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Church Dress Code for Women - Scotland

Are women required to wear a dress or skirt when visiting churches in Scotland? I was not planning on bringing either of these but want to make sure I have them if necessary.

Posted by
657 posts

I attended church in the large Presbyterian church in Edinburgh in my travel pants, skirts not required. I don't recall visiting other churches, but I do not believe there would be dress codes.

Posted by
4489 posts

Of course not. Slacks or nice jeans would be fine

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you for the replies as this is helpful. The Rick Steve’s Packing List for Women suggests 1-2 skirts for church visits. Maybe this information is no longer relevant and needs an update.

Posted by
4489 posts

This is just a suggested list, and is for anywhere in Europe. The suggestion means IF you were taking a skirt, and wanted to wear it into a church, it should be at least knee length. And it is true that in some countries in Europe when entering a Catholic Church, knees and shoulders need to be covered. That doesn't mean you couldn't wear pants.

And FWIW, I can't remember the last time I packed either skirts or shorts. Not my thing. But I do bring more slacks (Capris in summer only)

Posted by
3476 posts

Just to add my voice: I have been twice in the last 2 weeks on a Sunday morning - in slacks. One day I even had my hiking shoes on because that was how I had to pack. Although many women were in dresses, enough were in pants that I didn’t stick out - and both places made me feel welcome. And you certainly don’t need one if you are just visiting churches and not attending a formal service.

Posted by
6469 posts

Okay, I have to ask - LOL! If a Scotsman wears a kilt to a church, does it also have to cover his knees?

Posted by
4353 posts

Jean, considering the appearance of most male knees, one surely hopes so.

Posted by
4489 posts

Jean, the traditional length of a Scotsman's kilt is to the middle of the kneecap. To be measured for it, traditionally the man has to kneel on the floor, and the measurement is taken from his waist to the floor. How do I know? DH was once a drummer in a pipe band, and SIL is of Scottish ancestry and the men in his family take their heritage seriously. They all get their full Scottish kit for their weddings.

But the Church of Scotland does not have a restrictive dress code. Just dress respectfully as you would for any house of worship.

Posted by
676 posts

Jean, lol
TC, yes! lol
CJean, how interesting, I didn't know it had to be a specify length and that's how they measured it!

Posted by
427 posts

Any mention by Rick Steves of a dress code for visiting churches tends to relate to Catholic or Orthodox churches in Europe.

Anything goes in the UK, pretty much. I used to regularly attend church in torn jeans.

Posted by
12154 posts

The only places I've seen any adherence to dress codes in Europe are most churches in Italy, (only) a few churches in Spain and one pilgrimage church in Southwest France. I have seen people having conversations with security about dress code only in Italy.

I've never seen anyone barred admittance or asked to leave, related to dress code, in British Isles, Scandinavia, Germany, Austria or most churches in France.

Even the strictest dress codes are related to modesty (knees, midriff and shoulders covered) rather than wearing a skirt.

Posted by
6469 posts

CJean, interesting! Thanks for sharing that info about the kilt measurement process.

Posted by
1987 posts

It wasn’t Scotland, but the same technique was employed at my high school in the late 60s to be sure the girls’ skirts weren’t too short. Teachers met us at the doors. The hem had to touch the ground or they’d be sent home to change. We guys got nabbed if our hair touched our collars.