Mormon Male Church Attire

I’ve always been confused about Mormon church attire.  (And this post isn’t about short skirts, low necklines, and bare shoulders.)  Why is it worshipful for men to wear suits that make them look like undertakers or attorneys in third-rate law firms?  Why is it okay for women to wear denim skirts, T-shirts, and sandals (with no socks), but it not okay for Mormon men to wear Levis, T-shirts (solid color with no writing or images), and sandals (with or without socks)?

This Is Okay, but Dress Pants on the Sisters Are Not?

This Is Okay, but Dress Pants on the Sisters Are Not?

And recently, Robert Kirby asked the question that all Mormon men have been asking for years:  “Why can’t Mormons just say no to neckties?”  In a column for the sltrib, he mused:

Stop to think about a necktie for a moment.  There’s nothing useful about them.  They don’t offer protection from the elements.  They’re not antennas for the Holy Ghost.  What purpose do they actually serve?

Correct answer:  convention.

Neckties are a symbol that you’re in harmony with the spirit of things, which is generally understood by us to mean “obedience.”

Here are Tie Guidelines for Mormon Missionaries

Here are Tie Guidelines for Mormon Missionaries

But Brother Kirby failed to mention the biggest problem with neckties.  According to Rebekah Aaron, commenting on Kirby’s column:

Has anyone really thought about just how inappropriate ties really are?  I mean it’s a giant brightly colored ARROW on a white nondescript background that points directly to a man’s crotch.  How much more suggestive can you get?

And Sister Aaron didn’t leave it at that:

I feel visually assaulted every time I attend church.  I think we should ban ties altogether, just to save the virtue of the poor women.  We cannot possibly control our thoughts when we are seeing so much “walking porn.”

It’s time to make a change in the way Mormon males dress for church.  How about colored shirts (top button open), no tie, slacks, and nice shoes or sandals.  (Another option would be to insist that Mormon females wear ties.)  Mormon feminists are making their voices heard concerning attire, what about liberating Mormon males?

Doesn't This Good Brother Remind You of an Undertaker?

Doesn’t This Good Brother Remind You of an Undertaker?

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7 Responses to Mormon Male Church Attire

  1. shematwater says:

    Just a note: it is not the fabric, it is the style. Women can were denim skirts because they are still skirts. When they make denim dress pants I don’t think anyone would complain about a man wearing them. It is also true that in many places the brethren can wear jeans as long as they also have a white shirt and tie.
    Speaking of ties, Sister Aaron’s opinion is a very unusual and one that I doubt it generally shared. Ties are commonly seen as formal, or semi-formal attire that men wear to such occasions out of respect for the host of the event. As it is the Father and Christ hosting every Sabbath meeting we wear them out of respect to God. In other cultures, such as in Africa or South America, ties are not commonly worn (except by missionaries, who have less strict guidelines) because that is not the formal dress of those areas.
    Lastly, I don’t think a good suit makes a make look like an undertaker in anyway. A good suit makes a man look well kept and respectable. Jeans and a t-shirt do not have this effect. The undertakers wear suits so they will appear respectable, because people want to know their dearly departed are being respected. We wear suits (or at least the white shirt and tie) to show we respect God.

    • rogerdhansen says:

      I’m just saying that LDS women have a much easier church dress standard than men. And who’s to say that if you iron your Levis and have a crease, you are not dressy? And what makes a crease respectful.

      As for Sister Aaron’s comment, don’t you think it was tongue-in-cheek? And who says that ties show respect to Deity?

      I attend church in Africa, Uganda to be specific. And there the men wear white shirts, ties, etc. They look seriously out of place in their culture. I wish you were right about a different dress code below the equator.

      Why are lawyers and undertakers the deciders on what is deifying before God? It seems to me that you are emphasizing externals instead over internals.

  2. shematwater says:

    I know that my Brother, while on a mission in Nicaragua, was told it didn’t matter what tie he wore because most of the people there didn’t wear any at all.
    As to Sister Aaron, it may be, but I don’t know as I have never read the original discussion and so can only take what I get.
    As to the idea of Lawyers and undertakers deciding anything, you miss my point. They don’t decide anything, they just choose their attire based on the same principle that the priesthood chooses its.

    Clothes do affect behavior, and it is naive to deny this. We dress like this because doing so makes reverent respectful behavior more natural. The crease it not important, it is the formal attire.

  3. Susan says:

    A crease in denim does not make it formal attire.

  4. Pingback: Sunday in Outer Blogness: Excommunication!!!!!!1! » Main Street Plaza

  5. Gosh, for once we have it easier than the Brethren. I say count it in with all your other many blessings, and thank Heavenly Father for bestowing an easier dress code on us …

    • rogerdhansen says:

      You have an excellent point Miranda. Perhaps being able to dress less formally is a way to compensate for women not having the Priesthood. Maybe if women were to receive the Priesthood they should be required to dress more formally, including wearing ties, ties that are not too thin or too wide? Sandals should be out. But since women won’t be receiving the Priesthood until 2063, we can table the issue for a while.

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