Friday, May 26, 2006

Summer Ministry Garb And Fake Tans

C. writes asking what to wear when leading worship in un-air-conditioned sanctuary over the summer. She votes "nay" on a robe, saying that her heavy black polyester Harvard robe would smother her.

I agree.
That's where you have to get creative. A white cotton alb is one idea (if that's not too Catholic for you), or having a simple white cotton robe made is another smart option. All those summer wedding fees you'll be getting will easily pay for it.

When preaching in hot box churches last summer, I wore a lined, light silk/poly skirt of knee length in a muted brown and aqua blue pattern (expensive and worth every penny) and a sleeveless white blouse under a beautiful aqua blue blazer with 3/4 length sleeves. A triple strand of pearls dressed it all up. Was I cool and comfortable? No. But I went bare-legged and wore creamy brown pointy Bandolino pumps and tanned my legs with Coppertone foam, and the bare legs helped with temperature management. I know it's not really appropriate to preach in bare legs, but neither is looking like a half-drowned puppy by the time you pronounce the benediction.
I did obsess about it a bit, wondering if God loves modesty more than He loves my well-toned calves. They're the only well-toned part of my body, so I did a novena for vanity and went out bare-legged anyway.

PeaceBang ALWAYS has a freshly laundered and pressed small white cotton hankie in her pocket, which she uses to delicately dab away any moisture. Remember, ladies don't sweat; they glisten.
Only in congregations where you are well known and loved can you say, "Oy, am I schvitzing up here!"

Secret fact: PeaceBang keeps a hair dryer in her office so she can blow dry before coffee hour.
This is highly secret. Please do not reveal this highly secret secret to anyone. I do not expect to be teased for this highly secret secret when I see you, nor do I expect those of you who attend my church to make finger guns and point them at your heads on Sunday morning while laughing and making blow-dryer noises. I know you will never insult my inherent worth and dignity like that.

I preached at an ordination last summer for which a robe was an absolute necessity, so I wore a dressy cotton ankle length skirt, a shell, and a very light gauzy garment I bought from Lord & Taylor that looks just like a preaching robe. I wore a stole over it and no one was the wiser. I was soaked by the end of the service but at least the skirt hid the rivulets going down my legs (in addition to the sanctuary being hellishly hot -- my own fault, since I had been unable to find any other available date to preach this ordination and committed to an August evening -- they had SPOTLIGHTS on the dais!).

Be creative. Find the lightest, flowiest fabrics you can find, but make sure things fit. Light and flowy does not mean that we can't find you under yards of fabric. Avoid floral designs, unless it's a tie. Keep the lines simple. Gentlemen, a t-shirt under a nicely ironed cotton dress shirt will help soak up some of the sweat. Powder down beforehand.

And darlings, if you fake tan your legs, DO IT THE DAY BEFORE. The instructions on my favorite Coppertone product advise not to bathe within three hours of applying the product. Well, it never occurred to PeaceBang that preaching in June in an un-air-conditioned New England church would generate the equivalent moisture factor of a shower, but she learned her lesson the hard way when she appeared at coffee hour with striped brown and white legs.

Someone used to make a marvelous product called Summer Sheer, which was a very lightweight pantyhose. WHY did they stop making them? They were great!

PeaceBang recommends:

Summer Sheer hose, if you can find them.
Creative robing options in white cotton.
A crisp white cotton hankie on your person at all times.
Johnson & Johnson's Corn Starch Baby Powder.
Clean lines, lightweight fabrics and bare, tanned and toned legs if you're wearing anything less than calf-length skirts.
Closed-toed shoes in the pulpit or at weddings, because just because Jesus did his ministry in sandals doesn't mean that you can.

P.S. While searching for Summer Sheer pantyhose, I found this web site. It didn't give me what I was looking for but if you have a leg fetish it will certainly give you what you're looking for. For the love of God, don't peruse this at church, people:


Anonymous jinnis said...

Just between you and me, I, too, have a hair dryer in the office. Very useful in the South in case one is caught in those afternoon showers.

Nylons recommendation - Bare Essentials in nude. If a store carries them, they are right next to the No Nonsense. (I think they are a No Nonsense product.) They provide coverage with a minimum of discomfort. And they are cheap enough to discard if something tears.

As for staying cool, I'll be wearing linen under my white robe during an ordination in a packed sanctuary tomorrow.

7:30 PM  
Blogger PeaceBang said...

I think you mean Bare Necessities, Jen. Bare Essentials is that powdery make-up they sell at Sephora and always have info-mercials for.

Are they light and comfortable? Yay!

7:33 PM  
Anonymous assistantotheking said...

I have found The Big Skinny by Philosophy to be quite useful in the hot summer of the Chapel because it washes off - and is not permanent- but does the trick on my albino white legs in the heated summer time. Just thought I would share.

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Parisa said...

A white cotton alb is the most cost-effective robe option, not just for preaching in the summer but also for outdoor weddings, etc. Seriously, it's the best $100 you will spend. I wear mine all year round because the expensive Harvard thing is much less comfortable (all stiff) and inviting (I have a degree from a prestigious university; how's your soul this morning?), and stoles don't lay as well on the academic gear.

11:47 AM  
Blogger LaReinaCobre said...

Bare Essentials is great! Its the only face powder I've tried that doesn't make me break out.

5:31 AM  
Blogger Miss Kitty said... is awesome--I've bought stuff from them for years.

As for the keeping cool...have you considered stockings and garter belt? In non-showing-through-your-robe nude colors, of course.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous jinnis said...

Just checked - the correct product is No Nonsense Almost Bare. These are the most comfortable I have yet to find.

Marshalled an ordination yesterday in heat and humidity - waited as long as possible before asking colleagues to don the polyester robes and get in order.

6:53 PM  
Blogger Princess Pinky said...

I have found the perfect summer hose. They are even available toeless. I get them at Macys, but you can find them online here.

They are light weight, and they don't get baggy around the ankles like the 100% nylon sheer hose. They also come in several colors ranging from bisque to cocoa.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Princess Pinky said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:48 PM  
Blogger Princess Pinky said...

Ok, I had a little problem with posting the link. go here...

or just follow the bad link and type in toeless

9:53 PM  
Anonymous Philocrites said...

Mrs Philocrites, who is very petite, asks me to add that albs are also made in children's sizes (for altar boys and girls), which saved her having to get one altered.

7:50 AM  

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