Ask a Freemason Questions and Answers Find a Lodge Near You
 
   
1 of 2
1
Dress code?
Posted: 09 December 2015 03:31 PM   [ Ignore ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  92
Joined  2015-11-25

I’ve browsed around a bit, seen similar topics but not really covering my questions. Since this section is “Becoming” a Mason it seemed most appropriate to ask here.

I don’t own a single suit, a single tie, no slacks, and no blazer coats. Never had a need or desire for them. I honestly don’t care for most of it, especially ties. That being said I am right now wearing some poly dress pants, white button up shirt with a folded collar, clip on tie and dress vest. All supplied by my employer as required uniform.

When I go to church I generally wear a vented fishing shirt (button up with a collar) and some carhartt pants. It looks “nice” in the way a dressed up cowboy looks nice in new blue jeans. It’s nicer than what most members wear to my church.

2 days ago I went to the lodge the first time to introduce myself and make my desire to join known. I was invited inside and to eat with them. At the time I was wearing my white shirt and pants mentioned above, with a police style outer coat that clearly says “security” on it as I had not long gotten off work. Nearly everyone there was in a suit and tie. But not all. A few were in blazer coats with ties. Or suits with coats omitting the tie. A few in dress pants, coats and polo shirts. Or coats, cowboy boots with a bolo tie. I think you see the point that there were varieties of “dressed up” but most were in a suit and tie. Only one man there had no coat.(God I hate ties, but I am sure I could work something out for just a few hours of lodge and ceremonies if I need to.)

I love to wear kilts. But not really in the bagpiper dress you may assume. I also know some lodges do have members who dress in kilts. (I’ve been digging for info on lots of things) I have an idea to dress up some of my casual kilts for lodge, and for dinners for now since that is all I can attend. Black Dress shirt with Mandarin Style Collar (its a solid collar that doesn’t fold) Dress Vest, and polished Dr Martin Boots.

Is there an Officer or designated person I should look for at dinners to ask about attire? Or should a polish up my boots and just got for it and see if it goes over? I know Masons like to “dress well” and they like to be in the company of others “well dressed”. If I look the part I can be accepted and build relationships more easily. I’m no secret agent or mole trying to infiltrate. Just assimilate to the culture and hopefully maintain some of my own comforts too.

(I am also aware some lodges allow jeans, t shirts, shorts, whatever. But if the men are dressing up, and I am not, they’ll feel I don’t respect them.)

 Signature 

Entered-06-20-16
Passed-02-20-17
Raised-06-10-17
Golden City Lodge #1
Golden, CO

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 December 2015 04:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2085
Joined  2008-01-21

First, relax. You need not concern yourself too much with dress codes. Most lodges in the USA do NOT require a necktie. I have not work a tie to lodge, since I lived in Paris, France.  I went to lodge one evening, and I did not have a tie on, so the lodge loaned me one.

There are all types of lodges. I have attended lodge in rural Kentucky, and the men wore work jeans and work boots. I have attended lodge in Afghanistan, (A Canadian overseas lodge) and we wore desert BDU uniforms. I have attended lodge in Paris, France, and coat and tie is mandatory (Or Tuxedo).

You should inquire of the secretary, and/or worshipful master, what is the desired attire of the lodge. You will see a variety of clothing, I am sure.

The important thing is the inside man, not outside embellishments like suits and ties.

 Signature 

Charles E. Martin
Alexandria, Virginia

My blog about Masonry in Afghanistan and Iraq:
(Send me a PM)

Bowling Green Lodge #73, Bowling Green, KY (Grand Lodge of KY, F.&A.M.;)
Macedonian Lodge, Quincy Mass. (Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, F.&A.M.;)
Alexandria, VA Scottish Rite Bodies, A.A.S.R. (Southern Jurisdiction, USA)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 December 2015 10:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
Moderator
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2373
Joined  2011-01-20

The dress code in Massachusetts is set by Grand Lodge. Members should wear dark suits and ties. Officers are required to wear tuxedos.

As Master in my lodge, would I ask a brother to leave if he were not properly attired? No. I would let him know that when my day looks tight, I put my tux in the back of my truck and change at the lodge before the meeting.

