why i wear black to church

Written by Mandy Thompson

She’s just a girl with a guitar. And, in a perfect world, Mandy would spend her days writing songs and soaking up the sun. But, life is life. And, while not perfect, her life is good. She serves as Director of Congregational Services at The Chapel, in Brunswick GA. If you asked her about her position, she’d say her main course involves developing worship experiences, with a side of creative design and social media for dessert. Tasty!

January 24, 2012

black skinny jeans

Ours is a t-shirt and flip-flops sort of church, so I can get away with wearing just about anything that falls into the “modest” category.

Plus, I’m a “musician” (said in hushed tones with hand covering mouth).

So, black it is.

And black it’s been for nearly three months:

  • My favorite pair of skinny jeans. (I’m a worship leader, what do you expect?)
  • My crazy sloping turtle-neck sweater.
  • My knee-high fleather boots and my rings and my hat and my glasses.

Let me stop before you gentlemen get bored and click that little red x in the corner of this tab.

Here’s the thing: I’m kinda sad about my current relationship with God. I don’t like it. I miss the anticipation and excitement and wonder. I miss the want-to-read-my-Bible feeling. And the goosebumps. And the expectant prayer.

To show my sadness, to recognize my loss, I wear black to church.

Because I believe that even the clothes we wear can be a gesture of worship. We can dress up to say “You’re that important to me” or dress down to say “Here I am just as I am.” Both of these expressions through attire are powerful gestures of worship–because we are reaching out to God in symbolic and literal ways.

So I wear black to church.

I know this might sound a bit crazy to y’all now, but wait until you open your closet on Sunday. Your hand might reach for a tie, or for those jeans with holes in the knees. Oh I can’t wait to find out what happens! Y’all come back here and tell me, especially if you were a secret-black-wearer.


  1. Nikole Hahn

    mmm…I guess we all do that unintentionally. I’ve stopped dressing up and wore comfortable clothes so I can remain unrestricted in what I do by what I wear.

    • Anonymous

      You’re right, Nikole. I don’t know if I’ve ever met a (first-world) person who didn’t choose clothing for a reason. Even Steve Jobs, with his signature black turtleneck, intentionally choose that dress-up or dress-down look so he wouldn’t have to choose clothes every single day.

      • Nikole Hahn

        That would save on laundry. LOL.

  2. B Gorinski

    I usually wear the clothes I would wear to work. Khakis and a button-up.
    Sometimes, maybe, I’m trying to see my spiritual life and work life as one. Other times, maybe I’m seeing Sunday as just another work day where I have to get up for something.

    Great post!

    • Anonymous

      ha! I can see how both perspectives work! 🙂 Thanks for commenting.

    • Anonymous

      🙂 Thanks Megan!

  3. Rich Kirkpatrick

    I went three years wearing black and gray. It was a thoughtful attempt to simplify, both practically and philosophically. It really did change how I felt. I only have black T-shirts so I might need to shop to relive that.

    I am all for dressing to express–if even just to ourselves–our hearts and minds. Now, I wore a hat a total of three times to church. For some reason, that caused a stir. Then someone reminded me I was the wrong gender according the New Testament.

    • Anonymous

      You? Causing a stir? I can’t believe it! 😉 Thanks for commenting, Rich.

  4. Linda Dunnihoo

    Haven’t been to church at all for awhile. I attend a couple Bible studies though. In some other life I was a pastor’s wife… and a musician. I’ve been the custodian, and the child care provider, and the secretary. I guess I don’t know what to do with myself just Being There. 
    To my Bible studies I’ve been just casual. This will make me think. What I wear does indeed affect my mood; and also express my mood. 

    • Anonymous

      Thank you so much for the comment, Linda. I love your honesty! And your capitalization of “Just Being There.” I can imagine how strange that would feel. I’m glad you have bible studies that you’re a part of. Sort of like how they did things back in the early church days. 🙂 I think that counts. And I think casual is ok, too. But you may find that little things like attire can add a worshipful element to your attendance, even if secretly.

  5. Jessica

    Can I wear the new trend of snakeskin yo church. Hipster church as well. I just though oh know are my new booties sac religous.


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why i wear black to church

by Mandy Thompson time to read: 1 min