Friday, March 19, 2010

"Church Dress" Isn't That Simple

I believe how we dress for the meetings we attend is about respect - and an understanding of the nature of the particular meeting/gathering in question. It's also about recognizing that there is no "one standard" when it comes to attire, specifically because clothing is an expression of culture. I believe we should uphold a worshipful standard for our worship services and a "minimally acceptable respect" level for all of our associations (meaning inappropriately immodest, revealing, suggestive, etc. clothing is prohibited in all instances).

In my own case, I used to wear a full suit with white shirt whenever I was attending the normal block of Sunday church meetings and other instances where I was representing my Priesthood leaders, specifically because I had been asked to do so by my direct Priesthood leader as a result of my calling at the time. I often wore dress pants and a polo shirt to the non-public leadership meetings I attended when they were in the evening and I went there straight from work - because these meetings are administrative, not for worship. (I "dress up" when I can, but I don't drive miles out of my way to do so.) I often wear jeans and a t-shirt to fellowship dinners and ward or stake functions and to teach with the missionaries - because these are gatherings of friends that are not "church-related", per se. If I was involved in missionary correlation meetings Thursday night in our ward, I would show up in jeans or slacks - whatever I was wearing at the time.

Too many times, people equate any meeting arising out of our callings or relationships at church as "church meetings" that require "church dress". Imo, "church dress" is a misnomer, since there are widely varying reasons and purposes for meetings and, therefore, widely varying models of appropriate "church dress". I reserve "Sunday dress" for direct worship and those meetings where I have been asked to dress in the same manner. Everything else is a step below that; therefore, so is the way I often dress.