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20-40-60 Etiquette: Suit yourself

Reader asks about church wear. [Thinkstock photo]

Reader asks about church wear. [Thinkstock photo]

QUESTION: Is it OK to wear a nice menswear suit for church services?

CALLIE'S ANSWER: Of course! It's always acceptable to be dressed up. I believe the saying is “better to be overdressed up than underdressed.”

LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: I don't think God is keeping track of what you wear to church. I also think you should wear what you feel comfortable in, whether a suit or more casual attire. Some churches have more casual services to make worship more accessible to people and the way we live now. Others are more formal, with the idea that you wear your “Sunday best” as a way to honor the One you worship. Of course, “Sunday best” can differ from person to person, and it also depends on what you can afford to wear. And that's OK. Some religions have strict rules about shoes, clothes, cleanliness, etc., before entering a house of worship. Since the word “church” generally refers to Christian worship, I am assuming that's what you mean. It is perfectly fine to wear a nice menswear suit to church, but I also think it's OK for others to come as they are, as long as they feel comfortable coming.

HELEN'S ANSWER: It is very respectful to wear a suit to church.

When I was young men wore suits to church, and the women wore dresses. When my children were very young, men still wore slacks and coats and ties and women wore dresses.

Now, it seems like anything goes, but I think women's shorts, crop tops, flip-flops and see-through shirts are better for casual events and not for church, and I don't think men should wear shorts and T-shirts to church.

GUEST'S ANSWER: Linda Miller, author of the fashion blog “Fashion Matters.”: Of course, it's OK to wear a nice suit to church.

Many churches are very relaxed when it comes to dress these days, a reflection of today's society that embraces casualness. But if you feel better and more comfortable in a suit, wear it.

Callie Athey is 20-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is in her 40s, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email