Monday, December 12, 2011

Project 21: Clerical Robes

My best friend and business partner Lance Davey learned several months ago that his younger sister was going to be joined in heterosexual matrimony to her second husband and was in need of someone to perform the ceremony. I was unavailable for many reasons which I won't go into here, so my buddy decided to volunteer to tie their knot for them. He signed up for a Universal Life Church ministerial credential and started practicing the solemn-but-joyous look.

When his birthday rolled around, I asked him what me might like as a gift. He said that he could use something to wear when performing his sister's wedding ceremony. I thought it sounded like an excellent challenge, so I accepted eagerly.

What I wanted to do was create a set of clerical garments that made the necessary references to the medieval silhouette, but stayed firmly grounded in modern materials and construction techniques. What would a business suit look like if the fashion trajectory of the 13th century had continued uninterrupted to the present day?

1) Knit fabric would be still have been invented.
2) Jackets would still be lined.
3) Pants would have stayed as casual wear.

The design I came up with was a two-piece look. The inner robe is made of thick cotton jersey. The neckline is wide and finished with a band of the same fabric, as are the sleeves and hem. The sleeves are moderately wide and straight. It is belted with a black twisted rope belt.

The outer robe is made of black wool and is lined with rayon. It is open in the front to reveal the inner robe, has a mandarin collar and flared sleeves.

The stole is made of red silk dupioni, which is both interfaced and lined, so it has substantial weight and drape. Attached to the ends are Celtic knotwork patches purchased from

The Inner Robe

Off The Rack Clerical

Mandarin Collar

Ready for the Runway
At least as soon as he's finished casting whichever spell is making his head glow like that


domiobrien said...

That is really excellent!

MaineCelt said...

Beautiful work! I really like the two-piece approach and the stole is lovely, too.

When I get "all churched up," I use a hand-me-down linen alb I received from an older woman pastor who'd become a bit too "well-rounded" for it. While I love the simple lines and gentle earthiness of the undyed linen, the ensemble you've created is a pretty compelling look too!