Have you ever been invited to a church by your friend who magically forgets to tell you trousers aren’t allowed? Well I have, and the first few minutes were very embarrassing as I became the centre of attention, I even got dirty looks from the church members but I raised my chin up and faced the God I came for, I just thank God the pastor did not change the sermon for me as some would. The issue of whether it’s a sin for women to wear trousers go way back, even as students we’ve all had that girl who preached against wearing trousers in our secondary schools.
For many decades the use of trousers was restricted to men, which was the norm, until the 1920s and 30s when women started wearing too for various reasons like disguise, a form of rebellion against the norm, an attempt to create an identity for women and work. In 1919, Luisa Capetillo became the first woman to wear trouser in public, although she was jailed for this “crime,” she was later released when the judge dropped the charges. Then on, the use of trousers by women slowly became accepted.
Different people have come out to share their opinions on this topic, Gloria Bamiloye who is the wife of the Mount Zion president and co-founder of the Mount Zion Faith Ministries came out to say that although it’s not a sin, it does not portray a Christian woman the right way to the unbelievers, she also gave illustrations about two girls who went for evangelism and one of them who wore trouser was told to leave because she was distracting the man they were preaching to. I sincerely disagree with this illustration because there must have been many things going on in the man’s mind and to sum it up as the trousers being the problem seems somewhat myopic.Although it is very easy to send sexual messages with our mode of dressing, it isn’t restricted to only trousers, some skirts are worse than trousers which is why we must choose what we wear carefully.
Today women wear trousers for different reasons; women who find it hard to sit down correctly in public would obviously choose trousers over skirt, I know of churches that don’t allow some women sit in front rows in Church because of the type of skirt they wear, we must have heard stories or jokes about Pastors getting confused because of this but it’s true, I find it hard to believe it would be the same story if the women were on trousers. Women who have to move swiftly during work would also choose trousers over skirts. The country and culture also plays an important role in how we choose to dress. For instance, most women in Western countries wear trousers as it keeps out the cold out especially in cold regions but in Nigeria, because of the diversity of culture it’s a bit difficult to dictate what people should wear. There are cultures in Nigeria that allow men to tie wrappers, will we say that is a sin?
So what does the Bible say about women who wear trousers? The first Bible verse that comes to mind is Deuteronomy 22:5 which say “A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the Lord your God.” The Bible didn’t differentiate the man’s from the woman’s garment and just because it has two separate places for your legs doesn’t make it man’s garment. It just means men should dress in an appropriately masculine manner and women should dress in an appropriately feminine manner, trousers are now designed for men and women which makes it easier to choose. What was and is still important to God is the heart, 1 Samuel 16:7 says “…for the Lord does not see as many sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, bit the Lord looks at the heart.” This is not an avenue to dress provocatively because God also values modesty. 1 Timothy 2:9-10 says “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly clothing, but which is proper for women professing godliness with good works.”
It is true that some Churches frown at wearing trousers to church and some others don’t, depends solely on their doctrine, so is it the women’s choice, if a woman has heard directly from God not to wear trousers, then she should not or if she chooses out of her own volition not to wear trousers, then it’s fine.
In my opinion the choice to wear trouser or skirt is really not that deep, Joel 2:13 says “Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.” It doesn’t make you less or more of a good Christian. It’s not about wearing trousers or not, it’s about choosing to live your life in a way that portrays that you are a child of God, one which includes dressing modestly. It wouldn’t be a wise thing to let others stumble because of your dressing as Mark 9:42 explains. So whether you are wearing skirts or trousers, let it say something good about you and also remember, it’s not just enough to wear things that speak good about you, you have to be good and nurture love in heart, because asides that, your daily wearing of skirt is a waste.