Etiquette Expert Shares Tips for Men, Women and Kids on How to Dress for Every Occasion on Easter

Easter is just days away, and depending on how you celebrate, that could mean egg hunts, bunny run-ins, church services, parties and more.

No matter what you’re doing, you’re going to want to look and feel your best — most likely in pastels. With that in mind, FN tapped etiquette expert Sharon Schweitzer J.D., founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide, for tips on how to dress this holiday. Schweitzer advises and trains professionals in cross-cultural and international protocol through her Austin, Texas-based firm.

Read on for a definitive guide to dressing for Easter.

If you’re a guest going to a home for an Easter celebration and there is no dress code specified, how should someone dress? 

Depending on the invitation, most Easter celebrations require a fresh, polished appearance — think pastels, bright colors and clean silhouettes from head to toe. For women, this means a dress or skirt that hits at the knee or lower, paired with unscuffed, polished shoes. Some fun options include flats with a floral motif or a low heel in spring shades of blue, pink or green. For men, think button-downs or polos, paired with khakis or dress pants, but never jeans. Wear your best dress shoes, and make sure they’re freshly polished. Depending on the weather, geography, formality of the invitation and occasion, open-toe shoes may not be appropriate. If there is snow on the ground, it’s raining or the event is occurring in a cold climate, closed-toe shoes, ankle boots and other boots are appropriate.

Florsheim Slip-Ons
Florsheim Slip-Ons
CREDIT: Courtesy

Sometimes Easter events include activities — should someone dress for that? As in sneakers and jeans or shorts?

Read the invitation carefully; if you are unsure, text, email or call the host or hostess. If the host has planned activities that risk getting snow, water, grass stains or mud all over your Sunday best, it’s safe to bring a change of clothes or dress down a bit with a pair of Dockers instead of dress pants or khakis. Bring a pair of sneakers to change into rather than spend the entire event in your trainers, as well as a second pair of socks to stay fresh and clean.

Converse Easter Shoes
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star '70.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand.

How do you dress children for Easter events — formal or casual? What about shoes?

Again, carefully read the invitation. With so many Easter activities involving outdoor egg hunts, colorful paints and dyes — and, of course, chocolate — it can be tricky to dress little ones appropriately. Nevertheless, ensure that their ensemble is event-appropriate, in fresh pastel tones or floral prints that are washable. Think Lilly Pulitzer. To make laundry day less of a hassle, consider easy-care fabrics such as cotton to help any stains come out. The same idea applies to shoes: footwear with satin, silk, crystals or other easily damaged fabric and embellishments can be saved for strictly indoor events. Choose Wellies, rubber boots, Sperry Top-Siders or other outdoor shoes that can be easily cleaned before the kids come back inside.

For church on Easter Sunday, should you dress up even if your church has a casual/relaxed dress code? Many churches welcome guests in jeans and sneakers, particularly younger people, but there’s often a mix of styles.

If the church has a casual dress code, it’s a good idea to respect the importance of Easter for many and ensure your own comfort by dressing up rather than down. That awkward feeling of everyone feeling sorry for you when you don’t know the culture is just the worst.

Always remember that it’s better to dress more formally than too casually. While you don’t necessarily need to wear a Sunday suit or full-length dress, a certain level of polish and poise can be reflected in your attire. Avoid jeans and sneakers, and opt for flats instead of heels (women) or derbies instead of dress shoes (men) if you want a more relaxed vibe.

With contributions by Charlie Carballo.

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