Must Adventist women wear somber clothes?

No, the report is not true, but I think I can show you the basis for it. In a letter on this subject (April 29, 1960), Arthur White wrote, “My aunt has told the story of how Sister White once passed along to her a bolt of red cloth for use in making a dress or as she pleased. She has described the cloth as ‘red, real red,’ not wine-colored or maroon.”

Another lady, Myriam Adams, lived for a time in Mrs. White’s home while attending our Australian college. About Mrs. White she wrote, “She was kind and considerate in every way, taking the keenest interest in my welfare and advising even in the matter of suitable clothing. She suggested that my frocks should be in suitable shades. I remember one day when [I was] wearing a dark red blouse, she remarked how very becoming it was as I had an olive complexion, and [she] suggested that I should have a frock of that shade in my wardrobe always.”

Grace Jacques, Arthur White’s sister and a granddaughter of Mrs. White, remembered her grandmother well, since she was born in 1900 and Mrs. White died in 1915. They lived near each other at Elmshaven during that whole time. Mrs. Jacques had an article published in The Youth’s Instructor of December 5, 1961, entitled “My ‘Special’ Grandmother.” In it we find a paragraph with these words: “I recall a young nurse who had only a few clothes, and so grandmother gave her three dress lengths of material, one of red, one blue, and one a golden color. She told this young lady, as she did several young women, that she should have at least one red dress.”

Mrs. White encouraged using good taste in choosing the colors and style of dress (see Child Guidance, pages 419, 420). She gave this counsel about having a red dress to some women, but not to all.