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How do you think a pastor should dress?

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    How do you think a pastor should dress?

    I'm a pastor and try to dress pretty decent, but recently I've started to wonder how people think pastors/preachers should dress. Obviously I've got my own opinions on this, but I'm curious what others think.

    So, regardless of whether or not you personally believe in God (I'm not trying to start a debate), how do you think a pastor should dress and why?


    Conservatively, but not so deliberately that it would make the pastor stand out in a group.

    In your case, just strive to dress nicely since you're paying attention to style. So, kind of like we all dress here at Dappered.

    Or dress like James Bond. I'd join that church in a flash of holy lightning.



      I expect pastors (at least for traditional services) to be dressed in suits. I expect pastors of contemporary/casual services to be dressed more casually, but still neat.

      What I WOULDN'T want to see on a pastor is anything particularly expensive. I would wonder where my tithes are going if my pastor is wearing a $1000+ watch. But you can dress well while not spending a fortune so I don't see the problem there. And I wouldn't fault a pastor for having a nice suit since it's pretty much his uniform on Sunday mornings.



        I would love to dress like James Bond! I'm looking for a good reason to wear my black Indochino suit that I wore for my wedding, haha.



          Just work it into the sermon... "In Our Father's Secret Service"



            Good idea! @alan, when you say casual, do you mean something like bull denim, sweater, with a button down and a tie underneath? Or something more office appropriate?



              Depends on the congregation. For instance, if you're the pastor of a conservative Southern Baptist church made up mostly of 50+ year olds, a suit is a must. If your congregation is mostly under 30, button-up and jeans (and for some, even t-shirt and jeans) would work.



                At the contemporary services around here, the pastors don't even tuck their shirts in. I don't like that, but I grew up Catholic so I expect a certain amount of formality, and tucked shirts is a baseline.

                By "more casual", I mean pretty much what you suggest. You can make yourself presentable and look good without resorting to a suit.



                  Gotcha. Our church is a pretty conservative church, but we are very laid back. My role as a pastor sort of varies. I'm up front on a Sunday morning fairly infrequently, but I do regularly teach Sunday School classes and mid-week services. So, normally you will find me in some sort of Bonobos pants, a button down, sweater, and wing tips or boots.

                  I don't want to be flashy or draw attention to myself at church; pastors already get enough of that and I don't want to make church about me. Because of that I usually try to stay simple and put together. If it wasn't for Dappered I'd seriously be lost, though. This site has been perfect for me since I found it a while back.

                  There is a part of me that would love to wear a suit more regularly though...



                    FWIW, I work in IT. I'm surrounded by guys that wear untucked polos and often wear sneakers (in violation of the company dress code). Including the managers, I'm the only one who ever wears a suit to work, and I do it a couple times a week. I do it "just because". It threw people off for a while, but they're used to it now. It's engrained in us that we somehow need a reason to wear a suit, but really... Why isn't "because it's Tuesday" enough of a reason?



                      I used to be the pastor of a satellite campus of a large church here in Southern California. This venue broadcasted the sermon from the main campus. So, although I was on stage for a few minutes (intro, prayer, etc...) the majority of the time folks would see our head pastor speak.

                      I mention the above because the main campus is located in a suburban area and my satellite campus was in a beach community. There was a definite difference between what people wore at the main campus vs the satellite.

                      My dress has for the most part always been very prep/traditional (with a few unfortunate "party shirts" here and there), think BR or J Crew. When I arrived at my new campus I realized that wasnt really going to work. People were way more laid back in their attire, again this was a beach community, flip flops and board shorts were frequent. I wanted to connect with the congregation and I think showing up wearing slacks and a button down shirt with a silk knit tie would create a barrier.

                      I never felt disingenuous or that I was putting on a costume to make the church community like me more. I think that was becuase I integrated pieces that I felt stylistically comfortable wearing but were at the same time more more in tune with what my congregation wore. I never wore flip flops to service (although both our head pastor and teaching pastor wear them during the summer at the main campus), I did wear button down Quick Silver or Hurley shirts, sun washed OCBD or the occasional t-shirt and jeans, as well as chuck taylors or vans.

                      Just like employees in secular work environments, pastors need to gain the trust of those they work with and for. The difference is that people need to connect with pastors on a much deeper personal level, as well a spiritual level. If something as simple as switching a few items of clothing around were going to assist me in doing that, I was all for it.

                      At the same time, if you want to sport that suit on a Sunday, ROCK IT!!!!



                        I agree that it depends on your church or audience. We recently began attending a new church. The first day there, I wore a navy suit. I saw people walking in dressed in shorts, a tshirt and flip flops...I took the tie and jacket off before I went in. This church is definitely more contemporary than I am use to. Four electric guitars on stage, a coffee bar in the lobby, and baptismal pool that looks like it should be in a spa at the Four Seasons. The Pastor wears jeans and an untucked shirt most of the time and the congregation is all over the place. I grew up Southern Baptist, so I have slowly adapted. I wore jeans for the first time ever to a Sunday morning service this past Sunday (to be fair, it was only because we were going to the Texas State Fair afterwards)and I wore a polo with slacks the week before. Still kind of strange for me though. However, I will never ever ever wear shorts, a tshirt and flip flops!

                        With all that being said, I would think dark jeans or pants with a jacket (sportcoat, sport coat, sports coat, blazer, or whatever you want to call it. I am confused after today's post) would be good.



                          @cwc0004: What church? I'm in DFW so I may very well know it.



                            I'm an Episcopalian, so my tradition tends towards ties and jackets, but in the last few years that's changed everywhere but in old-money sorts of places. But I still wear a jacket and tie to church every Sunday, because that's what I've done for a while now, even well before I cared about what the tie and jacket looked like. I look a bit out of place, but for me it's a way of showing my respect for what's happening and for getting myself in a respectful frame of mind. (As an aside, I don't care if others dress in other ways at church. For some folks, they are trying to feel comfortable so that they can approach the service with more intimacy, I presume). But I think that, even in very relaxed non-denominational contemporary-service congregations, jeans, an OCBD and a tweed jacket wouldn't look foreboding. Here's my two cents, take it or leave it: It is nice, no matter how the congregation looks, for the pastor to show up with a collared shirt, merely because that's what most other people wear when they go to work. This is your job, and if I were you I'd try to communicate it as such. Pastors get taken advantage of many times because people forget that this is their work, and their workplace. The key would be to make "business casual-ish" your uniform; wear sort of the same thing week after week. Then, after a short while, people stop noticing it. It's just what you wear. But then people will subconsciously understand that you play a special role within the congregation, too. My pastor wears clerical garb all the time, and his demeanor is so approachable that no one feels put off by his appearance. But everyone respects him, too. It's something to think about, at least.



                              like a boss