Black and Bling: Brainless Holiday Attire

It’s Advent. Who’s got time to think? WE don’t! We are ministers! On the go! Go, go, go! Events, worship services, charitable organization luncheons and meetings, visits, parties, zip zip zip for Jesus!

I have a little secret for this time of year. I call it “black and bling.” It’s my go-to wardrobe for everything festive. The components are this:

1. Black jacket or sweater with girly detail (a ruffle, a subdued floral print, a fitted waist with a flair — something that moves out of Totally Dull Office Wear). Maybe some color in the form of a silk blouse. Or some touches of white.
2. Black pants.
3. Shoes with snazz factor.
4. Black shell with ZERO cleavage factor (unless you were invited to a Festival Of Inappropriate Sharing, which – ahem — you were NOT).
5. A touch of bling.

Exhibit A

A black and white sweater with a ruffle at the neck. Black shell. Bling at the neck (nail polish in “We’ll Always Have Paris” by OPI in case you were wondering). Black pants, pointy black boots with silver filigree.


Sweater: Lane Bryant (old)
Shell: cjbanks Find Your Fit Classic Fit (so old!)
boots: John Fluevog, ebay purchase ($24)
bling: CZ piece from Sears (reminds me of the Star of Bethlehem)
hammered silver hoops: craft fair (old)
lippy: CoverGirl Outlast All Day in a plum shade

eyeliner by Urban Decay (Rehab)

The point is, you don’t have to think. You have the basics always ready, you have your few blingy details (a beautiful pin, a gorgeous barrette, a silver scarf — as high quality as you can afford — these should look like classics), you wear this to everything holiday-oriented. This keeps you from having to fuss about which reds go with what greens (HORRORS, haven’t you been reading PeaceBang for long enough to know better than to inflict such visual crimes onto your Beloved Community?), or from standing in front of the closet despairing that you have nothing to wear to the ladies tea or the holiday concert.

Burn that moss green dress with the big black buttons and the black lace cuffs and collar. You know who you are. I love you too much to let you walk around like that.

Black is always appropriate for clergy and I am relying on it more and more. I use Woolite’s Dark Colors Formula for most of my laundry and the time I spend figuring out what to wear is almost non-existent. It’s not that I don’t choose my garments carefully before purchase — I am stupidly obsessive about tracking down the right kind of pants, for instance. But having far fewer things in my closet and relying on cherished accessories that have personal meaning for me, as well as make-up, manicures and jewelry to help me feel put together – has been a good way for me to go.

Fellers, you can do this look, too. Clericals, black suit, and a beautiful tiara. Try it! You’ll certainly get the parish talking!

13 Replies to “Black and Bling: Brainless Holiday Attire”

  1. Great post. But I kind of have to hate you a little bit for that Fleuvog score. $24???!!!!! [ I KNOW!! It was last year. But hey, they’re torture on the feet. Still awesome, though. – PB]

  2. …Robin, I canNOT agree with you more!! I covet those boots so very much. I can’t decide if I should go to my local Fluevog store to try out sizes, or if I’m better off not torturing myself.

  3. The only problem I have with all black (or black and a little white) all the time is that it makes me think of all the little old ladies I saw in Italy and Spain who put on black when they’re 45 because their husbands have died and they never take it off again. To me it says, “I have officially become invisible, don’t pay any attention to me.” Now I realize a bit of bling will help, and being young and attractive doesn’t hurt, but when one gets to be “a woman of a certain age” what might have been authoritative can become a cloak of invisibility. For me the shell should be vibrant and declare “Here I am!”

  4. I have found that the Dollar Tree has affordable tiaras, however they are not always readily available. One doesn’t always have the choice of whether or not one wants the faux mirabou or not. What’s a guy to do?

  5. I came here to say “HOLD THE PHONE–you got those Fluevogs for $24???” but I see I’ve been beaten to it. Your eBay mojo must be fierce! [It is!! The seller said they were sort of beat up but excuse me, they are SO not beat up. They’re kind of beat up inside but who cares!!?? – PB]

  6. I am older than PB and know that black is supposed to make you look skinnier, but I see skinny women in black all looking like they are coming from an Irish wake- I am afraid that two generations from now our descendants will look upon these photos and wonder who they were mourning for just as we look at those portraits of Victorian women who after the death of a close relative would wear black every day for a year-

  7. Seconded on the not wearing all black front. I wear all black on Good Friday and to funerals, and that’s it. Besides the fact that with my coloring, it makes me look like a vampire, the holidays are supposed to be a time of *celebration*, not mourning. This is why I have a stock of neutral pants and some bright, solid-color sweaters.

    It’s all a matter of context, though. Two congregations ago, my (extremely rural) congregation was stunned that I wore black dress pants to officiate regular Sunday services, and I was specifically asked to wear jeans to run a memorial service. So it also depends on the congregation. Of course, I think there were two guys in that county who actually owned a suit- one was the funeral director, and the other’s suit dated back to the 1970s and was a dark hunter green. (He did look very dapper in it.) [So, wait — what was the issue with your black pants? Did they think you should be in a skirt? – PB]

  8. Ha ha ha on the Greek and Italian widows comment! They don’t exactly shop for chic, well-fitted garments… it’s more like shapeless sack dresses. I love black. It’s sophisticated. I think it’s a NYC thing… PB

  9. The black might also have to do with coloring. For some reason, I can pull off stark white and black clothing and don’t look washed out at all, but I have fair skin and dark, dark hair. My blonde co worker cannot wear white shirts without looking sallow. If you hate the black, perhaps it’s just one’s coloring! [OR it could be your assumption that one can look good in black without make-up. Not gonna happen. – PB]

  10. LOL at the line “zip zip zip for Jesus.” I’m printing that out and putting it on my computer for this month.

    Thank you once again for making me smile. [You’re welcome, kitten. – PB]

  11. Dearest Peacebang, your comment on your nail color prompts me to ask if you have discovered the magic of gel nails?? OPI has a bunch of colors now. They cure in about 3 minutes. You’re dry when you leave the salon. They last 2-3 weeks. No more chipped nails. It’s life-changing.

    Thanks for your ministry! Zip-Zip!

  12. Thanks for this, PB. I love that line “zip, zip for Jesus!” This season feels that way sometimes. For those of us fellers who just don’t have the chutzpah to try a tiara, do you have any more specifics? What constitutes “bling” for men? (seriously, i don’t know.)

    Thanks again for all you do! This site is a great resource and an oasis of thoughtful conversation in an often-snarky blogosphere.

  13. No, they had expected me to be in khakis, which were the usual thing there. Black dress pants were formal, to them, and it made them think I wasn’t comfortable, which made them uncomfortable. We talked it out, & I started wearing more khakis.

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