Part 3 - The Androgyny Deception

The Androgyny Deception

                    Part 3

“The American Costume”

We have been uncovering Satan’s plot to bring the

 androgynous mindset into our church. Now we will

 consider an important aspect of his scheme, showing

 how he got his foot in the door, so to speak.

Remember the quotation about the “so called dress

reform”? What was that all about? Let’s pray for open

hearts to hear the voice of Jesus in the following



Is it important for us, as God’s people, to understand

the development of worldly fashion, and see how the

adversary has, subtly and slowly, crept his customs and

practices into the church?

EGW: “As we see the love of fashion and display

among those who profess to believe present

truth, we sadly ask, Will the people of God

learn nothing from the history of the past?

There are few who understand their own

hearts.” {MYP 354.3}

Now we will consider the history of women’s

dress, and see how fashions have developed.

Going back to a time when Ellen White was still 

alive, we will take a look at the prevailing

fashions of her day.


The 1850’s female dresses included hoops, and

skirts dragging in the filth. Heavy underskirts

 and corsets were extremely unhealthful.


Corsets compressed the waist, causing major health problems.

Hoop Skirts of the 1850’s and 1860’s

EGW: “From what has been shown me, hoops

are an abomination. They are indecent, and

God's people err if they follow, in the least

degree, or give countenance to, this fashion.”

{4bSG 66.1}

The hoops (caged crinolines) were extolled as

freeing women from the many layers of heavy

petticoats that dragged down on the female

waistline. Women who didn’t wear hoops wore

as many as six underskirts!


EGW: “While traveling in the cars and stages... I have

seen large companies crowding into the cars, and in

order to make any headway, the hoops had to be raised

and placed into a shape which was indecent.”{4bSG 68.1}


EGW: “And the exposure of the form was ten-fold more

with those who wore hoops, than with those who did

not...but modesty and decency must be sacrificed to the

god of fashion. May the Lord deliver his people from

this grievous sin. God will not pity those who will be

slaves to fashion.” {4bSG 68.1}

 Who is behind the god of fashion?

EGW: “In forming the fashions of the day, he

 (Satan) has a fixed purpose.” {3SM 244.3}

           Satan has an agenda! 

Let us not be ignorant of his devices.

EGW: “ It is our privilege, our duty, to receive

light from heaven, that we may perceive the

wiles of Satan, and obtain strength to resist his

power.”{RH, October 23, 1888 par. 10}

Satan specializes in mixing truth with error,

good with bad, even in worldly fashions.

He creates a wrong fashion, and then leads

ungodly people to “correct” the wrong with

something that is also wrong.

How important it is, then, that we learn God’s

principles, and submit to His will, so that we

may not be deceived by the devil!

God ordained that the husband be the head of

 the home.

“The head of the woman is the man.” 

1 Corinthians 11:3

EGW “The husband and father is the

 head of the household.” {AH 211.4}

EGW “The father represents the divine

 Lawgiver in his family.” {AH 212.2}

The truth about God’s creation order—the

headship of man—has been HATED by many

rebellious women for a long time!

The devil launched a massive attack against

God’s order of creation in the 1850’s, when he

inspired a group of “modern, restless Eves” to

rebel against God’s principles. These women

defied the Bible. They were spiritualists.

They decided that wearing men’s clothing

would give them power and authority. They

coveted the role God had given men.

In the 1850's, Elizabeth Smith Miller put on a

"short" skirt over pantaloons.


Her cousin, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and her friend Amelia Bloomer, also wore similar attire.

Part of their motivation was noble—to wear more healthful attire.

This particular style, designed by Amelia Bloomer, consisted of pants under a short dress.

There were various styles.

This knee-length dress over pants outfit was

called the “American Costume.”

The “American Costume” was worn by women

who rebelled against the Bible principle that

“the head of the woman is the man.” 

1 Corinthians 11:3

These rebellious woman were spiritualists.

“Spiritualists believed individuals could serve

as vehicles of truth because each embodied the

laws of nature in his or her being. Such

individualism laid the foundation for 

Spiritualism's rejection of male headship over


—From “Radical Spirits: Spiritualism And Women's Rights In Nineteenth-Century America” written by Ann Brauden

“The most elementary motive behind the

women’s rights movement of the mid-

1800’s was an effort to disrupt

traditional patriarchy. The desire to wear

trousers was most certainly couched in a

bitter war against male authority in both

society and church.” (see



Their spiritualistic beliefs led them to

defy the Word of God.

