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Why Churches Have Dress Codes: Embracing Modesty

Middle-aged woman in a modest Christian dress

Should we dress-up for Sunday morning church service?

While contemplating whether churches should have dress codes, I uncovered the real reason why I love to wear dresses to church.

I also came to the conclusion that clothing plays a significant role in how we worship the Lord. Many churches in our area have low standards when it comes to what you wear to church. Not only do I hear about this in my social circle, but I see it too.

There is a church down the road from us, whose message is, “Come as you are,” and the people literally, come as they are and wear what they want.

I overheard one young person say, "There is no pressure to dress up in fancy, old-fashioned clothes at our church...”

Without judging them, and what they promote, I personally feel that apparel is important, especially when attending a Sunday morning church service.

What you put on your body by way of clothes, says a lot about what you are getting ready to do. Don't you agree?

We Have Different Types of Clothing for Different Events

When I prepare to workout at the gym, I put on gym clothes. When I work in the yard, I wear work clothes. When I get ready to go swimming, I put on a bathing suit.

When I get ready for church, I pick out my best outfit, usually a dress or a skirt --especially if it is Sunday.

I know, I know, lots of women prefer dress pants vs skirts. I'm not one of them ;-) I will discuss this in a bit. Keep reading!!

My husband, who happens to be my pastor, loves it when I wear skirts to our mid-week services on Wednesday nights too, but, I have to say, I've been caught wearing jeans on occasion if work ran late, etc.

But, jeans just don't put me in the frame of mind of - worshipping. You know? This is another reason why I don't wear jeans to church on Sundays.

In my opinion, jeans are everyday clothing. I wear them to go grocery shopping, to work, or when I run errands.

Local gym has a dress code of no jeans

The gym I regularly attend has a dress code: no jeans and nothing too revealing.

LOL, we laugh at this, because they will call guys out for wearing tank tops, but females can practically wear nothing.

But still, the gym members honor the dress code.

And guess what? There isn’t anyone in the gym wearing jeans. Go figure.

Which brings me to the question, "Do churches need dress codes?"

You can’t wear jeans to the local gym because you might make people feel “uncomfortable” when they are trying to work out.

OK, I can go with that.

But, when people say, “You shouldn't wear dresses or suits to church because you might make people feel uncomfortable to worship there,” I'm not sure I agree with that.

Have you heard this kind of discussion before? I have.

Aren't we, as "church-going people" called to be different to make a difference?

Isn't Sunday set apart from every other day of the week for a reason?

Are you embarrassed to dress-up for church?

One of my coworkers was aghast to find out we dress up for church.

“What??!! Are you kidding me? He snickered and laughed. You guys actually ‘dress-up’ for a church service? Phew, gimmie a break.”

I found myself blushing with embarrassment from his mockery.

But, why should I be embarrassed if I want to “dress-up” for the Lord’s day? And why should I be embarrassed to wear my best and look my best to serve the Lord?

This resolved something in my own spirit.

I Will Not Be Ashamed to Dress-up for Church

It’s actually an honor to dress up in my prettiest dress now, and I don’t mind displaying my lovely outfit when we go out to eat after church either.

Let people look. Let them think about WHY we are dressed up on the Lord’s day.

Modest dress for Sunday morning church service

I’m not going to be afraid of people’s looks, faces or sneers anymore.

Just ten years ago, this wasn’t even up for discussion. It was a given – wear your Sunday best to a Sunday church service. Done.

Bar and Pub Hopping with Friends

Another one of my coworkers, who is the same age as my son, was telling me about his recent visit to Buffalo, NY with his friends to celebrate his birthday.

He said, “I wanted to go out to a bar and have a few drinks and grab a bite to eat, but we ended up going ‘bar-hopping’ instead because no one would let us in.”

(This coworker usually doesn’t tell me about his bar escapades, and I never ask about his party life, but since it was his birthday outing with a plot twist, he wanted to share the following story with me.)

So, I listened as he told me how they went to the first bar and were turned away from entering because one of the guys had on jogging pants, and their dress code won’t allow anyone wearing jogging pants to enter.

The next bar they arrived at, wouldn’t let them in because my coworker was wearing work boots and their dress code policy states, “no work boots allowed.” So the birthday party left and tried to get into yet another bar.

They proceeded to enter 3 more bars and were turned away because of what they were wearing.

One bar’s policy was, “no white shirts allowed,” go figure.

Another bar wouldn’t let you enter if your jeans had holes in them or were ripped up.

And yet another bar wouldn’t let you enter if you were wearing a T-shirt. A T-shirt!!!!!!

No white T-shirts dress code at bars

Can you believe this???!! Even bars have a higher standard of dress than some churches in our area! LOL

My coworker’s friends went on to find a bar that would let them come in as they were dressed, but he said, “This place was grungy, packed, and the people were lewd.” He said, he would never go back.

Needless to say, his birthday was a bust.

Where is the high standard of holiness in our churches?

I will say this again, IT IS AN HONOR to dress up in my very best and look my very best when I go to church on a Sunday morning --and on Wednesdays, for that matter.

This is my way of honoring the Lord in his sanctuary.

I want to be clean, shined up and lookin’ pretty when I worship the Lord.

