What to Wear to Church in Winter

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see our affiliate disclaimer here.

Tips and hints from the Hound!

Dressing for the church in the depths of winter can be tricky, you want to combine being modestly dressed with staying warm plus you still want to look stylish. But don’t worry, this short article will explain the best ways to achieve all three.

Before we get into the actual clothing, there are a few things you need to consider, think about:

  • How cold will it be outside?
  • Do you have a long walk to get to the church or from the parking lot to the church?
  • What type of ground will you be walking on i.e. soft snow on a grass verge, compacted snow on a gravel path or an icy sidewalk?
  • Does the church have heating?
  • How long is the service?
  • How formal is the occasion?

Answering these questions should give you a better idea of the clothing that will help you stay warm both while traveling to and from the church and while you are inside at the service.

Another important consideration is whether they’ll be children in your group. Children have a smaller body mass than adults and they will lose body heat faster so you’ll want to pay particular attention to any little ones in the group to ensure they keep warm too. Because a cold child may turn into a fussy and loud child, and that‘s the last thing you want at a beautiful church service.


The secret to staying warm in most winter situations, whether it‘s winter sports of attending church, is layering. But to get the maximum warmth and comfort – you need to know the different types layers and how to wear them effectively so you remain warm but still look great without appearing overly burdened with clothing. But don’t worry it is possible to tick all of those boxes.

There are three main layers you’ll want to consider when dressing to attend church, these are:

Base layers are the foundations of your winter wardrobe worn over your undergarments, think leggings and long-sleeved vests. Base layers are available in different fabrics and can be thermal. The fabrics you choose and whether they need to be thermal will depend on factors such as – how cold it is outside and how cold is it likely to be inside the church, and, as mentioned above, whether the church has heating.

Materials such as wool make ideal base layers as they wick away moisture and help you keep the warmth of your body produces. If you think you’re likely to need to wear a base layer often, consider upgrading to Merino wool, this luxurious, soft wool is much prized by athletes and makes the perfect base layer. Note – to ensure your Merino wool garments last it‘s important to care for them following the manufacturer‘s instructions. Steer away from cotton as this doesn‘t wick away moisture and could lead to your sweat turning to cold and invite serious health issues such as frostbite.

There is a decent range of base layers available for men, women and children so it’s possible to kit out the whole family so everyone keeps warm while you enjoy the service.

Mid layers are the clothing you wear over the base layers such as your dress or suit.

Top layers are the jackets and coats worn over both the base and mid layers.

So without further ado, shall we?


Suits have been the classic choice of both men and women attending church, for centuries. They provide the perfect, modest attire and are available in a range of styles, colors and fabric choices to ensure everyone can feel special and well-dressed. And whether you are the bride, think beautifully tailored suits in paler colors with a statement blouse, mother of the bride, or you’re attending your regular church service, suits are easy to wear and accessorize.

Fabrics – to stay warm you’ll want a heavier weight fabric during the late fall and winter months, think wools and synthetic wools for maximum warmth.

Women – for additional warmth try swapping a blouse for a coordinating ribbed turtleneck or a thin soft cashmere sweater worn by itself or over a blouse for an additional layer. For a more casual look try a long-sleeved t.shirt. If you don‘t want to wear a pantsuit, try one with a longer length skirt or culottes even. Don’t forget to wear your base layers beneath your suit or a decent pair of thick thermal tights.

Footwear – boots are ideal in the winter and the longer your boots the warmer your legs will be, so if you can go for a knee-high boot in a coordinated or standout color which will add a pop to your outfit. But equally a pair of ankle length or closed-toed heels works. For a classic and timeless feel, you can’t beat a pair of nude flats. Higher heels will keep your feet further from the cold ground for extra warmth.

Men – just as with the women you can wear a turtleneck or cashmere sweater either alone or over a dress shirt. For additional warmth wear a three-piece suit.

Footwear – for additional warmth wear a pair of dresser boots such as Chelsea boots beneath your suit.


Similar to suits, two-pieces are top and bottom outfits that match or flatter each other but don’t necessarily use the same fabric in both pieces. Two separate items give you more choice and flexibility with your outfit and are often cheaper than purchasing an actual suit. And if you don’t regularly wear a suit, buying a two-piece might be a better choice as you’re far more likely to wear it again after the event.

