A Freemasons guide to looking good at the Lodge

King George VI with freemasons

King George VI knew the importance of dressing correctly at the Lodge.
Image source: Peter Ellis / Public domain

As a freemason, you’re expected to understand the importance of looking your best. But what exactly is the Masonic dress code? For those of you new to the Lodge, or for anyone who’s curious to know, here we give you the lowdown on how to dress to fit in at the not so secret, secret society.

A dress code minefield?

Old painting of George Washington in his Freemasons bib

Freemasonry is steeped in tradition and history. George Washington was famously a member.
Image source: Shutterstock

Freemasons are known for their smart dress, but why is it so important? Duncan Burden, the resident Freemason at Mysterious Writings and former owner of humblemason.com says that for a Freemason:

“To dress without effort is to dress without respect for one’s fellow man.”

But fitting in with the Freemasons is easier said than done. That’s because dress codes vary considerably around the world. As American Freemason Nick Johnson, writer of Millennial Freemason says, the right thing to wear can range from “full tuxedo with white gloves to khakis and a sweater and, even further, a t-shirt and jeans.”

Dress requirements can vary somewhat in the UK as well. Burden goes on to say: “There are some UK Lodges that request dinner suits, officer uniforms or formal highland dress to be worn.”

With such a varied dress code and high expectations to fulfil, how do you manage to dress to impress and get the proper attire for the Masonic lodge every time?

What to wear to a Masonic lodge

suits on hangers

Dark, classic suits should be a staple of every Freemason’s wardrobe.
Image source: Shutterstock

Thankfully, despite some variation, you’ll be found acceptable at most lodges as long as you follow a few simple dress rules. Generally speaking, according to the Provincial Grand Lodge of Devonshire, Freemasonry upholds a simple, standard dress code of:

“dark suits, black shoes, black ties and white shirts…worn in remembrance of those who died in the service of their country during the two World Wars.”

The Provincial Grand Lodge go on to say that sober formal dress helps maintain a certain uniformity that ensures equality. The key is to keep it simple and keep it smart.

Shoes

brogues for formal wear

Smart and simple equals classic and timeless.
Image source: Samuel Windsor

Classic shoes like black leather Oxfords or brogues are perfect for the Lodge. Their smart classic design works well with a dark suit, and can take you effortlessly from your day at the office to an evening at the Lodge.

Suits

soberly dressed man

It’s easy to look good when you know how.
Image source: shutterstock

A smart, black or dark suit is the Freemason’s best friend, says Duncan Burden at Mysterious Writings. He describes it as “the standard expectation of being Masonically smart in England”. Quite simply, it’s an essential addition to any Freemason’s wardrobe.

The Provincial Grand Lodge of Devonshire add that “you don’t need to spend a fortune on your attire” because meetings aren’t a fashion show. But that doesn’t mean you won’t want to look good so pay attention to fabric choice and the cut of your new suit and go for a quality item every time.

Our advice is to build a wardrobe based on foundation pieces like black or dark suits, classic shoes and crisp white shirts. Simply use these neutral pieces as a base that can be reinvented to fit any event the Lodge may hold.

Add personality

menswear accessories for freemasons

Personalise your look with some well-chosen accessories.
Image source: Shutterstock

Adopting the dress code doesn’t mean you can’t offer a glimpse of your personality through what you wear. Think personal accessories like cufflinks, classy ties, belts and pocket squares and of course, a subtly understated but well chosen watch.

If you’re in any doubt as to what’s acceptable, we recommend you follow Masonic World’s advice and simply ask which of your accessories it’s appropriate to wear and for what occasions.

And remember – it’s often the case that masonic pins and rings may only be worn within the Lodge – never in public. You have been warned!

Whatever your Lodge’s particular dress code, always bear in mind is that the ethos of Freemasonry goes far beyond the walls of the Lodge. As the writers of Masonic World say: “in every moment of our life – in public, at work, at pleasure, with our families, even when you are alone – you are a Mason!”

Top tips for the masonic dress code

  1. Always look smart and put together, even with more casual dress codes. It’s disrespectful to look like you haven’t made an effort.
  2. Wear dark colours, and nothing too flashy – you don’t want to look like you’re showing off.
  3. Simple and classic shoes will give your look a polished edge.
  4. Assert your personality with your accessories – don’t be afraid to wear your favourite colourful tie.
  5. When in doubt, ask a fellow lodge member or a member of the lodge you are visiting.

Are you a Freemason? Let us know how you dress at the Lodge and share your very own top tips on our Facebook page.

Posted in Men's style guides.