“Likewise the women are to dress in suitable apparel, with modesty and self-control. Their adornment must not be with braided hair and gold or pearls or expensive clothing, but with good deeds, as is proper for women who profess reverence for God” (1 Timothy 2:9-10 NET).
In addition to what we read here in 1 Timothy 2:9-10, the New Testament Epistle of 1 Peter echoes a similar theme regarding our personal appearance…
“Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:3-4).
One commentary makes an important observation regarding these concepts, one that is especially relevant for many modern-day cultures…
“These terms stress not so much the absence of sexual suggestiveness, though it is included, but rather an appearance that is simple, moderate, judicious, and free from ostentation. The specifics Paul mentioned (braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes) are not wrong in themselves, but become inappropriate when they indicate misplaced values (cf. 1Pe_3:3). In the Ephesian church these styles may have been associated with the local temple prostitutes. Christians must be careful about letting a pagan culture set their fashions.” (1 emphasis added)
This admonition serves to remind us of the need to be wise, perceptive, and discerning in our choice of attire. In the words of another source, “A carefully groomed and well-decorated exterior is artificial and cold unless inner beauty is present. The general rule for both women and men emphasizes that both behavior and dress must express submission to and respect for Jesus Christ.” (2)
The following author adds some important closing thoughts…
“Clothes reveal the heart and mind. Believers need to dress appropriately, not only at church but in all places and at all times because they are Christians. The emphasis of this passage is not on outward appearance only, but also on godliness (cf. 1 Tim. 2:10; 1 Pet. 3:3,4). In every area of life believers are the light of the world and the salt of the earth (cf. Matt. 5:13-16). We must remember who we represent! However, this does not imply that believers should wear drab clothing. We should dress so as not to stand out in whatever society the believer lives. Be neat, be clean, be in fashion, but most of all be Christian.” (3)
(1) John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, Bible Knowledge Commentary p. 735
(2) Life Application Study Bible NKJV [1 Timothy 2:9-10] Copyright © 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 2004 by Tyndale House Publishers Inc., all rights reserved.
(3) Dr. Bob Utley. Free Bible Commentary, [1 Timothy 2:8] Copyright © 2014 Bible Lessons International http://www.freebiblecommentary.org/new_testament_studies/VOL09/VOL09_02.html