If you were to meet a Mormon on the street, there’s a very good chance that you’d have no idea they were Mormon based on their dress and appearance. For the most part, we dress similarly to most people; however, we are taught some things that may differ from other people in specific ways.
Mormons wear normal clothes styled like most other people. However, devout members of the church also strive to dress in a respectful way that is not overly revealing. Devout Mormon men and women who wear the temple garment under their normal clothes cover it with outer clothing to the knee for shorts, and covering the shoulder for shirts.
I have been a Mormon all my life, so I hope I can help to answer your question.
Mormon Clothing Rules
Again, most of the time, Mormon clothing is the same as what anyone would wear. The only difference is that we put an extra focus on avoiding extreme or overly revealing clothing. We are taught to be modest and appropriate in our appearance. Most members of the church avoid clothing which is revealing as being overly tight, low-cut, or skimpy.
Right now as I write this, I’m sitting in my living room wearing basketball shorts and a Nike t-shirt.
Why Do Mormons Care About Their Dress and Appearance?
The reason we care about dressing appropriately is really just a way to show respect for our bodies. We believe that God gave us the gift of our bodies, and that we should do our best to present our bodies appropriately. When someone wears clothes which are extremely revealing, it communicates to those around them that their body is merely an object of sexual attraction. The Bible says:
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? … The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” – 1 Corinthians 3:16–17
We also believe that God does not judge us on anything as superficial as our clothing, but instead judges us on our hearts. For this reason, the point of dressing appropriately for us is not to pass some superficial test, but instead something much deeper. It’s about showing respect for our bodies, presenting ourselves in a way that shows our devotion to our beliefs, and to not turn our bodies into a sexualized display.
Do Mormons Wear Shorts?
Yes, Mormons wear shorts. I personally play tennis almost every day, and it’d be pretty difficult to do so in Jeans 🙂 But even outside sports, I like to wear shorts a lot during the summer.
Not all Mormons have gone to the temple, but those who have and wear the temple undergarment will wear shorts which extend to the knee.
Mormon Rules on Hair Styles
There is a difference in the church between actual teachings of the church, and simply just the culture which exists in the church. There are no specific “rules” for Mormon hair styles for the general membership of the church; however, members of the church are encouraged with hair styles as with all dress and appearance teachings, to simply be modest and present themselves in a respectful manner.
Thus, extreme hairstyles are a rarity among members of the church. It’s rare that I’d see a man with long hair, or a mohawk, or hair dyed red, etc. Again, there isn’t anything stopping people from doing so, but it’s not really something you’d see often. The only actual teaching in the church is to be modest in our dress and appearance, which most people would interpret to mean to not have an extreme hair style.
My wife highlights her hair, I use hair gel, there are a wide variety of haircuts and styles among members of the church. For the most part there really isn’t any difference.
One exception is for full-time missionaries. Full-time Mormon missionaries are taught to adhere to a specific set of hair styles so that they look professional as public ministers of the church. Male Mormon missionaries are given the following rules: “Keep your hair relatively short (not clipped too close) and evenly tapered. Extreme or faddish styles— including spiked, permed, or bleached hair or a shaved head—are not appropriate. Sideburns should reach no lower than the middle of the ear.”
Female full-time missionaries are taught to follow these rules for hair: “The style and length of your hair should be easy to manage and should not call attention to itself.”
Do Mormon Women Wear Makeup?
Yes. My wife would freak out if she couldn’t wear makeup 🙂 I suppose men could wear makeup too, but…. well, that’d just be weird.
What Mormons Wear to Church
While most of the time we wear pretty normal clothing, we dress up for church. Mormon women usually wear a dress or a skirt and top to church. Mormon men wear a white shirt and tie to church, and some wear a full business suit.
The purpose for dressing up for church isn’t about being showy. Nobody dresses in a way to call attention to themselves–it’s just about showing respect for God. Nobody would ever be turned away from church for their clothing. It’s not like there’s a “rule” or anything. We just like to dress as respectfully as we can–just as someone wear for a serious business meeting.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about my religion. Browse the rest of this blog for answers to many other common questions about Mormons.