops! Don’t know how the above comment happened. That was something I meant to post else where.

        To many Christians the Bible is about doing more and trying harder. If I fail, the answer is to do more and try harder. This was exactly how Jim Berg taught us in our counseling classes. I now think that the opposite of all my sin is Christ. If I struggle with my staring at women, the solution isn’t for them to change what they are wearing, its for me to put on Christ, so that I treat them with dignity and honor regardless.

        1. Amen!

          It was shocking for me to realize how much of my Christianity was about keeping rules and NOT about Jesus. We were SUPPOSED to be about Jesus, but somewhere we’d truly lost sight of Him.

    2. I’ve been totally creeped out ever since I heard James Dobson say that the average man has a sexual thought very fifteen seconds. Kind of makes the wardrobe issue pale in comparison. Good grief.

      1. I dunno who the average man is. For a teenage boy that’s probably true. For those of us over 50, not true. Thank God.

        1. So… from this we can surmise that James Dobson has not ever matured beyond the age of fifteen, and that he doesn’t expect other men to, either.

          From two separate points of view:
          -My parents don’t like Dobson because psychology is bad. I disagree with them on this, vehemently. (Psychology is just about studying the workings of the human mind; they think it’s bad because Jesus controls our minds, apparently, and hormones, events, life experiences, etc., have absolutely zero to do with this…)
          -My non-Christian friends would be appalled by Dobson because they’d resent the idea that they can’t control themselves. I’ve asked several guy friends about this and they think the idea that they can’t control their thoughts or are constantly having sexual thoughts about every woman walking by repulsive.

        2. I don’t object to Dobson being a psychologist. Being an uptight fascist lunatic and trying to cloak it in religion is what annoys me.

  7. Wouldn’t the first point under Warning in the Intro, if followed, actually lead people away from this kind of legalism? I mean, it’s advocating people should actual use their brain and the sense God gave them but that’s not what these nutters want.

    And modesty is about not calling undue attention but it’s not about clothes(though sometimes it can be but I’m not going to cover that.) This set of unrealistic expectations is entirely about not being modest because you’re showing off how modest you are.

    1. That is what I was thinking. She starts with a warning about traditions of men and then proceeds to exalt the traditions of men.

      1. Oh, don’t be so logical and stuff. Just go with the self-righteous indignation over immodest wimminz and you’ll be good.

  8. I got into a “discussion” about this very subject on Facebook last week. This is something that makes my blood boil! This is nothing more than victim blaming, disguised as Biblical principles. I find it insulting to both men AND women! This crap is saying that women are responsible for men’s actions and thoughts, meanwhile, men cannot control their thoughts and actions, they are just a bunch of big dumb Neanderthals! If covering yourself from head to toe means that men aren’t going to look at you in a sexual way, then how do you explain all of the rapes that take place in countries where women wear burkas? Sorry if I misspelled that! The line and definition of what constitutes appropriate and modest clothing varies from culture to culture, and person to person, regardless of how much fundies will try to say otherwise. I could wear a calf length skirt and it would be considered immodest and inappropriate to someone who thinks you should be covered from head to toe. Then again, victim blaming seems to be standard in IFB churches. God forbid if a man actually take responsibility for his own actions.

    1. Nothing new if you believe in the Adam and Eve story. Adam says “The woman you put here with me–she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

      1. That is a very good point.
        Yes, Eve started it by eating and giving the fruit to Adam, and she received the consequences for it. But so did Adam even though she gave it to him. The woman might be wrong, or inappropriate rather, by walking down main street spilling out of a bikini (or showing a knee, haymen?) but the man is wrong as well for lusting.

        Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, fundies!

  9. Sounds like fundie women need to start wearing Ghillie suits. Except one that does not pertaining to a man.. so it must be a Ghillie skirt.

    Just hide everything.

  10. How come guys are seldom told to be like Job and “set no wicked thing” before their eyes but the wimminz have to be invisible? Whatever happened to the verse about “if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out”?

  11. FWIW, for one cent I can buy the book that Darrell was kind enough to link us to. For $3.99 I can have it shipped to me.

