What’s the Dress Code

“There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” — The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander, Benjamin Zander


Over the summer I had an interesting conversation in one of the men’s restrooms at the Minneapolis airport.

As I was washing my hands an extremely sharp dress young man joined me at the sink next to mine. Seeing him dressed in a full blown suit and tie with dress hanky included took me by surprise.

I’m used to the occasional sports coat thrown over a wrinkled shirt with jeans and causal shoes, but a suit and tie!? What gives?

“You’re sure looking sharp today,” I said.

He promptly responded, “Statistically, an airport is the number one place you may meet someone who can help you advance in your career and I want to look appropriate if I meet that person.”

Having a couple of churches in need of a pastor I almost offered him a church right there.

The dress code is something I’ve had to think about a lot for the last several years. Almost weekly I attend an event or travel to a place that I’ve never been before. Most of the time these travels require me to pack a suitcase. What do I pack? What is the dress code? This is standard fare for me.

I finally came up with a way to solve this dilemma.

I don’t start with what the dress code is, I start with how I want to represent myself, and more importantly how do I want to represent those I represent and most importantly how do I want to represent the One who gave me life.

Answering those questions takes care of most of my dress code issues.

What about you?

I’m certainly not pressing my preferences on you. But I hope you’re not letting others press their preferences on you either.

What I am asking is…

  • How do you want to represent yourself?
  • How do you want to represent those you represent?
  • How do you want to represent God?

I remember attending a conference in Atlanta, GA a few years ago that catered especially to young Christian leaders. There were some amazing speakers there. I did notice, however, that there were only two that got a standing ovation. Both of them were older statemen (in their 70’s). They both missed the dress code memo and showed up in full suit and tie.

Was it the way they dressed that impressed those thousands of young leaders? Of course not. It was their authenticity, integrity, and long life of service that moved those kids that day.

But, being an old guy myself, I couldn’t help but chuckle a little that it wasn’t the “cool guys” that stood out the most that day but rather two old suit-wearing guys.

And here’s the deal, if you can manage to live long enough, you will be an “old guy” (or gal) and nobody will be surprised if you’re not in tune with the latest styles. The question is, why should they be surprised now?

The ONE THING for today: Come as you are, but show up at your best.

10 thoughts on “What’s the Dress Code

  1. I totally agree, Pastor Kemp. I think we need to try to look our best wherever we go. Those three points resonate with me. I guess it was the way I was raised, and the era I was raised in. I would love to see more “dressed up” attire these days, especially in the Kings House. I think dressing to go to God’s House is a statement to Him. Thanks for sharing this. Love and blessings to you and Sonja!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am the widow of a Pastor/Evangelist who felt it an honor to stand behind the pulpit and preach the Gospel message for over 55 years.
    He always felt the weight of that calling, and dressed in attire appropriate for that calling: a suit, dress shirt and necktie. The best he had.
    When he spoke in any community setting representing the church, he always dressed professionally in business attire: suit, dress shirt and tie and dress shoes. He was well-known and respected in all the communities where we pastored.
    If he was called upon to teach a church class, and not behind a pulpit, he dressed professionally in a dress shirt and trousers and either a business jacket or sweater and dress shoes.
    Even when we attended community and school events that were casual, we were careful to be well-groomed and dressed in business casual to represent our church.


  3. David my Dad, Joel Hobbs, was old school. He wore his best suits on Sunday with his pocket hanky. On Saturday evening he shined his shoes and anyone else’s in the family that needed it. He wore his best when he went in the pulpit. He wore a sport coat and tie during the week because he wanted to represent his congregation well in the business world. But in his years of retirement I loved watching him sharing with visitors his books and studies wearing his jeans. He was just as passionate about his love for Jesus Christ.


    1. Hey Dee! What a joy to hear from you. Yes, your dad was the epitome of class wherever he went. I had the highest respect for your dad and feel that way about your mom as well. God bless you for your faithful care for them.


  4. Pastor Kemp I love this reading. I dress daily depending on where I’m going to be. For church I dress-up, for the probation office I dress corporate casual and for the prison I dress casual. I am always want to be conscious of my surroundings. I never want to be dressed in a way that it would totally cause people to shut me out and not hear what I have to say from my heart. I love your blogs.


  5. I guess a lot of us are old school. We were raised you dressed in Sunday clothes (I’m pretty sure that meant dresses and suits and ties or the best you had) to go to church.

    If you remember Aubrey was always dressed in a suit and tie at church. He always told me that he felt that was his way of honoring his Lord and Savior.

    Hope you and Sonja are doing well.

    Thanks for sharing


    1. Hey Donna! What a pleasant surprise to hear from you. I pray you are doing well. And yes, Aubrey was always a sharp dressed man when he came to church. I remember you both most fondly.


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