Guidelines for Student Dress

Personal appearance is, to a large degree, a function of personal values and application of biblical principles. At Western Seminary, we have avoided a “dress code” because this approach lends itself to legalism. However, there is also the danger that the lack of any direct statement might be construed as a lack of concern on the part of the institution about such matters as dress, neatness, or personal appearance, in general. Thus, we have attempted to identify principles which relate to this matter and trust that they will be applied by all.

These principles include:

  • A believer’s body is a temple of the Holy Spirit;
  • A person’s function or the occasion is an important part of the appropriateness of dress/appearance;
  • How a person appears in another person’s presence may indicate their respect for that person or the purpose for which they are relating to that person;
  • Preparation for ministry is a high calling and often invites additional scrutiny.

Additionally, you are encouraged to be aware that the Western community is made up of men and women from many different ethnic backgrounds, denominational perspectives, and life stages. While personal appearance and dress are individual expressions, at Western we relate and interact as members of a community. In community, we are called to be considerate of others, even putting another’s interests above our own, or foregoing a personal liberty for the sake of another (Philippians 2:4; 1 Corinthians 9:19-23). Thus, consideration and respect for our brothers and sisters is an important value that we wish to impart.