*I must give credit where credit is due: This is the title of a book by Louise Rennison. It is a Georgia Nicholson novel, those oh-so beloved books of my younger years that are still filled with hilariosity.
Yesterday, 14 December 2013 was the second annual Wear Pants to Church Day for many women of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons or LDS). I don’t think I have weighed in on church or spiritual issues on this blog before. Not for any particular reason, I just haven’t. But as such, this post seems somewhat frightening (why are we so frightened at times to speak about religious matters???).
Here’s the thing about wearing pants to church as a woman: it’s not a big deal. Or it shouldn’t be.
The guidelines of the church are that members should wear what is best. Nowhere does the church say women must wear skirts or dresses. Just wear what you think is best.
What is best might vary for everyone. For example, though I have no qualms with wearing pants to church I never have because I don’t think any of my trousers are nice enough for church. That could be because my skirts are just higher quality. It could be because I seldom if ever wear skirts so dressing in “my best” feels like it should be a skirt or dress because it seems more special somehow. The point is, it’s my choice and my spiritual imperative.
But for others, “best” could mean jeans and a button-down shirt. It could mean a three-piece suit. It could mean blouse, elegant skirt, and nylons. Or something like this could be going on. The bottom line is, no one has the right to determine what is someone else’s best. Like pretty much everything else in the church, this is decided between the wearer and the Spirit.
And let’s get real for a second: I live in Utah. Code for, “our winters have potential to result in three feet of snow but church, school, and business continue to function.” Given the weather that often occurs in the winter (here and elsewhere) should women really be frowned upon for wearing pants, which are far more practical for cold weather, instead of skirts? Regardless of the weather, women shouldn’t be frowned upon for wearing pants. Let’s make that clear. But let us also avoid forgetting that traditional women’s “nice” clothing is incredibly impractical for oodles of reasons, including how impossible it is to be warm in a skirt in seven degrees fahrenheit.
And while we’re at it, please don’t argue that if it’s cold we should just wear tights. Tights can add warmth. However, they are the most uncomfortable item of women’s clothing still worn on a regular basis today. When I wear tights, I genuinely feel like the world is closing in on me, like I can’t breathe, and like I have to go use the restroom every few minutes because the wicked elastic is squeezing my bladder.
The point is: Church is a place of worship and learning. It isn’t a place of judgement or obsession over what someone else is wearing. I submit we focus more on what is taught, what we are learning, and what we are doing to grow spiritually instead of policing what other people are wearing.