Dress Reform

Part One


The Dress Reform

What Has Christ Done For Us

Why Did God Give Dress Reform?

Part Two

What Are the Principles of Dress Reform


“Dearly Beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
2 Corinthians 7:1

“A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs. To seek this should be our first work.” 1 SM 121.

In light of the time in which we live, our Lord asks us to take serious heed to the counsels that He has given to us, that we may indeed be prepared for the seal of God and the coming of Jesus Christ. With this in mind, please prayerfully examine the following, with the desire to “do all to the glory of God”, “perfecting holiness”.


“I beseech thee therefore, brethren by the mercies of god, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto god, which is your reasonable service. And be ye not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect, will of god.” Romans 12:1,2.

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of god, and that the spirit of god dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of god, him shall god destroy; for the temple of god is holy, which temple ye are.” 1 Corinthians 3:16,17.

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the holy ghost which is in you, which we have of god, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify god in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19,20.

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31.

“Because it is written, be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15.

“In like manner also, that woman adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness, and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;” 1 Timothy 2:9.

“. . .be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” 2 Peter 3:14.


First Things First

“A revival and a reformation must take place under the ministration of the Holy Spirit. Revival and reformation are two different things. Revival signifies a renewal of spiritual life, a quickening of the powers of the mind and heart, a resurrection from spiritual death. Reformation signifies a reorganization, a change in ideas and theories, habits, and practices. Reformation will not bring forth the good fruit of righteousness unless it is connected with the revival of the Spirit. Revival and reformation are to do their appointed work and in doing this work they must blend.” CS 42.

We must realize in this study and any other, that without the working of the Holy Spirit within our hearts, it will avail nothing. We need to understand all topics in light of the cross, with Christ as the center of every doctrine and practice. I pray that through this study, we can all be led closer to our Lord and understand the great love which He has for you and I. Pray earnestly that our understanding can be increased, so that the self-sacrifice and self-denial of Christ may be seen and be wrought out in our lives, as we seek to make Him known to the world around us. This must be our purpose. May our God help us.



“Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:” Galatians 1:3

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:5-8

Do you and I have this kind of commitment to our heavenly Father? Christ and His Father have given all that they possibly could to work out our eternal salvation. In addition to what has already been done, our loving Father has given us specific information that we could “prosper and be in good health, even as our soul prospereth.” What kind of response shall we give to this great gift? I pray it will be giving of ourselves ‘a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God’. Let us study more to know how to be approved unto God.

The study of the sanctuary, encouraged by many, not only gives us an object lesson of the plan of redemption, but also of many principles of the Christian life. I would like to bring our attention to just a few. First, let us notice what surrounds the whole sanctuary. A white linen curtain is hung around all sides of the courtyard, except where the multi-coloured veil hangs for the entrance. The scripture informs us that this is a symbol of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, who would surround, with His righteousness, every repentant and obedient believer. This is also a symbol of the righteousness of the saints, who partake of His grace. We are also told that all aspects of the sanctuary, are for the protection of the Law of God. If the Law of God is to be within our hearts, then what do you think the protection is for us? Our outer dress has much more to do with our salvation, than many understand. Please don’t misunderstand me. Our salvation is through Christ and His righteousness alone, but when we have the experience of conversion, of being born anew, of being a new creature, we will have a different exterior to go along with the new interior.

There is another lesson given by those who ministered before the Lord in the sanctuary services. Very specific garments were designated for these holy men. But read with me 1 Peter 2:9, But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light:” We are given the most solemn and yet precious privilege of being representatives of the Most Holy God, to a suffering and lost world around us. Shall we rise to the challenge?




There are several reasons for the giving of specific counsel on how we should dress. Below are a few of the statements outlining these differing reasons.

  1. For Our Physical and Spiritual Well-being:

“Dress reform proper provided for the protection and development of every part of the body.” 4T 635.

“To protect the people of God from the corrupting influence of the world, as well as to promote physical and moral health, the dress reform was introduced among us. It was not intended to be a yoke of bondage, but a blessing; not to increase labor, but to save labor; not to add to the expense of dress, but to save expense. It would distinguish God’s people from the world, and thus serve as a barrier against its fashions and follies. He who knows the end from the beginning, who understands our nature and our needs, –our compassionate Redeemer, –saw our dangers and difficulties, and condescended to give us timely warning and instruction concerning our habits of life, even in the proper selection of food and clothing.” 4T 634.

  1. For the Testing of Our Hearts:

“It was the Lord’s purpose to prove His professed people and reveal the motives of their hearts.” 4T637.

“God will prove His people… He gives them time for the excitement to wear off, and then proves them to see if they will obey the counsel of the True Witness.” 1T 186.

“God leads His people on, step by step. He brings them up to different points calculated to manifest what is in the heart. Some endure at one point, but fall off at the next. At every advance point the heart is tested and tried a little closer. Those who come up to every point, and stand every test, and overcome, be the price what it may, have heeded the counsel of the True Witness, and they will receive the latter rain, and thus be fitted for translation….” 1T 187.

  1. To Show the Difference Between Christ’s Followers and the World:

“I was shown that the people of God should not imitate the fashions of the world. Some have done this and are fast losing the peculiar, holy character, which should distinguish them as God’s people. I was pointed back to God’s ancient people, and was led to compare their apparel with the mode of dress in these last days. What a difference! What a change! Then the women were not so bold as now. When they went in public, they covered their faces with a veil. In these last days, fashions are shameful and immodest. They are noticed in prophecy… If God’s professed people had not greatly departed from Him, there would now be a marked difference between their dress and that of the world. The small bonnets, exposing the face and head, show a lack of modesty. The hoops are a shame, (because of the exposure of legs – this will be dealt with in further quotes). The inhabitants of earth are growing more and more corrupt, and the line of distinction between them and the Israel of God must be more plain, or the curse which falls upon worldlings will fall on God’s professed people.” 1T 188,189.




Part Two


  1. The physiology of dress reform – How does my dress affect my health? 
  2. The moral issues of dress reform – How does my dress affect others?
  3. How should we dress our children?
  4. What about the men?
  5. What are the principles of tasteful, God honoring dress?
  6. What is the Conclusion of the Whole Matter?



  1. The Physiology of Dress Reform – How Does My Dress Affect My Health?

“But dress reform comprised more than shortening the dress (shorter than dragging in the filth of the streets) and clothing the limbs. It included every article of dress upon the person. It lifted the weights from the hips by suspending the skirt from the shoulders. It removed the tight corsets, which compress the lungs, the stomach, and other internal organs, and induce curvature of the spine and an almost countless train of diseases.”” 4T635.

“The dress should fit easily, obstructing neither the circulation of the blood, nor a free, full natural respiration. The feet should be suitably protected from cold and damp.” CG 425.

“Tight bands or waists hinder the action of the heart and lungs, and should be avoided. No part of the body should at any time by made uncomfortable by clothing that compresses any organ or restricts its freedom of movement.” MH 382.

“Every article of dress should fit easily, obstructing neither the circulation of the blood nor a free, full natural respiration. Everything worn should be so loose that when the arms are raised the clothing will be correspondingly lifted.” MH 293 p.2.

“The amount of physical suffering created by unnatural and unhealthful dress cannot be estimated. Many have become lifelong invalids through their compliance with the demands of fashion. Displacements and deformities, cancers and other terrible diseases, are among the evils resulting from fashionable dress.” 4T 634,635.

“Satan invented the fashions in order to keep the minds of women so engrossed with the subject of dress that they could think of but little else.” 4T 629.

“The limbs were not formed by our Creator to endure exposure, as was the face. The Lord provided… also, large veins and nerves for the limbs and feet, to contain a large amount of the current of human life, that the limbs might be uniformly as warm as the body. They should be so thoroughly clothed as to induce the blood to the extremities. CG 426.

“Special attention should be given to the extremities, (legs and arms) that they may be as thoroughly clothed as the chest and the region over the heart, where is the greatest amount of heat… If these parts are not so warm as the body, the circulation is not equalized. When the extremities, which are remote from the vital organs, are not properly clad, the blood is driven to the head, causing headache or nosebleed; or there is a sense of fullness about the chest, producing cough or palpitation of the heart, on account of too much blood in that locality; or the stomach has too much blood, causing indigestion.” CG 426.

“No part of the body should at any time by made uncomfortable by clothing that compresses any organ or restricts its freedom of movement… In some countries the custom of leaving bare the shoulders and limbs…prevails… This custom cannot be too severely condemned. The limbs (arms and/or legs being remote from the center of circulation, demand greater protection than other parts of the body. The arteries that convey the blood to the extremities are large, providing for a sufficient quantity of blood to afford warmth and nutrition. But when the limbs are left unprotected or are insufficiently clad, the arteries and veins become contracted, the sensitive portions of the body are chilled, and the circulation of the blood hindered.” MH 382.

“It is a sin in the sight of heaven for parents to dress their children (and themselves) as they do. The only excuse that they can make is, it is fashion. They cannot plead modesty to thus expose the limbs of their children with only one covering drawn tight over them. They cannot plead that it is healthful, or really attractive. Because others will continue to follow this health and life destroying practice, it is no excuse for those who style themselves reformers. Because everybody around you follow a fashion which is injurious to health, it will not make your sin a whit the less, or be any guarantee for the health and life of your children.” 2SM 471, 472.

“Another great cause of mortality among infants and youth, is the custom of leaving their arms and shoulders naked. This fashion cannot be too severely censured. It has cost the life of thousands. The air bathing the arms and limbs (legs), and circulating about the armpits, chills these sensitive portions of the body, so near the vitals, and hinders the healthy circulation of the blood and induces disease especially of the lungs and brain.” 2 SM 467.

“I do not speak unadvisedly when I say that the way in which women clothe themselves, together with their indulgence of appetite, is the greatest cause of their present feeble, diseased condition.” 1T 461.

“There is but one woman in a thousand who clothes her limbs as she should.” 1 T 461.

“The very many miscarriages that now occur may generally be traced to fashionable dress.” HL par. 155.



How Can We Dress Healthfully?

   “The dress should be so arranged that full respiration can be taken and the arms be raised above the head without difficulty. Impress upon the pupils the danger of allowing the clothing to weigh on the hips or to compress any organ of the body. An almost endless train of disease results from unhealthful modes of dress, and careful instruction on this point should be given.” ED 199.

   “Many a poor girl for the sake of a stylish gown, has deprived herself of warm underwear, and paid the penalty with her life.” MH 290.

   “The feet and limbs being remote from the vital organs should be especially guarded from cold by abundant clothing. It is impossible to have health when the extremities are habitually cold.” MH 293.

   “If the feet are clothed with good-soled warm boots and shoes, for comfort rather than for fashion, the blood will be induced to circulate freely in the limbs and feet as well as other portions of the body… If we give the lungs and feet ample room to do the work the Lord designed they should, we shall be rewarded with better health and clear conscience.” HL 547.

   “First should be the long under-drawers reaching to the ankle. Next the warm flannel stocking reaching to the knee, fastened by elastic to the waist. Over these should be the warmly lined pants made tapering or gathered in a band at the bottom and fastened about the ankle. Warm boots with thick soles should cover the feet.” Proper Dress, Health Reformer p. 11.

*”Wearing long sleeves both summer and winter prevents the ‘alarm reaction’ of the adrenals that causes a vigorous adjustment in the nervous system and the cessation of extreme overheating if even a light sleeve is worn. The reaction is paradoxically characterized by an intolerance to covering the arms. It is an adaptation response of the nervous system to the stress of chilling.” Dr. Agatha Thrash, Uchee Pines, Alabama.

“Protect the skin from direct rays of the sun by loose clothing of cotton material that fully covers the arms and the legs. In countries where the weather is very hot, clothing is loose fitting and covers the body well.” Dr. Agatha Thrash.

“This is true sanctification. It is not merely a theory, an emotion or a form of words, but a living active principle, entering into the everyday life. It requires that our habits of eating, drinking and dressing be such as to secure the preservation of physical, mental and moral health, that we may present to the Lord our bodies,–not an offering corrupted by wrong habits, but ‘a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.'” CDF 57.



Who Should We Care Most About Affecting? It Should Be Our Lord!

   “The Lord is displeased with the pride manifested among His professed people. He is dishonored by their conformity to the unhealthful, immodest, and expensive fashions of this degenerate age.” 4T 634.

   “God’s people have, to a great extent, lost their peculiarity, and have been gradually patterning after the world, and mingling with them, until they have in many respects become like them. This is displeasing to God.” 1T525.

   “Thus saith the Lord, stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16.

How Does Our Dress Affect Others

   “Our words, our actions, and our dress are daily, living preachers, gathering with Christ or scattering abroad. This is no trivial matter to passed off with a jest.” 4T641.

   “My sisters, your dress is telling either in favor of Christ and the sacred truth or in favor of the world. Which is it?” CG420.

   “The love of dress endangers the morals and makes woman the opposite of the Christian lady characterized by modesty and sobriety. Showy, extravagant dress too often encourages lust in the heart of the wearer and awakens base passions in the heart of the beholder. God sees that the ruin of the character is frequently preceded by the indulgence of pride and vanity in dress. He sees that the costly apparel stifles the desire to do good.” 4T645.

   “It is a shame to our sisters to so forget their holy character and their duty to God as to imitate the fashions of the world. There is no excuse for us except the perversity of our own hearts. We do not extend our influence by such a course. It is so inconsistent with our profession of faith that it makes us ridiculous in the eyes of worldlings.” 4T648.

   “There is a terrible sin upon us as a people, that we have permitted our church members to dress in a manner inconsistent with their faith. We must arise at once and close the door against the allurements of fashion. Unless we do this, our churches will become demoralized.” 4T648.

   “A person’s character is judged by his style of dress. A refined taste, a cultivated mind, will be revealed in the choice of simple and appropriate attire. Chaste simplicity in dress, when united with modesty of demeanor, will go far toward surrounding a young woman with that atmosphere of sacred reserve which will be to her a shield from a thousand perils.” ED 248.

   “Many a soul who was concerned of the truth has been led to decide against it by the pride and love of the world displayed by our sisters.” 4T 641.

   “Many dress like the world in order to have an influence over unbelievers, but here they make a sad mistake. If they would have a true and saving influence, let them live out their profession, show their faith by their righteous works, and make the distinction plain between the Christian and the worldling. The words, the dress, the actions should tell for God.” 4T 634.

“This commandment (the seventh) forbids not only acts of impurity, but sensual thoughts and desires, or any practice that tends to excite them.” PP 308.

“When one commandment of the Decalogue is broken, the downward steps are almost certain. When once the barriers of female modesty are removed, the basest licentiousness does not appear exceeding sinful. Alas, what terrible results of woman’s influence for evil may be witnessed in the world today. Through the allurements of ‘strange women,’ thousands are incarcerated in prison cells, many take their own lives, and many cut short the lives of others. How true the words of Inspiration, ‘ Her feet go down to death, her steps take hold on hell.'” AH 58,59.

“The outside appearance is frequently an index to the mind, and we should be careful what signs we hang out for the world to judge of our faith.” MYP 347.

“So the dress of Christ’s followers should be symbolic. In all things, we are to be representatives of Him. Our appearance in every respect should be characterized by neatness, modesty, and purity.” 6T96.


In order to have a correct understanding of what modesty means, we must draw our definition from both the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. Many statements clearly tell us what is immodest. Logic tells us that the opposite of these things will represent modesty. Remember that the principles of God are far reaching to more than the individual or time to which the specific counsel is written. We do not wear the same styles of that day, but what has been immodest in all the ages past, according to what God says, remains immodest even in this day of permissiveness and lawlessness.

“It is a sin in the sight of heaven for parents to dress their children as they do. The only excuse that they can make is, it is fashion. They cannot plead modesty to thus expose the limbs of their children with only one covering drawn tight over them. They cannot plead that it is healthful, or really attractive. Because others will continue to follow this health and life-destroying practice, it is no excuse for those who style themselves reformers. Because everybody around you follow a fashion which is injurious to health, it will not make your sin a whit less, or by any guarantee for the health and life of your children.” 2SM 471,472.

*In the dictionary, modesty is defined as freedom from vanity, regard for decency of dress, or simplicity; moderation.

   “Let the wearing of useless trimmings and adornments be discarded.” HL par. 531.

   “He would have you be content to dress in modest apparel, not in ruffles and feathers and unnecessary trimmings.” MYP 346.

   “The Bible teaches modesty in dress. ‘In like manner also that women adorn themselves in modest apparel.’ 1 Tim. 2:9. This also forbids display in dress, gaudy colors, profuse ornamentation. Any device designed to attract to the wearer or to excite admiration is excluded from the modest apparel which God’s word enjoins. Our dress is to be inexpensive, not with gold, pearls, or costly array.” MH 287.

   “And the Lord said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.” “neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.” Exodus 20:22,26.

Please note the garment to be worn while serving before the altar. It already consisted of a long gown, apparently modest, but our Lord gave instruction for the linen britches to also be worn so that there would be no showing of any nakedness under the gown. Can we understand the principles for today, not only in covering our bodies but also that the coverings are not form fitting, still showing the body?

   “And in the midst of the seven candlesticks, one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot.” Rev.1:13.

   “Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea thy shame shall be seen.” Isaiah 47:3

   “From what has been shown me, hoops are an abomination. They are indecent.” 1T 277.

Why were the hoops an abomination?

   “Among these pernicious fashions were the large hoops, which frequently caused indecent exposure of the persons” 4T635.

   “If a cord (hoop), or anything answering the place of cords, is placed directly around the bottom of the skirt, it distends the dress merely at the bottom, making it appear very unbecoming when the wearer is sitting or stooping.” 1T 189 (limbs were quite noticeable in these positions).

   “But in regard to the exposure, this is on the other side of the question. We have traveled extensively the past twenty-five years, and have been eyewitnesses to many indecent exposures of the limbs. But the most common exposure is seen upon the streets in light snow, or wet and mud. Both hands are required to elevate the dress, that it may clear the wet and filth. It is a common thing to see the dress raised one-half yard, exposing an almost unclad ankle to the sight of gentlemen, but no one seems to blush at this immodest exposure. No one’s sensitive modesty seems shocked for the reason that this is customary. It is fashion, and for this reason it is endured. No outcry of immodesty is hear, although it is so in the fullest sense.” HR p. 156.

   “The slaves to fashion may say the feet and limbs are exposed. I beg pardon; the limbs are not exposed. It is true the reform dress reveals the fact that women have feet and limbs, and when they are modestly and sensibly clothed, making exposure impossible, she is not ashamed of the fact. But the fact that women have feet and limbs is not, as we have said, concealed by the length of the dress. We have decided that health and modesty require that women clothe their limbs as thoroughly as they do other parts of the body.” HR 75.

What Is Proper and Modest?

*God gave a specific design to His people, including all principles of health and modesty. It was called the Reform Dress.

   “In view of existing prejudice against the reform dress, it becomes our duty in adopting it to avoid all those things which make it objectionable. It should reach within 8 or 9 inches from the floor. The skirt of the dress should not be extended with hoops. It should be full as the long dress. With proper amount of light skirts, the dress will fall properly and gracefully about the limbs.” The Dress Reform EGW p.12.

Because of the prejudice mentioned, the Lord gave a less-objectionable style of dress to His people, including all the principles of health and modesty. Please note the specifics as they apply to us today.

“As our sisters would not generally accept the ‘reform dress’ as it should be worn, another ‘less objectionable style’ is now presented: It is free from needless trimmings, free from looped up tied back overskirts. It consists of a plain sack (loose-fitting jacket) or basque (Jacket or woman’s bodice extending over the hips) and skirt, the latter short enough to avoid the mud and filth of the streets. The material should be free from large plaids and figures, and plain in color. The same attention should be given to the clothing of the limbs as with the short dress. 4T 640.


   “If women would wear their dresses so as to clear the filth of the streets an inch or two, their dresses would be modest.” 1T 424,425.

   “Our dresses, according to my idea should be from four to six inches shorter than now worn, and in no case reach lower than the top of the heel of the shoe, and could be a little shorter even than this with all modesty.” Letter to Br. And Sr. Lockwood, Sept. 1864, Review and Herald May 4, 1944.

   “If all our sisters would adopt a simple, unadorned dress of modest length (before stated), the uniformity would be far more pleasing to God and would exert a more salutary influence on the world, than the diversity presented four years ago.” 4T 640.

   “The principal difficulty in the minds of many is in regard to the length of the dress.” 1T462.

   “Some have contended that by the top of the boot, I meant the top of such boots as men usually wear. But by the ‘top of the boot,’ I designed to be understood the top of a boot, or gaiter shoe, usually worn by women. Had I thought I should be misunderstood, I would have written more definitely. If it were the custom for women to wear high topped boots like men, I could see sufficient excuse for their misunderstanding. I think the language is very plain as it now reads, and no one needs to be thrown into confusion.” 1T 463.

Proper Style and Taste:

   “Be particular to have the pants and dress of the same color and material, or you will appear fantastic.” 1T 522.

   “In a vision given me at Battle Creek January 3, 1875 I was shown the state of things which I have here presented, and that the wide diversity in dress was an injury to the cause of truth.” 4T 637.

   “If all our sisters would adopt a simple, unadorned dress of modest length (before stated), the uniformity would be far more pleasing to God and would exert a more salutary influence on the world, than the diversity presented four years ago.” 4T640.

   “If the world introduces a modest, convenient, and healthful mode (style) of dress, which is in accordance with the Bible, it will not change our relationship to God or to the world to adopt such a style of dress.” 1T458,459.

   “The female dress should be suspended from the shoulders.” How to Live p.58

   “Christians should not take pains to make themselves gazing stocks by dressing differently from the world. But if, in accordance with their faith and duty in respect to their dressing modestly and healthfully, they find themselves out of fashion, they should not change their dress in order to be like the world.” Ibid.p.61.

   “Will my sisters adopt this style of dress and refuse to imitate the fashions that are devised by Satan and continually changing? Some have said: ‘After I wear out this dress, I will make the next plainer.’ Now, if conformity to the fashions of the world is right and pleasing to God, where is the need of making a change at all? But if it is wrong, is it best to continue in the wrong any longer than is positively necessary to make the change?

   “Right here we would remind you of the zeal and earnestness, the skill and perseverance, you manifested in preparing your dress according to the fashion. Would it not be praiseworthy to manifest at least equal earnestness to make it conform to the Bible standard? Precious God-given time and means were used in fashioning those garments; and now are you willing to sacrifice to correct the wrong example you have been to others?” 4T640.

“The young women who break away from the slavery of fashion will be ornaments to society. The one who is simple and unpretending in her dress and in her manners shows that she understands that a true woman is characterized by moral worth. How charming, how interesting, is simplicity in dress, which in comeliness can be compared with the flowers of the field.” MYP 353.

Another Issue Arose

   “There is an increasing tendency to have women in their dress and appearance as near like the other sex as possible, and to fashion their dress very much like the other sex as possible, but God pronounces it abomination.” 1T457.

   “In wide contrast with this modest dress (reform dress) is the so-called American Costume, resembling very nearly the dress worn by men. It consists of a vest, pants, and a dress resembling a coat, and reaching about halfway from the hip to the knee. (As far as covering the body, this does, but resembles the men’s dress). This dress I have opposed from what has been shown me as in harmony with the word of God..” 1T 465.

   “I saw that God’s order has been reversed, and His special directions disregarded, by those who adopt the American Costume. I was referred to Deuteronomy 22:5. “The women shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment; for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God. God would not have His people adopt the so-calledreform dress (American Costume). It is immodest apparel, wholly unfitted for the modest humble followers of Christ.” 1T457.

   “My views were calculated to correct the present fashion, the extreme long dress, trailing upon the ground, and also to correct the extreme short dress, reaching about to the knees, which is worn by a certain class. I was shown we should shun both extremes.” 1T 464.

   “God designed that there should be a plain distinction between men and women, and has considered the matter of sufficient importance to give explicit directions in regard to it; for the same dress worn by both sexes would cause confusion and great increase in crime.” 1T 460.

   “Those who feel called out to join the movement in favor of women’s rights and the so-called dress reform (American Costume-women dressing like men) might as well sever all connection with the Third Angel’s Message.” 1T 457.

   “Let the sisters adopt the American Costume and they would destroy their own influence and that of their husbands.” 1T458.

   The foregoing was given me as a reproof to those who are inclined to adopt a style of dress resembling that worn by men.” 1T 458.

   “God’s prohibitions are lightly regarded by all who advocate doing away with the distinction of dress between males and females. This extreme position taken by some dress reformers upon this subject, cripples their influence.” 1T460.

Today’s issue is the wearing of pants without the dress over them and of wearing skirts too short and too tight. If pants, with a dress or long coat, was immodest, how can we say that with nothing covering them, it is now modest? If God says that this style was dressing in men’s clothing, how can we say that it is not now? Let us pray for the mind of Christ.





“Mothers, to a great degree the destiny of your children rests in your hands. If you fail in duty, you may place them in the ranks of the enemy and make them his agents to ruin souls; but by a godly example and faithful discipline you may lead them to Christ and make them the instruments in His hands of saving souls.

“Her work if done faithfully in God, will be immortalized. The votaries of fashion will never see or understand the immortal beauty of that Christian mother’s work, and will sneer at her old-fashioned notions and her plain unadorned dress; while the Majesty of heaven will write the name of that faithful mother in the book of immortal fame.” AH 238.

“Show and fashion are the demon altar upon which many American women sacrifice their children.” 2SM 466.

“Disease has been transmitted from parents to children, from generation to generation. Infants in the cradle are miserably afflicted because of the sins of their parents, which have lessened their vital force. Their wrong habits of eating and dressing, and their general dissipation, are transmitted as an inheritance to their children. Many are born insane, deformed, blind, deaf, and a very large class are deficient in intellect.” 3T 140.


Dressing as to Cover Limbs Properly:

   “Leaving their arms and limbs insufficiently protected has been the cause of a vast amount of disease and premature death. There is no reason why the feet and limbs of your girls, should not be in every way as warmly clad as those of your boys… The air soon chills their limbs and feet, and prepares the way for disease.” 2SM 471.

   “Another great cause of mortality among infants and youth is the custom of leaving their arms and shoulders naked. This fashion cannot be too severely censured. It has cost the life of thousands. The air, bathing the arms and limbs and circulating about the armpits, chills these sensitive portions of the body, so near the vitals and hinders the healthy circulation of the blood, and induces diseases especially of the lungs and brain.” 2SM 467.

*Note: In 1987, CBS news announced that there had been a breakthrough in the cause of infant mortality and crib death. By studying seals, scientists have discovered it has something to do with the circulation.

   “Mothers who dress their children in accordance with fashion endanger their health and life. Fashion leaves the limbs of children unclad, save with one covering, or, at most two. If they are exposed to the chill autumn, spring, and winter weather, their limbs are bathed in a current of cold air… In cold winter days even, the tin muslin drawers do not always meet the stockings. There is a space from one to three inches of naked flesh. My heart has been pained as I have seen the pale-faced, shivering little ones and heard their croupy cough. This manner of partly clothing children is tolerated simply because it is fashion. When their children become really sick, parents weep over their suffering, dying ones, and are ready to incur any expense to alleviate their pain. They would give all they possess if they could ransom them from the grave.” HR, Dress Reform, p. 29.

   “Little boys are also dressed so as to leave the lower limbs with far less protection than the upper part of the body…. Mothers, why not clothe your boys and girls comfortably and properly. Let their dress by simple, loose, and comfortable; clothe their limbs, and especially the ankles warmly and evenly; then let them go out and exercise in the open air, and live to enjoy health and happiness.” CTBH 91.

   “In cold weather, they should wear warm flannel or cotton drawers, which can be place inside stockings, over these should be warm lined pants, which may be full, gathered into a vand, and neatly button around the ankle, or taper at the bottom and meet the shoe. This dress should reach below the knee. What style of dress can be neater, more becoming for girls from the ages of five to fourteen years, than ours? Stand those girls of fashion beside these, and then say which appears most comfortable, most modest, and most becoming. The fashionable style is not as long as ours, yet no one laughs at those who follow that style for wearing a short dress.” HR, p. 42.

   “These little girls were dressed according to the fashion of this age. Their dresses reached only to the knee, and their limbs were unclothed, except by thin cotton stockings and thin laced morocco shoes.” HR. p.92.

   “The shoes should be thick soled and perfectly comfortable.” 2SM 471.

   “In no case should the pants be formed so as to be pulled out of sight by the children, leaving any part of their limbs exposed. I inquire, Is it reasonable or even modest, to see the limbs of your daughters exposed, to the bend of the knees, without any covering, except a cotton stocking in the summer, and flannel, in winter? Why should not mothers clothe their daughters sensibly, modestly, and healthfully, irrespective of prevailing fashions?” HR.p.93.



   “Young girls should wear the waists of their dresses perfectly loose, and they should have a style of dress convenient, comfortable and modest.” 2SM 471.

   If the dress of the child combines warmth, protection, and comfort, one of the chief causes of irritation and restlessness will be removed. The little one will have better health, and the mother will not find the care of the child so heavy a tax upon her strength and time.” CG 425.



