What Not To Wear To The Vigil

I sort of interrupted myself here, but what I meant to say was, “I don’t want to be overly formal (or die of heatstroke) in a suit, and I want to communicate clergy but respectful, and I don’t want to be cutesy.”
A sleeveless floral sundress not only looks ridiculous with clericals (a totally bizarre clash of formality and professionalism and extreme informality), but it is never, ever acceptable to attend a remembrance of the dead with bare arms.

It doesn’t matter if you think it’s fine, or it’s so hot, bla bla excuses. As always, this isn’t about you and your sense of what is okay. It’s about tradition and decorum and how you represent the office of minister among those who turn to the Church for solace, solidarity and meaning in all life’s travails.

It is also extremely problematic for a white woman to show up at a Black church dressed so improperly. Good intentions are not enough. Check your privilege.

Also: close-toed shoes for funerals and vigils. Always. Always, always.

Thus spaketh PeaceBang. She will stand firm with this one, or sit firmly, gently swatting at herself with a funeral parlor fan and tranquilly sweating through her cotton bike shorts and layers of cornstarch powder.

I wore all black to the vigil. This less austere outfit was for yesterday’s Implicit Bias workshop with our local police department.

3 Replies to “What Not To Wear To The Vigil”

  1. Verily do I say unto thee, does thou know of mesh Jockey skimmies? Truly, I say, they are gifts from the Above. My bike group wears them under our nice day dresses and work skirts. Light than bike shorts, and so easy breezy.

  2. Elizabeth you beat me to it. I was totally going to send you to skimmies as well. Seems like a lot of cash for an undergarment until you wear them every day!

  3. I never thought I would have an anecdote to report to Peace Bang, but, alas, I do. Yesterday, I went to an interfaith service that was in response to the Philando Castile shooting and other recent violence in our community. There was a large and varied group of clergy. They wore all kinds of suits, vestments, clericals or dresses (I mean formal, appropriate dresses, not sun dresses). However, a few showed up in t-shirts and leggings, jeans or shorts–and even jean shorts!!! I was embarrassed for them.

    I do want to say something about the service. The order of service looked more like a recital. it had a prayer from this tradition, a song from that tradition, a reading from here, a story from there, etc. But, in reality, the various pieces were so on-theme (if that’s a thing) and cohesive that they felt almost like stanzas of a poem. [I’m glad to hear the latter, but not the former. Tshirts and leggings to a memorial for the dead… it’s unbelievable. I groan and writhe. – PB]

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