Anyone who has never filled the office of an ordained member of the clergy or participated in a church service is unlikely to be familiar with the various different popular vestments commonly worn by clergy members, or even their names.
If you want to learn a little bit more about the most popular categories of vestments, check here, and in the event you have more detailed questions or requests for information, direct them to Divinity Clergy Wear!
– Cassocks (and cinctures) – The cassock is one of the most definitive of all clerical garments, although, strictly speaking, there are some who would not call it a vestment because it is not always worn during a ceremony. A cassock is a liturgical garment in the form of a long robe with long sleeves, typically in a plain color, and often black. It is usually buttoned prominently down the front and accompanied by a belt-like accessory known as a cincture. Back in the day, the cassock was worn as the everyday dress of ordained clergy.
– Pastor robes (including chasubles) – Pastor robes are the next most common liturgical vestments worn by priests, and these are vestments de facto; there’s no argument with that. There’s no hard or fast rule as to what constitutes a clerical set of robes, but often they are decorated richly and laid out in popular liturgical colors like white, black, red and purple. A specialized garment, known as a chasuble, is a cloth worn over the shoulders about the other garments that gives the appearance of a robe.
– Stoles and tippets – Stoles and tippets are very similar, although stoles tend to be more ornately designed and crafted than most tippets. Stoles are often embroidered as well whereas tippets are usually bare. Both of these take the form of a long strip of cloth or silk that is laid over the shoulders – over the top of a robe or a chasuble. Priests who are officiating a Eucharist service usually wear a stole over their robes.
– Surplices and albs – Surplices are commonly worn by choristers and acolytes, although many priests will wear them. However, it is more common for a priest to wear an alb, which is an ankle length version of a surplice. Both of these are white linen or cotton garments with wide sleeves and (typically) squared necks.
– Don’t forget the other clerical garments! – There are many other clerical garments, that, though they might not be called vestments, constitute an important part of clerical attire. Some of these are but are not limited to rochets, chimeres, rabats, clergy shirts and jackets, preaching dresses, and many others!
As stated, if you still have questions, you can direct them to Divinity Clergy Wear to get the answers you need. You can learn more on their website, DivinityClergyWear.com, or you can also call them up at 877-453-3535 anytime you feel you need some more relevant information.
If you’re interested in shopping for these vestments instead, you can do so just the same on their website, but as some people prefer to actually be able to interact with garments before buying them, you can also visit them in their showroom in Hamilton, New Jersey!