The iconic white shirt, dark suit and conservative tie that made up the attire for young men serving full-time missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been adjusted.
On Friday, it was announced the exceptions were approved by the Frist Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, considered the highest leadership of the church.
“The exceptions and adjustments will give Area Presidencies the ability to adjust missionary attire in specific locations to improve and maintain missionary dignity, safety, effectiveness, approachability, and cultural sensitivity while properly representing the Lord and his chuch,” the church statement said.
Under the updated guidelines, the standard missionary attire is re-emphasized to include a white shirt and tie and, in some areas, a suit coat.
Additionally, in approved teaching areas, young men (commonly known as elders) may be able to wear a white or plain blue dress shirt with or without a tie.
The blue shirt and no tie attire is new to the list of approved clothing choices if allowed in a missionary’s particular mission.
These exceptions will be determined by Area Presidencies, and missionaries will be notified by their mission president if these exceptions apply to their teaching area.
“Missionary attire has regularly adapted over time according to location, style and custom,” said Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and chairman of the Missionary Executive Council. “These exceptions are a continuation of that process. In all our considerations, we keep top of mind the missionary’s calling to represent Jesus Christ, their health and safety, and the cultural sensitivities of the places where they serve.”
While making these clothing option adjustments, the church statement said, “All elders will continue to wear a white shirt and tie and, in some areas, a suit coat when attending the temple, Sunday worship services, leadership and zone conferences, missionary training centers, baptismal services and other church meetings.”
“Missionary attire will always be dignified, respectful and approachable as missionaries fulfill their purpose of teaching people about the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Elder Uchtdorf.
Friday’s announcement follows a dress standards adjustment in December 2018 for young women serving as missionaries.
At that time, it was announced that sister missionaries in all of the church’s missions would have the option of wearing dress slacks.
“Sister missionaries in roughly half of the Church’s missions have previously been wearing dress slacks during the wet seasons to help protect them from mosquito-borne viral diseases such as dengue fever, Chikungunya, and Zika,” the 2018 statement said. “This latest change will allow all sister missionaries to do so year-round, based on their own discretion.”
Sister missionaries continue to wear skirts and dresses when attending the temple and during Sunday worship services, mission leadership and zone conferences, and baptismal services.