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.

58 Comments

        1. No not at all, I have worn many hairstyles and love to try new ones! Typically people don’t wear hats or caps, however if that’s what you would feel more comfortable with no one would kick you out!

  1. I am Mormon (I am also 15 years old) but I have a hard time knowing how short our shorts can be and still be modest. Would you say that 4 or 5 inches above the knee is too short??

    1. Hi Kat, Thanks for your message. This is something you’ll have to determine for yourself. I would read the “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet and then determine how you can do the BEST job of implementing those standards in your life.

  2. I found your article very helpful. I was raised Baptist but my 16 year old son has decided he wants to join the Mormon church. I have been wanting to attend with him but didn’t want to embarrass him by not being dressed rite or something. There are so many misconceptions about different religions so I just wanted to be sure.

    1. I’m glad the article was helpful. I’m certain you’d be VERY warmly received at church if you just show up on a Sunday and introduce yourself as being there for the first time. One things we love is to see new people at church.

    2. I am not personally a Mormon but this girl I really like is and i need to meet her parents and I would like to know what I need to wear I do not want to be under or overdressed when I meet them.

        1. Thanks for this info. My husband and I will be visiting Heber City in Late Fall and interested in attending a service. I agree your body is your temple and should treat it as such. Once again, Thank you!

  3. Hello, I am Mormon, but have been away from the church for about 2 years. I have an issue with the protocol of wearing a dress to church on Sundays. This is due to my lack of options ( none) which becimrs the central focus of the day and at LEAST 50 % of the time is the defining reason I skip church, despite truly enjoying time spent there and the fellowship. I have spoken to several like-minded women and have difficulty discerning IF this is really a big deal, and WHY. Please dont patronize me with dictates of modesty or ” looking nice” to honor the experience and God, as the beautiful suits and blouses I wear for business satisfy these boxes. Professional women do not often regale themselves of prairy dresses nor have the discretionary funds to afford this arbitrary and irrational dictum. Very likely I will not be in chyrch this morning for only this reason. Is this really what members prefer? I am a lovely, smart and kind nurse with much to offer in the way of thoughtful discourse and assistance to those in my ward. Triuble is, my wardrobe id 9p% scrubs and 10% high end fashion. I just dont have the income to afford the fashionable dresses I would feel comfirtable wearing out. Again, does this really matter? It seems to fly in the face of the prohibition regarding focus on wardrobe.

    1. Hi Shelly, it seems that, for some reason, you have really gotten upset about the way that most members of the church dress for Sunday services. I say just go to church in jeans and a t-shirt if that’s what will get you there. Just like how at a workplace there is a norm of how people dress, the same is true at church (and school, and pretty much anywhere else). I wouldn’t overthink it. Just go in what you have and what you want to wear. If you want to be different and don’t want to follow the norm, then that’s fine. Just go anyway. Your relationship with God is far more important than what you choose to wear to church services. Will it be out of the norm? Yes, but that’s perfectly fine.

      1. Thank you for this. I was baptized into the Church on February 1st & always feel I should be in a dress at church. Sometimes I am doing multiple things in a day & a 30 minute drive to change clothes is just not in the plans. I can only hope my ward will begin to welcome me in jeans as I sometimes am when stopping in.

      2. I also haven’t been to church for this reason. I don’t own a dress and can’t afford to because that would also mean buying shoes to go with the dresses.

        1. No one would EVER be disrespected or not welcomed because they can’t afford a dress. Go, tell someone you’re new, and you’ll be immediately welcomed.

    2. I will echo Jim’s response. I prefer to wear a dress to church. If you don’t, then don’t. No one will judge you for not being in a dress. If there is someone judging you, that’s their problem and not yours! They will have to answer to that at some point. Please don’t let someone come between you and your relationship with God. (I learn visually so I like this metaphor. If it doesn’t work for you, don’t take it literally.) Allowing someone to be between you and God allows them to be “closer” to Him than you. “Push” them out of the way and continue toward God without them.

  4. How do I know if becoming Mormon is truly right for me ? As a teenager even growing up with religion I still sin by swearing and doing other types of things. Would become Mormon be any different than being in a nondenominational church setting?

