Un-dressed on the Altar

  • Trousers should not be too tight, no jeans, cargo pants, or shorts.
  • Shirts – no T shirts, spaghetti straps, low cut or tight tops.
  • Any neckline more than 4” below the base of the neck is too low; 3” for teens. Wear a scarf if in doubt. No amount of cleavage is acceptable on the altar.
  • Shoulder straps should be no less than 2” wide on dresses or tops. Wear a jacket if in doubt. NO cut-outs.
  • Undergarments are a must and if any underwear lines can be seen, the covering garment is too tight. Wearing long tops or jackets over pants reduces this risk.
  • No transparent or clingy clothing. Most lightweight and knit fabrics cling. If a garment is lined there is less chance of this happening – alternately slips help and are still widely available.
  • If a skirt/dress hemline is more than 2” from the top of the knee, it is too short – imagine the congregation behind, cringing as you bow!
  • Shoes – no flip flops or sneakers.
  • The above are just guidelines – use common sense; some people may be more endowed in certain areas necessitating greater coverage in those areas.


Weekday and Saturday (non-Vigil) :

  • Dressing is more relaxed during the week so formal attire is not typically required but other than the acceptability of casual trousers and shoes the other guidelines remain the same.


In order to maintain the sacredness of the occasion, I believe, it is better to have less people serving on the altar than compromise these dress guidelines. If you are not certain, err on the side of caution and refrain from serving.

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Marisa Pereira is a mother, fashion designer, currently runs a Design and Image Consulting business in Atlanta, GA, is a freelance writer and volunteers at her church and in the community. She holds a BA in Fashion Design and a BA in French with a minor in Psychology and has worked in the Fashion Industry for over twenty years. Frustrated at her inability to find appropriate church clothes for her 14 year old daughter, she heeded God’s call, and created the stylish but modest, Michaela-Noel clothing collection, now available on-line. Having lived in multiple countries, she is acutely aware of the emphasis cultures place on visual appeal. She analyzes the importance of presenting the best image of ourselves and passionately insists that it starts within. She regularly addresses adult and youth audiences – encouraging and teaching them to make a memorable first impact but more importantly - to create a lasting impression. Her websites are: www.mpcimage.com and michaela-noel.com.

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