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Your Complete Guide to Dressing for Religious Ceremonies

Dressing for a religious event—be it a bar or bat mitzvah, communion, christening or otherwise—can be a pretty tricky affair. Daunting as it may seem to dress appropriately in an environment you may not be entirely familiar with, it's really all about keeping your look tasteful and respectful while still reflecting your personal style. Read on for some of our go-to tips for putting together the perfect ensemble for a religious event. Bonus: we've even dug out some of our own bat mitzvah snapshots to share. Oh, the borderline-humiliating lengths we go to for you, dear readers.

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Go Long

As far as hemlines are concerned, it's safest to stick to a skirt or dress that hits either at the knee or just slightly above. When in doubt, slip into some opaque tights—nothing too boldly patterned, please.

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Go Long

While some super-traditional churches and synagogues prefer women wear skirts or dresses rather than trousers, a neat pantsuit can look beautifully modern at a religious occasion.

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Conceal, Don't Reveal

In most religious environments, baring your shoulders is a big no-no. Same goes for cutouts, sheer fabrics, and ultra-tight silhouettes. A tailored, long-sleeved dress is a safe and on-trend (thanks, Kate Middleton!) choice for a christening or bar/bat mitzvah.

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Conceal, Don't Reveal

Of course, you don't have to rule out any and all sleeveless dresses. Just bring along a complementary cardigan to throw on during the service.

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Conceal, Don't Reveal

A sharp blazer or jacket never fails for daytime religious ceremonies, especially since they tend to crank up that air-conditioning like nobody's business.

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Get Creative With Color

While classic black's fine for nighttime parties and services, it's better (not to mention more festive) to choose something in a fun color for day. Why not go for something colorblocked?

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Get Creative With Color

In terms of bold prints, use your judgment. While racy animal prints are risky, florals or something even more unusual—like Carven's multicolored map pattern—should be A-OK for church or synagogue.

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Turn Up the Texture

Pieces in tweed or bouclé were made for a daytime affair like this.

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Turn Up the Texture

Worn during the day or at night, elegant lace never looks wrong.

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Accessorize Wisely

While an embellished flat can look great, it's better to choose heels for a religious occasion. Peeptoes and slingbacks are fine, but we can't resist the timelessness of a pretty pump with some added interest.

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Accessorize Wisely

Don't throw your bat mitzvah outfit off-balance with a giant bag—a clutch is just the right size to stow your essentials (and it's easy to dance with, too).

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Accessorize Wisely

Stick to dimunitive, pretty pieces of jewelry—you don't want noisy bangles and chains distracting the rest of the congregation, after all. Pearls, diamond studs, or a standout cocktail ring are perfect picks.

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