All female missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are now allowed to wear dress slacks, the church announced Thursday.
The changes take effect immediately. The change came about from safety concerns, according to a press release.
“Adjustment to the missionary dress and grooming standards have changed over time since the beginning of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in 1830 and will continue to do so in the future,” Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a member of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the chairman of the Missionary Executive Council, said in the press release. “As we adapt these standards, we always carefully consider the dignity of the missionary calling to represent Jesus Christ, the safety, security and health of our beloved missionaries, and the cultural sensitivities of the places where they serve.”
Sister missionaries can wear pants year-round if they choose. The change will also allow missionaries in colder areas to keep warm, according to the release, and will make it easier for them to ride bicycles.
Wearing dress slacks is optional. Female missionaries must still wear skirts and dresses to temple services and during Sunday worship services, mission leadership and zone conferences and to baptisms, according to a press release from the church.
Sister missionaries in about half of the church’s worldwide missions had previously been allowed to wear dress slacks during wet seasons to protect from mosquito-borne viral diseases like dengue fever, Chikungunya and the Zika virus.