Recently a big name minister tweeted, when did it become appropriate for women to wear pajamas in public. My first thought was where have you been living for the last ten years. Personally I don't see what the big deal is. Pajamas are certainly not as revealing as a tube top and leggings. I remember when it first became popular for guys to wear their pants loose exposing there underwear. Oh how people complained. All this got me thinking what is Biblically appropriate.
The most direct instruction giving in the Bible is "in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing,"(1 Timothy 2:9, NKJV). In the context of this verse modest is contrasted with flashy and expensive. It is not contrasted with revealing as most people assume. The next most direct verse is one that forbids a woman for dressing like a man. That one has been twisted so that at one time people taught that it forbid women from wearing pants. Which is stupid because at the time the verse was written the men did not wear pants. The verse is about women looking like women and men looking like men.
Sometime good meaning people give the rule, "A woman should not dress so as to tempt man to lust after her." There is several problems with this rule. One, for every different styles of clothing there is a man that has a fetish for it. I remember reading an article about a tribe in South America that was naked. The men found the dressed female researcher more lustful than than their native naked women.
Two, there is nothing wrong with a woman dressing to temp her own husband. A good case can be made that she should strive to tempt her husband. She should be very pleasing in his eye.
Three, it does not hold true when applied to men. Women tend to find men more attractive dressed. I am an over weight almost middle age male. I would be less attractive naked than dressed. By the logic of the rule I should run around naked. Not a pretty picture.
Four, if it was really Biblical then both men and women should just wear burkas when in public.
So what is appropriate for women and men to wear in public?
According to Genesis God made both Adam and Eve a tunic. That is a shirt like garment that hangs on the shoulders down past the groin area. The Hebrew word is used in several other places in the Bible. Looking at the time period in which Moses wrote, a tunic could be long sleeve, short sleeve or no sleeve garment. Also the length could be from just above the knees to as low as the ankles. At the minimum it would cover chest, stomach, back, pubic area and butt of both males and females. This is a good general public dress code.
Also the Bible makes it clear that children are to obey their parents. So long as you live with them you should obey their guidelines on dress.
Additionally the Bible tell Christians that we should strive to not offend others. The idea is that others peoples views of should matter to us. For example I had a professor who went on a mission trip to a dry hot African country. There it was considered improper for a woman to show her knees but it was normal for women to be bare breasted. Female missionaries traveling with him could not wear shorts which are perfectly normal here in the States. So there the women missionaries wore pants or long skirts. Every Sunday morning I wear a tie to church. Not because I like them but because I know that I will have more ears with a tie on than without one.
Beyond the Bible many professions have a uniforms. Some implicit and some explicit. You should wear nice work clothes when applying for job at a factory whereas applying for a job at a bank you better where a suit. Nurses wear scrubs, that is a type of pajamas.
I put all this together and give you the following guideline for a public dress. You should wear clothes that cover your privates, that you find comfortable wearing, that are culturally appropriate for where you are and additionally when the situation applies your parent, guarding or boss approve of the garment. If your dad says the skirt is to short then it is to short but when you live on your own then you can wear it. If your college says that you must wear a tie to attend then wear the tie or go to another school. If you see someone wearing pajamas at Walmart then just mind your own business, they are doing nothing wrong.
Please do not construe this to mean that a person bearing their chest at the beach is wrong or that nudity that occurs at a spa, in a sauna, in a physical examine or many other situations is wrong. It is not. This article about a general public dress that is appropriate at a restaurant, library, church and such place.