Except for the wild college days of the 1970s when nobody came to the Newman Center in anything but jeans, I have always dressed up for church. That usually meant dresses, skirts or a pants suit (I would explain what pants suits are if you are too young to remember, but just use your imagination.) Dressing for church, I have always thought, is a mark of respect for God and His House. I have always had church clothes.
When I was a little girl my church clothes included a hat that attached to my head with an elastic band that when around my chin and usually hurt. I wore black or white patent leather Maryjanes that were saved exclusively for church. I remember half petticoats that made my skirt fluff out in the 50s. It wasn't that my family was different from every other family. Everybody dressed for church.
The aforementioned college years did not include church dressing unless I was home or went to an church off-campus. Those 70s were wild days all over. I suspect that many parishes began to see pants on women and men who did not wear suits to church. No little girls had to wear the uncomfortable hats with the elastic bands anymore.
After I became a grown up and married and had my son, I pretty much returned to church dressing. Exactly how fancy would depend on the particular parish we were in. Since my husband did the Naval tour of the world, that was a lot of different places. I was never a shorts and flip flops church goer. That is not my style.
When we settled back in the Midwest I reverted to the skirt wearing, dress up for church of my youth. I almost always wore a skirt to church except in the very coldest parts of winter. I dressed for church. Then a couple of things happened. Pantyhose went by the wayside. They became increasingly hard to find. Women were supposed to wear bare legs! This was not my best look. The other thing was my foot/ankle injury. I could no longer wear any kind of heel. Flat sandals with skirts are not too bad, but since I couldn't even wear ballerina flats, the clunky flat shoes or tennis shoes I wear most of the year were not a possibility with skirts.
I wear pants to church. I try to look dressy and wear a jacket. I don't wear the tennis shoes even when they are the only comfortable shoes. I wear a brace on my ankle usually and I hide it with pants. As I look around the church I am not out of place with most of the other women. We wear pants to church these days.
Whereas once I would have looked around at the women who dressed down for church and thought things about respecting God and church clothes and dressing up, these days I am glad they are at church dressed in clothing. I am sure that some of them could take a little more care or dress a little smarter for God's House, but what they are wearing is not for me to judge.