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Clergy Apparel: Our Best Tips

1. The evolution of apparel for clergy and others participating in religious services and ceremonies across denominations continues.

Some have a large budget and desire ornate apparel or several different robes and stoles to signify dates on the religious calendar, weddings, confirmations, and the like. Others are just starting off and need "all-purpose" vestments.

There are unlimited possibilities in the styles, fabrics, colors, and options available today. Your imagination—and that of the parishioners who may purchase apparel to note an ordination, service anniversary or other event—is all that limits the field of choice. Enjoy the freedom to design and the 21st century palette of choices.

--Herff Jones

2. Clergy women's apparel is in a constant motion of crafting its own image.

A certain type of elegance is emerging that suggests both femininity and strength. It incorporates biblical origins, cultural heritage, costume history, art and craftsmanship of tailoring. Modern clergy women are problem solvers and innovators, adventurers and explorers. It is important that clergy women's styles look effortless and yet polished and sophisticated. Women clergy apparel inherited a lot from men's wear.

Clergy apparel is a phenomenon in the world of fashion, because clergy wear would have to be verified by a standard other than pure beauty. Clergy wear is supposed to be logical and answerable to the will of clergy people and the demanding needs of service.

Clergy apparel plays an important role in communicating the message between pastor and congregation on the visible and invisible levels. Yes, we are taught not to judge by appearance, but remember that, as a preacher, what you wear speaks before you.


3. Customer service can be one of the most important assets in the process of your robe purchase.

This will be an indicator of how well a company will be to work with and how willing they are to make sure your needs are met.

Rest assured, once you have made your robe purchase and unveil them during a performance or service, there is no denying the audience will be more focused on the words and message being sung if you have a uniform appearance, as street clothing tends to distract from the message of the choir.

Today, churches draw inspiration from their colorful sanctuaries to select modern-day attire. Although robe styles have not changed drastically, fabrics, colors, and vibrant trims have revived apparel.

--Thomas Creative Apparel

4. Once you have an idea of what you'd like to purchase and have samples in hand, you can determine if the quality meets your needs and the colors are what you have in mind.

While natural fibers such as wool or linen used to signify higher quality, over the years, synthetic fabrics have improved dramatically and offer great draping qualities and long, dependable wear. Items that are lined tend to be more durable and also will hold their shape better. Whatever material is used, it is critical to practice proper care to maximize the life of the garment.

Keep in mind that changes in the overall garment industry are making it more difficult to find high-quality fabrics and re-order specific colors. If you'd like several coordinating pieces, you may want to order them at the same time to make certain that the fabric color matches.

Also consider whether your church may be interested in coordinating pieces, such as banners, alter cloths, and Bible markers. Many vestment makers offer these, and they will provide a consistent look that adds a special touch to ceremonies and celebrations at your church.

--Gaspard, Inc.

5. Clergy, like all people, appreciate the comfort, convenience, and economy that new styles and technology provide.

Thus, the general adoptions of trousers instead of cassocks as daily wear led to the development of the clergy shirt. The creation of synthetic fibers in mid-20th century revolutionized the textile industry and introduced fabrics that are more durable, wrinkle resistant, color fast and economical than traditional materials. And, development of standard sizing and patterns, allowing multiple garments to be cut at once, has made apparel production more efficient and helped maintain the affordability of the very specialized styles worn by clergy.

Distinctive yet conservative clothing set clergy people apart, declaring their special calling and claiming the community's regard. For this reason, as styles evolve, we expect the symbolic clergy collar to abide as an essential element in the clerical wardrobe.

--CM Almy

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Religious Product News