Fashion & Style

What men wear to church

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men with bibles
Church is an occasion to be comfortable and look good
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What men wear to church is often determined by the formality of the congregation

What men wear to church depends in large part on what church they attend. Some churches advocate the casual come-as-you-are look. Blue jeans and tennis shoes are de rigueur. However, other churches are more traditional and the members of the congregation dress to the nines for worship service.

For women, this means suits, high heels and hats and for men, their best suit. For many men, church Sunday is also an occasion to wear a conservative fedora, dress shoes and a top coat in the winter.

For those long accustomed to the get-dressed-up-for-church dictate, walking into a house of worship where the attendees are decked out in t-shirts and jeans is a shock to the system.

Men take suit shopping very seriously. They do not do it very often. Research shows the average man buys a new suit every 2.5 to there years and owns two suits. Suits can be costly and are a huge investment.

GQ has a lot of tips on the type suit a man should wear. The lapel on a suit determines the suit's character.

There are various types of lapels including peak, standard notch, shawl, wide peak, narrow notch and wide notch.


During the 1920s, double-breasted suits were all the rage. This suit enhances the visibility of peak lapels, which eventually also became popular on single-breasted jackets, especially during the warm weather months because single-breasted are cooler than the double-breasted version.

Lapels got narrower in the 1950s and '60 (e.g., Mad Men) and then became wide again in the 1970s, when peak lapels became popular once again. In the 1980s the double-breasted suit came into vogue, with the peak lapel. That changed during the 1990s when the single-breasted suit with subtle notch lapels were the top choice. In the new millennium, slim-fitting suits with narrow notch lapels became de rigueur, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The single-breasted jacket with peak lapels has bounced in and out of popularity with male consumers over the years; however, the single-breasted suit with a notch lapel has been the best seller in the U.S. for decades.


Keep in mind, a peak lapel makes a suit look more formal. If you want to wear a dress jacket with jeans and no tie, choose the more informal notch lapel. Peak lapels are typically found on tuxedo jackets and tailcoats.

GQ is all for the two-button suit jacket with low button stances, because this slims the torso.

Look at the back of the jacket. A center vent is good because it keeps the lines of the suit simple and clean, but side vents are a bit more dashing.

Some suit pants are cuffed; some are not. When the fabric is heavy (tweed and corduroy) cuffs are necessary because they provide weight, which makes the pant fall properly.

A cuff should be at least 1 1/4 inch deep, according to fashion designer Michael Bastian. The pants should break where the front of the pant hits the top of the shoe and the back of the pant hits the top of the heel. A pant with very little break makes the wearer look taller. 

Wearing a pocket square is fine. It emphasizes the chest rather than the belly.

Reveal some of the cuff of the shirt because this makes arms look longer.

When wearing a slim, double breasted jacket, keep the jacket buttoned and choose a higher-cut six-button suit.

The two-button gray suit is the go-to suit for many men. However, the precise shade of gray is important. Avoid a somber dark shade and go with a lighter gray. Combine this with a solid, dark tie and white shirt. This is very Cary Grant-ish.

If sleeves on the jacket are too full, have them narrowed. If the sleeves are too long, have them shortened. They should break at the end of the wrists.

Ideally, jackets should create a V effect at the waist.

The flannel suit is timeless and the tweed version is great for in-between months when it is not yet arctic cold or horribly hot. 

Corduroy is a good choice but the wale should not be too fine because that makes it look like velvet. Wale means a ridge on textured, woven fabric.

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