Thursday, March 01, 2007

Preppy Pastors, Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

Good morning, doves!

This inquiry just in from reader Mel, who writes in the comments section:

"I am grateful for a blog that blends the spirit with fashion. This is a gift from the divine.

... I have a question, a fashion question PeaceBang, and as an over 40 blogger, I am not sure if I contact you directly or post it here: BUT: here goes--blazers--I need a blue one (I think) and I am wondering, what about a double-breasted.

This blog has given me hope that fashion and enlightened religion can be integrated, just as well as Anselm integrated faith and learning.

But, alas, I am afraid. I wear lots of corduroy and Merrell shoes (or the like). Deep down, though, I still wanna wear blue blazers and loafers.

My fear is that this really isn't fashion, but a regression to my evangelical, preppy past. What say ye?"


DEAR Mel,

Well bless you heart for that flamboyant praise. A gift from the divine!? My heavens, PeaceBang must fan herself for a moment.

But you ask a serious question, and I will answer as best I can.

Darling, if you feel comfortable, polished and vibrant in a preppy double-breasted blazer, and your blazer fits, is handsome, and it makes you feel prepared to meet the world when you wear it, who cares if it's the latest rage? There's not a thing wrong with being preppy and classic if that's who you are. You're the Preppy Classic Minister, and the point is that you've respected your office enough to make an effort to look put-together. If the look you put together is preppy, and you exude approachability, joy in your work, honor for God's creation, and confidence in the vision of the Kingdom, well, rock ON with your fabulous self. No one ever said you couldn't serve the Lord wearing tasseled loafers.

Fashion is fleeting. Yes, we should be aware of trends, but only to the extent that it prompts us to consider: what image am I projecting? Am I dressing in a way that visually connects me to NOW? Am I a walking advertisement for the beauty, vibrancy and relevancy of religious life lived in community? Or am I throwing on the first convenient thing and running out of the house under the mistaken impression that my spirituality is such a shining and evident thing to those around me that I can transcend the social conventions around proper grooming and attire.

That said, you may want to read this post to see if perhaps you're in a bit of a rut:
http://beautytipsforministers.blogspot.com/2006/11/signature-or-rut.html

And Mel, you can always write to me with or without a photo at peacebang - at - msn.com.
PeaceBang is there for you.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Dan said...

Ah, the double-breasted blue blazer. It brings a clear sartorial image to my mind -- not just the loafers, but also the crisply-pressed khakis (most likely with cuffs) or perhaps gray flannels. I'm also seeing a spread-collar white shirt (or maybe one with thin stripes), and a school tie tied with a Windsor knot or even a bow tie. With flecks of gray in the nicely-cut hair, what a perfect weekday look for the over-40 pastor. (If the blazer were single-breasted, then maybe a button-down shirt collar, four-in-hand knot, and no cuffs on the trousers.)

It would not be an evangelical look at all. Indeed, it's a look that was favored by my friend Charlie, who was definitely on the liberal side theologically, a hospital chaplain, and who always looked so crisp and neat in his blue blazer and white pants in summer -- alas, Charlie died a few years ago. It also reminds me of N., a UCC pastor of A Certain Age who does a nice single-breasted blazer ensemble with light blue Oxford button-down shirts, loafers and Argyle socks, and a V-neck merino wool sweater vest in winter.

I cannot give myself as another example, even though I am an over-40 pastor who loves his blue blazer and button-down shirts, because Peacebang Does Not Approve of my glasses. Even so, I do think the blue blazer look can be just about perfect for us middle-aged male ministers -- take off the jacket and loosen the tie and you can hang with the youth group -- put the jacket back on, tighten up the tie and you can go to that reception at the Uppity Museum and fit right in.

My $.02 worth....

11:07 PM  
Blogger Mel said...

I am glad to get affirmation from PeaceBang and now Dan about my blazers and, yes, a preference for the Windsor knot and the school tie.

Because, while I do not miss the concept of personal theism, I do very much miss cuff links.

And, while I can abandon Nicean Christology for humanist inspired reverance, I just can't give up wingtips for birkenstocks at work (I wear them every Saturday, though--the "prep" look is my on the clock look).

I felt shame when a progressive colleague I admire still told me that I look like a banker. "oh no, if he thinks I LOOK like a banker, he must think I BELIEVE like a Southern Baptist. I can't have that." I slipped into slovenliness for a long season. Surely jeans and t-shirts will show them--I'm tolerant and universalist in my thought.

But, I have returned to my first fashion love. And the Almighty led me to this blog. Excuse me, old language habits die hard. Discovering the blog has been a rich serendipity.

PeaceBang, thanks for your good work--I'm looking forward to Nightline tonight. I'm glad to know that it is important to have our inner reality match our outer appearance.
Good work

11:12 AM  

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