This text is often applied to all sorts of scenarios and especially to silence anyone who might suggest God has given guidelines for Christian dress or other externals. The interpretation of the text is said to mean that the outward appearance isn’t what God looks at, God looks at the heart. But is that true?
Well yes, of course God sees the heart, and that’s what God is reminding Samuel, but the interesting thing is that in the same chapter when David appears, the Holy Spirit is careful to record his outer appearance, that he had a beautiful countenance, and was goodly to look to.
What the Lord said to Samuel was to remind him that God sees what man doesn’t see, but it should not be used to suggest that what man sees doesn’t matter. While the heart is important, the outer appearance should not be disregarded.