Last week, Womenspirit, a vestment and clergy apparel company, announced that they were releasing a new sort of clergy shirt for women.
The remarkable thing about this clergy shirt?
IT IS KNIT. IT STRETCHES. IT CONTAINS SPANDEX.
Behold! I am doing a new thing, saith the Lord.
Cue singing choirs of angels, cartwheeling seraphim, and flying cherubim.
Women clergy everywhere gasped. Could this be? What we had been waiting for? Praying for?
The long-expected shirt that would both denote our vocation and ministry, yet not make us look collectively like Laura Ingalls Wilder on a bad acid trip, or like someone with severe body dysmorphia who got dressed in the dark?
After all, we had waited over 30 years now. 30 long years of wearing polyester shirts left over from the men’s section of the catalog. 30 years of wearing shirts that were meant to be tucked in. Because that’s a thing people still do, somewhere. (In that place where lost socks and pens live, I think). 30 years of wearing shirts that have mutton-chop sleeves, and ruffled button plackets, and no bust darts, and no tailoring that would indicate the maker has any sort of rudimentary knowledge that women might, possibly, maybe, look different from men.
But we did it. We sucked it up. Because Lord knows, we fought hard to get ordained, and stay ordained, and the collar was a privilege, and on the list of things to complain about, the fact that we all looked like we were wearing unfortunate Hefty bags was low on the list, and rightly so.
But, now. Now, it’s 2011. Now the Episcopal Church has consecrated the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson and the Rt. Rev. Mary Glasspool. We have the Extremely Rt. Rev and Awesome ++KJS and we’ve been on the Daily Show several times.
Now can I get a shirt that fits, please?!?
This, as one friend put it, looks like a barrel. A pregnant barrel. A pregnant barrel that is poorly-fitted. AGAIN.
(and way too expensive.)
Why is this difficult? Why? It’s a shirt. Shirts aren’t hard. Wal-mart can pull off shirts, which indicates that literal small children can make them. This shouldn’t be the hardest thing in the world, yet it seems to be.
Please, Manufactures of Clergywear. You make vestments that look like safari wear, walking icons, and amazing modern art. How hard is a shirt?!