What to Wear To Church? Outfit Ideas
Table of Contents
Church clothes are usually decent, humble, and quite conservative. For most, it’s the plain Jane of fashion, since the ‘house of God’ aesthetic is not typically considered vogue.
From knee-length dresses to English teacher cardigans, getting dressed for early morning mass can be rather dull. But if you consider yourself a worshipping trendsetter, there are ways to up your sense of style and also abide by church rules.
And no, this doesn’t mean going full 2018 Met Gala. So if you’re not sure what to wear to church stay then tuned.
From Jackie Kennedy-style blazer suits to clean monochrome fits, we’re counting down 15 ideas for what to wear to church. After reading this article, you’ll understand how church appropriate clothes can still be fashionable.
15 Best Church Appropriate Clothes
Modest fashion could never go out of style. It’s still one of the hottest trends fresh off the runway. From Louella to Lara Ali, there are dozens of high-end designers who cater to this specific style.
Unfortunately, dressing modestly gets a bad rep when associated with worship and church—but why should this be? Religion is full of rich history and beautiful traditions, and it would be a disservice to not show this off via what we wear.
Knee-length hems and full-coverage tops may seem like a style-killer, but when styled appropriately they can actually make a fashion statement. It’s all about enhancing your silhouette with great colors and patterns.
In most cases, answering the ‘what to wear to church question’ involves some creativity and imaginative dress-up. But this task shouldn’t be very challenging since, after all, modest fashion has been around since the dawn of time.
If you’re still wondering what to wear to church, no worries. We’ll provide some expert outfit inspiration for your next Sunday service.
What to Wear At Church? Outfits For Women
The Classic Cardigan with Midi Skirt
Cottagecore vibes work intrinsically well with church fashion. Why? Well, these clothes usually have a modest silhouette. This simplistic outfit showcases a cropped, long-sleeved pullover paired with a floral dress.
Light, bright, and perfect for Sunday service, this humble ensemble is refreshingly conservative without looking too strict or rigid.
Strappy sandals are usually not considered church-friendly due to their open-toe design. As a better substitute, we suggest a pair of flats or kitten heels for a safer option.
Turtleneck, Midi Skirt, and a pair of Leather Booties
If the cold season hits, this outfit can be your go-to before the first snowfall. It’s the perfect fall ensemble since this look marries both warm and dark colors together. Respecting church rules (and as a way to shield yourself from the chills), almost every bit of skin is covered.
The turtleneck helps provide some shape to your silhouette, while the skirt does wonders by elongating your legs. Plus, the boots add a bit of height as well.
If it gets extra chilly, we suggest layering up with a wool shawl overtop. Styling it with a bucket bag is recommended for those who like to carry their rosaries and bibles with them.
The Jackie Kennedy Trench Coat
Arguably, one of the main trailblazers when it comes to modest fashion is the iconic Jackie Kennedy. Her looks were always smart, clean, and super poised. It’s only natural for us to draw some much-needed inspiration from the former first lady.
Here, she’s spotted wearing a tailored, beige trench coat, a printed scarf, a black top, statement earrings, and a pair of sunnies. It’s not pictured, but we’re guessing she paired the outfit with some kitten heels. Of course, you can’t wear sunglasses during mass, but it’s a great look to and from church.
The Classic Monochrome Fit
Monochrome looks are recommended for those not keen on loud colors and patterns. This is a relatively easy look to pull off since it only requires a simple palette of beiges, creams, browns, and whites.
You can play it safe with a pair of wide-legged pants, a simple tee, and a long cardigan to help create a cohesive fit. A matching bag and a pair of shoes are a must if you want to go full monochrome.
The Jeans and Blouse Combo
Is it bad to wear jeans to church? Considering that I’ve attended several masses in denim when I was younger, the answer is no. Numerous mass goers opt to wear Levis on Sundays in church.
With that being said, it’s important to choose a cut of jeans that’s conservative and tailored. Pairing high-waisted bottoms with a feminine blouse is always a good look.
Regarding shoes, we suggest a pair of Mary Janes or some clean-looking sneakers to help keep your outfit super casual. A granny knit cardigan will also look excellent as a complimentary piece.
The Traditional Floral Dress
For those wondering what to wear to church during Pentecost, florals give off major Easter Sunday vibes. In that case, this gorgeous dress can be your springtime ensemble when winter ends.
Conservative, tailored, and with a gorgeous silhouette, this patterned garment features a wide collar, monochrome buttons, and 3/4 sleeves. It’s also cut at the perfect length, so it doesn’t show too much skin.
For those not keen on showing any leg, we suggest layering up with tights underneath. In terms of shoes, it’s your choice to pair them with flats or kitten heels.
The Bookish Sweater Vest
Nothing says Sunday school better than a sweater vest. This stylish ensemble features a sleeveless turtleneck paired with a cream-colored top underneath.