For us, a meeting is a formal affair that gentlemen dress for. If your heritage includes kilts as formal attire I would not find fault with wearing one so long as it wasn’t topped with a Metallica t-shirt. As you pointed out, all the members were well dressed but each had his own style.

 Signature 

John Ruggiero, 32°
Past Master, Ancient York Lodge, Lowell, MA.

God never sends us anything we can’t handle. Sometimes I wish He didn’t trust me so much. - Mother Teresa

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 December 2015 11:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  264
Joined  2014-06-15

As Bro Ruggiero stated earlier, the minimum dress code is usually set by the Grand Lodge in a jurisdiction, but an individual lodge can set additional dress codes in it’s bylaws as long as it doesn’t conflict with the Grand Lodge decision. (For example, if GL says minimum dress is shirt and tie then the local lodge could not say business polo and slacks but could add a coat to the mix).

Most European jurisdictions require formal attire (Black suit, white shirt, black tie at minimum but preferably tux). And most American A.F.& A.M. lodges dress more formally as a rule.

In Alabama where I’m a member, there is no dress code set by our Grand Lodge. However, my local lodge has a very minimal addition in that at no time can shorts, flip-flops, or sandals be worn to lodge except on designated lawn maintenance days or lodge clean up days. Usually, most members wear nice polos and slacks. For our degree work the officers usually wear at minimum shirt and tie but most wear suits. For any special event such as officer installation we all wear suits.

So first check with your GL, then read the local lodge bylaws and you should be set.

I would suggest that if you travel outside of your jurisdiction that you pack a coat and tie just in case.

 Signature 

Bro. David Howard
Sr. Warden - Howard E. Palmes Lodge #917, Mobile, Alabama

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2015 12:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  92
Joined  2015-11-25

Thanks for throwin me a bone. It’s what I needed.

 Signature 

Entered-06-20-16
Passed-02-20-17
Raised-06-10-17
Golden City Lodge #1
Golden, CO

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2015 08:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  64
Joined  2015-11-09

A note on kilts:
Kilts are either semi formal, or full formal, depending on the style of jacket and sporran you choose. An Argyll or tweed jacket are considered semi formal, and you can wear either a day sporran (leather faced), or an evening sporran (fur) with it-but day sporran is the commonly excepted norm. A normal white shirt and tie are worn. You MAY wear a belt, if you are NOT wearing a vest. The tie should end at the top of the kilt.
As to full formal evening wear kilt, a Prince Charlie jacket is considered a formal evening dress, and is worn with a tuxedo shirt and bow tie, and a vest. A belt is NEVER worn with this attire. Acceptable sporrans are a fur (modern) or a face (traditional-the face of the animal is worn on the front of the sporran).
I am a bagpiper, and attend many, many events that are both formal and semi formal. Any wearing of a kilt without the proper jacket-or one of those modern utility kilts-is akin to wearing jeans. The entire kilt fashion came out of the high Victorian era, where dressing to the nines was THE height of fashion.
I find it much easier putting on, and affording, a nice suit. My kilt set cost me well over $1000 when all was said and done. A quality suit is MUCH less than that, and far more versatile.
Anyway, I wanted to chime in, as this is something I am far too familiar with :)

 Signature 

Petitioned September 2015
Ballotted November 2015
Initiated January 11, 2016
Passed February 8, 2016
Raised May 9, 2016

Caleb Butler Lodge.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2015 10:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  92
Joined  2015-11-25

Thanks for that too. I am aware of certain kilt standards. I don’t abide by most of em. I was hoping not to stir that hornet’s nest. I would like to get a nice Argyle set up for formal wear. Which I would try to wear properly.

I haven’t been able to determine for certain if I have Celtic ancestry at all as of yet.
But I am no slave to fashion be it kilted or trouser tyranny. :) I just like wearing them and it is my preferred garment if I have the choice. If you see me in public on my own time and I am not in a kilt, it’s because I felt like I had to wear pants. If that becomes the case for lodge I can get by with pants if I have to. No squabble or drama.

I love Metallica, but I have more respect for an event like Masonic lodge than to show up there in a kilt and Metallica T shirt. I also would never buck the system for any activity like pipe bands that have a set standard or uniform.

I don’t own any expensive authentic Scottish wool kilts and I probably never will given the budget. Most of the ones I have now are (open) tartan poly viscose. Very comfortable and very convenient. You can dress it up some but it’ll never really be a “tank” I think. Given what I observed in the dinner meeting leading up to lodge, I am pretty confident I can dress it up enough to compliment those standards.

If we have to get to “you have to wear this but never that” in terms of accessories I’ll just forgo the whole thing and dress the same as everyone else.

 Signature 

Entered-06-20-16
Passed-02-20-17
Raised-06-10-17
Golden City Lodge #1
Golden, CO

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2015 10:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
Newcomer
Rank
Total Posts:  14
Joined  2015-12-01

My lodge varies in dress. Some come in a suit, while others are in jeans with a button up shirt. I, personally, wore a suit to my first degree but I guess it doesn’t really matter much in my lodge.

 Signature 

Randy L. Angel
Phoenix Lodge #38 F&AM;
Natchitoches, LA

EA: 7 Dec 2015
FC:18 Jan 2016
MM:15 Feb 2016

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 December 2015 01:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  92
Joined  2015-11-25

<I don’t expect many will still be interested but in case anyone is, read on and feel free to chime in>

After considering all my options I decided I could invest in one decent sport coat to go with my kilt. I told my wife what I had in mind from a style perspective and she asked to go along and help me pick it. I was glad of that because her fashion sense is much better than mine.

There are couple of higher end men’s stores close by. So we thought we’d start there, get some ideas what we are looking for, get some advise, then look around to see what our bargain options also are.

Browsing the internet I’ve learned a little about suits vs blazers vs sport coats. Remember I’ve never owned a suit or coat of any kind. For a decent coat I was looking at about $500. That’s really more than I wanted to spend but I thought maybe I could find something comparable for about $200. Still more than I wanted to spend, but an investment to show the Masons I respect them. Please don’t confuse this effort as an attempt to impress anyone….

First stop is Men’s Warehouse. I wore one of my kilts, & my Dr Marten boots so the sales clerks could see what I was aiming for and we’d have an idea what it actually looks like put together.

Took measurements and tried a few on. I ended up with 2 clerks helping me. An older gentleman who had been in the business a long time. And a very young man who was very well dressed.

I was so pleased with the service and the deal they worked out I went ahead and bought a coat there. My wife approved and both of the clerks agreed that it looked good with the boots and kilt.

So here is what I ended up with. A custom tailored black suit; coat and pants (still plan to wear the kilt but the pants came with it) 3 shirts, they are modifying the collars for me. Suspenders, and a hanky for $500.

Hopefully everything is ready for pick up before the next dinner meeting. I know this is NOT required for visitors to do. But I do want to make the right impression. If there is any positive or negative feedback with the kilt, I’ll let you know for anyone still reading along. Since the coat came with pants, making that change wont be a big deal.

 Signature 

Entered-06-20-16
Passed-02-20-17
Raised-06-10-17
Golden City Lodge #1
Golden, CO

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 December 2015 02:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  581
Joined  2012-09-18

Good choice with Mens Wearhouse.
Always quality clothing at a decent price.
When buying dress clothes, always buy the best you can as it will last longer and look good doing it.
I think that you will have no problems with your choices at the Lodge.

 Signature 

Past Master, Dryden Lodge #472
Secretary, Caroline Lodge #618
Hudson,Fulton,Dryden Chapter #250 OES
32* A&ASR; Coudersport Pa.
RAM Fidelity #77

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 December 2015 08:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  64
Joined  2015-11-09

Excellent choice :). Even though I have several kilts and full regalia (everything from daywear to full formal and military dress), I opted to purchase a suit as well. We have a local small business thats a mens store in town, they do their in house tailoring. I didnt have a suit prior to that either (I got it specifically for the Lodge, to be honest). So, now, I have a single suit (I think, all told, I paid $300 for mine, tailored to me, with a shirt and 2 ties) for my degrees and for lectures (which I have attended, and am attending, prior to my EA in a few weeks).
Bottom line, its good to have a suit. As my dad said, at my wedding a few years ago: Now you have something nice to be buried in :)

 Signature 

Petitioned September 2015
Ballotted November 2015
Initiated January 11, 2016
Passed February 8, 2016
Raised May 9, 2016

Caleb Butler Lodge.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 December 2015 11:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  92
Joined  2015-11-25

(((UPDATE)))

I attended another pre meeting dinner. Black dress shirt w banded collar (no tie), black dress coat, red / black plaid kilt (casual sport kilt), back Dr Martens (polished), black modern hose. The outfit seemed to go over fine. Seemed to be accepted fine and I did not feel at all under dressed compared to the other men I saw.

