Monday, December 11, 2006

Special Designated Minister Duds

I have a soft spot for Marvin, because he has the same name as a beloved and recently-departed uncle of mine.

Marvin is a cute young parish minister reader, and he would like to know how he should arrange his life fashion-wise with no extra money whatsoever lying around.

Marvin, my dove, PeaceBang has one bit of advice for you: Keep it simple, and keep it classic.

You should have two pairs of nice enough slacks to wear to the office and on pastoral calls. Say, Dockers. Keep them pressed and clean. Maybe one tan pair and one navy pair.

You should have a nice pair of black shoes and a decent pair of brown shoes. The black should be suitable for a funeral. The brown shoes should be something like Oxfords, sturdy and comfortable but not scuffed and not sneakers.

You should own a sports jacket that goes with the Dockers. Something tweedy is fine.

You should own a dark suit suitable for funerals and weddings. And a few ties. If you can find a nice middle ground between Liberal-Whimsy (say, UNICEF ties or Jerry Garcia designs) and Preppy-Stolid, that would be good. No seminary insignias or alumni paraphernalia.

Invest in a trenchcoat that you can wear for the next thirty years (as long as you keep your girlish figure). You should not be doing graveside services in an anorak or windbreaker. Better to be a bit overdressed for some occasions than underdressed for any.

You should own a few shirts that you can wear on their own or with the sports jacket and/or suit. In fact, your shirt wardrobe is going to be where you really get your variety. Avoid loud patterns that people will remember. You're going for classic, clean, and handsome. Do try things on to assure that they fit you just right.

Dump sports jerseys, t-shirts, snagged or stained henleys, anything in waffle knit cotton (too casual), or polos that make you look more youthful than you need to. Choose fabrics that launder well, that hang nicely, and that maintain their shape. All of which means it's better to buy one good shirt a year than three not-so-great ones.


Hang things neatly in your closet and invest in good hangers that will help your clothes keep their shape. Never hang suit jackets on doorknobs. Toss underwear when it gets gray and saggy: PeaceBang feels very strongly that those who make do on a minimal wardrobe should not overly skimp on undergarments.

Think of your key wardrobe staples as your Special Designated Minister Duds. Change out of them as soon as you get home. Use old grungy stuff to cook in and do housework in and study in. By doing that, you will save your garments a lot of wear and tear and can look snazzy for less, for longer.

Invest in your image and avoid impulse buys. Shop for your own garments -- just don't buy them -- and then tell your loved ones exactly what you want for Christmas.

Send us photos of your handsomeness!



Anonymous enzgrrl said...

If I may add a cost-conscious comment: some of the very best wardrobe items in my Beloved's closet came from a nearby thrift store. My favorite store is in a neighborhood near a very fancy residential area and gets top-quality stuff. Barely-worn dress shoes and nice tweedy jackets, if you can find the perfect fit, are unbeatable bargains, often less than 5% of their original cost. Don't settle for a bad fit, though. Ever.

6:19 PM  
Blogger fausto said...

For buying new, keep an eye on the sales at Jos. A. Bank. Get on their e-mail list.
They've got classic styles, good to great quality, and usually modest pricing (except on ties, for some reason). You never know when they're going to mark some high-quality overstock down 70% (okay, from their artificially overstated "list" prices, but still) for the next three days only, just to clear out some inventory.

And I like their wrinkle-free chinos better than Dockers, anyway.

6:33 PM  
Blogger Psalmist said...

PeaceBang posted not long ago about "The Tie Bar," an online source for exceptionally good ties for very little money. Definitely worth checking out.

12:42 AM  
Blogger peg said...

PB, do one for women too please. Minister I am not, but learning I am (and like Yoda I am sounding).

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

My husband has been loving Dockers Pro-Style pants--they don't need to be ironed, they repel stains and liquids (!), and they are a nice flexible pair of casual professional slacks. They sell them at Kohls box store for $30 or so.

Payless Shoe Source also has some lovely imitation leather men's shoes that look like the real thing but are inexpensive ($20) and pretty durable. (Right now I'm wearing some nice women's calf-high black dress boots from Payless and they totally make my outfit!)

I also recommend carrying around Shout Wipes to get out stains. As an intern minister I had just barely enough professional looking clothes to get by, and by the end of my internship my clothes became even more limited because over two years of use most of the clothes had a small stain or two or even a tear. If I'd had Shout Wipes on hand (in addition to a sewing kit) when the coffee dribbled during coffee hour, I would have been able to continue using the clothes.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Maggie said...

Great advice! On another topic, what should one do about gray hairs in the eyebrows? Any ideas?

7:50 PM  
Blogger Obijuan said...

Kohl's has been my fashion salvation. Got a nice charcoal suit for @$200. Good fit. Looks hawsome (if I do say so myself).

12:28 AM  
Blogger Rhiannon said...

Just out of curiosity, why no seminary insignias?

12:53 PM  
Blogger Rhiannon said...

Just out of curiosity, why no seminary insignias?

12:55 PM  
Blogger A. Lin said...

My husband was recently promoted to manager. Suddenly, he is all about clothes. We have discovered that Macy's has some very good sales every week. Having a Macy's credit card and saving 10% isn't bad either.

Now I get the pleasure of ironing all the pants and shirts. I say pleasure because I actually love to iron.

And I must say that my dh is looking SO much better these days than in his pre-manager days.

Now if I just had the money to buy my own wardrobe. Will someone pay me for being a stay-at-home-mom? I have added a few nice things to my closet lately though. All thanks to PeaceBang.

11:41 PM  
Blogger Ellis said...

I second the nice-neighborhood thrift store suggestion. People in upscale neighborhoods donate the most amazing clothes to charities; I recently acquired five designer suits from one. Seriously. They need to be tailored, but if it costs $35 to fix the shoulderpad problem, and it's a $500 suit...totally worth it. Totally.

1:38 PM  
Anonymous kate setzer kamphausen said...

Hey Marvin - if you're in the Chicago area, I'll do your tailoring gratis. I'm a pastor's wife (and fashion/wedding garments designer), and I totally understand how clothing can strrrretch one's budget!!

Also - Junior League thrift stores are VERY GOOD. You can get last season's stuff cheap!!

11:33 AM  
Blogger The Eclectic Cleric said... Jerry Garcia OR Alumni paraphernalia? I think the only other ties I own have Disney characters on them....

4:24 PM  

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