Fashion, Faith, and Personal Style

How does fashion fit into our Catholic Faith? How does one exhibit personal style without giving in to vanity? How do you remain modest without hiding self-expression through your clothing and outfits? How do you venerate a beautiful person without overexposing the exterior and interior of the human person?

These are the questions that fashion writer Lillian Fallon has been answering and writing about for years through the lens of her brainchild, Theology of Style. In her own words, “The intention of my mission with Theology of Style has always been to explain the theological depths and significance of personal style through the lens of Theology of The Body. My goal is to present the truths of the human person’s identity revealed in St. John Paul II’s work in a practical, digestible, approachable, everyday way.”

Lillian recently joined Timmerie on Trending with Timmerie to discuss Theology of Style in the hopes of answering some of the questions surrounding fashion, faith, and discerning what is appropriate to wear.

Timmerie grew up with a dance background and always dreamed of becoming a professional dancer. But as she got older, she found herself more aware and fearful of the growing secularization of the dance world. It was becoming less classical and much more sexualized.

Lillian began the conversation by explaining that she found herself in a similar situation, growing up with a love for fashion and a dream of attending fashion school and conquering the fashion industry in New York. But there was something nagging at her, too.

“I ended up going to Ave Maria University, and it ended up being providential because I took a Theology of the Body course which then informed my entire perspective on the human person,” explained Fallon. “When I was a teenager, I thought, ‘Well, if I’m interested in fashion, does that make me vain? Does that make me materialistic? Should I just go around wearing a sackcloth?’”

But the words of St. John Paul II proved edifying and reassuring to Lillian. It showed her that men and women are composed of both bodies and souls and that both the body and soul are good and beautiful. Fashion is merely a tool for honoring and elevating this body and soul that were given to us by and created in the image of God.

Lillian did start out her career writing in the fashion industry, but enlightened by her newfound vision of Catholicism’s influence on style, she left the industry to begin speaking and writing about Theology of Style.

“I love to think about personal style as really a tool for understanding how we remain in the image of God,” said Fallon. “Really, the more that we dress in a way that helps us to see ourselves as God sees us, the more we’re able to give ourselves back to God and also to share ourselves with those who encounter us because clothing is a means of communication.”

Because we change clothes two or three times a day, it’s hard to have the presence of mind to always think about the message that we’re communicating to those around us. What are we saying when we don’t dress professionally for work? We’re non-verbally – and maybe unintentionally – saying we don’t care. We’re saying that we won’t put effort into maintaining the image of our company. We aren’t showing that we put time, effort, and care into this “thing” we call a job. Dressing poorly can speak poorly of our character, and dressing well can communicate that we care about where we are, who we’re around, and what we’re doing.

“I think it’s so important to use personal style as a way to understand how we have been thought of from the beginning by God, that we’ve been made for eternity, that there’s no one else who is just like us. So, when we dress in that way to share that, that is such a gift of self and it falls into that call to find yourself in gift of self: Gaudium et spes.”

And in that gift of self, we show far more about ourselves and our soul than would ever be possible if we abused our freedom of choice in clothing. Personal style is not just a danger whose pitfalls involve impurity, immodesty, and vanity. Personal style is a beautiful tool that should be used in expressing your individual self to others through modesty and decency. Many of the vices in fashion arise because people are too afraid to buck the trend by going their own way. Fads and fashion trends are often the main culprits in vanity and immodesty.

“All beauty calls those who contemplate it to contemplate the divine.” So we, as sons and daughters of God, have a responsibility to exemplify that beauty through our efforts to imitate the ultimate beacons of masculinity and femininity: Jesus, Joseph, Mary, and the Church.

Tune in to Trending with Timmerie weekdays at 6pm CT

Catholic Order of Foresters Pro Life Insurance
John Hanretty serves as a Digital Media Producer for Relevant Radio®. He is a graduate of the Gupta College of Business at the University of Dallas. Besides being passionate about writing, his hobbies include drawing and digital design. You can read more of his daily articles at and on the Relevant Radio® app.