What is appropriate clothing to wear at Mass if you're a female?

Is there any official Catholic Church teaching on this?

No. There is no church teaching on what a female or male should wear to mass. Appropriate attire for males and females will vary by culture.

Clean, neat, and modest are the predominant criteria for both men and women. From there, it’s up to you.


Modest. We must be modest.

And that really depends on your culture.

In America, I’d say it means shoulders to knees covered in some way, no boobs hanging out or clothes too tight (especially on men). That said, I know that in South America clothing is very different and that’d be overdressed. Also, your age. No one cares if it’s 95 degrees and you’re an infant in a diaper.


Actually 1ke, I wouldn’t even say “clean/neat” The church is fine with a day laborer coming to Mass after work, even with no time to change. That said, if we’re painting our house it would be prudent to put on nice clothes before Mass.


What about women wearing pants? At Mass?

Women can wear pants. Even at Traditional Latin Masses. Even at High Masses. Women can even wear pants (and capri’s—GASP) to an audiance with the Pope.

The no women in pants is hair-brained idea of a few dozen people who have little grasp on reality and history.


Do you think wearing sandals like when it’s summer is disrespectful?

Given that at my Franciscan parish the priest wears sandals year round. Nope.

That said skip the flip-flops. They are noisy, obnoxious not to mention terrible for your feet and posture as well as a trip hazard.

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Hey Jesus might of wore sandals :grinning:

There are no hard rules, but a good rule of thumb would be to dress at least as nicely as you would to work, with some flexibility for weather and post-mass plans.

It is the holy sacrifice, not a fashion show, dance floor or beach. Cover up. No cleavage (ask Father about this). Modest, respectful dress.

Clothes that cover yourself. Generally something clean and neat is preferred, maybe a nicer top than a t-shirt. But I’ve violated everything except the “cover yourself” part before - when you work overnight like I did and don’t have a car, you show up in what you’re wearing even if it’s a mess from work.

So basically, the general standard (in the U.S.) is to wear something a little bit nicer if you have it - clean untorn jeans and a nice top seems to be pretty common among women. But it’s better to show up in old clothes than to not show up.

This oft repeated subject - usually asked in relation to some aspect of “modesty” - elicits the exact same answers EVERY time…and is simply a matter of common sense.
So why keep asking it?

well, we are a farm community and the farmers come from milking or field work, but they have on their clean jean or clean overalls. It’s not dressy but it is typically clean and neat even if it’s jeans and work clothes. My husband would die at the thought of wearing his grease covered jeans, he would definitely come in and change pants. One parish near my old office was near the medical center in a major city and doctors and nurses attended 6 a.m. Mass usually in their work attire of scrubs. But again, clean ones. :slight_smile:

I agree, if you are coming directly from work and have no time to change, that is fine too. I didn’t take the OP’s question in that vein though, no indication they would need to do so.

The OP may be a new inquirer to the Catholic faith. They may come from no religious background and therefore be apprehensive about what to wear. Or they may come from a protestant background where everyone wore their finest and frilliest every Sunday.


That makes sense. Typically farming is in your own, home farm. Many of the people around where I am are day-laborers. A large number are Hispanic construction workers. They live outside the city because that’s all they can afford and work in the city on roads, buildings, and bridges. They are often filthy, but they brush off the best they can and attend Daily Mass.

I just wouldn’t want someone to get the idea that they must be neat and clean and avoid church because their toddler spilled grape juice all over their pants and there’s no time to change. It would be better to be messy and in mass than withhold oneself from a sacrament because of neatness. That’s all I’m saying.

Come again?

It has to be modest. Shorts are fine, especially ones that fall below the knee. That’s even OK at the Vatican. Writing is fine. (one should not defile themselves with vulgar writing on clothing no matter where they are) Uniforms are fine (including sports).

This is a bit of a puritanistic view of what is acceptable. It is not church teaching.

The church has no teachings on tatoos–that’s the OT in the Bible.

No official teaching, but should be modest. No cleavage showing, no tight clothing, no t-shirts suggestive of sex or violence, no leggings being worn as pants (they aren’t pants), no see-through clothing or strapless tops, no flip-flops.

I wear longer skirts, and sleeves. I feel at peace dressed like that at Mass

Wear the clothes you would wear if you were attending the Crucifixion and Resurrection. Because you are.

When at Mass you are presenting yourself before your Lord and King. Wear the nicest, most modest clothes you own and act with the greatest restraint and dignity.

“We recall that a dress cannot be called decent which is cut deeper than two fingers breadth under the pit of the throat, which does not cover the arms at least to the elbows, and scarcely reaches a bit beyond the knee. Furthermore, dresses of transparent material are improper.”

This was the teaching of Pope Pius XI and it would take some significant gymnastics (coincidentally also banned for Catholic women) to say it isn’t Magesterial.

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