You Wore What to Church? (Weekend Poll)

By: wheatmeister
December 14, 2013

We are told to wear our Sunday best to church.  What’s inappropriate for someone to wear to a Mormon church service?  Anything goes? Cultural norms only?  What’s your opinion?  Does it differ for visitors, investigators and inactives?

Which of the following are inappropriate to wear at church? (choose all that apply)

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Discuss.

P.S. Sunday, December 15th is the second annual Pants to church day, so consider wearing pants or purple in support of making all feel welcome at church, no matter how they are dressed.

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27 Responses to You Wore What to Church? (Weekend Poll)

  1. KT on December 14, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    In my mind, reverence and respect are in your head and heart, not in what clothing one wears. I think someone could worship naked if it was socially appropriate. If one really believes that God knows you, knows your heart, then isn’t it really all about what’s inside, not outside?

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  2. babaroni on December 14, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    I think that what others wear to worship in is really not my business. I’d vastly prefer that everyone be comfortable in what they wear, rather than dressing to please those around them. If a woman is more comfortable in a skirt (or a man in a skirt, for that matter), she (or he) should wear a skirt. If a woman (or man) is more comfortable in slacks, jeans or shorts, wear them. If someone feels best in a hot dog costume, I’m good with that, too.

    I never wear any shoes in summer except flip-flops. I wear cargo shorts in summer, or jeans, and in winter, jeans or sweat pants (usually jeans to church). But then, most everyone at my church does, too.

    I think it is far more important for people to feel *welcome* at church, regardless of how they are dressed. If someone comes to church dressed a certain way, and feels nothing but disapproval and weird looks from those around them, that isn’t a church I’d like to attend.

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  3. Nate on December 14, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    KT is right. We need to add “naked,” or “girded with a linen ephod,” like David, who shamelessly uncovered himself before the Lord.

    The perfect thing to wear (for a man) to church is a pair of well tailored slacks, with a cashmere cable knit sweater tucked in with a fine belt, and a pair of brouges, (no tie!). That is ideal Mormonism: sober, slightly protestant, educated but not intellectual, attentive, not vain but not sloppy either, not overly conformist, not hipster, not going to a funeral or business meeting, but rather to worship the Lord.

    But if you are a conformist, and you have to wear a suit and tie, then please do something to brighten up the ensemble. Please, do not wear a black suit! Church is not a funeral or formal event. Blue, grey or brown suit. DO NOT wear black shoes, but nice brown oxfords, with a brown belt. Loose the striped power tie, and wear something more inviting, with a pocket square (but not a matching the tie please!)

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  4. babaroni on December 14, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    I’d suggest a Rudolph-the-Red-Nosed-Reindeer holiday-themed tie. Possibly with a battery-operated light-up red nose, and maybe a button to push to play the tune in a tinny, electrical tweet.

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  5. Nate on December 14, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    On second thought, forget pocket square! Too fussy for most Mormons. Maybe for Stake Conference.

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  6. hawkgrrrl on December 14, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    Interestingly, I saw a guy wearing swim trunks to church in Singapore. I have to think he was European and on vacation. I’ve seen quite a few Europeans who wear American style swim trunks as shorts. We had many visitors show up in shorts to church because they did not anticipate going to church when they came to Singapore. The other sign someone was a visitor was if it was a man in a suit. It’s far too hot to wear a suit jacket there, so none of the residents do.

    I have not seen anyone come in a hot dog costume, but never say never.

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  7. wonderdog on December 15, 2013 at 5:57 AM

    I wondered why I hadn’t seen a certain brother in church for a while. My wife informed me that the stake president had told him not to wear his kilt to church.

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  8. Jeff Spector on December 15, 2013 at 6:15 AM

    I think it is one think if folks who are visiting or attending Church as an investigator may not be so-called properly attired. But, for regular ward members to insist on attending Church in clothing, not our Sunday best is kind of game playing to me. I am not talking about women wearing pants, but other clothing not appropriate for many environments. Why anyone would wear clothing to Church they wouldn’t normally wear in a business setting or other more formal occasion is disrespectful to the Savior. But I still think Sunday best is Sunday best for that person.

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  9. Naismith on December 15, 2013 at 8:27 AM

    I cannot imagine wearing my business clothing to work in the nursery where it will be pee’d on, have animal crackers smeared, etc.

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  10. ANON on December 15, 2013 at 8:36 AM

    I’m surprised at all the people who voted flip flops were inappropriate. Living in an area where it is sandal season approximately 8 months of the year we see lots of flip flops at church. No big deal.

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  11. […] was the second annual event in which the Mormon women empower themselves a bit by wearing pants to church. (Or not.) Last year’s event was difficult for some — let’s see how this one will […]

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  12. Jeff Spector on December 15, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    “I cannot imagine wearing my business clothing to work in the nursery where it will be pee’d on, have animal crackers smeared, etc.”

    Why not? That is exactly what happens at the office…… :)

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  13. log on December 15, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    I will be ever so interested if this post ends up getting more comments than this other post.

    It would mean, I think, that the membership is far more concerned about how they are dressed than how they are led.

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  14. Frank Pellett on December 15, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    Log – no, it’s just easier to quantify what people are wearing than it is in defining a Prophet (or prophet, if you insist).