                      The Bible says:

Deuteronomy 22:5: "The woman shall not wear

that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall

a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do

so are abomination unto the Lord thy God."


Amelia Bloomer, in an angry response to a

sermon referring to Deuteronomy 22:5, stated: 

“It matters not to us what Moses had to say to

the men and women of his time about what

they should wear . . .”


This 1855 cartoon depicts the power struggle over pants

           What are these women saying?

“Woman is born to rule, and not to obey those

contemptible creatures called men.”

“It is only us which ought to rule, and to whom

the pants fit the best!” 


Pants are the symbol of male authority.


“Mrs. Bloomer turned the trousers into a



of who in the family wore the PANTS.” 

 taken from

"Panati's Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things" by Charles Panati


Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a women's rights

leader, spiritualist and advocate of the

American Costume. She spoke and wrote

strongly against the biblical headship of men.


Mrs. Stanton wrote, "When women understand that

governments and religions are human inventions; that

bibles, prayer-books, catechisms, and encyclical letters

are all emanations from the brains of man, they will no

longer be oppressed by the injunctions that come to

them with the divine authority of 'Thus sayeth the



   The Bible and the Church have

  been the greatest stumbling

  blocks in the way of women’s


   -Elizabeth Cady Stanton-

e Bible and the Church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the way oThe promoters of the “American Costume”

 considered the Bible and the Church as standing in the

 way of their goals.


Notice the defiance, as Amelia Bloomer, a

spiritualist, declared: “We shall no longer be

answerable to the laws of God or man, no 

longer be subject to punishment for breaking


Ellen White spoke out against the American

Costume" as well as the rebellious spirit of the

women's rights advocates.


Their attitude was totally incompatible with Seventh- day Adventist beliefs.


EGW: "Those who feel called out to join the

movement in favor of woman's rights and the

so-called dress reform [American costume]

might as well sever all connection with the

third angel's message." {1T 457.3}

This is the only quotation by Ellen G. White where she

makes a judgment regarding the women’s rights

movement. Clearly, she speaks most strongly against it.

And she adds the element of the gender blurring outfit.

These two issues are forever linked:

Joining the Women’s Rights Movement

Accepting clothing that blurred the male/female


Both of these activities are contrary to the principles of Seventh-day Adventism.

The message was clear that this style of dress

(the American Costume or Bloomer Costume)

was not approved by the Lord. Ellen White also

called it “the so-called reform dress.”

EGW: "The spirit which attends the one [women’s

rights movement] cannot be in harmony with the

other [Seventh-day Adventism]. "{1T 457.3}


EGW: "God would not have His people adopt the

 so-called reform dress [American Costume]. It

 is immodest apparel, wholly unfitted for the

 modest, humble followers of Christ."{1T 457.1}


EGW: "The Scriptures are plain upon the  

relations and rights of men and women.

Spiritualists have, to quite an extent,

adopted this singular mode of dress

[American Costume]."{1T 457.3}

Let’s find out what was so wrong about the American Costume.


At its worst, the American Costume was too

masculine. This prompted Ellen White to write:

"There is an increasing tendency to have

women in their dress and appearance as near

like the other sex as possible and to fashion

their dress very much like that of men, but God

pronounces it abomination." {CG 427.2}


She stated that this style disregarded God's special

directions to have a "plain distinction between the 

dress of men and women.

As we will see, the plain distinction between men and women was that men wore pants and women wore dresses. When more than a few inches of pants were showing, the pants became a focal point of the outfit, which blurred the distinction between men’s and women’s clothing.


Thus, the American Costume was masculine, not

only in the style of the dress, but because of the

amount of the pant leg that was revealed.

The short dress [American Costume] that came 

about to the knee and above the knee was declared

to be immodest by Ellen White.


When the first rebellious ladies put on the

"short" dress over their bloomers, the dresses 

came approximately to the knee.

Within a short while, the dresses got shorter, 

until finally some were about half way from the

hips to the knee. Most of the pictures we have

show the knee length dress.

This is Dr. Lydia Sayer Hasbrouck, 

lecturer, and editor of The Sibyl: the official newsletter

of the National Dress Reform Association (NDRA)


She dedicated her life to women’s rights:

“I registered a vow that I would stand or fall in

 the battle for women’s physical, political and

 educational freedom and equality.”

James & Ellen White first visited “Our Home” in 1863,

which was a secular health sanitarium.


EGW: "This is the style and influence of the

"American Costume,” taught and worn by

many at "Our Home,” Dansville N. Y. 

{RH, October 8, 1867 par. 7}

We will show various styles of the American Costume.

