When becoming a Freemason, you must look the part. Brothers are expected to understand the importance of looking their best and representing the fraternity in a manner conducive to the high moral values expected of Masons.
Many people wonder what exactly the Masonic dress code is. In this post, we take a look at the Freemasons’ attire, as well as shirts and other dress items that Masons often wear in their own time when not attending the lodge.
Does Freemasonry impose a dress code?
Freemasonry is steeped in the history and tradition of the medieval stonemasons and even has its roots in some of the world’s ancient religions. Much of Freemasonry’s dress code was adopted by early Masons such as George Washington, and the tradition has continued through to this day.
Freemasons are expected to dress smartly for all lodge meetings, as to dress without effort is considered a sign of disrespect to his fellow man. Indeed, should you visit many of the world’s many lodges, you will see men dressed very smartly, adorning some of the symbolic garbs of Freemasonry.
Having said that, the dress code of Masons varies quite significantly from lodge to lodge. In some instances, Masons wear full tuxedos, white gloves, and the full ceremonial garb expected of Freemasons. This is particularly the case for formal events.
In contrast, it is known that some Masons meet in just a shirt and jeans, particularly when conducting an informal officers’ meeting. With such contrasting expectations within Freemasonry, Masons can find it challenging to know what to wear when meeting their brothers.
However, most lodges will produce clear guidelines identifying what is expected when attending meetings, and the brothers are expected to follow these guidelines.
What to wear to a Masonic lodge
Even though there are discrepancies in the expected dress code, Masons will look to keep it smart when attending meetings at their respective lodges. Unless specified, it is expected that Masons should wear dark suits, black shoes, ties, and white shirts.
The purpose of this is to keep the dress code smart and simple while ensuring equality throughout the lodge. As a general rule, Masons tend to keep their core dress simple, adding ceremonial and symbolic clothing items where appropriate.
Masonic apparel is worn at events such as fundraisers, special lodge events, charity relief events, open meetings, and family functions. Seeing brothers in their ceremonial best is an incredible sight and is something that Masons are incredibly proud of.
This is because it symbolizes the fact that membership of a lodge is a unique brotherhood, which promotes the spiritual, moral, and social need within all men to contribute to something bigger than themselves. In life, often, our most significant achievements come when we are part of something other than our individual self.
That’s what is so special about Freemasonry. Brothers support one another in their journey throughout life, holding each other to account and helping them be better people while contributing to their families and communities positively.
For reasons like this, the dress code is so vital for Masons, as it is thought of as a reflection of the broader Masonic values. If in doubt about what to wear, Masons can simply inquire at their lodge about a specific meeting or ceremony’s dress expectations. This way, they will avoid any embarrassment and will dress appropriately.
What do Masons wear when they’re not at the lodge?
There isn’t a dress code as such for Masons to adhere to when they’re not attending a meeting at the lodge. Having said that, it’s expected that Masons dress with dignity and reflect the values of Freemasonry at all times.
Masons should remember that when they’re not attending the lodge with their fellow brothers, they are ambassadors for Freemasonry the world over and should dress accordingly to ensure they don’t cause embarrassment or misunderstandings.
Often, and this is the case in the United States more so than anywhere else, Masons wear casual shirts that identify their affiliation to the fraternity. For some, they are an indication that the wearer is a proud Mason and is happy to show people he is a member of the fraternity.
This is because it presents brothers with the opportunity to speak in public about their membership in Freemasonry. It is an excellent conversation starter with family and friends but is also a way of identifying fellow Masons in public. Brothers in the United States often wear their shirts to help them recruit members to their lodges. As a conversation starter, Masonic shirts are effective and can often result in invitations being made, and new members can receive a tour of the lodge as a result.
Is the wearing of Masonic shirts symbolic?
Yes. Like many elements of Freemasonry, wearing shirts is a symbolic gesture by Masons the world over to promote their membership of a particular lodge. Also, Freemasons believe that membership of their fraternity makes them better men and widely promotes this fact.
Much like fans of sports teams wear their colors in public, some Masons are proud and wish to wear their apparel in public in the same way.
Below are some of the different shirts that Masons can wear in public to show their affiliation to their lodge: