Friday, March 21, 2008

Tuning in to the Tunic Suit

My Discovery
By B'Ethel Williams

We see many degrees of modesty, Christian women all walking in the light they have presently received from our Heavenly Father. Some may not know inwardly why they do it, simply honouring or respecting the wishes of their husband or parents. No matter the reason modest clothing is worn, it will be helping our Christian brothers not to stumble.

My degree of modesty happens to not include trousers in my wardrobe. Kind of a shock to some people who hear it, but it’s true. I haven’t owned trousers until recently because of 3 reasons.

1. I know my dad doesn’t like me to wear them. He doesn’t consider them to be modest and I wish to honour my dad. By choosing to follow my dad’s wishes I’m not just honouring him but my Heavenly Father, as He is the one who’s put me under my parents’ direction and protection.

2. I cannot wear trousers with good conscience. If I were to wear them against my dad’s wishes, I would feel self-conscious and uncomfortable, as though I was walking around naked!

3. I would hate to find out that my going against what I’ve been taught is modest is causing a man to struggle with impure thoughts.

I’ve often experienced wanting to do things that in a skirt would be immodest or simply difficult, but sometimes I’ve managed to do them in a lesser degree and still enjoy the fun. And sometimes I’ve not been able to do them at all.

Recently my good friend and cousin hosted his 21st party at a climbing centre where the climbing apparatus was constructed of things like tow-bars, short ropes, door handles, and drain pipes. I really wanted to go as I’d opted out a few months earlier when another friend had gone to this same place for her Going Away Party.

Stock photo of The Roxx Climbing Centre, Christchurch, NZ

My dad had no problem with me joining in the fun as long as I could find a modest way to climb. Well, obviously a skirt or a dress was out of the question, so with a lot of prayer I set out to find an outfit that would be both practical and modest, and I’m writing to tell those of you on the more conservative side of dress and those wishing to be conservative but not able to see the practical side of it, that climbing can be done in a short dress/long shirt, also known as a tunic, with a matching pair of trousers.

My tunic dress has cap sleeves, darts under the bust, and just enough flare to allow movement. It can be worn with or without a belt, and took a matter of hours to make as it’s such a simple design. God truly showed His approval because I had no pattern for suitable trousers and no fabric directly at hand, and only two days till the party. I went into a Salvation Army second-hand shop and to my amazement found a pair of matching trousers my size with a certain amount of stretch making them perfect for climbing! The price? $4.80 for trousers in near perfect condition and all I had to do was take about three inches off the hem!

When climbing there is an amount of modesty that’s kind of hard to keep, but not getting my tunic caught up in the climbing harness meant it still hung over my backside to some degree and when I was on the ground the tunic could slip down naturally so I didn’t look like I was even wearing a harness.
When I found that matching pair of trousers I truly felt that God was showing His approval for my seeking His help and choosing to honour my Dad. It also gave me a day in which I could help my younger sister by making her a tunic. Hers was a little different to mine – sleeveless, with darts front and back, and I added a pleat at the back for extra movement. While my tunic and trousers almost looked like an outfit from India, my sister’s looked very fashionable and she has since been asked by friends can they can have it if she doesn’t want it!
I hope and pray that even if your parents have no problem with you wearing trousers, you will be encouraged by this article to honour your parents' wishes in dress even when they aren’t what you’d hoped to hear, and I’m sure you to will see our Heavenly Father’s stamp of approval in very real ways!

Ed: Boutique Narelle features other examples of the tunic suit which can be viewed here and here. More coming.

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