Sin of vanity?

What exactly would fall under the sin of vanity? For example, is it vanity for a woman to style her hair and put on makeup if she were married and wanted to maintain a pretty appearance for her husband? Even though she also would be seen in public and perhaps other men may find her attractive? Her style of clothing is simply stated with nice jeans and tshirt with no jewelry (other than wedding ring) or colorful clothing to attract undue attention.

Would such a woman, in order to avoid falling into vanity, need to wear a plain hairstyle, little to no makeup, and baggier clothing? Again, her main reason for choice of hairstyling, makeup, and clothing is for her husband.

Where exactly is the line of vanity drawn? Thank you.


If this is what the husband prefers, and it is not immodest, then it is not vanity.

There is nothing wrong with looking neat and proper. In my case, that means shaving, putting on a shirt that has buttons (preferably more than 3 buttons), and getting a haircut every six weeks (“whether I need it or not” ;)). Other folks have higher standards, and Lord knows some have lower. I think any normal hairstyle, makeup, and clothing (whatever is reasonable and customary in your community) should be fine.

To me the sin of vanity would be to spend an inordinate amount of money on expensive cosmetics, clothes, and accessories, and spending a great deal of time fixing one’s self up.

There is nothing wrong with adorning yourself modestly and attractively. After all, your body is the temple of God.

Modern Catholic Dictionary:

VANITY. Or vainglory, an inordinate desire to manifest one’s own excellence. It differs from pride, which is the uncontrolled desire for self-esteem, in that vanity primarily seeks to show others what a person has or has achieved. A vain person looks for praise from others and may go to great lengths to obtain it. More commonly, vanity is associated with an exaggerated importance attached to multiple details, especially external appearances, which in no way contain the value attributed to them. It is ostentation in fashion, wealth, or power regarded as an occasion of empty pride. Thus where pride, though sinful, may have some foundation in fact for whatever one prides oneself on being or having done, vanity is the idle effort to obtain recognition or respect for what a person does not have a rightful claim to. Vanity is attributed to shams, which lack substance and are deceitful (like human praise); or to things without solidity and permanence (such as physical beauty); or to means that fail in their purpose (such as vaunting one’s own reputation). It is an inflated pride and, as such, is venially sinful.

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