Sunday, January 28, 2007

Burning Questions

Darling readers, I'm back!

PeaceBang's plane got in from Miami (via Guatemala City) very late last night, so she spent the night in Boston. You can believe that as soon as she got into her car this morning she reached for her handy tweezer and PLUCKED the chin hairs that had grown completely out of control over the past ten days, rendering her a total bruja!

And now that PeaceBang is safely home, before she even lowers herself into a bubbly tub, she wants to know how you are, and how are your beautiful selves? What questions have you for the coming week as PB catches up with church and life in general?



Anonymous Mrs. Philocrites said...

Welcome back, PB!

My burning ministerial-sartorial question has to do with clergy shirts, and those of us who are of brief personage. I will need to have my clergy shirts custom-made, since the Good Lord did not see fit to give me shoulders and arms even close to the width and length of everyone else's. Womenspirit, which has a really cute new 3/4 sleeve-length shirt in a nice blue, doesn't do custom shirts, and Almy and Wippell's, etc., have NO DARTS IN THE CLERGY SHIRTS FOR WOMEN!!! Even the cutest models look lumpy-frumpy in them.

So here is the solution I've come up with: I will order a lumpy-frumpy shirt, and have it altered by a tailor to include darts and give it some shape around the waist. Not cheap, but it seems that very few tailors make custom dress shirts for women.

Also, I know there are clergy "dickies" which are a nice solution for some women, but I just don't care for them.

I would love PeaceBang's thoughts on my quandry, which I must resolve in time for a shirt to be made for my ordination to the diaconate (God willing and the creek don't rise, as they say) in June.

4:30 PM  
Blogger PeaceBang said...

Mrs.P, you have EXACTLY the right idea. Buy and have tailored for you. It's the only way. Expensive, but you'll look and feel so good it will be worth it. You simply can't go about swimming in your shirt. It will diminish you, and we can't have that.

4:34 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

When collarless shirts were in fashion - I bought a bunch and had buttonholes made for the back and front to hold the collar studs --- used to be a nice way to get shirts that fit. oh well.

7:20 PM  
Blogger boyinthebands said...

I hate the short rabats (dickies) but a proper shirtfront isn't too bad, and might work better for a woman's form if she (a) hasn't much of a bosom or (b) has a good tailor. To be fair, a man with central obesity is going to distort the shirtfront, too, so it isn't a look for everyone. Indeed, I'm risking it even as I type.

I had a common button down shirt altered: collar removed and stitched up, a back button hole added, and the front button made into a button hote. Add shirtfront, collar, and two collar-studs (the long ones) and you're good to go.

10:20 PM  
Blogger Caroline Divine said...

I hear J.R. Evans makes custom clerical shirts. My vicar from two churches ago (in CA) had some and told me that's where they came from. She had a bunch of different shirts and one was a mad cool DENIM one. Great wear for Bay Area summers. She also had a great striped one. She was large of bust, so custom tailoring was of major importance.

I'm not quite ordained yet, so I haven't checked into this J.R. Evans option, but I was planning to. I hate the no-darts thing. And yes, Ann, collarless or banded-collar shirts are lovely -- but as you also note, they only seem to make them for men these days, and though I am not a busty babe, men's shirts aren't quite right for professional wear; I love 'em for weekend casual, though.

That said, I think wearing one's clerical shirt all, all, all, the time smacks of the worst kind of clericalism. There are times to wear the collar (Sundays, in prisons, in hospitals, and at peace demonstrations) and times not to. (I thought I would throw up when one Episcopal blogger wrote that he always wore his collar at his seminary to teach because it was related to his role there. Pulleeze! Everyone in the seminary knows he's a priest and everyone knows he's a professor. And he's already got the power differential going by virtue of both positions. There's no good reason for him to wear clericals to class. Get comfortable, bro.) Oops, I am off fashion here, sorry. But we all know dress is symbolic, as PeaceBang would be the first to tell us. I happen to think collars are unnecessary at committee meetings, in the office on weekdays, and on any number of other occasions. But I don't want to start a fight, so let me change the subject, fast.

Anyone seen any good cream (not powder) eyeshadow recently? I've been using powder (with nice PeaceBang-recommended brush from Target, and yes it makes a huge difference to use a brush instead of fingers or yucky little foam brushes, thank you PB) but I miss the cream (or creme, as the cosmetics companies say) shadow someone once gave me from France, which was perfect, smooth, and not drying or irritating, and had great color, and I am in mourning for a great line Clinique put out some years ago (I think about five years ago) and kept for only about a year. It was in lipsticky form and was called something like "creamsickle" (I still have it but now need a magnifying glass to read what it says on the end) and the color I loved, which would work for just about anyone, and which I still can read because it's in block letters, was "Double Smudge," which I have never been able to find anywhere else. I don't understand why Clinique discontinued this so fast. Waaaaah...

Is there a source for hard-to-find makeup? You know, like Replacements for dishes? The problem with makeup is it goes bad, so I don't expect one can find that discontinued line, but it just fries me when companies discontinue good stuff. (Lands' End does that with some of its clothes and shoes and it makes me nuts.)

