Perhaps this will shed some light. I've just returned from the grocery store with my four year old. If you take a look at the photo of some of our purchases, you might notice a marketing theme. Barbi waffles and cereal, Dora corn and soup, and Princess soup. (whoops, princesses again!) My daughter sees the pictures on the outside of the package and she wants them...sometimes not even knowing what is inside.
How often in life do we act like my daughter? I remember a couple at church who looked like the "model" couple. After the wife and I became friends, she shared her husband had "anger management" problems! Wow - I had thought they had the perfect marriage. I was looking at the outside, not knowing the bitterness on the inside.
So much of life we base on the outward appearances. But what does the bible say about this? "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" (1 Samual 16:7 NIV) Clearly in being Christlike we shouldn't judge others by their outward appearance.
But does outward appearance matter? And if not, shouldn't we all be hanging out in sweats with dirty hair and no make up? Clearly the Lord loves beauty. Just look at a sunset, a mountain top, or a peacock. And since the bible tells us that he knows how many hairs are on our head (Matthew 10:30, Luke 12:7), we know we have a God who has an attention to detail. I believe the right answer is to strike a healthy balance.
I like the verse in 1 Peter 3:3, 4 (NASB) that puts it this way "Your adornment must not be merely external--braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God." It's okay to care about your appearance and want to look nice, as long as you aren't merely a beautifully wrapped empty box...pretty on the outside, but empty on the inside. Fill up your insides with the joy of the Lord. Then you will truly be beautiful...inside and out.
John 7:24 "Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment." (NIV)
Galatians 2:6 "As for those who seemed to be important—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance—those men added nothing to my message."
Matthew 6:28-30 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?"