EGW: "They have all styles of dress here. (Our

Home-Danville) Some are very becoming, if 

not so short. We shall get patterns from this

place and I think we can get out a style of dress 

more healthful than we now wear and yet not

be bloomer or the American costume.” {1T 457.2}


One of the problems with the American Costume was that it was too short. This made it look masculine.

EGW: "There is an increasing tendency to have

women in their dress and appearance as near

like the other sex as possible, and to fashion

their dress very much like that of men, but God

pronounces it abomination. . . . . The foregoing

was given me as a reproof to those who are

inclined to adopt a style of dress resembling

that worn by men;” {1T 457.2}



EGW: “There is still another style of dress which

is adopted by a class of so-called dress

reformers [American Costume]. They imitate

the opposite sex as nearly as possible. They

wear the cap, pants, vest, coat, and boots, the

last of which is the most sensible part of the

costume.” {1T 459.7}


The reason we are so carefully reviewing this

history of the American Costume and Ellen G. 

White’s comments regarding it, is because it

provides us with a very clear interpretation of

Deuteronomy 22:5.

"The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put

   on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God."

We don’t have to wonder what God means in

this verse. God’s prophetess clearly tells us that

women who wear clothing similar to men’s

clothing are an abomination to Him.

That is extremely helpful to all who are seeking

God’s will in their dress.

EGW: "I saw that God's order has been reversed,

and His special directions disregarded, by those

who adopt the American costume. I was 

referred to Deuteronomy 22:5: "The woman

shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a

man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s

garment: for all that do so are abomination unto

the Lord thy God.'" {1T 457.1}


Dr. Harriet N. Austin was a physician at “Our

Home” in Danville. Here she is wearing her

own design of the American Costume with

straight trouser legs.


The pants were revealed from the knee down. 

Ellen White declared that this outfit was too

close to men’s wear.


EGW: "We shall never imitate Miss Dr. Austin or

Mrs. Dr. York. They dress very much like men." {5MR 380.4}

Dr. Mary Walker started out wearing the

regular American Costume, but became

increasingly masculine in her attire.


Dr. Mary Walker was proud that she was

arrested several times for ‘impersonating a man’

- she had taken to fully wearing men's clothing,

from the top hat, wing collar and bow tie to the

pants and shoes.


Mary Tillotson was a spiritualist, and charter

member of the National Dress Reform

Association; 1866-1870.


She first adopted a knee length short dress

[American Costume] in 1842, then shortened it

12 inches.

The American Costume was popular in the

1850’s and early 1860’s but lost popularity by

the 1870’s. In the 1890’s the bicycle craze 

again brought back pants-like outfits into the

wardrobes of some American women.

What we wear affects our demeanor.


EGW: “Satan is leading them on to be a proverb

in the mouth of unbelievers because of their

boldness, their lack of reserve and womanly

modesty.”{AH 52.2}

EGW: "With the so- called dress reform there

goes a spirit of levity and boldness just in

keeping with the dress. Modesty and reserve

seem to depart from many as they adopt that

style of dress." {1T 457.4}

The Seventh-day Adventist

Reform Dress was promoted

by Ellen G. White from 1865

until 1881

As we look at the Seventh-day Adventist

Reform Dress, advocated and worn by Ellen G.

White, we will see clearly that this dress is

designed to be feminine in style, with a longer 

length than the American Costume.


EGW: "In wide contrast with this modest dress

[the Seventh-day Adventist reform dress] is the

so-called American costume, resembling very

nearly the dress worn by men. It consists of a

vest, pants, and a dress resembling a coat and

reaching about halfway from the hip to the

knee. This dress I have opposed, from what has

been shown me as in harmony with the word of

God; while the other I have recommended as

modest, comfortable, convenient, and

healthful." {1T 465.1} 

                                Ellen G. White in God's

                              version of the Reform Dress

Very little of the pants-like undergarment was

visible, so that the dress was the main feature, 

not the pants. It's advantage over the prevailing

fashion of the very long dress is that it didn’t

drag in the dirt, it was looser at the waist,

hanging from the shoulders, and it was plain. It

was definitely more healthful.


Thus, it was in full harmony with the 4 basic principles of dress reform that Ellen White advocated:

  • Modesty

  • Simplicity

  • Gender distinction

  • Healthfulness

In 1865, Ellen White wrote:

"God would now have His people adopt the

reform dress [SDA Reform Dress], not only

to distinguish them from the world as His 

"peculiar people," but because a reform in

dress is essential to physical and mental

health." {1T 524.2}


EGW: "The Lord has let light shine, and in His

providence a style of dress modest, healthful,

and convenient [SDA Reform Dress], has been

proposed and adopted by those who were

conscientious to follow the light. 

