In many traditions, clerics of all ranks can wear clergy shirts, also known as clerical shirts or preaching shirts. These shirts, which generally look like dress shirts, are often capped off with a clergy collar, in which case the full ensemble would be known as a clergy shirt and collar.
Here’s what you need to know about these garments.
Why Do Clerics Wear Clergy Shirts?
Clergy shirts are worn by members of the clergy in order to signify their position. This gives them the ability to be recognized for their calling to the church, even when they are not in proper vestment habit or wearing a cassock and cincture when not engaged in a specific ceremony.
Clergy shirts help to identify the rank of their office and communicate their authority.
What Do the Colors in Clergy Shirts Mean?
Clergy shirts are available in a wide range of different colors, each of which carries symbolic significance.
● Black: Black is the main color worn by members of the clergy. It is a humble, austere color, intended to serve as a reminder to the cleric that his or her duties are secular as well as holy.
● White: The color white signifies purity and hope, and as such, clerics may wear white clergy shirts on special, formal occasions such as weddings, funerals, and baptisms as well as for select holidays.
● Red: Red is the color of passion, blood, and flames. It is often worn as a symbol of the passion of Christ; it can also be worn in observance of the feast day of a martyred saint.
● Purple: Purple is the color of royalty, but also signifies penitence. As such, it is commonly worn during services of repentance and around Lent. Purple is also a color commonly worn by bishops.
Why do Priests Wear Clergy Collars?
Clergy collars go by several names, including but not limited to clerical collars, priests collars, dog collars, and Roman collars.
Priests wear these collars to serve as a mark of identification, for similar reasons that they wear clergy shirts.
The clerical collar also holds personal, symbolic significance for some wearers. To them, it serves as a reminder of their fidelity to the church; it is sort of like a yoke around their neck, that reminds them of their solemn calling and service to the church.
There are two main types of clerical collars: banded collars and tab collars.
Banded vs. Tab Collars
Banded clerical collars consist of a strip of cloth that fully encircles the neck, showing above the clergy shirt like a white ring.
Tab collars only show at the throat. A shirt with a tab collar covers up all of the collar except a small, rectangular open portion at the neck.
Some clergy shirts use collar inserts; these are often made of cloth or plastic and can be removed for easy care and cleaning.
Where Can You Find Quality Clergy Shirts and Collars
Looking for high-quality clergy shirts and collars for men and women, in a variety of colors, styles, and sizes?
Divinity Clergy Wear (DivinityClergyWear.com) carries both clergy collars and shirts, including long sleeve and short sleeve shirts, in addition to other essential accessories.
Visit their website via the link above or contact them at 877-453-3535 for more information.