Did Jesus Wear A Dress?


Some of the most common questions people ask about Jesus Christ are related to his appearance. Some people are interested to know his skin color, hairstyle, and his physical features. Others are interested to know what kind of clothes he wore.

A tunic, which is not the same as a modern dress, was likely a common piece of attire for Jesus. Tunics were a perfect garment for the climate and the regular daily activities of life in the first century Israel. While modern dresses vary in style, they are generally one-piece garments made for women.

Where does the Bible say that Jesus wore a tunic? Would Jesus have worn clothing that was intended for women alone to wear? What other items of clothing does the Bible mention that Jesus wore? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and others.

Jesus clothing
What author said Jesus had a tunic? See below

Where does the Bible say that Jesus wore a tunic?

A tunic was a piece of clothing that a person wore next to their skin. Tunics had arm-length sleeves and extended down to the knees or even lower to the ankles and feet. In his telling of the crucifixion, John mentions that Jesus had a tunic.

TranslationJohn 19:23
ESV“When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.”
KJV“Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.”
NASB“Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece.”
NIV“When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.”
NLT“When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes among the four of them. They also took his robe, but it was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.”

Tunics are also mentioned in other places in the Bible, likely because they were so common. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus gives clear instructions about having two tunics. Luke mentions tunics in Acts well.

Jesus instructed his disciples to not have two tunics:

  • Matthew 10:10, “no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food.” (cf. Luke 9:3)
  • Mark 6:9, “but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.”
  • Luke 3:11, “And he answered them, ‘Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.'”

Other Bible verses that mention a tunic:

  • Matthew 5:40, “And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.”
  • Luke 6:29, “To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.”
  • Acts 9:39, “So Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them.”
Jesus tunic
Would Jesus have worn women’s clothing? See below

Would Jesus have worn a dress?

Jesus would not have worn clothing that was designed for women alone. Deuteronomy 22:5 forbids men from wearing women’s clothes and women from wearing men’s clothes.

TranslationDeuteronomy 22:5
ESV“A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.”
KJV“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.”
NASB“A woman shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.”
NIV“A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.”
NLT“A woman must not put on men’s clothing, and a man must not wear women’s clothing. Anyone who does this is detestable in the sight of the Lord your God.”

If Jesus would have violated this instruction, there is no doubt that his enemies would have used it against him as soon as they saw it or learned of it from others. However, when Jesus was arrested, the authorities sought desperately for crimes to charge him with but could find no wrongdoing on his part.

Christian cross
What other clothes did Jesus wear? See below

What clothes does the Bible say Jesus wore?

The Gospels don’t provide readers with a complete list of all the garments Jesus wore, likely because there was nothing unusual about them. Nevertheless, it mentions certain items of clothing for various reasons, as seen in the verses below.

John the Baptist mentions that he wore sandals

TranslationMark 1:7
ESV“And he preached, saying, After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.”
KJV“And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.”
NASB“And he was preaching, and saying, After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals.”
NIV“And this was his message: After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.”
NLT“John announced: Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to stoop down like a slave and untie the straps of his sandals.”

Jesus’ enemies put him in a purple robe to mock to claim to be a king

TranslationMark 15:17
ESV“And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him.”
KJV“And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head”
NASB“They dressed Him up in purple, and after twisting a crown of thorns, they put it on Him”
NIV“They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him.”
NLT“They dressed him in a purple robe, and they wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head.”

Jesus’ body was wrapped in linens when he was taken down from the cross

TranslationLuke 23:53
ESV“Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid.”
KJV“And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.”
NASB“And he took it down and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had ever lain.”
NIV“Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid.”
NLT“Then he took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in a long sheet of linen cloth and laid it in a new tomb that had been carved out of rock.”

Peter saw the linen cloths but not the body of Jesus when he looked in the tomb

TranslationLuke 24:12
ESV“But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.”
KJV“Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.”
NASB‘But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened.”
NIV“Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.”
NLT“However, Peter jumped up and ran to the tomb to look. Stooping, he peered in and saw the empty linen wrappings; then he went home again, wondering what had happened.”

Daniel Isaiah Joseph

Daniel's seminary degree is in Exegetical Theology. He was a pastor for 10 years. As a professor, he has taught Bible and theology courses at two Christian universities. Please see the About page for details.

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