What to Wear on Your Mission: Elders

As an elder in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you are an ambassador for the Lord, and you may be one of the first people to cross someone’s path who hasn’t heard our message. A first impression is important, which is why elders are expected to dress professionally and in a manner that is consistent with your calling and identifies you as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

When you become an elder on behalf of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you join the ranks of one of the most recognizable religious organizations. When people see you walking along the street, they will immediately be able to identify you as a missionary. This means that everything you do, how you carry yourself, and what you wear, are very important not just for you, but also for The Church as you represent it.

General Standards for Elders

There are a few general expectations for how elders groom and dress. These can be changed by mission presidents depending on circumstances, but the following are usually expected of you.

Keep Your Appearance and Presence Neat and Conservative

  • Ensure that your clothes are always clean, ironed, and in top shape (See our tips for caring for your missionary clothing)
  • Bathe daily, use deodorant, brush your teeth, and make sure you are clean-shaven
  • If you use cologne or aftershave, make sure it is light and not overpowering or distracting
  • Maintain your hair in a conservative, professional style that is short, evenly tapered, and not bleached or dyed
  • No tattoos, nose rings, or other body piercings

Wear Business-Like Clothing

This can look slightly different depending on what kind of a climate you are being sent to, but this will usually include:

  • Business-style suits (with climate-appropriate fabric) in conservative colors
  • White, conservative dress shirts made of a polyester blend or another that doesn’t easily wrinkle (can be short or long sleeve)
  • Business-style ties that have non-distracting colors and simple designs
  • Conservatively-colored dress pants/slacks
  • Dress shoes that are comfortable, durable, breathable and polishable
  • Professional-style socks that are a blend of synthetic fabric and cotton or wool
  • Belts that match your shoes, if possible
  • Temple garments

Here are some resources we think you're likely to find helpful:

If you are in a hot climate or cold climate, you may see variations such as:

  • Suit Vests
  • Closed-toe and Closed-heel sandals
  • Wide-brimmed hats (as needed for sunny conditions)
  • Rain or Winter Boots
  • Sweaters
  • Overcoats
  • Thermal underclothing
  • Gloves, scarves, and hats (as needed)

When you receive your call packet, you will receive direction from your mission president in the section called “Items Specific to Your Mission”. This can help you determine your outfit needs.

All outfit items should be high-quality and durable, given the nature of missions. So as you shop for your mission outfits, you’ll want to keep an eye out for those qualities.

During everyday missionary activities, you’ll find yourself wearing a white shirt, tie, and slacks. However, there are certain activities that will require you to dress in your “Sunday-best” attire, such as Sunday meetings, interviews, zone conferences, baptisms, and teaching appointments. Your mission president can help you identify what you should be wearing and when.

Simple Accessories and Bikes

  • Durable and professional-looking shoulder bags
  • Jewelry should be at a minimum, meaning one ring and one conservative-style watch
  • Simple, conservative sunglasses are acceptable but not while speaking with others

An Elders Clothing and Accessories List

Here is an overview of items you will likely need (this list does not include climate-dependent items) and roughly how many of each:

  • 12 white dress shirts (a combination of short and long sleeve)
  • 2 business-style suits
  • 6 pairs of dress pants/slacks
  • At least 6 ties
  • At least 10 pairs of socks
  • At least 2 pairs of dress shoes
  • 10 pairs of temple garments
  • A lightweight plastic or nylon raincoat
  • An umbrella
  • A pair of shower shoes
  • Shaving equipment and other toiletries
  • A couple sets of work clothes and gym clothes
  • A shoulder bag (backpacks are not permitted)

Learn more about Missionary Clothing Guidelines for Elders