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  15. DB on December 16, 2013 at 8:03 AM

    Inappropriate for who and where? What is acceptable depends on who the person is and the location. I’d have different expections for someone investigating the church who isn’t accustomed to attending church than for someone who is a regular church attendee.

    Clothing styles and customs change and in the U.S. the white shirt expectation changed years ago. However, the expectation to dress well has not changed and while I’ve rejected the adoration of the white shirt, I am appalled on a weekly basis at the some of the casual dress at church. I rarely wear a white shirt to church but I consider short sleeved dress shirts too casual and inappropriate, belts should match shoes, clothes should be ironed, and white socks should never be worn with dress clothes outside the temple! And it’s not just at church. I attended a high school graduation this past spring and I was one of only a handful of men wearing a tie and long pants. People should know how and when to dress well and should do so when it is appropriate.

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  16. fbisti on December 16, 2013 at 9:07 AM

    We live in the Valley of the Sun (Phoenix metro) and starting in early November each year we get a large influx of Snowbirds–at least when our meetings are at 9 AM. One regular always wears a kilt, always. Maybe he is the guy referenced in a comment earlier?

    I consider it to be ostentatious and showy. He is far enough from his Scottish heritage that he does not even have an accent, so I can’t see it as being an homage to his ancestral traditions (which exist only because no one had invented pants). I would never consider telling him not to, but I think much less of him because he does. Or the teenage girls that wear bright, flower-pattern panty hose–same reason.

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  17. Naismith on December 16, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    I am morally opposed to ironing as there is no greater waste of time. I can agree that dressy clothes should not be wrinkled unless they are designed to be crinkly (as in some of my travel clothes), but permanent press is a great modern invention. I found that even when we lived in places where we had to do laundry by hand, hanging up permanent press shirts and blouses allowed them to dry without wrinkles.

    I can’t imagine “thinking less” of anyone because of their clothes. I honestly don’t care what other people wear, and one of my concerns about the wear-pants-to-church day is that it assigns a meaning to the act when none was intended. Women, including the RS presidency, have often worn pants to church around here for decades.

    As well as people of both genders show up in medical scrubs, maid’s uniform, military fatigues, etc.because they are coming to church after a night or before an afternoon of work. I’m glad that they feel comfortable coming to worship with us, for however long they can stay and in whatever they are dressed. I would much rather have them come than think they will only be welcome if they dress a certain way.

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  18. babaroni on December 16, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    NAISMITH!!! I feel the earth screeching to a halt! You and I are for once in complete agreement about something. Great post. Especially the part about being morally opposed to ironing as a complete waste of time. :D

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  19. hawkgrrrl on December 16, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    Hear, hear, Naismith. I gave up ironing years ago and have never looked back.

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  20. hawkgrrrl on December 16, 2013 at 11:10 PM

    Anyone else find that outrage against flip flops to be shockingly high? Here in AZ they are pretty common in the summer. I’m also surprised that kilts are more disliked than pants on women. Interesting.

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  21. Hedgehog on December 17, 2013 at 1:33 AM

    Plenty of flip flop type sandals on show even in a British summer. Noone seems to have a problem with it here.

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  22. Naismith on December 17, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    I cannot take credit for the anti-ironing thing–it is a whole chapter in THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE. It was assigned reading for my high school home economics class, and other classes since.

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  23. Frank Pellett on December 17, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    I’ve pondered occasionally on trying a kilt to church (and even the Temple), though I’m about 5 generations away from Scotland. My current excuse is I’ve not done enough research to find which clan I’m decended from. White kilts (for in the temple) aren’t a problem (thanks internet), and it’s not uncommon to see polynesian men in the temple in a lava-lava, with sandals, so the biggest limitation is me.

    I’ve seen someone say that men can’t wear kilts because they are too far removed from the culture to “merit” it, and someone else ask if even trying isn’t a little selfish, which isn’t the best way to go to the Temple.

    Is there really any option for men who want to try something different?Calling a slightly-not-white shirt a “big risk” seems kinda lame. Should I try for the more often seen lava-lava, even though it’s not likely any of my ancestors even visited (or had even heard of) Polynesia?

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  24. AndrewJDavis on December 17, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    So having lived in Scotland and Bavaria, I would wear (and have worn) lederhosen but not a kilt to church. In Munich, there were plenty of native Germans wearing lederhosen and dirndles to church (and not just our church too). However, in Edinburgh, I’ve yet to see a single kilt at church. Pity, as I was hoping to get one and wear it too at church.

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  25. Ron Schmaling on December 20, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    The request from our Prophets and Leaders has been to wear your best clothes that you have. There have been times in my life I have had only not too good pair of slacks and a white shirt and have felt the Spirit of God very strongly while at church. I have felt the same Spirit on a track field or working as a Police Officer (working) at church in uniform. I am sure we try to live by the same standard everywhere… The best we have to worship our Lord and Savior.

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  26. Douglas on December 21, 2013 at 10:56 PM

    You’d be surprised what you can get from a thrift store (including Deseret Industries), so there’s no excuse to be well-dressed. My form of rebellion is shirt colour…I give in and wear white if I expect to speak, teach, or otherwise officiate. But if I’m just going to be the proverbial bump on a log, then I’ll wear whatever colour I like.

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  27. […] predictably didn’t think a hot dog costume was appropriate to wear to church (67% balked at this), but I was shocked to see that one of the […]

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