How to Dress For Church Services

Three Methods:Dressing For WomenDressing For MenEvaluating Your Church Settings

When attending church, it is expected that you dress in a way that reflects the morals and standards of that particular church.[1] While standards for dressing have changed over time, many churches still expect you to wear your best clothing when attending the worship service. Before you make the mistake of offending someone, take the correct steps to make sure that the clothes you wear are appropriate.

Method 1
Dressing For Women

  1. Image titled Dress For Church Services Step 1
    Think modest and conservative when picking out your outfit. While church is a social gathering, it’s not a party or a night out with your friends. Families of all different ages attend church and many churches are still conservative, so make sure to dress appropriately. You should eliminate backless or low-cut dresses, spaghetti straps, tank tops, or anything that shows your midriff.[2]
    • Just because it has to be modest, does not mean it can’t be fashionable. Just make sure to not leave a lot of your skin exposed.
    • Overly glitzy jewelry or expensive accessories should also be avoided.[3]
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    Do not wear anything that rises above the knee. When picking out a dress, consider one that’s a bit longer. Although, dresses do not have to be down to the ankle like they were expected to be in times past.
    • While there is not any exact measurement that’s appropriate, make sure to avoid showing too much of your body or dressing in a way that would send signals that go against your tenets of the faith.[4]
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    Refrain from wearing anything transparent.[5] Wearing darker, non-lace tops can prevent you from wearing something that’s see through.
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    Wear black pants if you don’t like dresses. While it is expected in certain faiths that women wear dresses, a pair of dark pants will typically also work.[6]
    • You can pair your black pants with a dark top and blazer to stay stylish but conservative.
    • Avoid wearing stretch pants/leggings or jeans.
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    Wear heels or flats when attending service. Sneakers are not appropriate shoes for Sunday morning services. Pick out your best pair of heels when going to church, just make sure the heel is lower than 3 inches (not high stilettos-type). Pumps compliment pencil skirts or pants.[7] If heels aren’t your thing, flats are also appropriate.
    • Coordinate your shoe color with your outfit, but avoid loud colors like a deep red or bright pinks and greens. The focus should not be on you, but on the Lord.
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    Be aware of specific traditions in certain faiths. Some denominations or sects have specific traditions and customs that women must follow when attending service. For instance, in the Apostolic Church, women are required to wear hats while they are in church.[8]
    • While it may not get you kicked out of the church, violating these customs can be disrespectful to the people who practice that faith.
    • Research the denomination online or on your church’s website if you are unsure on what the appropriate attire is.

Method 2
Dressing For Men

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    Choose your best clothes and make sure they are clean. While standards on clothing for church have become more lax over time, it is still usually expected that you dress in your nicest garments when attending Sunday morning worship service.[9]
    • Having nice clothes does not mean you have to spend a lot of money on them. Just make sure that they are clean and presentable.
    • Avoid drawing attention to yourself or wearing things that would stand out.[10]
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    Wear a button-down shirt that has been pressed. While many men prefer to wear a suit and tie, if you don’t have one, a button-down shirt will suffice. Make sure it is free of stains or wrinkles and remember to tuck it into your pants.
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    Wear wrinkle-free slacks. Black dress pants are the best option for a person attending a church service. If you don’t have a pair, you can wear clean and wrinkle free casual slacks or khakis as an alternative.[11]
    • Avoid shorts. Even if it’s hot, you should refrain from wearing shorts. Jeans are too casual for Sunday morning service. And you do wear jeans, do not wear ones with patches or holes.[12]
    • Avoid things that have a drawstring or too many zippers or clips.
    • Remember to wear a black or brown belt with your pants, at least when not wearing a sport coat or blazer.
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    Wear leather loafers, oxfords, or slip on dress shoes. Wear your best pair of dress shoes when attending service to show respect to the God and his church.[13] Avoid sneakers or sandals in church. Black or brown colored shoes are preferred. But, again, if you can't afford dress shoes, wear the best that you have.
    • Avoid wearing white socks because they don’t match with many outfits and can be tacky.[14]
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    Be aware of specific traditions and customs in certain faiths. In times past, in Western culture, wearing a hat indoors was a sign of disrespect, but even today it applies to church services.[15]
    • In 1 Corinthians 11:7 the apostle Paul says, “man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God.”[16]
    • Members of the military are allowed to wear hats as part of their uniform in some religions like Christianity.

Method 3
Evaluating Your Church Settings

  1. Image titled Dress For Church Services Step 12
    Go to your church’s website to see if they have a dress code. Many contemporary churches now have websites that will display the dress code for church goers to read.[17] Before you attend service, make sure to research the church online and see if you have clothes that meet the dress-code.
    • Many churches will have photos of service on their site. If people in the photos are dressed casually, there’s a good chance that the church has a loose dress code.
  2. Image titled Dress For Church Services Step 13
    Stay conservative your first time, but examine how others dress. There are many contemporary churches that encourage their congregation to “come as you are” or “dress how you choose.” Dress up the first time you attend a new church and determine how you should dress based on the majority of people around you.
    • In some contemporary churches, dressing casually is completely acceptable, although some may still frown upon it.[18]
    • Dressing casually the first time you go to a new church could mean that you stand out and look silly among the rest of the dressed-up church goers.
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    Talk to others in your congregation about appropriate dress. If you attend church with your family, you can try to get their opinion on the dress code for your specific church. If not, then you can ask other people, after service is over, to get a better feeling for how your specific church expects its members to dress.
    • Try to meet new people by opening up conversation. Try to work the questions about dress code into the conversation.
    • If you have friends who go to the same church, you can ask them via text or give them a call on the phone.
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    Call the church and ask them about appropriate dress code. The best source of information about about dress codes is someone that works in the church. Your clergy leader will be able to tell you what they think appropriate dress is.
    • Many churches will list their phone number on their website.[19]
    • If you have the opportunity, try to speak to your faith leader before or after service.

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