During football season, my husband and I noticed that the news commentators for the football games dress up in fancy suits and ties with no one mocking them for wanting to look nice. Hmmm, interesting, isn't it?

But --a pastor?!! Wearing a suit and tie! How ridiculous!

Or a female --wearing a dress?! How absurd!

The lack of regard for the Lord’s house, his ways, and his sanctuary are becoming more and more evident in this generation.

Our nation has fallen so far away from grace and anything decent.

As we pass different churches on the way to our own church on Sunday mornings, we watch people enter their church buildings wearing gym shorts, jogging pants, ripped up jeans, and skimpy skirts and sometimes the pastor is wearing a T-shirt and a hoodie to deliver the Sunday message.

There is nothing wrong with wearing any of those clothes I mentioned, (I question the skimpy skirt though) except, I want something different.

Are you with me??

I want a higher standard when it comes to worshipping the Lord. What does that mean? Well, it means, I wear "fancy, old-fashioned clothes" to church, I guess!

When I wake up on a Sunday morning, I know it is the Lord’s day, and it is to be set apart from all the other days of the week.

Therefore, instead of sleeping in and lounging around, I get up, clean up, and dress up to go to church where everyone else has the same convictions.

Where the pastor is unashamed to wear a suit and tie and deliver a beautiful, thought-provoking, spirit-filled message, and the ladies look like ladies, whether they are wearing dresses or dress pants.

Figuratively, I have washed myself and put on my holy garments to receive the word of the Lord.

The Surprise Bride and Her Beautiful Gold Dress

There are many ways I could've taken to reach our home, but for some reason I turned down this one road, and it happened to be in a very rough area of our neighborhood...

And while I was driving, some movement caught my eye…

I turned to my left and saw a beautiful wedding party getting out of a vehicle and stepping onto the sidewalk.

A very handsome groom reached for the hand of his radiant bride.

Literally, this bride, was the most beautiful, sweet, precious bride I have ever seen.

Her shimmery gold wedding dress was simple and lovely and glowed against her African-American skin tone.

The pretty pink and ivory rose tiara crowned her like a princess.

But, what stood out to me more than her beauty, was her demeanor.

She carried herself like a princess.

Why? Because she was dressed like a princess.

I couldn’t help but wonder as I drove away… would she have acted so “proper” and “poised” like a princess if she had been wearing jogging pants on her wedding day? Or a T-shirt and hoodie? Or dress pants??

Probably not.

I wasn't being cynical in my thinking here, I was just pondering the thought.

There was something about putting on that wedding dress that made her feel like she should act “proper.”

And I think that sums it up exactly.

When I Put on a Dress or a Skirt, I Act Like a Lady

I confess. I like acting like a lady. When I put a dress on, I feel proper and poised --This is the way I want to feel when I enter the Lord’s house.

That is why I choose to wear a skirt or a dress to church instead of dress pants.

There is a verse in Psalm 144 and it reads, “That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as pillars, sculptured in palace style."

“Sculptured in palace style,” doesn’t that sound lovely? It is the New International Version's interpretation of that verse, and another term for princess, is "daughter of the king."

When I searched Google for the term, “daughter of the king,” I came across this definition from that I felt to share:

What does this term mean? It means you are a daughter of the King of Kings, a holy princess with strengths and abilities to be used in His kingdom. It means that you are a cherished member of God’s royal family, given access to the fullness of His love and provision.

  • If you are a holy princess in God’s kingdom, let us “purify our motives from every uncleanness that may contaminate our body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God" and make every effort to be holy. (2 Corinthians 7:1, NIV)

  • If you are a holy princess in God's kingdom, let us "be holy in all we do "for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16)

A holy princess carries herself with dignity and grace, and represents her Father, the King of Kings, who has called her to be holy in all manner of conversation - and dress.

The Lord has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time. (2 Timothy 1:9)

The church and it's high standards is a sign to the world systems of God’s glory that is flown high like a flag for all to see.

A flag flying high in God's kingdom!

Shouldn’t the subjects of God’s kingdom be resonating God's glory?

So, I conclude, I will not be ashamed to act like a princess and be holy on the Lord's day!

"REMEMBER the Sabbath, to keep it holy."

Therefore, I choose a "Holy Dress Code."

© My Sun & Shade Ministries


Read through our anointed Daily Prayers for inspiration and encouragement when praying for healing, guidance, and the salvation of our adult children.


Let's Pray Together

Heavenly Father,

You created us to live and function as women, and we want to honor that concept with every ounce of our being. Most importantly, we want to honor You when we walk into Your house of prayer to worship and serve You on Your holy day.

Give us the fortitude to walk in holiness no matter how strong the opposition, and help us be grounded in truth as we pursue the honored position of becoming a daughter of the King.

Speak to us as we shop, and guide us to the right places, so we can purchase modest clothing fit for Your kingdom.

Bless us now as we seek to uphold these high standards of dress and conduct.

In Your Precious Name, Amen.


Blessings ~


The Founder

My Sun & Shade Ministries


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Angie is a pastor's wife who started a blog for women

Angie is a pastor's wife, grammie, office administrator, pianist, artist, and blogger. She is currently editing her 1st book to be released sometime this year. Follow her spiritual journey to attain God's highest purpose for her life, as she follows God's Biblical guide for Christian women.

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