Testimony to the Church at Battle Creek - 1872, p. 61


EGW: "While none were compelled to

adopt the [SDA] reform dress, our

people could and should have

appreciated its advantages and accepted 

it as a blessing." {4T 638.5}

The length of the "American Costume” 

dress compared with Ellen White's SDA

Reform Dress

EGW: "My views were calculated to

correct the present fashion, the extreme

long dress, trailing upon the ground, and

also to correct the extreme short dress

[American Costume], reaching about to the

knees, [about 20-24 inches above the floor]

which is worn by a certain class. I was

shown that we should shun both extremes.” 

{1T 464.1}

The extremes we are to shun are:

Dragging dresses that sweep the ground

Short, knee length dresses

EGW: “By wearing the dress reaching

about to the top of a woman's gaiter boot

[about 9 inches from the floor] we shall

escape the evils of the extreme long

dress, and shall also shun the evils and

notoriety of the extreme short dress

[American Costume]." {1T 464.1}


Gaiter Boots

       The Reform Dress Had an Approved Pattern


EGW: "Before putting on the [SDA]

reform dress, our sisters should obtain

patterns of the pants and sack worn with

it." {1T 521}

In 1867, Ellen White wrote:

"I put on the [SDA] reformed dress September,

1865, when I visited Dansville with my sick 

husband. It was the same length I now wear,

and I was distinctly given to understand that it 

was not the "American Costume." I have worn

this style of dress ever since that time, 

excepting at meetings, in the crowded streets of

villages and cities, and when visiting distant 

relatives. Since I commenced to write No. 11,

in January, 1867, I have worn no other

than the reformed dress." {RH, October 8, 1867 par. 13}


EGW: “I put on the dress [SDA Reform Dress],

in length as near as I had seen and described as

I could judge. My sisters in Northern Michigan

also adopted it.”{RH, October 8, 1867 par. 10}



A vision given to Ellen White in 1867,

 confirmed God's approval of the SDA Reform


EGW: "But three companies of females passed before me, with their dresses as follows with respect to length:" {3SM 277.5}

                    Wrong                      Wrong                   Right


             Long, dragging                   Above Knee length      Few inches from floor

EGW: "The first were of fashionable length,

burdening the limbs, impeding the step, 

sweeping the street and gathering its filth; the 

evil results of which I have fully stated. This 

class, who were slaves to fashion, appeared

feeble and languid.  {3SM 278.1}

EGW: "The dress of the second class which

passed before me was in many respects as it

should be. The limbs were well clad. They were

free from the burdens which the tyrant Fashion

had imposed upon the first class; but had gone

to that extreme in the short dress [American

Costume] as to disgust and prejudice good 

people, and destroy in a great measure their

own influence.” {3SM 278.2}


EGW: “This is the style and influence of the

'American Costume,' taught and worn by many

at Our Home, Dansville, New York. It does not

reach to the knee. I need not say that this style

of dress was shown me to be too short.” 

{3SM 278.2}

EGW: "A third class passed before me with

cheerful countenances, and free, elastic step.

Their dress was the length I have described as 

proper, modest and healthful. It cleared the filth

of the street and sidewalk a few inches under

all circumstances, such as ascending and

descending steps, etc."{3SM 278.3} -- Review and Herald, October 8, 1867.


God showed Ellen White that we should not

wear dragging dresses that sweep the ground.

That is too long.

We also should not wear approximately knee

length dresses. That is too short.

While we cannot know exactly what Ellen

White saw in this vision as the acceptable dress

to God, we do know that it cleared the ground 

by a few inches.

The SDA reform dress pattern that was

developed averaged 9 inches from the floor.

See {RH, October 8, 1867 par. 10}

The SDA Reform Dress Was Laid Aside in


While the approved SDA Reform Dress 

received some acceptance from the Seventh-

day Adventist sisters, it was not widespread,

and serious difficulties developed.

Around 1868 Ellen White said, "As I travel

from place to place I find that the [SDA]

reform dress is not rightly represented.

For example, the length on this dress is close to the acceptable length, but the pattern is not according to the SDA reform dress.

Lack of uniformity, wrong attitudes--both by

those who adopted it and those who resisted

it--caused many problems.

Therefore, in 1881, the SDA Reform Dress

was no longer advocated.


