Dress up in church or come as you are?

Remember when everyone dressed like this for church?

Summer’s almost here, and the church-going among us know what that means.

The call for VBS teachers, and the season of sundresses. Rallying volunteers to teach Bible School is a challenge, sure, but at least it’s a pretty straightforward operation.

But how about when ladies comes to church wearing garments that, well, display a little too much of God’s creation? Or the fellows who seem ready to hit the beach or the park right after the final altar call? Do some folks take the hymn “Just As I Am” a little too literally when getting ready for worship on Sunday mornings?

For the beach, yes. But for church?

Some congregations actually tout their casual, “come as you are” dress code. (Really, can you quote a single passage in Scripture where Jesus says, “Hey, don’t let that guy in here. He’s dressed like a bum! Tell him to get some better threads and THEN we’ll talk salvation!”)

The Web site for the contemporary Buckhead Church welcomes new worshipers with a fast-paced upbeat video, set to Christian rock music, that gives you an idea what the service is like. I didn’t spot a single tie. The Web site for the Cathedral of St. Philip, on the other hand, suggests a more formal atmosphere.

Does it matter what you wear to church? Have you ever felt under-dressed or over-dressed at a worship service? Should churches post some sort of guidance on their Web sites regarding attire? 

Even sexy Carrie Bradshaw goes prim on a Sunday morning.

41 comments Add your comment


May 10th, 2010
3:56 pm

The Bible says that we are to give our best to God, so why do we only give our best on Sunday church services? If it’s important to wear our best clothes for Him on Sundays, shouldn’t we *always* wear our best clothes, whether relaxing at home, or hanging out with friends?

We might dress nicely for a meeting with the Queen, but *she* notices outward appearances. God notices our hearts – He doesn’t care what we wear.

Where in the Bible does it say that we should dress specially for corporate worship? If we say that we should dress nicely for worship (again, where in the Bible does it say that we should?), should we also not dress nicely anytime we worship God – singing a Christian song with the radio at home, reading our Bibles…actually anything we do in life should be done as an act of worship to our Lord, therefore we should also wear special clothes, shouldn’t we?

I consider my surroundings when I dress for church: if I happen to be going to a formal church (very formal sanctuary, in a formal dressy culture), then I dress accordingly. Dress slacks or dress, etc. But normally we attend a little country church not far from our house. I don’t consider Sunday services to be “holier” than services/meetings that take place there any other day, so I wear my normal “weekend” clothes for Sunday services. Blue jeans and t-shirts, whatever. I’m careful to not track in mud, as I would be if I were visiting a neighbor friend. And of course I am careful to not wear indecent clothes, same as I would be if I went grocery shopping (for instance).