LOGAN – Jami Rayfield served her LDS mission in the Netherlands from December of 2009 to September of 2011, right when major changes were made to the sister missionary dress code.
“Shopping for my mission was really hard,” Rayfield admitted. “I would walk up to someone who was in my age group and I would look like I was their grandma. I was dressed in nylons, long skirts that were plain and boring shirts.” Rayfield said that people she approached while on her mission would often ask is she was Amish. “We’re just normal girls who are sharing the gospel, but the way we were dressing was distracting from our message.”
Earlier this month, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints <a href=”https://www.lds.org/callings/missionary/dress-grooming?lang=eng” target=”_blank”>updated its website</a> with new photos and guidelines for the dress and grooming of full-time missionaries. Men can now wear light colored suits and khakis while women can wear vibrant colors and patterns.
“Now that they can just wear what they feel comfortable in and what reflects their personality, I think it’s going to make them better missionaries,” said Rayfield, who is now a sales associate at The Sister Shop.
“One of the biggest things I’ve been told as I’ve been preparing to go is how important it is to be myself while I’m a missionary,” said Megan Dolan, who leaves August 28 for the Uruguay Montevideo West mission. “But with the old rules for dress, I wouldn’t have been able to dress like myself. The new dress code allows me to do that. It’s an exciting time to live and I couldn’t be happier about it.”
While those serving the missions seem excited about the changes, local store owners in Cache Valley who sell the missionary clothing also think it’s a positive thing.
“Since we’re one of the number one retailers for missionary clothing in Cache Valley, they’re going to come to us anyway. So just being able to offer a broader selection of colors now will help with that,” said Kater Shop owner and manager Chris Hammond. The Kater Shop will start selling gray and tan suits for male missionaries and they will have a new sister line in stores the second week of August.
The Sister Shop is another local store that sells clothing and supplies for sister missionaries. Rayfield started working at the shop located on Center Street just a few months ago, and she loves getting to see the reaction of the future sister missionaries who shop there.
“It’s fun to see the girls get dressed in their missionary clothes and put the shoes on and see how it all looks together. Then their face just lights up and they see themselves as a missionary for the first time, but they also see themselves as a really cute missionary.”
While light colored suits are now available to male missionaries, Hammond suggests that it’s good to stick to your missionary call packet. “It really depends on the mission president,” he said.