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Jun16

Church Outfits – What to wear for casual & traditional services

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Growing up in the Mormon church, I always wore a knee-length dress to church. And guys always wore a suit, or at the very least, a button down shirt and a tie. So when I started to go to a non-Mormon church as an adult, I was SHOCKED by how casual it was. Granted, that church was incredibly casual, even for non-Mormon contemporary services, but still, it was a big adjustment. I even saw someone wear leggings once!

Now, Tommy, Thomas and I go to a church that’s definitely casual, but probably less so than than the first church we went to together. And I’d say that the way I dress for church now a blend. I always dress respectfully and conservatively, but my dresses are not always knee-length anymore and I do wear sleeveless items. And there have been days where I’ve worn jeans to church with a nice blouse. The common them is to dress nicely, appropriately, and conservatively when entering a church, no matter the denomination.

In today’s post I’m answering a few common questions related to how to dress for Sunday along with some recent outfits and finds I’d recommend if you’re shopping!

Church Outfits – What to wear for casual & traditional services

What is an appropriate outfit for church?

This all depends on the church you’re attending. Honestly there’s rarely a true “church dress code” (except perhaps in the LDS church!). Like I mentioned above, in the Mormon church (aka The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), it’s inappropriate to wear anything shorter than knee length and never sleeveless for women and a button up with a tie for guys.

However, the church we go to now is more casual. It’s appropriate to wear jeans and blouse, and I’d say most men wear a collared shirt and long pants. I almost always wear a dress because I enjoy dressing up. So, what to wear to church really varies by congregation and denomination.

I haven’t been to every type of church, but I’ve been to Baptist churches, a Catholic church, a Methodist church and a Presbyterian church and non-denominational churches. I think most churches lean dressier, with the exception of non-denominational ones which lean more casual. Some church websites will list their dress code so you could try to look it up before you attend. Or, check out the church’s instagram account – most post pictures of people attending services so you’ll be able to get an idea that way.

Generally, it’s always appropriate to dress modestly and respectfully in a place of worship. Here are some options that are appropriate for many churches:

For ladies:

  • A dress or skirt that hits around the knee (or mid-knee for Mormon churches)
  • A blouse or sweater that is not low-cut
  • Tailored jeans with no rips or distressing for casual services
  • Heels, sandals, or nice dress shoes

For men:

  • Khakis and a belt
  • A button-down shirt or polo
  • Tailored jeans that aren’t distressed
  • A pair of dress pants or trousers, button-down and tie with a blazer or suit jacket (This is probably less common these days, but would be appropriate at an LDS church, a Catholic church and perhaps a Presbyterian church – just from observation, not from a place of expertise for the latter two!)

How to dress casually for church

It’s important to note that “casual” does not mean the same thing at church vs. the rest of your life. If you’re planning to attend a casual church and aren’t sure what to wear, it’s a safe bet to go with an appropriate sundress and sandals. I don’t wear thin strapped dresses for church since they feel more revealing than I’m comfortable with, but I don’t think it’s necessarily inappropriate given the casual nature of our church. If you know that jeans are appropriate there, then you could also wear nice jeans, sandals, and a dressy blouse.

Even in a casual environment, you’ll want to steer clear of graphic tees, super casual jeans, dresses that are revealing, and athletic wear.

However, why these are all great things to keep in mind if you and/or your church cares about your attire, I wouldn’t let your outfit keep you from attending church. I’ve seen homeless men in our church and I can promise you that absolutely NO ONE cared what they were wearing.

How to dress for church in jeans

If you’re going to wear jeans to church, stick to a nice tailored pair and leave your distressed styles at home. I love my distressed straight leg jeans from Abercrombie, but I don’t wear them to church. Instead, if I wear a pair of tailored jeans and heels (or sandals), or a pair of white skinny jeans. I think the style of jeans (e.g. mom jeans, boyfriend jeans, skinny jeans, etc.) doesn’t matter as much as the distressing — or lack thereof.

I also go for classic, dressy blouses if I’m wearing jeans for church.

What shoes should you wear to church?

Sandals, heels, and loafers are my most worn church shoes. I stay away from sneakers (even fashion sneakers like Vejas), since they feel a little too casual for my taste.

Does God care what you wear to church?

Again, I think this really depends on your church and faith. In the LDS church, your attire and wearing modest clothes is viewed as a sign of respect for God and for yourself. I can’t speak to how other denominations view it, however. I’m certain our current church would say that God doesn’t care what you wear but cares more about your heart. And I’d love to hear how your church views this topic or how you do personally!

Casual Church Outfits

Let’s get into some church attire inspiration. Here are a few cute church outfits I’ve worn recently. There is a mix of styles so hopefully you can find a couple that work for your denomination.

Dresses

Most of the dresses I wear for church now are dresses I’d wear in my daily life. I love maxi dresses, midi dresses, and even mini dresses, as long as they aren’t super short. Here are a few of my recent favorites, all linked below! I also have a few other favorites dresses from Tuckernuck saved to my wishlist and a handful of affordable summer dresses from Amazon that would easily work for church.

Maxi Skirts and nice blouses

You may laugh, but believe it or not, I don’t own a maxi (or midi) skirt! I just don’t love skirts on me, so I never buy them. But if skirts are your thing, I’ve linked a few cute, appropriate skirts below.

Jeans and a nice blouse

If I wear jeans to church (this is a rarity since I prefer to wear a dress), they are always a pair of non-distressed denim. The pair below on the right does have a raw hem, but that’s the extent of the distressing. I don’t own trousers, but a nice pair would also be an appropriate thing to pair with a blouse for church.

Both outfits are linked below.

Does your church have a specific dress code? Let us know below along with recommendations for what to wear!

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