The Laws of Attire

Introduction to Attire

Various types of attire are considered appropriate for men, single women, married women, and children to wear in public. The standards vary somewhat due to location and era.

Sleeping Covered

A person should be covered with something when sleeping. This may either by a sheet/other bedding or by a garment that is worn.

Note: This is a good practice and is expected but is not a halacha. It is part of modesty (tzni’ut) between people and God.

Getting Dressed

Dressing in a certain sequence, such as putting on your right sock before your left sock, is proper behavior.


The minimum attire required for saying blessings or studying Torah is shorts for men and a covered torso for women. But more of your body may need to be covered due to location and circumstances. For example, if men are in view, women's tzni'ut rules take over since they are more restrictive.

Wearing a hat for prayer (for men) is formal wear that shows honor to God. Men do not need wear a hat but must have some type of head covering when saying blessings, when praying, or when studying holy texts (this is halacha). If a man said a blessing or prayer without a head covering, b’di’avad, it is OK and he does not need to repeat the blessing or prayer.


You may not wear clothing made by combing/felting, spinning, and/or twisting/weaving lamb's or sheep’s wool with linen. You may also not wear a garment made of two pieces—one wool and one linen—that have been sewn together. Even one thread of wool or linen with the other material is forbidden (there is not batel in 1/60th for sha'atnez).

Note: The acronym sha’atnez stands for shu’a, tuvi, nuz—three steps in processing wool and linen fibers.

Attire: Women's/Men's (Begged Ish)

Clothes that are worn by both genders may be worn by either gender, even if they were intended to be worn by just one gender. So women may wear clothes that have been made and intended for men (begged ish) if women wear those garments, too. There are some exceptions--consult a rabbi.

Men may not wear women’s clothing.

A woman or girl may not wear men’s clothes (begged ish), even: if for a different purpose than what men use them for, and if not for the purpose of looking like a man.

A woman should not use a talit to keep warm, even if there is no other garment in the synagogue and if she is listening to a Torah class.

Pistols and other weapons are considered to be men's attire (begged ish), but they may be worn or carried by women if in any place where there is danger.

Copyright 2015 Richard B. Aiken. Halacha L’Maaseh appears courtesy of Visit their web site for more information.

This material is provided for informational purposes only – not a substitute for the consultation of a competent rabbi.