How Do Nuns Dress Today?

Updated April 17, 2017

Long gone are the days when nuns wore black robes, wimples and habits. Although there are some nuns that still don the traditional garb, most modern nuns that live outside of a convent wear mainstream clothing. As such, it is difficult to quickly identify whether or not someone holds the vocation of a nun. Among nuns that wear normal street clothes, some still don the traditional black head covering to clearly identify themselves.

Modestly and Practically

Although modern nuns usually wear mainstream clothing, they generally refrain from dressing in anything too trendy, fashionable or flashy. Their outfits are modest, simple and usually quite dull in colour. T-shirts, ankle length skirts, simple sweaters and loose fitting jeans are all common choices for modern nuns.


In order to adhere to their vow of poverty, modern nuns spend as little on clothing as possible. They tend to have few outfits and most are purchased from second-hand or thrift stores.

Mixing Old and New

Although contemporary nuns usually wear mainstream clothing, they may choose to adopt certain traditions in order to make themselves more readily identifiable. For example, they may wear only black, cover their heads with a veil or wear a large crucifix.

Traditions That Still Prevail

Although most contemporary nuns wear normal clothing, some still do dress in the traditional attire. Nuns that wear a habit are usually older or live in a convent setting. However, the modern habit is less conservative than it use to be. The head covering is less flowing, the robe is shorter and tighter and nuns may not wear the wimple.

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