Is Dressing Appropriately for Mass Really that Important?

As we approach the summer months, the temptation to dress casually for Sunday Mass increases exponentially. Why this is the case probably has to do with the culture in which we live as well as the rise in more casual services across the religious spectrum. Although this would make a good article and a philosophical discussion, this article focuses on the importance of dressing appropriately for Mass and why it is important to do so.

Before starting, let’s get one thing out of the way…

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5 replies »

  1. Tom, Great article.  We should suggest to the under dressers to read Exodus 19. I really wish we would hear more of this from the pulpit. Thanks.Fran

    • You might hear it from the pulpit, but only if the readings allow it to be so. Our priests should be preaching on the readings of the day.

  2. I read this on epic pew but couldn’t comment because I don’t want to sign up for disqus or whatever. So here goes:

    Amen, Tom! Amen! I couldn’t not agree MORE with this post about dressing appropriately for Mass! First and foremost, dressing appropriately for Mass pays homage to the Eucharistic feast at hand. You are about to receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
    Are you dressed accordingly? And you’re right, dressing appropriately sends a message to other parishioners that you take Mass seriously.

    First let me say, I live in Jacksonville, Florida so it’s both the American south AND Florida. The fair weather and southern penchant for pageantry, fanfare and decorum lead to some pretty awesome fashion choices come Sunday! On Easter men were wearing…(wait for it) full blown sear suckers! Women wear dresses and heels, or sometimes long flowy beachy dresses that are still formal enough for Mass.

    I do not see dressing appropriately for Mass as some sort of difficult obligation. Just the opposite. As a woman it is so, so, so fun! Dresses, dresses, dresses and more dresses! I personally shop at Southern chains with gorgeous, classic streamlined dresses, a few beachy shops with pretty long maxi dresses, and also many Mormon sites (pro-tip!) that specialize in modest dresses for women. I love showing up in a floor length floral number that commands respect because it is modest and shows that I understand and revere the Eucharistic feast about to occur! My problem now is that I have more dresses than Sundays to wear them!

    I had a “dress well for Mass” conversion story similar to yours. It was Eastern Vigil Mass and I was visiting a friend in Greeneville South Carolina. I showed up in nice slacks, a decent top, and flats. As southern decorum would dicate, I was the ONLY woman in the packed full church not dressed to the nines with a dress with a full skirt and heels. I felt SO awful and SO unfeminine. From that point forward I started a dress collection and never wore pants to Mass again. As I’ve continued shopping my style has evolved from cute and fun but simple dresses, to items with more fanfare: full midi skirts with floral patterns, gorgeous baby blue southern classics that look like something Jackie O could wear on the white house lawn, and floor length dresses that look fit for a modest queen. Yes I love dressing up, but ultimately I DO remember why I’m doing it and WHO I’m doing it for.

    Anyway, just wanted to weigh in. We are about to receive the body and blood of Christ at Mass. Are we dressing accordingly?

      • This is a topic about which I am very passionate! My last comment was supposed to read “I couldn’t agree more.” Oh and hats! Some of the older women even wear hats down here in the south, even though that’s not traditionally been a Catholic thing!

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