Women – you get a lot more choice rather than a standard skirt and a jacket or pantsuit, a two-piece might be a coordinating dress and a jacket for example or a long wool skirt with a thick sweater.

Footwear – again you can wear a range of footwear with this, typically, less formal garment choice so think sneakers in the fall and spring or flats and wedges too when it’s slightly warmer. Sneakers are suitable for the depths of winter but a great pair of knee-high boots in leather would be perfect.

Men – with a more flexible approach, you’ll probably find you already have something suitable in your closet. Think a great pair of thick wool pants with a dress shirt worn beneath a sweater.

Footwear – again, like the women’s footwear choices, in the warmer months you can team a two-piece outfit with less dressy boots and slip-on shoes for a more casual feel.

The best thing about a two-piece outfit is that you can create it in your own style and preferences using the clothes which you already have in the wardrobe.

Maxi dresses

Maxi dresses aren’t just for the summer, available in thicker fabrics such as velvet and wool, the classic maxi dress is an ideal choice for days when it’s not bitterly cold. Don‘t forget the cold air can still creep up your legs beneath the skirt and this might make you freezing after a while. Wear a pair of thermal leggings or thick tights under a maxi dress for maximum warmth. Choose between mid-calf or floor length for a dramatic look. But again, don’t forget your base layers both top and bottom.

Footwear – again, with this less formal attire, you’ve got flexibility from knee-high or ankle boots to closed-toed shoes, or even sneakers when it’s warmer, the choice is yours.

Short dresses

Let’s not exclude short dresses this winter. It may be cold but it doesn’t stop you from wearing shorter dresses though if it‘s going to be freezing and you’re sitting in an unheated church, I’d probably steer clear of the shorter styles and keep them for the fall or early spring.

As we mentioned earlier, the key to winter wear is always layering.

If you have a dress with long sleeves, make sure you put on some inner layers first. And extra-thick leggings or tights on the inside will take care of those legs and knee-joints. Top up the look with an overcoat of your style.

Footwear – knee-high boots always look great with shorter skirts, but equally you could wear ankle boots, closed-toe shoes, flats or sneakers in the fall or early spring. Whatever will give you the maximum warmth and comfort will work with this more casual dress.


There are dress codes for modesty but there are no rules that say you always must wear formals/semi-formals to church. The key is to dress appropriately for the occasion and the church’s dictates while remaining warm and comfortable. It’s pointless wearing a great outfit if you spend the whole service with your teeth chattering!

Women & men can wear dressier denim, if your church allows, in dark colors topped with a blouse and cashmere sweater combo or a shirt and sweater for men. This way you have an air of formality without the restrictiveness of a suit.

Footwear – can be a pair of boots, heels, or flats similar to the footwear that’s been mentioned above.


Above all, think about keeping warm. We all know that going to church, especially for a wedding or christening, is a joyous occasion that gives us an excuse to dress up in our finest but, above all, you must remain warm.

Hats, gloves, muffs, scarfs and gaiters are all easy ways to keep warm while you walk from the lot to the church and back again, they can be coordinated to match your outfit perfectly who add a contrasting burst of color. Take a small tote bag to pop your hats, gloves etc. in which inside the church so they stay out of sight and tucked away.

If you think you might be cold during the service, consider buying a simple wool blanket or larger scar or throw to drape over your legs while you sit. This is ideal for smaller children as they are likely to get colder faster sitting in a cold church.

Sitting on cold seats is no fun so, if the church you’re attending has old wooden pews take a few slim cushions to sit on, ideal for children too, hopefully, it will keep them warm and they won’t be so inclined to fidget!

Top-most layer

Depending on the formality of the occasion you have a wide choice of products for your outer layer. This could be anything from a formal top-coat to your ski jacket! Don‘t forget that you will probably remove this layer and place it on your seat so no one will see it once you are inside the church.

If you feel the cold, consider taking another layer such as a poncho or cardigan with you as a back-up.

Final thoughts

Staying warm and looking appropriate for the service your attending are the two most important factors when deciding what to wear to church in the winter. There’ are lots of choices for both men and women and with the right base-layers, you can wear a lot of things you might ordinarily have discounted because you thought they’d be too cold.

Just be mindful of the church your attending and if in doubt as to their dress-code, ask for further clarification before you spend lots of money on an outfit.

Stay stylish. Stay warm.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.