I did have several good conversations that were struck up about Scotsmen, Clans, kilts ect. One lady (I think her husband was well known there) held me over for a while after everything was over to talk about her families’ connections to Scotland.

One other thing to note. I have some pretty big tattoos on my legs. Celtic crosses on both knees / shins (because this is where you kneel to pray) and 3 Celtic braids wrapping around each leg. So both legs are evenly covered front to back with celtic tattoos in the areas exposed between the bottom of the kilt and the top of my boots. As I mentioned before if this is any issue I can just wear pants like everyone else. But I wanted them to see it. I felt like if these men are going to be voting on whether or not they want me to become one of them, they should be able to see more of who I am. Warts and all. (that’s an expression)

I assume most of this really depends on the lodge and membership from place to place. No tie, no collar, boots, kilt, tats. All seemed to go over fine. If there is anything else to update in the future I will try to remember this post is here for anyone looking.

 Signature 

Entered-06-20-16
Passed-02-20-17
Raised-06-10-17
Golden City Lodge #1
Golden, CO

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 December 2015 01:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
Moderator
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2373
Joined  2011-01-20

We learn (or should learn) in the very beginning of our journey that what counts is the man’s character, not his appearance. It seems like the men in that lodge have learned that lesson and are a fine bunch of Masons.

 Signature 

John Ruggiero, 32°
Past Master, Ancient York Lodge, Lowell, MA.

God never sends us anything we can’t handle. Sometimes I wish He didn’t trust me so much. - Mother Teresa

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 March 2016 12:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  92
Joined  2015-11-25

3 months visiting now.

No problems so far with the kilt, boots or tattoos that I know of.

Funny thing is, everyone assumes I must be some masonic official. There was an open meeting welcoming the new Grand Lodge Master. 4 lodges together as well as GL Officers and families. I couldnt go in at first. There was a brief tyled meeting before the lodge was opened to the public. So I stood with the tyler and made myself useful helping everyone tie aprons, adjust coats, and jewels. All of these life long Freemasons kept assuming I was the person that knew what was going on and approached me with all of their questions regarding meeting agendas ect at “our” lodge. I just played along and deflected answers to the tyler who standing there.

One advantage to wearing the kilt. I cannot remember everyone’s name. I KNOW all these old men don’t remember my name. But everyone remembers the guy in the kilt.

 Signature 

Entered-06-20-16
Passed-02-20-17
Raised-06-10-17
Golden City Lodge #1
Golden, CO

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 March 2016 04:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
Newcomer
Rank
Total Posts:  13
Joined  2016-02-14

Joseph,
Have you petitioned the Lodge yet, or are you still getting to know the Lodge members better first? If you’re still wondering about the dress code, the best thing you could do is ask. They will be happy to explain all of their requirements. Dress codes are usually set at the Grand Lodge level, with subordinate Lodges sometimes having additional requirements. Some Lodges have a general dress code, while others have a different dress code for the officers or members of the different degrees. Good luck in your journey.

 Signature 

S&F,

Traveling Man
East Lansing Lodge # 480, F&AM;
Michigan Lodge of Research # 1, F&AM;
Grand Lodge of Michigan

Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite (NMJ), Valley of Detroit

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 March 2016 05:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  92
Joined  2015-11-25

I am at 3 months as a potential candidate now. I must wait 6 months before I can petition.

If there is a problem with the kilt I really expect someone should have said something by now. I’ve worn a kilt to every gathering I’ve gone to as described in this thread. As far as anyone in the lodge knows, I may not even own any pants.

 Signature 

Entered-06-20-16
Passed-02-20-17
Raised-06-10-17
Golden City Lodge #1
Golden, CO

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 2
1
 

© 2007 - 2011 The Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts.

Page rendered in 0.4499 seconds.