Today’s question: “(As a leader), what do you wear when you go to Mutual? Do you dress-up?”
In our ward, Mutual (Wednesday night) activities are very casual. When a new YW leader is called, I tell them that dressing up is not required for Mutual. We dress-up in “Sunday best” for most Sunday meeting and classes (Sacrament meeting, Young Women class, etc), but Mutual is a different type of activity. We play games, we cook, we make things, we learn to change oil, we rake people’s yards, etc – its not a dress up thing.
For some Sunday activities, such as Bishops Youth Discussions (formerly known as youth firesides) we specify “nice casual/stake youth dance standards” for clothing (in our Stake, this means that they can wear pants if they aren’t too sloppy or casual, boys wear a shirt with a collar, and also the modesty standards apply- no skirts about the knee, no low-cut blouses, etc). These Bishops Youth Discussions are normally held at a family’s home, and sometimes held outside (around a fire-pit), so Sunday clothes aren’t always necessary or appropriate. However, we specify “nice casual” because we want to show a certain level of respect for the host family and the speakers (showing up in pjs or a t-shirt with an inappropriate message on it might not convey that respect)
For any Church activity, a good rule of thumb I’ve always followed is that if an activity is being held in the chapel, you wear “Sunday best”. If we have a Stake Youth Fireside in the chapel of the Stake Center, I don’t have to ask – I know the clothing should be “Sunday clothing” (i.e., what you would wear to church on Sunday). The same goes for Mutual (Wednesday night) activities that may be held in the chapel (such as “Standards Night”) or other special events.
For the most part, in our ward, the majority of our Mutual (Wednesday night) activities are held in either the Relief Society room or the cultural hall/gym, and we rarely need to specify “Sunday clothes.” We have asked for “Sunday clothes” on certain occasions (such as for Young Women in Excellence).
I personally feel like as a leader, its appropriate to dress according to the activity. Honestly, I normally dress up a little more to go to Mutual than I would to go to the grocery store. That is my personal preference, but not something that I feel i required. I don’t usually wear a skirt or heels or anything like that, but I might wear a nicer blouse than I would wear if I were just sitting around my house. Of course it depends on the type of activity. If I were leading or attending a self-defense class activity, I would come in different clothing than I might for another type of activity. Even though I might be dressed very casually for some activities, I always dress modestly to set a good example and try not to come across as sloppy because I still want to project the persona of a leader.
On a related note, leaders who chaperone youth dances in our Stake are asked to wear Sunday clothes to the dances (even though the youth are dressed casually). Why so stuffy? Why can’t the adult leaders dress casually at a dance? In my opinion, it sets the adult leaders apart as an authority figure and makes them more identifiable as adults to the youth.
As always, my opinions reflect…well, my opinion, as well as the practices in our area of the country/world and don’t necessarily represent an official church policy. Please consult local leaders if you have concerns about what types of clothing are appropriate in your area.
If you have a question you’d like to ask for a future “Random Question Thursday,” please post it in the comments of this blog post, OR you can post it on my Jolly Rogers Young Women Facebook Group page (search for “Jolly Rogers Young Women” on Facebook – you must request to join the group). Thanks for your input!