Q: What does Deuteronomy 22:5 teach in its Jewish context? Some people believe it is referring to women wearing pants instead of dresses, and many say that it is an abomination for a woman to wear pants today.
A: To answer your question, let me point out the inconsistency of people who use Deuteronomy 22:5 (A woman shall not wear that which pertains unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment; for whosoever does these things is an abomination unto the Lord your God) in trying to determine what the dress code should be. First of all, it should be noted that this verse is part of the Mosaic Law and the whole Mosaic Law came to an end when Messiah died. Therefore, it is an incorrect use of Scripture to apply that verse for today.
Second, if you are going to apply chapter 22, you should apply it in its entirety. Moses did not say, “This verse is forever and that other verse is not.” If verse 5 applies today as far as clothing, so should verses 11 and 12. This means that no one should wear clothes made of mixed threads and people should have tassels on the comers of their garments. In other words, it is inconsistent to insist that verse 5 applies for today and then ignore verses 11 and 12 for today. The Mosaic Law is a unit and either it is all in or it is all out. You do not have the option of picking and choosing laws.
Third, let us assume that the verse does apply for today. Does it really forbid women to wear pants? First of all, when Moses gave the law, who wore pants? No one! What did men and women wear? They both wore robes. The difference was that women had multi-colored robes and men had single-colored robes. Men should not wear clothes made for women and women should not wear clothes made for men. As far as the cut of the garment, they both were cut pretty much the same way to look like robes because that is what they were.
The way Deuteronomy 22:5 would apply today is that clothing made specifically for a woman should be worn only by a woman, and clothes made for a man should only be worn by a man. The fact is that certain types of pants are made for a woman. Pant suits for women are made for women and I do not know of a man who would wear them. We are not dealing with the cut of the garment, we are dealing specifically for whom these clothes were designed. The clothes that were designed for men should only be worn by men. The clothes that were designed for women should only be worn by women. In both cases pants might be involved. Furthermore, some types of pants, such as Levis, are made for both and therefore, either one can wear them. If the passage were applicable for today that is the way it should be applied.