EGW: "The [SDA] reform dress, which was once

advocated, proved a battle at every step. 

{SpM 91.1, 1885}

The battle was caused by the rebellious hearts   of the sisters.

Therefore, our sisters were not encouraged to adopt this style of dress after 1881.


EGW: "The Lord has not moved upon any of our

sisters [after 1881] to adopt the [SDA] reform

dress. The difficulties that we once had to meet

are not to be brought in again. There was so

much resistance among our own people that it

was removed from them. It would then have

proved a blessing." {5MR 405.1} 1885

Because of the rebellion against God’s dress

 reform, which, at 9 inches above the floor, was

 called “the short dress,” EGW counseled:

" not again introduce the short dress and

pants [SDA Reform Dress] unless you have the

Word of the Lord for it." {SpM 92.2} 1895

Sixteen years later, she wrote:

EGW: "The Lord has not indicated that it is the

duty of our sisters to go back to the [SDA]

reform dress." {1MR 33.2} 1897

A Less Objectionable Style of Dress

 was Advocated in 1881


EGW: “As our sisters would not generally accept

the  [SDA] Reform Dress as it should be worn, 

another, less objectionable style is now 

presented. It is free from needless trimmings,

free from the looped-up, tied back overskirts. It

consists of a plain sack or loose-fitting basque,

[bodice] and skirt, the latter short enough to

avoid the mud and filth of the streets.” {4T 640.1} 

EGW: “The material should be free from large

plaids and figures, and plain in color. The

same attention should be given to the

clothing of the limbs as with the short dress

[SDA Reform Dress].” {4T 640.1}


(This health principle of covering the limbs should not be ignored!)

The style of dress now advocated by God’s prophetess is as follows:

  • It was to be a simple, unadorned dress of modest length.

  • But there was no specific pattern or style to


It was to be longer than the SDA Reform Dress,

  reaching closer to the ankle.

The limbs were to be covered.

EGW: “The dress of our people should be made

most simple. The skirt and sacque or sac

[a modest bodice that covers the upper part of a 

woman's body, feminine jacket] I have mentioned,

may be used,-- not just that pattern and nothing

else should be established; but a simple style, as

was represented in that dress.” {1MR 33.1}


EGW: “Some have supposed that the very pattern

given was the pattern that all were to adopt.

This is not so. But something as simple as this

would be the best we could adopt under the

circumstances. No one precise style has been

given me as the exact rule to guide all in their

dress. . . .The Lord has not indicated that it is

the duty of our sisters to go back to the [SDA]

reform dress. Simple dresses should be worn.

Try your talent, my sisters, in this essential

reform.” Letter 19, 1897, pp 2, 3. (To Brother J. H. Haughey,

 July 4, 1897.) {1MR 33.2} {HL 119.1} {3SM 254.3}

     Lessons From the Past

God guided Ellen White to call for a dress

reform, that corrected the errors of the

prevailing fashion, but also guarded against the

extreme fashion of the American Costume. The

Seventh-day Adventist reform dress was laid

aside because of the lack of acceptance and

uniformity among the Seventh-day Adventist

sisters. We can learn from this experience what

is acceptable to God, and what is not acceptable

to Him.

By the early 1890’s, the prevailing fashion was

coming more into line with God's principles on

dress-- modesty, femininity, and healthfulness.

It was a "more sensible style of dress." It didnt

drag on the ground, it didn't require corsets, and

it wasn't so heavy, but hung from the shoulders.

Extravagance was still an issue, but God

daughters were counseled to leave off the extra

trimmings, and dress with simplicity.


EGW: "But the more sensible style of dress now

being adopted does not embrace the

objectionable features. The fashionable part 

may be discarded, and should be by all who

will read the Word of God." {SpM 91. 1}


We can understand why Ellen White made the

following statement when we consider how

some of the prevailing fashions actually

provided a style of dress that could be worn 

while still upholding God's standards.

EGW: "If the world introduce a modest,

convenient, and healthful mode of dress, which

is in accordance with the Bible, it will not

change our relation to God or to the world to

adopt such a style of dress." {CG 414.3}



We can learn from the experiences of the past

that, regardless of the prevailing fashions, God

wants His daughters to dress modestly,

femininely, simply and healthfully. We need to

reject those areas that are not in compliance,

making sure we uphold God's principles.

In our next presentation, we will be

considering how the fashions have

developed from the 1870’s to our present



End of Part 3

Part 4 will take us from 1870 to today,

showing the progression of fashion,

and how it has influenced our current


click here to view Part 4