    1. I can save you the $4:
      Always wear a three-piece suit in dark colors, narrow pinstripes, a white shirt, and a conservative tie. Wear black socks and black shoes and keep the shoes polished. Short hair, no beards or mustaches (this was written before people who wanted to be successful in business even thought about getting tattoos). Plain colored glasses, if any. No fancy frames. Minimal jewelry for women, none for men.

      1. Even in the 70s, that was all so obvious that I don’t know why the book sold millions of copies. But bestsellers tend toward the obvious.

        I pitched an idea for a parody called “dress for failure,” based on how my English-major friends and I dressed, but I never found a publisher for it.

  12. I’m old enough to remember when John Molloy’s “Dress for Success” was new.
    There was a “Women’s Dress for Success” for the ladies, too.
    The women’s career uniform was a slightly modified version of the pinstriped suit he prescribed for men (with skirt instead of slacks).

    Back in the day, I knew many would-be young executives who wore the strict uniform Molloy prescribed, and read books like “Attila the Hun’s Guide to Management,” and so couldn’t understand why they still didn’t get rich quick.

  13. I don’t know exactly what kind of comment I want to give about this, except that I would want to use the word “Amish.”

  14. So what if my years growing up in fundy land, having not quite so pure thoughts about fundy girls, left me permanently unable to be turned on by anything but a woman dressed in overly modest clothing, trying extra hard to show how she’s not drawing attention to herself? Whatcha gonna do about that, Diane Hay?

  15. True story to help put this whole thing into context.

    Years ago, my buddy was a writer for the Dallas newspaper. Playboy magazine was in town shooting for their 25th anniversary issue. They were vetting potential models in a high rise hotel downtown. My buddy was doing a story on this. I was a cop on a day off work. He asked if I’d like to go along for the interview. “Of course” I answered (insert comment here).

    They had rented a huge open room. We went in, and young ladies (all clothed, but scantily) were seated around the room awaiting their modeling session. Such session would be topless.

    My buddy interviewed the photographer, who shrugged and said, “After a while, this is just a job.”

    My point is this: men become conditioned to the way the women around them dress. So if lust is their issue, they’ll lust after a woman in a burka, if that’s they way he normally sees them dress.

    And frankly, I don’t see the admonitions to men to dress in a certain way so as not to “cause women to stumble”. Why is that? It’s probably because of the old hackneyed, debunked saw that women are not visually oriented. These rules were written by men who want their wife to dress in burlap so no other man will try to hit on her (and maybe steal her affections).

    It’s an evolutionary response to the dynamics of reproduction.

    1. This right here. It makes no difference what they wear, hormones are hormones. Eskimo men still look their Eskimo ladies.

      1. Back in ye olde dayes, circumpolar people tended to dress in nothing but leather bike shorts indoors, unless they were living in igloos (temporary winter housing). Outdoors they dressed for survival, showing off with elaborate embroidery and piecework on their heavy, concealing garments. Except that for a while there some of the women in IIRC Greenland wore their parkas extra long in front and back and cut high on the sides, to show off their hips.

        When I was in college in Fairbanks, the girls come down from Barrow wore gorgeous parkas in jewel-hued velvets with fur-lined hoods. The outer hem was long and blew in the wind; the inner hem was much tighter, like a tailored skirt, and edged with flounces of rabbit fur that went flickety-flickety as they walked. And that’s how you bring the sexy in three layers topped off by a parka and jeans.

        1. Bike shorts? They had bikes back then?

          The Parka Parade in Fairbanks (held every March, if memory serves) is still well worth seeing.

    2. Very good point.

      You take a typical man from a rock band….an entertainer…actor….wrestler….athlete….etc… And it’s going to take a little more to turn him on sexually. He’s around it all the time.

    3. “And frankly, I don’t see the admonitions to men to dress in a certain way so as not to β€œcause women to stumble”. Why is that? It’s probably because of the old hackneyed, debunked saw that women are not visually oriented.”

      HA! Put David Tennant in a sharp suit (especially with the sideburns) and I’m drooling!

      http://youtu.be/svKWGnrbVos

      1. There’s really no room for that kind of male dressing-up (outside of drag shows like “Paris Is Burning”) in society any more.
        These days, I feel dressed-up if I’m wearing a shirt with buttons and a collar.

