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Old 07-24-2007, 01:37 PM
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Default What to wear to the 21st century (Black) church?

Ok... here goes....

I've been in church all my life and grew up in a denomination that had some strict guidelines about dress (clothing, makeup, etc.) both in and out of the church bldg. (although my parents were not so strict on that but made sure to teach me to dress like a respectable lady, etc.).

So for this discussion, I'm focusing on what to wear when going to church. For example, I was brought up to not wear (women's) pants to church, no sleeveless tops/outfits, and that legs must be covered (panty hose).

So as time has progressed, my church (along with other churches, I'm sure) have "loosened up" these rules/guidelines. And I would wear pants to church but I would feel...how can I say...inappropriate. And I know this is (in part) due to my upbringing. I've gotten better down through the years but I still have that training to wear a dress/skirt for the Sunday morning service. Like for Bible Class or prayer, I'm ok with wearing pants. Definitely don't wear sleeveless tops (but I'm self-conscious about my arms) and I definitely don't go to Sunday church with bare legs, even in hot weather, even though I want to take those panty hose off in hot weather but again, I was brought up to wear them....

So for the summer, our pastor said we can come to church "casual" but I didn't hear the announcement so I came to church dressed.... I saw the different casual outfits and part of me was like "oh, ok" but then part of me was like "did he mean 'that casual?'

One reason I backed away from wearing pants is because of the pastor's wife, who is my mentor and my guide in terms of being a respectable woman of God. She mainly wears dresses/skirts. She has worn pants a couple of times to show the women what is appropriate, because some sisters (WHO KNEW BETTER!) took things too far and came in to the church with very, very tight pants, etc.

Please understand that I bring up this topic to get other perspectives. I think the Lord for the Holy Spirit checking me in terms of being judgemental of others who are no so restricted as I did to myself in terms of going with the training that I received growing up. Like when I would mention my "church training" as the reason for wearing panty hose in hot weather, my one sisterfriend at church would call it "tradition". I partly do not despise the training because it did show myself and the world that I was set apart, if you will. On one hand, I took (healthy) pride in that.... On the other hand, such pride goes unhealthy when it causes me to judge others about their commitment....

I should add that buying clothes is part of this issue for me as well. I'm a full-time student right now and I wear mainly jeans to campus and haven't bought as many skirts/dresses as I used to....

In the big scheme of things, this is not even in the top 50 things, but I was just curious about what others thought about this....
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Old 07-24-2007, 05:48 PM
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Default Re: What to wear to the 21st century (Black) church?

Well I grew up C.O.G.I.C. but I don't remember what I wore to church being that be of a deal. But the definite norm was skirts of a medium to long length and like you said no sleeveless.

I just graduated undergrad and the campus ministry I was apart of was made up of all college students and very relaxed. Some people dressed up for Sunday service but most (75-80%) wore jeans and were casual.

Now that I've graduated it's hard for me to want to break away from how I've gotten used to dressing (in the same clothes I went to class in). Which is funny because when I was little I couldn't wait to grow up and start wearing those big church hats that were the style of many missionaries and church mothers back in the day (and still are somewhat).

But I do think that there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to dress in church, but to me that has more to do more with modesty and less with making sure you're wearing the "church style" (aka the pastel colored, two piece, dress suit that comes a least mid calf). To me, as long as the clothes you're wearing are not going to cause a brother in Christ to stumble or lust, then the rest is about personal style.
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Old 07-25-2007, 09:32 PM
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Default Re: What to wear to the 21st century (Black) church?

My Perspective:

I've been Baptist for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a church that believed in "tradition". Females could not were pants in the church...period! It didn't matter if you were in service, at Bible Study, choir rehearsal, Vacation Bible School...ladies/girls could not wear pants!

When I graduated from college and moved back home, my mom turned me on to another Baptist church. This one has a "come as you are" policy...I LOVE IT! As much as I love skirts & dresses and looking like a prim & proper princess, I love the comfort & flexibility of wearing pants. Even the female ministers wear pants in the pulpit.

And pantyhose? I think I may have bought only 2 pairs all year. I HATE wearing hose in the summer. I keep my legs waxed or shaved to preserve my femininity. Plus, I wear all types of sandals (thanks DSW!) when it's warm/hot, so hose wouldn't work anyway. I don't even buy slips...haven't bought one in over a decade probably. Most women's clothing today have linings which make slip-wearing void. I hate the way slips used to ride up or twist...drove me nuts! That was so distracting that it would interrupt my worship. I also wear sleeveless dresses (think sheath-style), capris, gauchos, etc. I don't, however, wear low-cuts, halters (unless I cover with a jacket) or short skirts (definitely no more than 3 inches above the knee). I've seen females rolling into our sanctuary looking like they just left the club.

My mom, on the other hand, goes to the same church I do, but can't bring herself to wear pants. LOL When she was growing up, it was unheard of...but so were female ministers in the Baptist church. She's retired and has all these pantsuits she used to wear to work; she'll wear them to meetings for her volunteer organizations but refuses to wear them to church. She just went on a pantsuit buying frenzy. Has some really sharp ones. After she showed them to me, she said, "maybe I should wear them to church". I couldn't believe that she was even considering the thought. Now if only I can coax her into it...we will have to celebrate!

Bottom line, IMO, if you are presentable, tasteful and comfortable, and it won't distract you from worship, wear what you want. As soooooo many folks like to quote from the Bible, man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.
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