“Furnish them with becoming garments, that they may not be mortified by their appearance, for this would be injurious to their self-respect…. It is always right to be neat and to be clad appropriately in a manner becoming to your age and station in life.” 4T 142.



“To teach children habits of order it will take some time each day… See that the children have a daily bath, followed by friction till their bodies are aglow. Tell them that God does not like to see His children with unclean bodies and ragged garments.” CH 103.




“God designed that there should be a plain distinction between the dress of men and women….” 1T460.

Men should not wear anything which can be called a woman’s style, in its feminine style or color. This brings the confusion before spoken of in 1T460. The principles of modesty are similar. There should not be form fitting clothing nor exposure of body parts even upon men. The principles of health are the same and the disregard of them, results in much of the disease we see today.

An added feature for men, is the wearing of suspenders instead of belts, that again the weight is suspended from the shoulders and the waist and internal organs are not constricted in any way.

  1. What Are the Principles of Tasteful, God-honouring Dress?


   “The dress should have the grace, the beauty, the appropriateness of natural simplicity. Christ has warned us against the pride of life, but not against its grace and natural beauty.” MH 288,289.

   “Puritan plainness and simplicity should mark the dwellings and apparel of all who believe the solemn truths for this time.” CPT 189.

   “Simplicity of dress will make a sensible woman appear to the best advantage. We judge of a person’s character by the style of dress worn. Gaudy apparel displays vanity and weakness. A modest, godly woman will dress modestly. A refined taste, a cultivated mind will be revealed in the choice of simple and appropriate attire.” HL 528.

   “I believe Sabbath-keepers should dress plainly and study economy in dress.” 1T 252.

Proper Taste in Style and Colour:

   “Our clothing while modest and simple, should be of great quality, becoming colors, and suited for service. It should be chosen for durability rather than display. It should provide warmth and protection.” CPT 302,303/

   “The material should be free from large plaids and figures, and plain in color.” 4T 740.

   “They should dress with simplicity. Your hats and dresses need not the extra trimmings that are put upon them. You are to be clothed with modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety.” Ev 273.

   “Taste should be manifested as to colors. Uniformity in this respect is desirable as far as convenient. Complexion, however, may be taken into account. Modest colors should be sought for. When figured material is used, figures that are large and fiery, drawing vanity and shallow pride in those who choose them, should be avoided. And a fantastic taste in putting on different colors is bad.” CG 420.

   “Showy, extravagant dress too often encourages lust in the heart of the wearer and awakens base passions in the heart of the beholder. God sees that the ruin of the character is frequently proceeded by the indulgence of pride and vanity in dress. He sees that the costly apparel stifles the desire to do good.” 4T 645.


   “Order and cleanliness is the law of Heaven; and in order to come into harmony with the divine arrangement it is our duty to be neat and tasty.” 4T 142.

   “They are to be taught that those who are to represent the high and holy God must keep their souls pure and clean, and that this purity must extend to their dress and to everything in the home, so that the ministering angels will have evidence that the truth has wrought a change in the life, purifying the soul and refining the tastes.

   “…While we are to guard against needless adornment and display, we are in no case to be careless and indifferent in regard to outward appearance. All about our persons and our homes is to be neat and attractive. The youth are to be taught the importance of presenting an appearance above criticism, an appearance that honours God and the truth.” AH 22.

   “There should be no carelessness in dress. For Christ’s sake, whose witnesses we are, we should seek to make the best of our appearance…. Our appearance in every respect should be characterized by neatness, modesty and purity…. Even the style of the apparel will express the truth of the gospel.” 6T 96.

“In dress and behaviour we are to reveal propriety. Never are we to be slack or untidy in our appearance or our work.” Ev 672.

   “Simple, plain, unpretending dress will be a recommendation…. In no better way can you let your light shine to others than in your simplicity of dress and deportment…. MYP 343.





“Fear God and keep His commandments.”

What is your decision, dear reader? Will you give up all for the Lord Jesus, Who has given all for you? Will you surrender your whole heart, your whole body and your whole closet and allow Him to direct in everything? His way is best and brings our ultimate good. Remember His Word to us in 3 John 2: “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou shouldst prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers.”

This is our prayer for you as well. May God’s all-sufficient grace be yours as you seek to do “all things to the glory of God.”