        1. My brother regularly wears vests with nice dress shirts and, occasionally, a bow tie. Just to go to dinner with his wife or to their fairly casual church. There’s room… You just have to own it. He owns it.

        2. Hah! I have four vests that I rotate through. Don’t usually wear a choker though. Girls gone crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man…

  16. Ah, yes… The modesty issue….And the Male/Female garment thang….
    Genesis 3:21 pretty much settles it for me…Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.
    Right there. God did not make a seperate garment for Adam and a “female” version for Eve.
    Fundies will continue to add things to the Bible to twist it into what they want others to believe.

    1. Furthermore, if Christian dogma is about restoration, then shouldn’t we no longer be ashamed of our nakedness?

  17. Burqas for Sale! Christianized burqas for sale!

    Just another thing to load guilt on women for being women, to cast them as temptresses and sluts, and to excuse men for their bad behavior.

    Of course, anything to do with sexuality is completely forbidden in the Fundamentalist Faith. (Of course, such songs like “Faith of our Fathers” cause questions like, “How did he become my father?”).

    Cabbage Patches were made for times like this!

    1. I heard on Catholic radio the other day that the guy who wrote a hymn, and I think it was “Faith of Our Fathers” was a Catholic priest. My particular camps of Fundystan never sang it much but it was in every hymn book.

      1. Yes, “Faith of Our Fathers” and “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy” were written by Father Faber, an Anglican convert to Catholicism.

        1. The Catholic talk shows I listen to seem to be conducted by level-headed, intelligent, well-educated people. In some ways I’m still too fundy to do Catholicism, and some of the hosts drive me nuts, but I like how non-screamy they are. It’s not a yell festival or a guilt trip.

  18. **IV Mainstream**
    What’s up with that?

    Who cares if it’s mainstream or not?

    The people of the Bible certainly wore what was “mainstream” for that era.

    I think more Pastors need to do the John the Baptist garb!!! I like the rugged look.

  19. After looking at this again, I thought about the private school where I currently work. We have a dress code for both teachers (casual office) and students (uniform), but it isn’t oppressive. It’s practical. It’s also easy because it isn’t nit-picky. That was what I struggled with in Fundystan–so many little rules about everything I put on. Now, my personal guidelines are tasteful, practical, and covered (but not burkaed!). Due to using a walker, I also only wear pants! It doesn’t seem to have affected my spirituality at all, by the way (the pants).

    1. Did you know at one time hosiery was considered a man’s garment?

      No, honey… Your pants won’t make you less spiritual…

      It’s gonna be okay…. grin.

      1. For that matter, Bronze Age Israelites had pants for women (under the tunic, like Pakistani outfits) and long tunics on men. While I know a lot of men who dress like that on weekends (re-enactors), except for the very occasional kilt, I never see men dressed like that in the general population. Why is that? I think if we’re going to stick to the old ways, we ought to…

        1. Some periods of medieval European history had upper-class fashions that were nearly identical between the headgear and the footwear.

  20. This thing is a master class in how to cite a Bible verse that contains the bizzwords you want to use, but does nothing to actually make the point you want to make, cite it, and then promptly ignore it in favor of saying what you were going to say anyway.

  21. “Is it outlandish?” “Will it draw attention to itself?”

    Oh, you mean like long denim skirts paired with tennis shoes? Or baggy floor length coulottes and over-sized sweatshirts?

    1. It certainly gets my attention when I see that….

      I start cringing and the eye starts twitching and I really feel for that girl…. Hopefully she’ll find..a..way…OUT!!!

  22. On a more serious side….
    I not only had to endure being raised Indy Fundy… But as an adult…Lo and Behold, it went from bad to worse…

    We moved next door to Mennonites.

    And not just one family of them… We moved near their culture.

    If you thought being a Fundamentalist was tough.. You aint seen nothing.

    My neighbor is a little off in the head…I think the whole Mennonite thing got to her long ago and she’s battling all the mental crap that’s swirling in her brain.

