Don’t stress about what to wear to church. Here are five things you need to know.
This post was updated on March 31, 2023.
I see a wide variety of outfits at my Catholic church in a Southern California beach town.
And I’m conflicted about them.
On one hand, I love that our church has a welcoming environment where people feel comfortable to attend as they are.
On the other hand, I feel that some of the outfits are a little too casual for a place of worship.
I don’t necessarily believe women need to wear their Sunday best or cover their heads at Mass, but I do believe in a level of respect for the religion and the church.
And since you’re reading this article, you probably do, too.
So in this post, we’ll discuss how to dress for church in a way that’s both appropriate and comfortable for you.
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When In Doubt
When in doubt, dress up for church. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. If you don’t know if an outfit is appropriate, it probably isn’t.
And you should know that what’s considered appropriate church clothing will vary widely depending on the church and location. Even parishes within the same denomination have varying levels of formality.
So if you’re visiting a church for the first time and know a parishioner, ask them what’s appropriate for that specific church.
But choosing a church outfit that’s dressy casual is a safe bet for most churches.
5 Things Women Need to Know
With that being said, here are five tips about what to wear for church.
1. Dress Modestly
When deciding what to wear to church, women should choose outfits that are modest, respectful, and tasteful.
If you are participating in the service, you may want to dress up more than you would as a regular parishioner or guest.
What You Should Wear:
- Dresses or skirts that hit mid-thigh or longer
- Tops with a tasteful neckline
- Tops and dresses with sleeves or a sweater/shawl that covers your shoulders*
- Nice pants
- Dressy jeans
- Dressy shoes and sandals
*This is more important for a Catholic church, although it greatly depends on the church and the priest. I’m comfortable wearing sleeveless tops to our church, but nothing that shows more of my shoulders.
What You Shouldn’t Wear:
- Short dresses or skirts
- Ripped or frayed clothing
- Very tight clothing
- Revealing tops
- Sheer clothing
- Spaghetti straps or other necklines/straps that show a lot of skin
- Graphic tees
- Midriff-baring tops
- Athleisure/Workout clothes
- Flip flops
2. Wear Understated Clothing and Accessories
Church is not the place to show off your wealth or success. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look nice; just consider leaving the logos at home.
3. Dress Comfortably
You want to wear clothes that are comfortable so you can focus on the service and prayer. Don’t wear pants that are too tight to sit in, or heels that are too high to stand in.
4. Dress For the Season and the Weather
Part of dressing comfortably is choosing fabrics for the weather.
In the spring and summer, choose lightweight materials like linen and cotton. In the fall and winter, warmer fabrics like wool, cashmere, and ponte knits are great options.
And don’t forget your layers. Bring along a jacket or sweater because churches can be cold, even during the summer. And you may need to remove layers during the winter if the church is too warm.
5. Don’t Be Distracting
Church attire shouldn’t be distracting for the rest of the parishioners. People are there to focus on prayer and worship.
Women’s Church Outfit Ideas
Here are some appropriate clothing options to wear to church.
Final Thoughts on What To Wear to Church
While you should dress respectfully for church, the most important thing is that you show up.
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This post is about what to wear to church.