What does the biblical statute about a woman not wearing anything that pertains to a man mean today?
Deuteronomy:22:5 says: "A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman's garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the Lord your God." Like many of the statutes, this law had to do with pagan customs of the time, and as we will see, does not refer to women wearing pants. The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary explains:
"Disguises were assumed at certain times in pagan temples. Maimonides...mentions that a man attired in a coloured female dress, in honour of Venus, Ashtaroth, or Astarte, and a woman equipped in armour, worshipped at the shrine of the statue of Mars...
"Asiatics, when they engaged in the worship of Ashtaroth, were accustomed, according to Philocorus, quoted by Townley (in his edition of Maimonides, note 33), to exchange the male and female dresses. In fact, all idolators confounded the sexes of their deities—representing them sometimes as male, at other times as female; and hence, their worshippers, male and female, fell gradually into the custom, which became extensively prevalent, of changing their attire in adaptation to the sex of a particular divinity."
God's command to Israel forbade the people from incorporating pagan religious rites into true worship. In spite of this instruction, today's Christianity commonly mixes paganism in with the worship of Christ.
Does Deuteronomy:22:5 forbid women from wearing pants? No, it doesn't. In fact, even men in the Middle East through the history of the Old and New Testaments did not wear pants; they wore a robelike garment. However, there is an underlying principle that applies today. Men should dress in an appropriately masculine manner and women should dress in an appropriately feminine manner. Clothing manufacturers make pants designed for men and pants designed for women.
For more insight, please read our article The Modesty Question: How Far is Too Far?