Who Are We Dressing Up For, Anyway?

Photo by dullhunk, via Flickr

There’s a topic that people of faith spend a lot of time fretting over: what we wear to church. I did a search this morning and came up with a very revealing list of online articles. Clearly, a lot of Christians are incredibly concerned about what everyone else wears to church on Sundays.

But a post I read late last week raised a good question, namely: who are we really dressing up for?

I was taught that you wear your best to church on Sunday because God is the most important person in your life, and that’s how you show respect for Him. Over the years, I’ve gnashed my teeth as much as anyone else about the increasing trend toward casual dress at church. People dress up for funerals and weddings and going to work, but not for Sunday–what’s up with that? If you respect your job enough to dress in a suit, you sure ought to be dressing up that much for God! Hello!

But as time goes by, I’m moderating my thinking. Because let’s face it, it really isn’t any of my business what anyone else wears on Sundays. What we wear is only important because it might be indicative of a person’s internal state of mind. In other words, how much you bother to dress up might indicate how important you think the occasion is. Might.


It’s not God who expects us to dress up. God made us naked, remember? The only reason we wear clothes at all is because after the Fall, we can’t look at the body with the appropriate mindset. The obsession with what is and isn’t proper church attire really has no Godly connection at all–it’s entirely a worldly one. We dress up for church because human beings place importance on clothes. Not because God does. More and more, I’m coming to believe that when I wag my finger about what others wear, it’s a sign that my mind is in the wrong place.

I will continue to dress up for church every week, because this is one way I can show respect for the God I’m coming to worship. I will teach my children to show respect for God by dressing up for church. But I’m no longer going to obsess about what other people wear to church on Sundays. Frankly, it’s just none of my business.