If we could step back in time, say the 1950s, we might not recognize our congregations of today. For example, on a typical Sunday morning, no well-bred Southern woman would think of going to church without a hat, white gloves, a lacy handkerchief tucked into a clutch-bag, high heels and sheer hose with a seam running down the back. For men: a dark suit, long sleeve (starched) white shirt, tie and a fedora.
One pastor friend remembers how the men of his church met and decided it would be appropriate to wear a short sleeve dress shirt with a tie for the evening service. The reason? The church was not air-conditioned.
Not only in church are our clothes becoming less formal, but in other aspects of life. Instead of dressing up to board a plane, we journey in comfortable clothes. In fact, gym clothes seem to be the trend for travel.
Like other factors in our society, church fashions have changed. Often referred to as the “worship wars,” many churches remain divided between traditional and contemporary sounds and styles. Some congregations prefer the casual, relaxed appearance, while others continue the more formal approach. Many believe church should not be a “dress-up” event, but a place where everyone feels welcome, thus making clean and comfortable clothing the excepted norm.
Carolyn Tomlin is a Jackson, Tennessee-based author that has been writing and publishing since 1988. She has authored 19 books and more than 4,000 articles in magazines such as Entrepreneur, Kansas City Star, American Profile, Tennessee Home & Farm, Home Life, Mature Living, ParentLife and many others. You can purchase her full-length works here.