Clerical Clothing - Anglicanism

Anglicanism

In the 19th century, it was fashionable among gentlemen to wear a detachable collar which was washed and starched separately from the shirt. Initially with the detachable collar, Anglican clergy wore a white cravat, later a white bow tie, with a waistcoat with a standing collar and a loose clerical frock coat resembling a knee length cassock with multiple buttons to waist level. Alternatively they could wear the normal style of gentleman's frock coat and a rabat (See above). In the middle of the century Anglican clergymen began turning the collar around backwards, creating the first versions of the "dog collar". This form of distinctive dress was seen as a controversial affectation of the High Church party, but as time progressed the collar-turned-backwards became more common, and even survived the demise of detachable collars among the general public. Though the black waistcoat has given way to a black shirt, the collar has become a daily part of clerical costume for most Anglican clergy. However, some Anglican clergy join with ministers of reformed churches in eschewing distinctive clerical costume entirely.. During the 20th century Anglican bishops began wearing purple (officially violet) shirts as a sign of their office. Along with the pectoral cross and episcopal ring, this marks them off from other clergy in appearance. While there is no law among the churches of the Anglican Communion that prevents other members of the clergy from wearing a purple shirt, to do so is generally not considered appropriate.

Traditionally, Anglican clergy regularly wore the cassock in public, although this is less common. The traditional Anglican headwear with the cassock was the Canterbury cap, which is now seldom used. Some Anglo-Catholic clergy still wear the biretta. Bishops and archdeacons traditionally wore a shortened version of the cassock, called an apron (which hung just above the knee), along with breeches and gaiters. The gaiters, buttoned up the side, would cover the trouser leg to a point just below the knee. This form of everyday vesture, common up until the 1960s, is now almost extinct. (This was appropriate for them in the time when some of their travelling would be on horseback but continued into the middle of the 20th century.)

Anglican clergy typically favour a double-breasted cassock (known as a Sarum), often with an external button at chest level on which to hook an academic hood (which is worn as part of the choir habit). Clergy of a more Anglo-Catholic persuasion however often favour a cassock similar to that of Roman Catholic clergy. Single breasted cassocks of other designs are also sometimes used. Like Roman Catholic clergy, some Anglican clergy wear the fascia (known within Anglicanism as a cincture) around the waist, while others prefer a belt. Where extra protection from the elements is needed a cloak may be worn over the cassock.

Clergy of the royal peculiars, senior chaplains to the forces, members of the Chapels Royal and Honorary Chaplains to the Queen may wear a scarlet cassock and a special badge (Queen's cypher surmounted by St Edward's crown surrounded by oak and laurel leaves) on their scarf.

It has been mentioned above that the headcover normally worn with the cassock is the biretta (for Roman Catholics) or the Canterbury Cap (for Anglicans). In the 19th century clergy, like most gentlemen of the time, wore the tall silk (top) hat with their outdoor dress and this remained traditional for bishops and other senior clergy for many years. However many clergy preferred to wear a distinctive broad brimmed round topped hat resembling a low crowned bowler and this remained popular until the World War I, when it tended to be substituted by the dark or black Homburg style hat worn by many professional men until recently.

Read more about this topic:  Clerical Clothing

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