Welcome back, PB. Life just wasn't the same without you.

11:14 PM  
Blogger Caroline Divine said...

Woah. I just googled "Clinique double smudge" and remembered then that the line was called smudgesickle (close enough to "creamsickle") and found a) someone selling some on eBay and b) comments about this smudgesickle line of eye shadow on ePinions. Which doesn't mean Clinique is still selling it. But the ePinions comment was enthusiastic.

I'm going to keep hunting, but let me know about this hard-to-find or discontinued issue, because it happens with other things besides makeup. A lot.

11:22 PM  
Anonymous madgebaby said...

Custom shirts are an option, but beware companies that mostly make mens' shirts. They will be too boxy and big. Find a tailor who works with women, and get them made or altered. The big problem with having them made is getting good fabric that doesn't end up wearing out or looking wierd, but if you live in an urban area this is less of a problem.

My other hint is to find well made mock turtlenecks and have the neck cut down and small buttons placed for the collar. If you find one that fits and is high enough, it looks great and fits nicely under things.

Finally, be careful with the color. I tried to be creative with clerical clothing and found I looked sort of clownish. Now I stick with black, and wear very subdued clothing with the collar. I know people who pull off some creative colors nicely, but for many of us who struggle to match and look professional, black and perhaps beige shirts help everything else come together from a wardrobe perspective.

great to have you back, Peacebang!

8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear all and PB- PB, great to have you back- I was in Mexico at about the same time, and my stomach still has not recovered! As to clerical collar shirts, I keep wondering if there is a pattern company (Vogue?) that makes a pattern- you could sew it (or have a friend or relative do so)in all kinds of colors (deep, sensitive, appropriate colors) and fabrics (see the blog about iron vs no-iron) and get just a few of those pastoral collar insert thingies....just a thought...I'm still a year off from having to wear those- be well N

4:44 PM  
Anonymous hamletta said...

Well, I did find some men's clergy shirts for half-price, but no patterns for clergy shirts.

But looking at the catalogs, it seems to me you could adapt any women's blouse pattern, especially one with a Mandarin collar. Since you're buying the collars separately, it shouldn't make a difference.

My mom, a fabulous seamstress, always said not to bother making blouses, since it's painstaking work, but well-tailored women's blouses are hard to find off the rack, and stock clergy blouses are always such dippy colors they're hardly worth the expense. For professional attire, though, it's probably worth the effort to find a style that fits and have it run up in a bunch of colors/fabrics.

I'm pretty good at spotting the necessary elements in a pattern, so I'll have a look at the majors and see what they've got.

4:12 PM  
Anonymous hamletta said...

OK, here's what I found:

Kwik-Sew 3289. Simple, two darts, straight sleeves, curved hem.

McCall's 5103. Looser, but darted, long enough to tuck.

McCall's 2094. Short, double-darted, much like the Kwik-Sew, but with notch collar that would need alteration.

Vogue 7903. Floofy cuffs, but interesting dart structure. Has collar band for easy adaptation.

Shirley Adams 500 + 502. Daunting at first glance, but probably best for the hard-to-fit. It's a basic shell pattern with bust alterations, plus a second pattern to make structural alterations to add openings, collars, sleeves, etc. She also has some helpful hints for altering pattern darts.

Hope this helps.

9:19 PM  
Blogger Jordan Stratford+ said...

You missed the Versace Priest Look and we all thought of you at once.

9:23 PM  
Blogger Peregrinato said...

(going way up into the comments....) Personally, I would defend the Episcopal seminary professor's decision to teach in a collar if he considers seminary teaching part of how he exercises his ministerial duties and vocation. The "everyone knows what he does" argument doesn't cut it for me.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Sophia said...

Every year our seminary chaplain invites all the 3rd year women over for an evening of discussing how to find clergy attire one can actually deal with. I'll have to ask the seniors what her advice is.

I too feel I need to comment on the comment about collars and clericalism. Clerical dress is regarded as the required professional uniform in many congregations, and especially in certain parts of the country. There are many places where an Episcopal priest would no more show up at the office, a meeting, or a community event without a collar that a lawyer would show up in court without a tie or a police officer would work in jeans. Just a thought.

12:28 AM  
Anonymous Sarah K. said...

Dear Mrs. Philocrites,

I, too, am a size Almy and the others do not deign to make. I have had shirts made by Brooks brothers (Okay, but not girly enough for me.) J.R. Evans (It was a logistical nightmare, but I think they've worked some bugs out since then.), but I've been happiest by having shirts made for me by a local shirtmaker. I brought in a Banana Republic shirt that I liked. (As a flat chested woman, I wanted boob darts to accentuate the little that I have. I also wanted a shirt that would look good not tucked in.) The shirtmaker developed a pattern and now whenever I have a spare $120 (sigh), I can go in and pick a fabric or just call in if I need a black or white shirt. Some of my friends have been braver than I and have all sorts of fun stripes and patterns. Bring in a clerical shirt, too, in case the shirtmaker is not familiar with how they look. Good luck!

11:52 AM  

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