    She use to come over several times a week to blow steam. So I’ve heard rants from “Sister so-in-so had HAIR PINS over her head covering last night in church!! to…. “I can’t believe that so-in-so’s daughters are puffing their sleeves now. That’s sooo worldly!”
    Mental Neighbor also told me that she doesn’t believe in saying “Thank you” “You’re Welcome” etc… because it’s worldly.

    Mental Neighbor also believes that when your son turns 12, you have to submit to not only your husband, but also YOUR SON.
    Thank goodness she only has one son! Phew.

    I could rant for hours on the mess the Mennonites tried to stir up with me… But, no one really wants to hear that.

    Hey, Darrell… Can you start a blog called, “Ex Fundies Bullied by Old World Mennonites…”?

    1. I live in a region with a substantial Mennonite population, and I’ve always wondered if any of them chafe under the modesty requirement and gender roles of the Mennonite subculture. I really need to hunt for ex-Mennonite blogs.

      1. Have a friend who’s wife works at a bank in a big mennonite area. Of course she is not free to name any names, but says that you would be amazed at the amount of money spent at Frederick’s of Hollywood and the like. Apparently they like to keep their men happy πŸ™‚

        1. It’s all so relative. When I am looking for some loving I ask my wife to put on her Mennonite outfit.

  23. Test Questions for Making Up “Bible” Studies

    I. Modesty

    1. Will this study draw attention to Christ and His glory, or to me and my personal opinions?
    2. Are my points designed to draw attention to what the Scriptures actually teach?
    3. Does this study accentuate my utter inability to rightly use the Word of God?

    II. Message

    1. Is it associated with a movement or philosophy contrary to the Word of God?
    2. Does it contain cultish ideas, or is it an accepted part of historic Christianity?
    3. Will it detract from my or others understanding of God and the Bible?

    III. Moderation

    1. Does it have ridiculous, far-fetched ideas unsupportable by Scripture?
    2. Will it draw attention to peripherals and not to God?
    3. Am I saying these things to show how smart I am, or to please the MoG, rather than to glorify God?

    IV. Mainstream

    1. Is it a faddish topic and not of the slightest general use?
    2. Will I be setting a trend by putting it on the Internet?
    3. Is it concepts held in good repute by other godly Christians?

  24. Interesting that the emphasis is on covering the female body, rather than the male body. Male gaze alert!

    It’s also interesting that the dress formula emphasized clothing that separates men and women. Cross-dressing and gender-nonconforming clothing must terrify these people because it makes it difficult to shoehorn people into binary, hierarchical categories.

  25. Sure am glad to learn that lust is ultimately the woman’s fault for wearing clothing that causes it. Too bad Jesus said men should pluck out their eyes when they lust instead of saying women should dress more modestly like Ms Hay has instructed. Wish Jesus had read this article. Could have saved a lot of men a lot of guilt. Damn.

    1. @OneFlewOver: Been wondering where you were. Good to hear from you again. Your posts are always worth reading.

  26. These rules are a good reminder of how close Christianity is to Islam when it comes to “modesty issues.” Cover up, Ladies!
    On a side note, I was 35 when a co-worker told me to never wear a skirt on a first date or a guy will think you are easy.

    1. Eh, I liked the advice I got in my Christian church: If it makes you think about sex, don’t wear it. If you always have to be wondering about how you’re sitting/standing/walking because you’re worried that you’re going to accidentally show more skin than you feel comfortable with, don’t wear it. If you have to keep adjusting it, don’t wear it. And if people keep staring at or listening to your clothes (i.e., jingly jewelry or squeaky shoes) instead of paying attention to whatever they’re there to pay attention to, don’t wear it!

      Literally the only item of clothing I ever heard preached against from the Lutheran pulpit was shiny, reflective, or Day-Glo clothing at any gathering with a speaker, unless everybody was dressed the same way.

  27. Act where does our blog genie find this stuff?

    I sincerely hope I am the only one. I couldn’t help but think of Sex and the City and the infamous camel toe when I read the part about accentuating private parts of the body. the red headed stepchild of showing too much private parts. Not quite cleavage, not tramp stamp plumbers crack, or or even the headlights being on.

    Now my mind picture is way off. I think I might need professional help after this one.

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