Holy Rules: What to Wear to Meet the Pope

A few guidelines for dressing for the big event.

As people worry about how to get into Philly, how to get the hell out of Philly, where they’ll stay, when they’ll go, and how they’ll get around town, we over at Shoppist HQ have more pressing matters on our minds. Namely: What the heck will we wear? But this isn’t mere vanity. After all, Pope Francis is decidedly not into the pomp and frippery of his papal predecessors. See: his sturdy black shoes, no longer the scarlett loafers worn by Pope Benedict. (Those were, by the way, not Prada.) No, this is about respect, big honking capital-R Aretha-style respect.

There’s going to be a bit of a crowd there,* so chances are Pope Francis won’t notice you’re wearing a stained SummerSlam ’96 t-shirt.  (I mean, God will, I guess, but that’s a different story.) But, just like cut-offs and bandage dresses, just because you can wear something doesn’t mean you should.

When in a private meeting with the pope, women should cover their shoulders, avoid flashy accessories and refrain from wearing white (this honor is for Catholic queens only). You, however, probably won’t be meeting the Pope privately, so you don’t have to adhere to super-strict rules.  A rule of thumb: If you would be embarrassed to be caught in it in front of your in-laws, boss or, well, Jesus, it’s probably not a good idea to wear it. So that rules out crass graphic tees (see thesethis, and pretty much anything you would ever find at a boardwalk t-shirt shop). Same goes for anything too sexy, too short, too dirty or too smelly.

Other tips: Don’t wear high heels — you’ll be standing. A lot. In fact, it’s a good idea to wear closed-toed shoes, because a lot of people will be jostling around for a better glimpse of the Pope, and your toes will be almost definitely be stepped on. Guys, baseball hats are, surprisingly, fine. Bring a cross-body bag, pack light, wear minimal jewelry and bring sunscreen. As for what to wear to get the heck outta dodge? Well, that’s another blog post, but here’s a good start.

 *Understatement of the century.