Clothed in Righteousness

by Shelley Noonan

                                                                   I also want women to dress modestly… —1 Timothy 2:9a


I’m a bona fide clothes fanatic. A clotheshorse. I shop in my pastime, and my downtime. I shop pre-season sales and post-season sales. Thrift stores and Boutiques. But my goal is to find the most fashionable duds that are undeniably modest.


As a professional model for twenty-plus years, I’ve modeled for some of the biggest names in the industry: Cover Girl, Tommy Hilfiger, Reebok, and possibly thousands more. But because I am a Christian, I set out to discover if fashion and faith could coexist without conflict. In a world where the most popular catchphrase in advertising is “Sex sells,” I wanted to find out if there was a way to wear the latest fashions without dishonoring God or developing a bad reputation (Proverbs 22:1).

This journey couldn’t go without interviewing those whom our clothing—or lack thereof—influences the most: Guys. I sought out to see what they really think about modest girls and immodest ones. Interested in what they had to say?

Tyler: 16, North Carolina, a star athlete says:

“Certain lures are used to attract certain types of fish. In the same way, how you dress and act will attract certain types of guys.”

Chase: 17, Alaska, an artist and blogger says:

“When a girl dresses immodestly, not only is she a stumbling block—an opportunity that could lead someone into sin—but also she is presenting herself as insecure.”

Tommy: 19, New York, surfer and snowboarder says:

“The way a girl dresses can definitely help or hinder a guy’s spiritual walk. So if she dresses immodestly, she is truly ‘dressed to kill.’”

These guys’ perspective (among many others, including my husband’s) challenged me to discover how fashion and faith can successfully collide on and off the runway.

Here are a few of my “modeling modesty” tips:

Shorts: Fingertip length shorts. Stand straight with your hands down by your side. Where your longest finger touches your leg is the shortest length your shorts should be and still be considered modest while seated.

Skirts: No more than a couple of inches above the knee. This is important, because they rise when we sit.

Hide Undergarments: Wear colorful tanks underneath low-cut tops. And make sure tank tops have wide enough straps to cover bra straps (which remember, is under wear) or wear a strapless bra.

If your jeans show your underwear when you bend over, pair them with a longer top to hide them.

Too Tight: This goes for pants and tops. If you can’t pinch the fabric, it’s too tight. And “Skinny” jeans (Thumbs up-a tapered slimming jean) shouldn’t be confused with skin-tight jeans (Thumbs down).

Cover Cleavage: I have a simple trick that helps me every time I shop: place four fingers at the base of your collarbone. This is how low your neckline can be, without revealing cleavage, even when you bend forward. Keep this in mind, especially if you’re wearing a V-neck top that dips lower at the middle of your chest. Pair these with a matching or coordinating top underneath.

We can wear clothes with confidence and not have to worry about anyone questioning our intentions. And we can shop with standards and not let today’s fashions dictate our convictions. More importantly, it’s fun to show off our best side…our inside!


© 2011 Rachel Lee Carter, Fashioned by Faith excerpt


Rachel Lee Carter is a conference speaker, Bible teacher, author and international professional model. As a modesty conscious model of more than 20 years, Carter has worked for clients such as Cover Girl, Tommy Hilfiger, Reebok, Jones New York, Perry Ellis, Chico’s, DKNY, and many others.

She is a graduate of the Word of Life Bible Institute in Schroon Lake, NY. After hearing God’s on her life as a professional Christian model, she re-entered the fashion industry.

Rachel is the President of Modeling Christ; ( an organization addressing the issues and needs of both participants in the modeling industry, and the world it influences. She has become a popular women’s and youth conference speaker addressing issues like modesty, purity, evangelism and embracing one’s past. She is also a former contestant of the Miss Teen USA and Mrs. United States pageants. Her book, Fashioned by Faith ~ an international model uncovers the truth about modesty and style (Thomas Nelson, May 2011) is available at bookstores everywhere.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

sarah February 16, 2012 at 11:47 am

I aggree, wonderful, thank you.


Beverly February 16, 2012 at 10:44 am

Great post, Shelley! Thanks for sharing!


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