      1. I’m attending a dance with a Mormon and I’m not sure what kind of dress to wear since I myself am not Mormon. With today’s society revealing dresses are much more common and I’m not sure if it’s okay for me to go for example with my shoulders showing or to dress for something suitable for his religion. Help??

        1. It’s extremely thoughtful of you to ask this question, and shows how respectful you are of his religion. I think the best thing you could do in this situation is to simply ask him. A revealing dress may invite your date to think of you in a way that isn’t compatible with his goals or your true worth.

  5. I am Mormon, and I was wondering what hair colors are suitable for children. If a kid wanted to dye their hair, what would be considered too extreme?

    1. I don’t think dyed hair is to extreme. I know a lot of girls in my ward who dye the ends of their hair pink and orange during the summer, and even some guys that are members who bleach their hair or get perms. As long as your able to look in the mirror and know that you would feel comfortable in the lords presence than dyed hair shouldn’t be a problem.

  6. I am 19 yrs old and am considering a conversion to LDS. What is the simplest way to start in concerns to my wardrobe.

    1. Wonderful to hear that you are committing to the gospel. It will be the best decision you ever make.

      I would read what the prophet has said about dress and appearance in the For the Strength of Youth, and then make your own decision as to what you should do. After all, it’s really between you and the Lord.

      Congratulations on your upcoming baptism.

  7. Ok so i’m a Mormon too, is it okay to have your ears pierced (Just a normal piercing not cartilage or anything.) And is it okay to have your hair dyed at all???

    1. Yes. One pair of earrings in the typical location on the ear and coloring your hair are both perfectly fine.

  8. Can you tell me what what kind of pants Mormon boy about 11 0r12 years o;f age in 1870, Utah would wear?
    Would they wear a) overalls
    or b) trousers with suspenders/buttons
    or c)
    knickers fastened with buttons?
    This is for costuming purposes.
    Your response is appreciated.

    1. You might be interested in reading the story of the Latter-Day Saints in Orderville, Utah about that time period. Jeans were new and all the rage at the time, which caused some discord among others who had a more canvas-type material for their pants.

  9. I’ve been a Mormon my whole life and I absolutely love it. I’m currently struggling with wearing more appropriate clothing. I feel like I get judged. The main problem is that most of my clothing aren’t fully modest. Also I don’t really want to stop wearing them but I know it’s the right thing to do.

    1. I’m sorry you’re struggling with that. But why would you feel upset about someone thinking your choice is wrong, if in fact you too know it’s wrong?

  10. Hello. I’m one of the rare long-haired men you wrote about. And I wear jeans to church. Just popping in to say we exist. lol.

    1. Glad you’re coming to church. Samson will surely give you a fist bump and a nod when you meet in the afterlife 🙂 J/k. We take all-comers.

  11. This is neat, to learn about we are currently reading about studies on how religion affect the dress of the person. I find it amazing how different people are around the world ( or state).Fashion Analysis 2020

  12. I am mormon and im almost 11 i am wondering if i can wear tank tops and crop tops while i dont have garments. And when i do get garments. I dont understand why garments are so special and why i am gonna need to wear them do i even need to where them?

  13. I just converted to the L D S Church with my Husband as well.We both got Baptized in July !!We love everyone at our word ,That being said ,I’m originally from Europe!I love The lord and I don’t want to offend any ladies ,Is it ok to wear Dress slacks

  14. I just moved into a house across the street from an LDS church. I have thought about going, but I don’t look very ordinary (I have a shaved head & gauged ears). I feel I should go before I form an opinion, but I want to be respectful. I plan to wear a white shirt & tie, clear plugs in my earlobes, and a solid colored face mask. Is a colored tie ok? Truth be told, I am also very shy. I would like to just slide into the back row & keep to myself, but I’m not sure if that would come across as rude?

    1. Just go. Tell someone you’re new and ask them to show you around. You’ll be very very very warmly welcomed. No one cares that you look different.

