Women's fashion and sin

Hello all. We are a homeschooling family of 6. Our older 2 daughters(ages 16 and 18), are friends with another homeschooling family. The older daughters of the other family keep telling our daughters that they are sinning if they wear pants and that its more our fault as parents for not teaching our kids correctly. Our daughters don’t wear skinny jeans and don’t dress to be provocative. The other family’s daughters wear ankle length dresses always. What is the Church’s stance? I heard a story about Padre Pio telling a woman who owned a trouser shop for women to dispose of all her stock and that women couldn’t wear pants in his church.

First, I would find another family to befriend. These people are free to teach what they want to their own children, but to tell your daughters that they are sinning is very inappropriate and rude…not to mention they are wrong. Just so there is no mistaking what the Magisterium thinks about women in pants- here is a sign showing what is appropriate for apparel inside the Vatican Churches.


If it’s good enough for Rome, it should be good enough for the rest of us. I would not tolerate anyone telling my daughters they are sinful for wearing modest pants and I would make sure these people know it. Your girls need new friends.

Are you sure they aren’t Sedevancantist or SSPX ? I ran into a group that I thought were Catholic but upon further review they were SSPX because I couldn’t figure out why the girls were playing organized soccer against other schools in long skirts and the Diocese didn’t list their kids school on their website. Modesty in dress is super important but I have read the Catechism and nothing about women wearing pants is a sin. Women should enjoy the feminine I personally like wearing dresses and skirts more than pants because all the pants except leggings feel like they are sucking the life out of me.


Honestly, how rude of them to tell your daughters you are teaching them to sin. Must come from their parents

I think I’d tell the girls to tell their friends, “Why don’t you take that up with our mom and dad if you’re so worried?” And then have a talk worked up about how modesty is specific to culture and that within the range of possibilities offered in our culture, your daughters are being modest.

Also, skinny jeans with a tunic or big shirt could be very modest.

We all make mistakes as people and don’t think of things until our brethren faithfully bring them to our attention. This is one of those cases if any non-Catholic is confused what these people ahead of me are writing as Catholics don’t know the Bible as a whole as well as Protestants for instance please take note the Church is not like this and Catholics do know admonishing sinners even our closest friends is a great spiritual work in the eyes of our Creator don’t let these above me in their honest ignorance keep you from Christ’s one and only true Church. The OP sounds like an amazing Catholic who just had a slight oversight on his daughter’s dress and is asking to fix it, for the above if they are still confused:

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.” Proverbs 27:6

“I myself am satisfied about you, my brethren, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another.” Romans 15:14

“And we exhort you, brethren, admonish the idlers, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” 1 Thessalonians 5:14

" All scripture is inspired by God and[a] profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness," 2 Timothy 3:16

" Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God."
Colossians 3:16

“Take heed to yourselves; if your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him;” Luke 17:3

Just saying, I have a lot of SSPV rad-trad family and none of them have a problem with pants. They wear skirts often, of course, but on casual occasions most of my aunts and even my grandmother will wear jeans and not think twice. I’ve even seen women wear nice looking, modest slacks to mass at their SSPV church.

It’s not a problem for a woman to wear pants.

The Church has no stance. It doesn’t dictate clothing for us. It gives us a great amount of freedom actually. Here’s what it does say though:

2524 The forms taken by modesty vary from one culture to another. Everywhere, however, modesty exists as an intuition of the spiritual dignity proper to man. It is born with the awakening consciousness of being a subject. Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person.

You sound like you have taught your daughters well. As long as they recognize they’re dignity, and aren’t trying to make themselves into objects, they are fine. There is nothing inherently immodest about pants on a woman. In facts, sometimes pants are more modest than a skirt.

It’s also possible to be immodest when wearing floor length skirts, I might add. Anytime we obsess over the body, we have made it into an object, either of lust or disdain. And both are wrong.

I’m sorry to say, but it sounds like your daughters friends have fallen into the latter. They aren’t displaying an attitude of respect for the human person, but are in fact reducing women to body parts. Except they say it should be covered up instead of flaunted. It’s hard for me to say which is worse. But both are contrary to the Catholic view of the person, which is much more healthy and freeing.

Also, as far as the Padre Pio story goes, it really doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. The saints aren’t infallible, and we shouldn’t be looking to them as if they were. That’s why it’s so nice to have a Magisterium in situations like these.

If the Church is fine with pants on women, then that’s the end of the matter. If someone wants to wear skirts, good for them. But they can’t force their preference on others. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to bind where the Church has left us free.

Not sure if they’re SSPX but I’ve suspected. They go to a Tridentine mass at a basilica here in Maine that is legit. Good suggestion.

Thank you. That’s the backup I was hoping for.

If anything, perhaps you have raised your children in a less insulated environment ,
Allowing them to be a part of the real world,the real world can be rather harsh if your not prepared for it, even in a small way, your children dress respectfully ,what more could you want ?

One can dress modestly and attractively. Looking like a frump wearing an unmade bed doesn’t make one a saint. Catholics can enjoy things without thinking everything is a sin.

I like Tim Gunn. You might want to google him and read his comments on 10 things a woman/girl should never wear. He’s into modesty too and, to me, he’s spot on.

Dressing is an art and, like everything else, it takes practice.

I think this stems from the verse in Deuteronomy that says something like it is an abomination for men to wear that which pertains to women, and vice versa. OK, some Christians, even Catholics, think it’s acceptable for girls and women to wear ‘special women’s pants’ but a lot don’t, instead believing that pants are for men and skirts and dresses for women.

FWIW I was brought up not to wear pants and I’ve taken the same approach with my daughters. While I don’t judge those who wear pants or allow their daughters to do so, I don’t see how they square it with the Lord’s instruction to us in Deut.

That’s goofy, since in Deuteronomy days, the men were wearing what we would describe as dresses.

Pants are a post-Biblical phenomenon. I don’t think there are any pants in the Bible, for either sex.

Probably because we are Christians and not bound by Deuteronomy or Leviticus.


There are a lot of other laws in there that we are also not bound by.


It’s my understanding that men and women’s clothing was actually a lot more similar than today, although there were distinct differences then, too.

Yes, fashions have changed since the OT era. But the need for distinct clothing styles for men and women remains, and in our culture it’s pants for men and skirts and dresses for women.

What culture are you in exactly? If you are in the US, North American cultures had both genders wearing pants until the Europeans arrived…

If you want to wear skirts only, go right ahead, but please don’t try to impose your ideas and those of the “sola skirtura traditionalist crowd” as being Church or Biblical teachings, because they are not.

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