Clergy Attire & Civic Attire - When & Where? August 11 2015 3 Comments

(United Churches of Christ 3 Tier Leadership) 


Clergy attire was worn by priests serving in the Temple and dates back to the Levitical Priesthood in the Old Testament (Ex. 28:2-4, Lev. 8:7).  The vestments worn vary in type, color and style and two of the most common are the cassock and pulpit gowns. While both robes loosely cover the entire body from neck to foot, the cassock usually has buttons down the front and a pleat(s) in the back, while the pulpit gown has panels down both sides of the front, wide sleeves and closes in front with a zipper. These gowns are normally worn by ministers during all official and unofficial worship services.

Civic attire for ordained ministers includes an unornamented all black suit, with a black clergy shirt and a full neck band clergy collar.  For licensed ministers, it includes an unornamented all black suit, with a black clergy shirt but with a tab clergy collar.  Both worn with conservative black shoes and black socks and nude or black hosiery for women. This attire is usually worn for religious and non-religious services when a minister is serving and perhaps must be identified but not necessarily in a clergy robe.

Clergy attire can help save your clothing from lots of wear and tear, but whenever you opt to wear casual attire during worship services, keep your look conservative to avoid offending anyone (especially when crossing cultural or denominational lines.)  For women ministers, I suggest a simple, tea length black dress, in trans-seasonal fabric for longer wear. Remember to also wear appropriate undergarments, ladies, to “hold” you in place! 

Note: More on clergy vestments, styles, and colors associated with a particular office, in my ministry handbook. Also, view my Vestments Collection on YouTube.

For Purchase of Suggested Ecclesiastical Vestments:

Bishop Paul J. Koonce (718) 547-6606  (Bronx, NY) *my personal tailor

Renzetti Magnarelli (Philadelphia, PA)

CM Almy (Old Greenwich, CT)