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What to Wear to Church

Woman wearing turquoise dress

Much as I love my sky-high heels and faded jeans, I don’t wear them to church. It just doesn’t feel right. To be more clear, in the “what to wear to church” debate, I’m on the side of dressing up for your time of worship.

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Church-appropriate styles are subtle, tidy and conservative. That’s not to say they’re frumpy or stuffy — but that is to say your club outfit doesn’t work on Sunday mornings and your gym outfit doesn’t either. As the old phrase goes, there’s a time and a place for everything. Specifically, church isn’t the place for minis, tanks, sweats, shorts, halters and cleavage. And sadly, there’s just no such thing as the perfect “church to beach” outfit.

You can, however, be stylish and pretty without maintaining a church-only wardrobe. Here’s how.

Church Outfit Ideas

Summer dress + cardigan

Surely you have a summer dress in the closet that’s at least knee length. Even if that dress has spaghetti straps and a low-cut neckline, you can still wear it to church. Just add a fitted cardigan and button it all the way up. The cardigan becomes the conservative top to your otherwise summery dress. Add a kitten heel and you’re ready to go.

Long-sleeved midi dress

A long-sleeved midi dress is a must-have for fall and for church. Try an empire waist or belted style to create some shape without a body-hugging fit.

Sweater + A-line skirt

Try a light sweater paired with an A-line skirt for a super sweet and slightly retro ensemble. You could even pull your hair back into a neat ponytail and add a little bow for fun. No giving up on style here.

Blouse + trousers

A blouse tucked in to a pair of belted trousers is an easy outfit that could be worn for other occasions as well. Lunch with your boss? Yep, that works. Networking after work? Of course.

On the jeans debate

The answer is yes, you can wear jeans to church. Stay in the realm of straight-cut, mid- or high-rise, dark-wash denim, and then pretty them up with two layers on top and a nice pair of shoes. Try a shell top along with a dainty cardigan, along with simple ankle boots.

And about those shoes

Low-heeled pumps with a covered toe are always a great choice for church. A simple ankle boot are also appropriate if you’re wearing pants. Stay away from super-casual sandals, worn sneakers and flip flops.

The Dos and Don’ts of What to Wear to Church

  • Do choose garments that cover your shoulders.
  • Do wear skirts that are knee-length or longer.
  • Do add layers, such as a blazer, to more revealing tops and dresses.
  • Do tuck in your top and wear a belt if your bottoms have belt loops.
  • Do wear feminine patterns like florals.
  • Do be cautious about pencil skirts. A looser style might work, but a body-hugging skirt will not.
  • Don’t wear animal prints.
  • Don’t wear tight pants or leggings.
  • Don’t overdo the accessories. A pair of stud earrings is all you need.
  • Don’t wear heels taller than 3 inches.
  • Don’t wear anything sheer.