For church: yay or nay?Photo Credit: Fashion By Lenny
Well hello there bombshells! The other day I was scrolling through my timeline on Facebook and I came across this picture and the question was posed is this appropriate attire for church? I thought the outfit was super cute, however, it was not something I would personally wear to church simply because there was about an inch of her midriff exposed. You can imagine what some of the comments were under this picture on Facebook. Doesn't social media just really bring out the ugly and the judgy in people? Lord there were scriptures thrown out there, she was everything but a child of God, a slut, a Jezebel... you get my drift. Of course the opposing views were that people were too conservative or self righteous etc. Well this prompted me to blog on the topic.
This navy and white pinstriped wrap dress worn with pearls and a nice pop of mustard worked for me for Sunday morning service. I earned some side eyes but I also received lots of warm compliments. Additionally, the church didn't spontaneously combust, so that's always good.
I will preface this post by saying I was not raised in the church and I do not even attend church regularly as I do not have a church home. I love God I love church and I consider myself a spiritual person. However, as a wardrobe stylist and image consultant this write up is coming from that perspective. I did reach out to my least heatheny (just kidding, lighten up) friends for their perspective as well.
This look can easily be executed by the elders in the church. Get it Church Mother! Photo Credit: Expressurway.com
As I mentioned I did not grow up in the church although I have always found a church that kind of resonated with me wherever I was (having lived in 5 different states). I have attended church on the West Coast in the Midwest on the East Coast and in the south. I personally have always had my own unofficial church dress code if you will. I do not wear denim to church, I won't wear an overly fitted skirt or dress to church, I don't do cleavage or bare midriff at church or short skirts or dresses. I will be honest I didn't used to wear pants to church either but having been subjected to Colorado and Ohio winter I have made exceptions. Overall, yes, I am a person who loves fashion, however, in general I always try to be a lady. I am all about common courtesy and proper etiquette. I don't want any wandering eyes, be it from the church mothers or anybody else. UNLESS they are blown away by my singing skills, which is not likely to happen since I can't hold a tune in a cup.
I would wear this outfit to church in a heartbeat #boop
Let The Church Say...
The general consensus was that your wardrobe should mimic that of the church culture. There are some progressive more modern churches where key members and leaders in the church adopt a more casual countenance. In which case it is perfectly acceptable to dress accordingly, jeans with an appropriate top, maybe even a blazer. Now, if you are attending a Black Pentecostal church, well, you will most likely be wearing your Sunday’s best. “So many of the church folk are dressed up on the outside and dying inside. So they look good outwardly, but inwardly look a mess.” Tenia, Praise and Worship leader laments.This fact holds true for society in general. Of course there are churches that are still a little old-school and the female members wear pantyhose, they do not bare their shoulders and God forbid the midriff. In this church don't be surprised if the church elders are looking at you upside your head and clutching their invisible pearls if you come in with your newfangled wardrobe choices (laughing, but very serious). It is definitely a slippery slope. Particularly when dealing with some elders. Their approach can be a smidge legalistic and are not always necessarily biblically based in nature.
Here is a casual but appropriately cute look for a more modern or progressive church. Photo Credit: Fashion Gum.com
Photo Credit: MartynBallestero.com
Kelly, a Team Leader of her church (former Director of Guest Central) states “...if someone wants to go to church and all they have right now are pj’s to wear...WEAR IT. People shouldn’t judge too harshly because you never know why someone dresses the way they do”. Similarly, Traci, her church’s Director of Community Services advises “As believers we just have to be careful that we don’t push people away because of our preferences, but instead guide them in love.” It is easy to get stuck in “traditional norms”, particularly in church but it is important to understand and embrace changes. It is not re-writing the bible, just tweaking the dress code a tad. Sharita, a pastor’s daughter and Choir Leader, says “Growing up we had so many restrictions: long skirts/dresses, stockings, covered toes...but we have definitely evolved!” This unofficial dress code evolution is no more evident as with Worship Team Member, Danielle’s church, where “...if you come in with shorts and spaghetti straps and flip flops no one will look at you like you’re crazy!” With all that being said, regardless of how casual your church’s culture is be mindful that “...if you wouldn’t wear it to court in front of a judge don’t wear it to church to be in the presence of the ultimate Judge” (says Traci). Dress as you would for an interview (Kellie recommends) and “Sometimes it’s not all about the liberty of doing and wearing what you want, but I represent my church and most importantly my God.” explains Zontaye, devout Christian.
There was a crazy controversy regarding gospel singer Erica Campbell’s body hugging white dress. “THIS IS NOT OKAY. Yes, you are a beautiful, curvy woman…but NO MA’AM YOU ARE SINGING THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. Saints…smh COME ON,” wrote one minister, who goes by Apostle Stacey Woods on Facebook. Gospel site A Toast 2 Wealth chimed in, “The sexy attire takes any man or woman’s mind off God and onto other things that aren’t godly.” Photo Credit: Atlanta Black Star
Hopefully, these tips from the saints help you with your Sunday best attire. You do not necessarily have to take a legalistic approach. It is always my desire to present myself in the best light as possible. It is never my intention to offend anyone, least of all in the house of the Lord. If you are questioning if your outfit is appropriate, it’s best to err on the side of caution and choose something that may mesh better with your church’s culture. On the flipside, is there really ever a need to cluck about what someone is wearing to church? If anything, just continue to lead by example. Better yet, be glad that they are in the church taking the opportunity of their own free will to be exposed to the word and examples of Godly fellowship. On that note: are you more progressive or traditional in your worshipping wardrobe? Stylishly yours, Khalilah.
This is an ideal Sunday-Go-To-Church look for me! Photo Credit: @charitybaaitse1