How to Dress for Church

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Places of worship demand modest and comfortable clothing for services.
Places of worship demand modest and comfortable clothing for services. (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

It doesn't matter if you're joining a new congregation or simply visiting church with a friend -- your fashion choices should focus on respect for a place of worship. While clothing pieces should be modest, clean and somewhat dressy, you can still play with colors and styles to create a personalized Sunday wardrobe. Wear layers and polished basics to feel comfortable sitting in a service and meeting with the rest of the church-goers.

Fresh and Feminine

Church is the perfect place for ladies to pull out a feminine day dress -- as long as that dress hits to at least the knee, has a modest neckline and gives plenty of shoulder coverage. Opt for a gentle wrap or A-line dress in a floral print, pastel or jewel tone -- just be sure the fit isn't too tight. Although not a requirement, you may wish to pair your knee-length dress with some leggings or nude hose to cover your legs. Warm weather options include a breezy maxi dress -- top it with a light cardigan to cover the straps. Slip into a pair of ballet flats or sandals with a bit of beading for a comfortable and stylish finish.

Trendy Trousers

If you prefer not to wear a dress to church, pair some freshly pressed, dark gray, brown or black dress pants with a cotton or silk blouse. Remember to avoid trousers that hug your body too tightly or blouses that show a lot of cleavage or bare skin. Add a pair of 2-inch close-toed heels or polished dress boots, and layer on a statement necklace and structured blazer to lend color and warmth to the ensemble. If you attend a more informal church you can slip on a pair of neat, dark-wash jeans with a beaded T-shirt or simple blouse. Just make sure this type of clothing is allowed before you wear it.

Sunday Gentlemen

There’s nowhere better to wear your Sunday best than at church. While full suits aren't usually necessary, gentlemen should choose neatly ironed dress pants with a pair of dress socks and tidy loafers or dress shoes. Team your trousers with a crisp, button-up shirt in a light, refreshing color -- think robin’s egg blue, lavender or classic white. Add a tie in a subtle pattern for special services, especially baptisms, Easter Sunday or any formal ceremony. Opt for a knitted vest or fitted blazer for chillier weather.

Laidback Lads

For less formal gatherings, such as Bible study or modern praise services, a pair of khakis or dark-wash jeans create a casual yet tidy appearance. Ensure that the pants are clean and free of holes or obvious wrinkles. Add a brown or black leather belt for security and style. Don a button-up or polo shirt on top and layer over a warm sweater in a cranberry, dark green or charcoal. Avoid T-shirts, visible undershirts or tennis shoes, which are too casual for church gatherings. Also avoid wearing hats or sunglasses inside the building.

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