Can You Wear Shorts To Church? (As A Lady Or A Guy?)

 The fact that most churches do not have a formal dress code in place makes this a question that cannot be answered in a straightforward manner. 

A church that has a formal dress code in place sends a strong signal that shorts, along with any other form of informal clothing are not allowed. 

Be that as it may, you cannot wear shorts that are too short, too tight, or revealing to church regardless of if there is a dress code set or not. 

Shorts being acceptable in churches or not would largely depend on the location and environment and the culture in play there also.

For instance, in most Western countries, shorts can be worn and, would not be seen as inappropriate but we can not say the same for a different region in the worldA lot of people are not aware of church etiquette rules as well as the laws of appropriate dressing. 

With this article, I intend to shine the light on these areas as well as open your eyes to the ways you can know if a particular piece of clothing, like shorts in this instance, can be worn to a particular church or not. 

Is it disrespectful to wear shorts to church?


It wouldn’t be seen as disrespectful when it is worn to churches that have informal or casual dress codes. For other traditional churches with formal dress codes in place, it sure would be seen as disrespectful not just to God but, to fellow worshippers. 

Shorts that reveal a great deal of your thighs or butts would be seen as utterly offensive to other people. This really isn’t a case of wearing what you feel comfortable in, it is more of being less selfish and more considerate of other people. 

Shorts that should never be worn to church 

I bring you a list of shorts that should never be seen worn by anybody in a religious setting, not even one that gives you the free will to “come as you are.” They include:

Booty shorts or what is commonly known as Bum shorts 

It is common sense to keep outfits that are worn to the bar away from the church. It’s a no-brainer, bum shorts would definitely affect the visual sensibilities of fellow churchgoers. 

Even if that is the only piece of clothing you have, which we strongly doubt, by all means, keep it away from the church and get more decent ones, same way you purchased the bum shorts if, you truly want to attend church for the right purpose. 

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Running Shorts

We get it, we absolutely do. After a long period of exercising, you might want to go rest in your heavenly Father’s house, right? 

But, for us here, we think a bathtub would make a better resting place for you as, your heavenly Father does not deserve the offensive show of both clothes and odor emanating as a result of dried-up sweat accumulated during your run. 

Cycling Shorts

Pray tell, how does this even happen? Okay, let’s see: you are cycling and then pass in front of a church and suddenly remember; oh! I should go to church? 

Even though that’s a possibility, the sensible thing to do will be to go back home, have a shower and change into something better before returning to church. 

Boxer short

Do people really think about doing this? Boxer shorts are more like undergarments. Keep them unseen or better still, wear them as you like within your home. 

Short wrap shorts or low rise shorts

You do not need to dress worldly to church. It is not a playground or a fashion house. Limit the use of these overly revealing shorts to places they would be gladly accepted. 

Compression shorts

You’re certainly not thinking of this, are you? That would be you flouting the purpose of the shorts in the first place. 

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How to know what to wear to a particular church

The same way we have different dress code rules at different workplaces, is the same way churches have divergent views on clothing expectations. 

How then do you figure out what church would accept shorts or other informal pieces of clothing? 

By reading up on the culture of the church you intend to attend. That would make you know if shorts would be acceptable there or not. 

By acquainting yourself with the doctrines of the church, you will understand just what their faith is premised on, which would further give you a clue on what their dress code should be. 

Some churches have a relaxed dress code, while others are strictly business formal. There are churches that do not allow the use of jewelry in church, how much more, attires like shorts. 

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But, whatever it is, most churches do have quality information on this and, a trip to their website for a little research would reveal all that you need to know. 

Alternatively, you can observe other churchgoers and see what they put on to ascertain if you can wear shorts or not. If you notice a great majority dressing in a particular pattern, that would most likely be the acceptable dress code. 

Do churches have dress codes in place? 

So many churches are without any form of dress code policy set. The bulk of the ones who have, are sort of unwritten and as such, are not something that can be easily referred to at will. 

However, formal churches like the Catholic or Orthodox churches would frown at the wearing of shorts to church. Catholic church might accept a short that gets to your knees or, two inches above your knees at least. 

All the same, following proper church etiquette should see you dressing respectfully and in total reverence to church. 

What does the Bible say about dressing for church? 

Well, as Christians, it would only be wise to refer to the Bible when in doubt and know it’s stand on subjects that seem unclear to you. 

What does the Bible say about wearing shorts to church? Let’s dig in and find out. 

While we cannot get anything on shorts being acceptable or not in churches from the Bible because, as at the time it was written, men and women did not wear shorts. 

However, the book of 1 Timothy 2 vs 9 -10 serves as an adequate explanation that puts paid to the debate; if shorts can be worn to church or not. 

It says that “I want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety. Not with braided hair, gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate of women who profess to worship God.”

Our takeaway here are the keywords “modesty and decency.”

Further dissecting of the phrase “modest dressing” reveals it to mean, the act of people wearing less skin-revealing clothes. 

You might say the Bible was referring to women in that Bible passage and interpret it to mean that men can wear shorts but, we all know that what is good for the goose, is equally good for the gander. 

The proper way to dress up for church

When going to church, it is only right that you appear in modest/conservative clothing. Modest clothing does not have to be expensive, it only has to be neat and decent. 

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Most churches would not turn you back if you show up in inappropriate clothing. They do this following the footsteps of Jesus who did not come for the perfect but, the imperfect ones. 

However, it is morally binding on you to dress appropriately in reverence to God and in respect to fellow worshippers. 

The fact is that these days, a lot of church dress codes are being relaxed and better accommodating for informal dressings. 

But, the onus still lies on you to dress accordingly in a modest and decent manner. 

What makes an outfit decent, you might ask? 

A decent outfit is one which is clean, neat and offers a lot of coverage, and does not attract undue attention to oneself. 

Even if a church okays the use of shorts, do ensure that they are long and non-revealing shorts. At least, shorts that are 2 inches above your knees or, just at your knees is fine. It would be out of place to wear the ones that would expose thighs and butts. 


Let’s rephrase the question; can you wear shorts to church to; do you feel comfortable wearing shorts to church? Can you confidently wear any kind of shorts to church?

This is because this issue rests heavily on our sense of reasoning and moral inclinations. Even if you do feel comfortable wearing shorts to church, it would only be wise to find out if it would be appropriate. 

The essence of going to church should be to have some quality worship time in the Lord’s presence and, if that be the case, you would naturally, not want anything, much less your dressing, coming in the way of that. 

Your due diligence would ensure you do not get unpalatable stares from churchgoers or, face the embarrassment of being asked out of the premises. 

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