Thursday, September 27, 2007

I need your stories!

Hello all,

I am working on an article about clergy shirts for the November edition of Fidelia's Sisters. (The online magazine from The Young Clergy Women Project. The magazine launches here on Monday!)

I would like to know:

a) What your clergy shirt shopping experience has been like. Anything really frustrating? Uplifting?

b) If you've communicated to manufacturers, have you felt heard?

c) What is your favorite solution for feeling fabulous while wearing a clergy shirt?

d) Anything else you feel is relevant. You can post it here or email me at moms(dot)ycw(at)




apbs said...

during seminary, one of my classmates wrote to almy, complaining that the women's shirts were more expensive than the men's. a bunch of us signed it. they wrote back, saying that the reason is b/c the men's shirt business is more competitive b/c there's more demand. that explains why they're expensive. it does NOT explain why the shirts are so unflattering. even if they did make my size, i'm not sure that i would buy them, because they would still be so... icky, like garbage bags you can attach a collar to.

Anonymous said...

Here is my favorite story. I am tall, thin and (before you get too jealous) flat chested. Blouse sleeves have always been too short and getting things to fit across the shoulders a challenge. I ordered from Almy in a size bigger than I should need to in order to get longer sleeves and broader shoulders. Still too short in the sleeve length. (1.5 inches too short...) When I called to see if they had any suggestions (custom, tall cut, anything folks...) they suggested I contact Women's Spirit. I did, their shirts are plenty long enough!

Anonymous said...

Wipple doesn't even know how to deal with boobs. They just put two side-seams in and send it out. If any company designed contemporary shirts that looked good and fit, they could buy an island in a year.

Maria said...

Here in Sweden, men's shirts always come with a chest pocket. A chest pocket really draws plenty of unwanted attention to what's beneath...
And if there are options for women, they're usually horribly frumpy, with pleats and puffy sleeves. I've even seen a pink one!
The problem with the traditional manufacturers, even if they would come up with ok models, is the fabric. Honestly, it starts to smell after a while.

But there are a few options, one of them, Maria Sjödin, was featured here on the site. But buying solely from her gets really expensive. For me, the solution have been to modify every turtleneck shirt I can find, and now I have a nice collection of well fitting and comfortable, but not very traditional, "clergy tops".

Jen said...

This may be too late, but I'll jump in:
I'm an Anglican seminarian, in a mostly RC city. I went to buy an alb at a local (RC) vestment store--alas, no alb, but the (male) sales clerk was very excited to show me a new line of women's clerical shirts they just got in. Great! And they are nice shirts!
The catch? The samples are episcopal purple! At this point, there is only one woman bishop (in any tradition) active in the country. Seems like a risky business strategy!

Anonymous said...

Just got a long sleeve Lydia shirt from Augsburg Fortress. Have had trouble with sleeves not being long enough, but this one fits great! Not too large around either. Might not work for a rounder type of person, but working for me!

Lydia said...

I am not a young clergy woman but I was once in my early 30's (20 years back) and I went to Wipple's in Exeter England where the gentleman taking my measurements seemed to be undone by my ample bosom and was too timid to get near enough to actually measure my bust properly. So when, weeks later, my "custom made" shirt arrived, it had to be remade by an American tailor.