Can I Wear Shorts To Church? YES! Read More!

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Deciding on what is proper to wear to church can be tricky or confusing sometimes, especially if it’s a church in which you’re relatively new. Churches usually may not have a stipulated dress code officially stated. So it is common to have questions like: Can I wear shorts to church? 

You can wear shorts to some churches that have informal-styled worship. However, formal and traditional churches strongly discourage members from wearing shorts to church.

Generally, the church mode of dressing has become more relaxed over the years, tending towards what keeps you comfortable enough to attend church. Still, there are certain kinds of shorts that you should never wear to church. 

Before we look extensively at the particular types of shorts that you can wear to churches that allow them, we need to fully understand the level of acceptance churches have towards shorts, based on gender. 

As you read this article to the end, you will understand how appropriate it is for men and women respectively to wear shorts to church, what kind of shorts are appropriate for church, and the kind of churches that accept shorts. 

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Can Men Wear Shorts To Church? 

There are churches that allow men to wear shorts as long as there is no unnecessary show of skin above the knees. Many churches, especially the informal kinds, now preach the ‘come as you are’ line. Hence, many of them are more accommodating of comfort dressing. 

This has led to a shift from the shirt and tie era where men had to dress up in a formal outfit. First, business casuals began to make their way in, and then, modest casuals gradually became acceptable. In fact, shorts can be styled and worn in a way that you appear business casual rather than just casual. 

However, not all churches would find shorts of any kind alright for a man to wear while worshipping. An opinion sampling revealed that some people regard the act of a man wearing shorts to church, as childish. This set of people believes that effort should be made to dress respectfully when attending church.

They are of the opinion that since a man wouldn’t wear shorts to an appointment with the nation’s president, then shorts aren’t respectable enough to wear to church either.

Also, traditional churches like the Catholic Church, expect more formal dressings or business casuals. Some of them expressly forbid shorts along with some other outfits they consider improper for worship.

In summary, there are probably more churches that would let you come in shorts than not. But you have to factor in the denomination to be sure if that particular church accepts that. 

Can Women Wear Shorts To Church? 

For women, it’s a bit less acceptable. This could be largely due to the fact that some church denominations only started allowing women to wear pants to the church of recent times, while some even still forbid that.

Nevertheless, some unorthodox churches have grown informal enough that both men and women can wear shorts, and no one bats an eyelid. The key here is to remain well covered and modest. 

Of course, the preachers of ‘come as you are’ may never turn you back at the door nor even make you feel unwelcome, no matter how you’re dressed, even if you look like you’re headed for a nightclub and not the church.

However, they would expect that as you become a regular member and get familiar with dressing expectations, that you would begin to dress more appropriately. 

Hence, as a woman, you can wear shorts to some churches where it is allowed provided that you remain modest with them. However, you may find that fewer churches allow it.

Are Shorts Allowed In Catholic Church? 

The Catholic Church is one of the more conservative denominations when it comes to the dress mode of the members. This is because the mode of worship in the Catholic Church is formally styled. 

A Roman Catholic Church in Canada, St. Jerome, is quoted to have stated expressly in their bulletin that for summer dressings, shorts were not allowed. Included in the list of prohibited clothing items were flip-flops, tank tops, yoga pants, and leggings. The bulletin went on to admonish that their “respect for the Lord and Holy Mass” demands that they dress appropriately. 

You will find that this sentiment is shared by many members of the Catholic Church as well. Although very few, if any, Catholic Churches would send you out for not complying and wearing shorts, it is a good idea to respect the dressing expectations and avoid shorts when attending a Catholic Church.

This will also prevent you from feeling inadequate or odd and allow you to remain in the right frame of mind for worship. 

However, in places like Spain which gets a lot of tourists and pilgrims, it is more or less an acceptable practice to wear shorts to church as many tourists and visitors hike long distances and often try to join Mass whenever they find the opportunity along their way. 

In fact, a member of the Catholic Church quoted priests on the Camino to have said, “I prefer a pilgrim in shorts inside my church than one in long trousers outside of it.” So apparently, they are more concerned here that people actually attend Mass than about how they look when they attend.

Generally, the Roman Catholic Church frowns at shorts worn for Mass but in places that get a lot of tourists, you can likely wear shorts without unspoken or spoken condemnation. 

What Kind Of Shorts Can I Wear To Church? 

In all, modest dressing is key. You may not be ordered back home to change into the appropriate outfit, however, there are some kinds of shorts that are clearly crossing the line of decency.

For churches that allow shorts, you should ensure that the shorts cover the buttocks and the thighs sufficiently. Among shorts that should never be worn to church, are boxers, low waist shorts, cycling or running shorts, shorts that end mid-thigh, compression shorts, cut-off shorts, and boy shorts.

Below are some types of shorts that are decent and modest enough for you to wear to church. 

For Men

Bermuda shorts 

These are casual shorts but they reach the knees, giving enough coverage. They are named Bermuda shorts due to their popularity in Bermuda, where they are often worn in combination with a dress shirt and tie for a formal look. The same look will be suitable for church. 

Cargo shorts

These loose-fitting shorts are perfect for pilgrims and tourists. They can go from hiking to attending church while wearing them, without having to change. The large outer pockets also help to hold many things from wallets to mobile phones. 

Golf shorts 

With pockets on either side, straight-cut legs, and belt loops, golf shorts give a professional vibe. This look can be welcome in church. 

Chino shorts 

As chinos are often made of cotton, chino shorts provide comfort, style, and a touch of formality in one swoop. These men’s shorts would usually reach the knees or just above the knees. 

Denim shorts

Denim shorts of knee-length can also be worn to casual church services, especially midweek services. 

Flat-front shorts

Pair these with a t-shirt or polo for a business casual look. Just like other shorts I’m recommending for church, they cover the thighs well, reaching just above the knees. 

Tailored shorts 

These give one of the most dressed-up appearances you could get from wearing shorts. Coupled with a dress shirt, blazers, or jackets, it becomes a great church outfit.

Baggy shorts

Teenagers and plus-size men can wear these baggy denim shorts to cover up properly and remain comfortable and stylish. 

For Women 

Capri shorts women

I guess you could say capris are between shorts and trousers. They extend well below the knees and with a little creativity, you can combine them with tops that transform your look into business casual that churches can accept.

Bermuda shorts

Like their male counterpart, female Bermuda shorts are comfy and able to give a dressed-up look depending on what you wear them with.

Cargo shorts 

Female tourists will find these useful and practical when they need to hike to church.

Golf shorts 

Classy, versatile, and comfortable, golf shorts can be worn the way you would wear pants to church. 

Chino shorts 

Chino shorts are great for when you want to appear formal while being dress-ready for the heat of summer. 

Denim shorts 

Denim is a bit tricky but you should be fine as long as the denim shorts are long enough and not very figure-hugging.

Tailored shorts 

Wear tailored shorts with loose blouses for a cool and churchy appearance. 

What Type Of Church Allows Shorts? 

Church denomination and location are factors that come into play when you try to decide if a particular church would allow shorts. Churches in tropical areas and those around tourist sites tend to be more tolerant of shorts. 

Unorthodox churches like pentecostal churches are also more likely to permit shorts than their orthodox counterparts. Catholic Churches and apostolic churches generally frown at shorts being worn by their members.

If unsure about whether you can wear shorts to the particular church you’re attending, then it makes a lot of sense to wear something you are certain is acceptable until you learn of the church’s dressing culture. 

ConclusionCan I Wear Shorts To Church?

Can I wear shorts to church? Yes and no. It depends on the dressing culture in a particular church. Most orthodox and formal churches kick against it but it may be accepted in unorthodox churches. Once you are sure that you can wear shorts, look through the types of shorts I have recommended in this article to know what is appropriate. 

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