Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Trouser Situation Room

PeaceBang is really very tired right now, but she's a little bit wired and suspects that laying her head on the pillow would yield no sleep until she's unwound a bit.
And how better to unwind than to cozy up to you, my dear ones, with a cup of chamomile tea and a couple of observations about

A LITTLE PROBLEM WE SEEM TO BE HAVING WITH CLERGY TROUSERS CHOICES.

PeaceBang is taking deep, cleansing breaths.

She is going to try to stay calm as she says this.

Clergy should not wear sweat pants for their daily work of ministry. Sweat pants are pants that are black stretchy cotton and that taper at the ankle. Perhaps you didn't know that those are sweat pants. PeaceBang assures you that they are, and that they are not appropriate for public appearances of any kind except the gym.

Women clergy should not go about pastoral business in Levi 501 jeans. Sorry, gals. Men can get away with it. We cannot, unless they are paired with structured, dressier tops. Please, we love denim. But Levis 501s and ancient, faded Lee jeans are not appropriate denim garments for anyone in a public leadership role. They are what your grandmother used to refer to as "dungarees." Save them for gardening, or grocery shopping, or a day when you won't be in church.

Dear ones. It's not complicated. Your pants should fit. They should not be pegged at the ankle unless you're such a fashion maven that you actually went out and bought yourself a new pair of the "skinny jeans" that were all the rage among extremely slim and fit 20-somethings this past year. Trousers should not end at the top of your ankle. If they have shrunk over the years, for heaven's sake thank them for their loyal service and retire them!

PeaceBang understands that it's hard toiling in the vineyards of the LORD and that we all want to be comfy. But please, for the love of Merv Griffin, be better prepared to represent religious leadership than sweat pants and dungarees.

Regardez, my doves:
nice denim
If you're wearing denim pants -- PeaceBang is this close to not calling them jeans anymore -- aim for denim that is dark and long enough. (No need to get these particular jeans with the snazzy pocket that draws attention to the posterior, but the length and wash are great here).
bad denim This little gal whose image I randomly nabbed off Google Image Search is friendly and actually more polished than several clergypeople I saw at a meeting the other day (!), but those jeans are too faded and inappropriate for work. Save them for private life.

Okay, honeybuns? Can we work on this PANTS SITUATION so that I can stop feeling the need to call Wolf Blitzer?

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8 Comments:

Anonymous Terry Ellen said...

I linked to your blog from the Dress A Day blog. I'm not a member of the clergy, but fight the trouser wars every day. Today the stores simply do NOT contain decent pants for 45+ year old women. The cut and fit are obnoxious (I did hip huggers and bell bottoms YEARS ago) and the quality is sad, sad, sad.

I empathize with women whose role requires a look that conveys leadership, intelligence, professionalism and reverence! Faded butt, low slung jeans or low rise polyester flares just don't make the cut.

Thanks for all the tips - useful for women regardless of vocation.

Cheers!

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some questions on the pants situation:
1) how many pairs of well-fitting pants do I need? (this is another way of asking how often I can show up in the same black or grey trousers)

2) Where do khakis fit in? I'm assuming cargo pants are not okay, but what are the other guidelines?

3) Where do I find tiny pants which do not look like I'm 13??

11:32 AM  
Anonymous uuMomma said...

One other thing to note about jeans for women of a certain size: avoid the mistake I just made. I bought a pair of jeans from Lands End and I'm loving the length of them (always had jeans too short or too long, but mostly too short). So I put them on, loving the length, loving the fit, then I look in the mirror and see that the white stitching around the back pockets acts like a neon sign pointing out exactly how large everything is back there. Shouldn't there be rules that all designers follow about such things when making anything larger than a size 12?

1:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are so right! And rural clergywomen are the worst, I think because a) they're poor and b) there are no good thrift stores in remote rural areas. It is a constant mortification.

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree with your edict against sweatpants, and I think it applies to people of every profession. Nothing looks sloppier or bespeaks an absence of basic human dignity more than a PDS (public display of sweatpants).

There is no acceptable excuse for a PDS. Not the fact that you are just running out to buy a newspaper at 6 AM on a Sunday, so there is no chance of being spotted by anyone you know. Not the fact that all your other pants are in the dirty laundry pile, and you don’t have time to wash and dry a load before going out. Not the fact that you have just consumed an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s Coffee Heath Bar Crunch and an entire bag of Pepperidge Farm Milanos and are now afraid to don any pair of pants that does not have an elastic waist.

I stand with you in your crusade against the PDS. Fight on, PeaceBang.

1:40 PM  
Anonymous jinnis said...

Let me just add, that there are some contexts for jeans in pastoral business - case in point, today I went out for lunch with a member at the local honkytonk BBQ set in the middle of desert scrub and had a tour of their construction of a new rodeo arena. The gentlemen I was with checked what I was wearing before inviting me on the tour. My pants and loafers were ok, but jeans might have been better.

2:55 PM  
Blogger PeaceBang said...

Anonymous, I have four pairs of pants that I wear constantly (I own more, but these are what I wear):
I have the exact same boot-cut trousers in black,charcoal gray and brown. I wear them all the time.
I have a pair of boot-cut jeans that I wear a lot, too. Two pairs that fit you well are just FINE.

Anonymous, your sarcasm and middle-class elitism has not gone unnoticed by the Bang. Get real, hon. Employed pastors can afford a pair of pants. Have you ever noticed how "poor" churchgoers manage to put on their finest for church on Sundays? I've been out and about in ministry for a decade now and have never seen such drab and ill-suited ministers anywhere in "poor" areas as I have in the land of the middle-class white liberal.

5:17 PM  
Blogger Psalmist said...

Hey, I used to resemble the "rural clergywomen" remark...but I never--repeat, NEVER--went out and about in sweatpants, raggedy jeans, or any other grossly non-PeaceBang approved so-called attire. And I was poor. There were plenty of times, commuting to seminary, that I was OVERdressed for school, in order to be appropriately dressed when I got back to town for some meeting or rehearsal or other. And that was on a discount store budget, believe me. My funeral suit, two Sunday-only outfits, three casual skirts, two pairs of trousers, white blouse, several dressy t-shirts, one pair of black jeans, and two (old) blazers got me through everything from guest preaching at the county seat church to visiting the numerous ranches where my people lived. That was my wardrobe for four years, with a few replacements as several items finally gave up the ghost. I replaced shoes more often, swinging by Ross and T.J. Maxx when I was in the "big city" and finding good labels at clearance prices.

I may have looked matronly in my conservative, careful way, but I was seldom frumpy (thanks, PB, for your post a while back on the difference between the two). If I could do it, ANYone with the will can do the same. Oh, and I did it in rural Texas without ever managing to splurge on a pair of cowboy boots, which probably would have cost more than two years' worth of clothes budget.

I've seen quite a few rural clergywomen who dress very nicely, and a whole bunch of urban and suburban ones who are a mess...and vice versa. They range from UM part-time local pastor salary to top 10% salary levels, too. And some of the sloppiest dressers spend the most on their clothes.

IOW, dear PeaceBang, there's SUCH a need for your ministry, but there is cause for rejoicing as well. You are the prime example! Thanks again for your work, and congratulations on the recent notice you've received. Well-deserved! (LOVED the Boston Globe piece! You sounded MAHvelous!)

12:00 AM  

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