I had considered writing a listicle about reasons to dust off your suits, despite the pandemic. Then I realized there was only one reason that really felt authentic and genuine.
Not for Zoom calls, where no one sees your pants or shoes anyway.
Not to go out to restaurants, since patio season is waning and some areas (including where I live) are continuing to prohibit indoor dining.
I’ve been putting on suits go to church — and it’s never felt more appropriate or necessary.
‘Sunday Best’ Reclaimed
Let me back up for a moment and admit I may be biased here.
I’m married to an Anglican priest, and watching her preach a message to our congregation is one of the highlights of my week.
There have also been occasions — okay, entire seasons — when I’ve dressed down considerably, especially during the hot summer months. I draw the line at wearing jeans to church, but I have been guilty of sporting T-shirts and shorts in the pew.
Today, however, the concept of “Sunday best” has taking on a surprising resonance.
According to an article on Truth and Scripture, “While care was historically given to cleanliness and solemnity on Sabbath days, dressing up for worship resulted, not from a theological teaching, but from the influence of Victorian culture on worshiping communities.”
“Anyone who comes to me, I will never drive away.”(John 6:37).
Industrialization, in other words, and its socio-economic impact turned many places of worship into an opportunity to convey a rise in status. That’s obviously not great when you consider the role of churches as an equalizer, or a place where all should be welcome.
Instead, today I think we could look the idea of “Sunday Best” from a different perspective — in how dressing up can contribute positively to the experience.
3 Reasons To Believe (In Wearing A Suit To Church)
You shouldn’t feel guilty or ashamed if you can’t afford to wear a suit to church. But if, like me, you have a closet full of them going to waste, it can enhance what is already a powerful opportunity to transcend the challenges of COVID-19.
First of all, no one will say things like, “Wow, why are you all dolled up?” when you walk into a church. (It will happen afterwards, though, when you drop by Starbucks to pick up a coffee afterwards.
Second, wearing a suit to church can evoke that same sensation we all used to get when we put them on for work. You’re getting ready to bring your best self to what you’re about to do — which in this case is not to make money but to deepen your relationship with God, strengthen community ties and direct yourself to the spirit of service.
Third, wearing a suit to church elevates it as an occasion, an event. Not all churches have reopened, and even in those that have, worshipping is often limited by constraints. No singing. Not shaking hands or hugging. No partaking in (Christian) sacraments like the drinking from a common cup.
This can make going back to church feel lesser than it did before. A suit won’t completely alleviate that, but I’ve found it brings me closest to what it was like to attend other major events, whether it was a conference or a concert.
Sunday best, in this sense, comes back to what it should always have been about: denoting respect for the church, for everyone else who shows up, and for yourself.
You’ll still have the rest of the week to go back to sweats or other forms of casual wear, but allow yourself this chance to reclaim Sunday best.
There are so many blessings that come with nurturing a life of the spirit. It will transform you inside — and maybe even feel as good as you’ll look on the outside in your favourite suits.