There are no specific rules for dressing for worship. Some of your churches may have dress codes set up, or your pastor or priest may have voiced certain expectations for worship dress. Others, however, have not.
When I was a child living in London, all the parishioners dressed for church. That’s where the expression “Sunday best” derives from. People dressed in their best clothes for church and then redressed for the remainder of the day.
When I attended a Catholic college here in the U.S., my friends and others would wear jeans and t-shirts to Mass. It surprised me, but eventually, without thought, I followed along. When I married and had children, I didn’t think twice about wearing jeans to church. God looks to the heart, right?
Then I thought about all the places I usually would dress up, maybe out of respect or just to fit in at the event. And I realized I gave more attention to my appearance when it came to parties, funerals and weddings than when I went to worship my Lord and Savior. Suddenly, my perspective changed.
The following is a guide I use for dressing for worship. I base it upon Christian values regarding modesty and the proper manner for women to conduct public worship as written in 1 Timothy 2:9:
I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
I understand not everyone will agree with my guide and that many will respond with, “God doesn’t care what I look like, as long as I have a good heart.” While that’s partially true, I still believe that dressing your best is a sign of respect to you, your fellow parishioners and, most importantly, to God.
If you’re interested in a little guidance when dressing for worship, consider the following:
- As a Christian, you should always dress modestly and appropriately when it comes to worship. If you’re wearing a skirt or dress, add nylons. Spaghetti straps and sleeveless dresses should be covered with a cardigan or light jacket. You should avoid showing unnecessary skin–it causes others to be distracted from the purpose of worship.
- Wear your Sunday best. This means that you should dress up as best you can for the occasion. You don’t need to wear a gown, because that isn’t appropriate and will cause attention. One person’s “best” is different from another’s, according to their personal circumstances.
- Avoid distraction and attention when dressing for worship. Again, you’re in church for worship, so don’t dress in a manner that attracts attention or distracts others from focusing on their moment with God. Dress modestly. Parishioners should not be distracted from worshiping because they’re looking at what you’re wearing…or not wearing. High heels, shoes or jewelry that make excessively loud noises as you walk should also be avoided.
Here are a few of appropriate looks for church.
Images credit: jenclothing.com
Do you wear your “Sunday best” for worship?