Late to Church

arvizu_mugshot 2015 WEB
By Michael J. ARVIZU

Recently, a colleague shared a story about the style of dress people choose when attending Sunday services. The story made me think about the evolution of the style of Sunday dress over the decades and even across generations. Looking around my own church on a Sunday morning, the type of attire varies from the extremely casual to the impeccably dressed.

But how much is too much, and how little is too little when it comes to worship attire? And what does it mean when you dress in your “Sunday best”?

Growing up, I remember my parents wearing their “Sunday best,” which consisted of a pair of slacks and a nice shirt for my dad and a dress for my mom. No ties, no jackets. I wore a pair of ironed slacks, usually with a polo shirt.

My grandmother, during her visits to the United States, would also wear a dress. No veil for her, like some women of her generation might wear.

We dressed for comfort, but we also dressed in respect for the solemnity of the day, and saved the shorts, sandals and blue jeans for another day.

Most people I meet at church also dress for comfort, especially families with small children.

Others, including sacristans and worship leaders, dress more formally: pressed suits for the men, and dress pants or dresses for the ladies.

But there are people whose sense of dress does not match the solemnity of the day. I sometimes wonder if they plan to skip to the beach down the street as soon as Mass is over (my church is in northeast Los Angeles).

Some worshippers think that sandals, shorts, spaghetti tops and torn jeans are appropriate.

They are not.

While this type of dress may be appropriate for the casual outing, it does not belong at any worship service. When I see people dressed inappropriately to service, I ask myself if they wear the same clothing to their jobs.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? What do you wear to worship services?

How does your culture dictate what you do or do not wear?

Email me; I look forward to reading your responses.

Reach Michael J. Arvizu at You can also follow him on Twitter @thedjmichaelj.