Since the silhouette is quite shapeless in the upper half, the tailored black pants help give the outfit some shape, so you don’t lose your figure.
For church appropriate shoes, we suggest a simple pair of low-heeled black booties.
In terms of accessories, wearing loud jewelry is usually considered distasteful at church. Simplistic trinkets, like a plain gold chain and a small pair of hoops, are typically acceptable.
The Springtime Dress
If you’re looking for summer outfits for church, a dress is a great choice. This gorgeous dress, with its simple and decent design, is perfect for when humidity hits. It comes with cuffed sleeves, a button-down enclosure, and a nifty self-tie to help accentuate your waist.
Dyed in classic cream, this stunning number can pair with several outfits. Might we suggest a basket-weave bag and a dainty necklace to match?
Shoes are totally up to you, but we suggest a pair of oxford kitten heels to match. If it’s a summer-time Sunday service you’re attending, the addition of a straw hat could add a stylish, vintage twist to your look.
The Go-to Jean Jacket
For those wondering what to wear at church, the coveted denim coat is usually our go-to. It’s an easy way to cover up your shoulders. Plus, it adds a pop of color to outfits that are typically plain in color and print.
In this ensemble, a pair of wide-legged trousers and a simple white tee invokes a level of sophistication and class. The nude heels are a great touch and will help you achieve Sunday school excellence.
Jean jackets usually come in a variety of cuts and colors. We recommend avoiding acid-wash denim since it’s usually associated with streetwear. In our opinion, a classic mid-wash fabric with a cropped cut is a good choice because it accentuates your waistline.
Borrowing from Haute Couture
If you’re tired of traditional church fashion, why not take inspiration from high-end designers? Modest labels, such as Jil Sander, are typically wearable during church service. This designer is famously known for creating simplistic garments in monochrome colors.
Here, her iconic blazer is matched with a knee-length skirt and kitten heels. I know it has a relatively baggy silhouette, but it manages to air on the side of elegance instead of laziness.
For church attire, we recommend subbing the strappy sandals out with some standard leather booties.
What to Wear At Church? Outfits For Men
The Smart Sweater Vest
Is it appropriate to wear sweatpants to church? In our honest opinion, no. It’s kind of like wearing joggers on a first date—it’s generally disrespectful and gives off the wrong impression.
With that being said, baggy silhouettes can look elegant if styled correctly. Take into consideration this outfit, which features a loose pant paired with a collared shirt and sweater vest.
It’s stylish, comfortable, and super-casual in case you’re not a fan of fancy formalwear.
The Trench Coat and Jeans Combo
Trench coats add another level of sophistication to an outfit. They’re the perfect addition to any casual set of jeans and a plain long-sleeve shirt. If you’re dressing for fall, make sure to wear a matching scarf to help blend your whole look together.
Since sneakers are generally considered streetwear, we suggest subbing them with loafers instead.
Bags are usually not associated with men’s fashion, but why shouldn’t they be? A simplistic tote bag can really do wonders by enhancing the ‘smart but casual’ look of this outfit.
Collared Shirt and Khaki Pants
Dressing smart usually entails layering pieces and a general understanding of color theory. Muted hues match up well with bright shades, and they typically go hand-in-hand, such as with this stylish outfit. The grey sweater paired with the golden undertones of the khakis helps to create a cohesive look.
If you want to look really smart, try layering a collared shirt underneath the sweater.
We’ll borrow a tip from Tan France as well: a French tuck is an absolute must in order to accentuate your figure. Bonus points will be awarded to those who show off a bit of the collared shirt underneath.
Bright Colored Button-down with Black Jeans
For those Googling ‘what to wear to church in summer,’ we direct you to this stunningly simple ensemble. It’s an elevated take on the typical white shirt and jeans combo, as it comes with a pastel blue button-down jacket.
Matched with a pair of black pants and cream-colored shoes, this outfit is considered a ‘softer’ version of Sunday School garb.
For extra style points, we suggest wearing white socks and rolling up the cuff of your pants for added dimension. Donning a watch is completely optional, but it will help give off a classy, sophisticated vibe.
Bright Sweater with Muted Pants
Not a fan of monochrome fits? If so, a pop of color can help you stand out amongst the congregation. This bright yellow cable knit sweater does wonders for you by adding some color to your skin.
Plus, the addition of cream-colored pants works to soften the entire look. For shoes, we suggest a pair of traditional brown Oxfords to keep things classy.
What To Look For When Selecting Outfits For Church?
To tackle the ‘what to wear to church’ fashion debate, we must discuss some general styling rules.
Church or no church, selecting the right outfits entails some general knowledge about quality fabrics. Of course, opting for premium-quality styles involves a hefty expense on your part, since these fabrics don’t come cheap. But, when it comes to fashion, it’s important to ensure wearability and durability.