    2. I am a member of the LDS church and have social anxiety. I like slipping in amd out of church without having to talk to anyone. If you want to pop into church without being approached, I recommending arriving a few minutes late, sitting in the very back, and getting out the minute the closing prayer is said. Haha. People are very, very kind, especially to newcomers. If you find that you do want to talk to people, just sit and wait. Someone will likely approach you. Or you can go up to the front of the room at the end of sacrament meeting and introduce yourself to someone.
      What you are planning to wear is totally acceptable. My brother-in-law has gauges in his ears, a nose ring, and tattoos up and down his arms. He comes in jenas and a button up shirt, and he is only ever met with kindness when he decides to come to church with us.
      I hope that you did end up going in to see what an LDS church service is like. I love that you wanted to experience it for yourself rather than make judgements based on what other people have said. That speaks volumes about the kind of person you are. 🙂

  15. I love the questions being asked. People have obviously given serious thought to how they feel and what they would like to know.

    Jim Harmer is very good with his thoughtful and caring responses.

    I joined the church many years ago and I wear long or 3/4 length pants to church with what I consider to be a nice top, sometimes a t shirt.

    Please, just come. Whatever you are wearing, whatever your hair style or colour. Jesus Christ would welcome you and so should others. When and if you feel you want to change anything, that will be up to yourself and no one else.

  16. I am Native American –Indian. Mormon culture allow for this, out traditional long hair and / or braids?

  17. I’m in my 30s. I’m a recovering alcoholic and have tattoos(nothing crazy). I’ve been to a few different types of churches and I just haven’t found what I am looking for. I’m really excited to check a Mormon church here, but I’m super nervous. I’m not sure if I will fit in and feel like I’m over my head.
    I don’t think I own one dress that isn’t a summer dress. I went out looking and couldn’t find anything in my price range. I have a long dress that goes well past my knees, but it’s a spaghetti strap.. I figured I can wear a blouse over it. Is that tacky? What is acceptable footwear… flats, sandals or wedges?
    Also, when hanging out with them outside of church is it bad to wear tank tops? What about shorts??? How short is to short?
    Thank you for your article!!

    1. Nicole, thanks for your message. I understand wanting to fit in, but you should also know that every new person goes through the same questions. Once they decide to just SHOW UP, all those fears go away. You will be SO warmly welcomed no matter what you wear. What you’re wearing is the LAST thing you should worry about.

      I’m not much for women’s fashion, but text my wife, Emily, at 208.963.2980 and she could answer your questions.

  18. I flew into Salt Lake and saw several women wearing a white piece of cloth on their head. I had never seen that before. Is that something to do with Mormon.

    1. No. Women members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints don’t go around wearing white cloth on their heads. It must have been something else.

  19. I’m a lgbt teen girl and I’m still in the closet and my parents have recently made me start going to church but I don’t own any ‘fancy enough’ clothes. So what’s the dress code for church my parents won’t tell me they say I should know. And can I wear like a romper? And is it true that the church doesn’t accept lgbt people and doesn’t want them attending. I have many more questions but I don’t want to overwhelm people with questions.

    1. Hi, Laura, those are all excellent questions! First, I would like to echo what Jim Harmer has said multiple times: we welcome all people! You should come wearing whatever you feel comfortable in.

      Explain that you are new, and everyone will be very accepting and friendly! And if they’re not, that’s their own problem. But if you would like to know more about what is recommended to wear to church, try looking up the For the Strength of Youth Pamphlet from the church. And while dresses and skirts are what girls typically wear, rompers and slacks and the like are slowly becoming more common. I know so many ladies who absolutely rock them at church!

      As for your questions about the church and LGBTQ+, look up Mormon and Gay. They will be able to explain better than I can. Though I will say that as a church, we don’t hate the LGBTQ+ community. Though, unfortunately, it’s possible to run into those who are more… stiff in that regard than others. And I know that can be really discouraging and upsetting, but please don’t let them get to you. You are as worthy of receiving love and being able to worship God and Jesus Christ in church as any other person.

      Also, pray to Heavenly Father to help you find answers to your questions. I promise He will help you. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors!

  20. Hi so I’m 16 I’m a girl and I’m a member I’m also part of the lgbt community. I’ve tried to come out to my parents but every time I try the say im going to hell. Whenever i bring my girlfriend over it’s worse cause after she leaves they tell me I need to brake up with her cause they don’t want me to go to hell I ask them why would I go to hell/not get let in to heaven they say because I won’t let get into the temple if I have a girlfriend and I need special thing from the temple to go to heaven (I want to say more but I would just be complaining) but is what my parent say true? Help me!!

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