Depending on your lifestyle, taste, and formality of your church, First Communion might be one of the first times a child really dresses up for a special occasion. And dressing up is definitely in order - this is a huge step (and accomplishment) in a person’s faith life. It should be treated piously and specially and that calls for nice clothing.

But let’s not get confused - nice doesn’t have to be expensive. Nice simply means “pulled together” or more formal than everyday wear. Nice also doesn’t have to mean elaborate either! In addition to budget, each child and family should consider tastes and preferences. A simple dress for a girl or a basic shirt and tie (as opposed to a suit) for a boy might be the best fit, rather than something fancy or with multiple parts/accessories. It all depends.

So, what should a child wear during First Communion? I already alluded to the fact that budget and personal taste will really determine attire. But below is a rundown of a few options. Please note that your school or parish may have rules about First Communion attire. Check with them first before purchasing items for your child’s big day.

Virtually every little girl wears a First Communion dress, although some parishes do allow skirts or a formal pantsuit-type outfit. Girls' first communion dresses almost always are white as a symbol of purity and baptism. Some First Communion dresses have elaborate beading or decoration. Others have literally no adornment and are plain from top to bottom (pair this with a sweater and simple shoes and you will please the little girl who hates being fancy but wants to wear a dress).

Many girls wear a veil to their First Communion. Others wear tiaras or ribbons. Veils or headpieces are not always required, so some girls choose to wear nothing in their hair.

Purses and gloves are another common accessory. Just as with First Communion dresses for girls, these are usually white.

Religious jewelry is a common accessory for both boys and girls on First Communion day. Saints medals or lapel pins are great choices for boys. Girls sometimes wear bracelets, earrings, or necklaces. It is thoughtful to give a child a first communion gift of religious jewelry before the actual First Communion (as opposed gifting it at a celebration after) so they have to option to wear it on the special day.

Some boys will wear full suits for their first communion, but many will wear a formal shirt and tie with dress slacks (but no jacket). Many boys' neckties are made specifically for First Communion and have some sort of religious embellishment. Although, a regular necktie is fine as well.

When choosing what your child might wear on First Communion, I suggest that you first assess what you have on hand. If you have a shirt for your son or nice white purse for your daughter and you want him or her to use these, then decide and communicate that. You certainly do not have to purchase an entire outfit! But do allow your child some choice and, budget allowing, it is a wonderful treat to pick out 1-2 new items for the First Communion day.