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