Since most of the outfits we’ve covered will usually be paired with blazers and trenchcoats, we recommend looking for fleece, wool, gabardine, and knit material. That’s because they’re the most resilient in terms of strength.
If you’re looking for dresses to wear to church, cottons and linens are great fabrics to choose from, especially during the summer and spring months. They’re breathable, lightweight, and relatively durable if cared for properly. Plus, as a bonus, they’re usually inexpensive.
What Not To Wear At Church?
Dressing for church usually involves a decent level of sophistication and class. Basically, you don’t want to attend mass looking like a couch potato. For those heading to Sunday school for the first time, we’ll list off a few no-nos that you should avoid wearing:
- Loungewear: This typically includes baggy joggers, sports bras, and biker shorts to name a few. Hoodies are sometimes accepted in some churches, so it’s best to do a general scan during mass to find out what’s appropriate to wear.
- Crop tops: It’s considered distasteful if you show too much belly during church service. With that being said, you can cover up your midsection by wearing a tank top underneath or tucking it into some high-waisted jeans.
- Low-waisted bottoms: This applies to both pants and skirts. Not only do they show a large amount of skin, but they’re also uncomfortable during kneeling or sitting processions. And nobody wants to see butt-cracks during prayers.
- Distressed jeans: A little wear and tear on your clothes is fine, so long as it’s unnoticeable from afar. But, denim that’s heavily distressed is considered poor taste for church. After all, mass is not a city-scape hangout.
- Shorts: This rule applies to short-shorts. So long as they’re knee-length at minimum, bermudas and capris are usually allowed at church. Booty-cuts and cheeky bottoms are—of course—not accepted. If possible, we suggest opting for a skirt since it’s a more breathable alternative.
- Flip Flops: Considered the Holy Grail of ‘what to wear to church’ no-nos, flip flops will definitely attract unwanted attention and grimaces during mass. Of course, this includes Birkenstocks, slides, and velcro sandals of all kinds.
From these simple six tips, we hope that you can solve the ‘what to wear to church’ dilemma with a bit more ease.
Is it Bad to Wear Jeans to Church?
If you asked this question 40 years ago, then yes, wearing jeans to church would be considered taboo. But today, it’s acceptable by some standards. We still suggest avoiding distressed denim, chains, and super low-waisted bottoms to err on the side of caution.
Is it Appropriate to Wear Sweatpants to Church?
The question ‘what to wear to church’ should never be answered with a pair of drawstring pants. Sweatpants usually give the impression of laziness, which doesn’t go well with the sophisticated vibe of church.
Joggers, sports bras, biker shorts, and sometimes hoodies are typically considered distasteful to wear during service. Again, we suggest observing what your congregation wears as a general head’s up.
Can I Wear a Dress Above the Knee to Church?
Can I wear a dress above the knee to church? It depends. Some clergies nowadays are quite lax when it comes to skirt lengths. But, some religions are pretty strict in mandating a specific dress code.
If you’re going to mass for the first time, we suggest playing it safe by wearing a knee-length (or longer) skirt.
If you don’t own anything below the knee, a pair of pantyhose and tights can help keep your outfit conservative. With that in mind, don’t underestimate the power of thigh-high boots and a set of knee-high socks.
Are Tight Dresses Appropriate For Church?
Are tight dresses appropriate for church? Yes and no. Tailored numbers are typically acceptable so long as they’re modest and conservative.
Skin-tight gowns, such as those worn during clubbing, cocktail hour, or parties, are not acceptable. Basically, that super sexy latex number should probably be reserved for girl’s night only.
Is it bad to wear red to church?
Like not wearing white after Labor Day, no-one follows this old-school societal rule. For those behind on Sunday school teachings, red symbolizes the day of the Pentecost, where Christ died on the cross. So, basically, it’s okay to wear red during mass.
Do you wear red to church on Palm Sunday?
For those Googling ‘what to wear to church on Palm Sunday,’ rest assured that you don’t have to wear red. It’s not a mandated tradition. You may see some followers within the congregation wearing red on April 10, but this is more of a personal choice rather than a rule.
Answering the question, ‘what to wear to church’ shouldn’t feel like answering a math question. It should be way easier than that. Modest fashion, whether you like it or not, can be made stylish if you decide to put in the effort.
We shared multiple outfit ideas, giving you much-needed style inspiration, to help you get out of the shirt-and-jean combo rut. Plus, we also gave you a head’s up about what not to wear to mass.
Believe us, this is the Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide for avoiding unwanted stares. So you might want to thank us for this guide later on.
From tailored trench coats to springtime dresses, we hope that at least one ensemble in our long list caught your eye. After all, trying to decide what to wear to church isn’t always an easy task.
Have any other burning fashion questions? We’ve got you covered: