I’m one of those kids who went through the Catholic school system. Not only that, but I went to Catholic boarding school. This means I used to attend morning mass on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. On the days where we had to attend Holy Mass, we would be up as early as 5:30AM.
As a non-Catholic, I was always fascinated by the idea of mass. I was used to attending church once a week and that was Sunday morning. As a pre-teen, having to wake up so early to attend church services felt like torture.
It however provided me with insight into the appropriate attire to wear to church. In today’s blog post, I would be sharing some great ideas of outfits you can wear to attend mass.
My boarding school already had a strict uniform we all wore to church – a cream blouse with a red skirt and a red head tie we wore as head coverings. It was interesting to see a sea of young girls and women all dressed the same on one side of the church. If not for us, mass service would be pretty empty and quiet.
When it comes to dressing up for mass at a Catholic church, you have to think of clothing items that would show reverence in church. You also have to take into account the time of year so that you’re keeping warm or cool. Smart casual or business casual are greatly acceptable dress codes when putting together an outfit for Sunday mass.
Some people make it easy for themselves by following a job interview dress code. If you would not wear it to a job interview, you probably should not wear it to church.
Before I share some great ideas of outfits you can wear to mass, I would like to start by sharing examples of items you should not wear to mass. Given my first-hand experience with the Catholic church, I have a good idea on proper attire.
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What not to wear to mass
i) Mini skirts
ii) Flip flops
iii) Muscle shirts
iv) Yoga pants
v) Cycle shorts
vi) Short shorts
vii) Tops with spaghetti straps (unless you’re covering your arms)
viii) Tight clothing
ix) Low cut tops and dresses
x) Distressed or ripped clothing
xi) Crop tops
Those are the top 10 things you should not wear to Sunday mass in order to be respectful. Church is not the place to show too much skin or bring attention to your body. If this is your first time attending Catholic mass, keep reading to find out what you can wear to mass. You know what NOT to wear so let’s talk about what you should be wearing.
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What to wear to mass
1) Blazer and shirt
This is a simple outfit you can put together with a pair dress pants or culottes. A white t-shirt or dress shirt could be worn underneath your blazer or you could opt for a simple blouse. On a hot day, you could wear tank tops, as long as your arms are covered. During the winter months, choose a sweater instead of a top.
When it comes to footwear, a pair of flats or sandals is fine. Throw on a pair of pumps in a neutral color if you’re attending a Christmas mass or Easter Sunday service.
2) Midi dress
Midi dresses can be worn to create the perfect outfit on a day you really want to stand out at the office. During the summer months, a short-sleeved floral dress can be paired with flat sandals or heels to create a chic Sunday outfit. Choose dresses in bright colors when it’s warm outside.
As long as your dress hits at least around your knee, and has some form of a sleeve, it should be fine. You could even slip on a pair of kitten heels for some added elegance. If your dress is sleeveless, you can throw a shawl across your shoulders.
During the winter months, you can also choose a sweater dress and pair that with warm boots.
If you’re looking for an outfit to take you from church to Easter brunch, a pantsuit may be your best bet. As this is the time of year to rock floral prints, why not stand out in a floral pantsuit? Pick one color featured on your suit and wear a tank top, button-down shirt or simple shirt in that color.
Complete your outfit with a pair of dress shoes or comfortable heels. Remember that there’s lots of kneeling and standing during mass so you want to make sure your outfit is a comfortable one.
4) Blouse and midi skirt
Pair a nice blouse with a midi pencil skirt to create a simple look that is proper church attire. A long-sleeved blouse could be worn during the colder months with a blazer or jacket on top. Stick to neutral colors such as white, cream, black or brown to avoid distracting your fellow parishioners.
If you’re going to be wearing a top with prints, keep them simple such as polka dots. Complete your look with a pair of flats during the warmer months and a pair of boots when it’s colder outside.
5) Sweater and maxi skirt
One of the best ways to style your long skirts during the cold seasons is by pairing them with a chic sweater. A chunky sweater can be worn or a more fitted sweater as well. Pair your long skirt with a funky sweater in a dark neutral color to create a simple yet stylish look for the cold weather.
Complete your look with a pair of boots of your choice. Tall boots could be worn for extra warmth. During the warm months, opt for short-sleeved sweater or a collared shirt instead.
6) Shirt dress with leggings
Casual clothes are welcome to be worn to mass as long as they are modest and well put-together. You could pair one of your shirt dresses with a pair of black leggings to an Easter vigil. If your shirt dress is longer, you could get away with no leggings or a pair of tights instead.
Complete your look with a pair of chic ballet flats or flat sandals during the summer months. You could also add a leather jacket or trench coat on top on a chilly day. Feel free to add a belt on top to cinch your waist.
7) Blouse and pants
If you’re not comfortable with skirts, you could pair your blouse of long-sleeved dress shirt with a pair of long pants. You definitely want to wear pants that are at least calf length.
During the summer, a pair of long culottes could be worn in the place of dress pants. Stick to pants in neutral colors such as black and navy blue.
I hope you have gotten some great ideas for what to wear to mass. Whether this is your first time in church or you’re headed to receive your weekly Holy Communion, there is an unwritten dress code when it comes to mass. You don’t want to be that person who shows up in an immodest dress to a traditional Latin mass.
Do check out my post: 10 outfits to wear this Easter if you’re looking for chic outfits to shine this Easter.
I also have a post titled: What to wear to court as a woman if you’re looking for some inspiration in that department.
If you're preparing to attend a First Communion, check out my post: 13+ Chic yet Appropriate Outfits to Wear to a First Communion.
Until the next post,