ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Sunday Service Church Clothing - What Happened to 'Sunday Best?'

Updated on March 25, 2015

Remember the times when Sunday service church clothing is more than just a "dress up day?" Women wear dresses and suit dresses, men (and boys) wore jackets and ties or dress shirts, and girls wear dresses often with puffy sleeves. This ensemble of clothing looks pretty as well as conservative enough for the Lord.

But times have changed, and so have church frocks.

Instead of the puffy-sleeved, fairytale princess-like dresses, some little girls wear T-shirts with denim skirts (which is actually pretty close to the old days and has a modern twist). Teenage girls come to church in their fitted shirts, skinny jeans, and flip-flops, not caring if the edifice is historical or not. Some of them come to church wearing shorts, and that baffles some long-time churchgoers, who disapprove of them in the building.

There's a question that burns within those who yearn for more traditional clothing in their missions, parishes, and other types of churches: where is the Sunday best?

What "Sunday Best" Used to Mean

Starting back in the Victorian times, people who believed in God set aside clothes that are fashionable enough to wear for a Sunday service. Women wore dresses, hats, and gloves, while men wore suits. Children virtually wore the same thing - with boys in darling pantsuits and girls in those flouncy dresses with puffy sleeves and zipper backs.


Three kids in their traditional church frocks, circa 1960's
Three kids in their traditional church frocks, circa 1960's | Source

Dressing Down for Church

But as people walk in the naves and sanctuaries of the current churches, some traditionalists see less little girls wearing cute dresses and more teens wearing jeans - and most of them blame it largely on peer pressure and the media. Most of them point out the growing number of youth attending church, particularly teens and college students, and most of them simply do not like the practice of dressing in "stuffy" attire.

Convenience - not taking the time to prepare in clothing for a Sunday Mass - plays a role in the dressing down of churches. People are just too busy to wear fancier clothing to the sanctuary. Some churchgoers who embrace tradition worry that if this trend continues, the practice of dressing in "fancy" clothes on Sundays dies out.

Do Churches Have Dress Codes?

In response to cultural trends in fashion, most churches ranging from the significantly historic to the megachurch-modern allow their worshipers to come dressed as they are as long as it's modest and clean to them. Some others are a bit stricter, warning people not to wear shorts to their sanctuaries.

Some others tell people to strictly wear the clothes people traditionally wear in the old days. For example, some Catholic parishes that offer Tridentine Masses (Masses said almost completely in Latin) remind women to wear dresses instead of pants and wear a veil on their heads called a mantilla. Either way, they expect people to dress modestly for congregational worship, regardless of denomination.

...and Now

Sunday best of now: most children come to church in jeans.
Sunday best of now: most children come to church in jeans. | Source

Is it OK to wear jeans in place of the more traditional dress in church? Are shorts even OK to worship God? It depends on what the church expects you to dress - some allow you to wear whatever you want as long as it is modest and as long as the graphics or wording is appropriate or fostering Christian values. (Besides, it's sinful to judge one another on how bright and happy your shirts are, even if it's modest!)

Others, however, want you to wear what they would like you to wear - dresses instead of pantsuits for women and suits for men. Parents play a role in what to wear for the sanctuary, whether it has a praise band or a pipe organ. They either allow children to dress in whatever clothes they love to wear or they lay out their church clothing, usually the frilly, stuffy ones.

As long as their clothing is suited for praising the Lord in church, anything goes in some churches.

When in doubt, dress in non-denim clothing (dress shirt and slacks for men, dresses for women) to make sure.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)