I invited the owners of "Spiritual Apparel", the new company who makes the sportsbra/clerical collar seen on What Not to Wear to tell us a little about them and their product. Here is their reply.
Six Months ago I had the pleasure of meeting Emily, a young Episcopalian Priest who was submitted as a makeover target for the TLC Television Show "What Not to wear." As a stylist on the show, my job was to help her create a balanced wardrobe that would serve her needs as a professional woman of the clergy and as a twenty-something single girl … easy, right?
As we worked on the makeover, our greatest challenge became how to dress over the Clergy Janie or Shirt that Emily wears for work. All I came across were ill-fitting Clerical shirts or dickeys made of scratchy uniform material, and I soon discovered that functional clerical collars of good quality, and that work with contemporary fashion, were not something easily found. I was baffled.
The only solution I saw was to create a custom-tailored collar that would be suitable for a woman of the clergy. Clothing is not only about how you represent yourself to the world, it’s about how you are choosing to feel in your clothes. The role of a woman in the church is very important, and her collar and vestments should represent that. So, I designed a collar with a fit in mind specifically for a woman that would work as an ideal base layer to work with various modern blouses. It also needed to be comfortable, with a quality fabric that feels good against the skin of the neck. And from the stories I heard about the existing Janie’s and Clerical collar dickeys out there, it needed to be easy to wear -- meaning no fuss, no fidgeting, no re-tucking or adjusting.
The Collar turned out beautifully, and the makeover a success. Soon after her friends started contacting me to request their own custom collar, I realized the significant need for female clerical garments that are both functional and able to blend with a stylish wardrobe. So with such positive response, I decided to make the collar available to women everywhere, by creating Spiritualapparel.com.
Who was one of our first customers? Emily. She wanted another collar: "I ordered another one after my WNTW appearance, because they are made of incredibly high-quality fabric (meaning, no fading, very little wear, no itching) and the fit is perfect (meaning, no bunching). You really just need one, and it will last you for a long time! I've had mine for almost 4 months now, and it looks brand new."
Yes, our collars a bit more expensive then what you are used to spending, but consider a few things. First, when you wear a single garment that is the basis of your career wardrobe, shouldn’t it be something of a fine quality, that you feel comfortable in, and looks great? Second, each collar is also tailor-made according to your individual measurements using high quality fabrics that are a blend of suiting weight wool with stretch --to guarantee that you will be able to move and work comfortably. Third, you will know in good conscience that each collar is handmade to order using fair labor practices and free trade. And lastly, it's a good investment: this collar will last you a long, long time.
We are a small but growing company and are learning more everyday from women around the world who write to us through our website about the daily wardrobe challenges of clerical garments. We find it so shocking that it’s been such an overlooked need! There is no reason that women in this day and time should have to struggle to dress to do the same work as a man. Spiritualapparel.com is looking forward to offering you full clerical shirts & other vestments, and continuing to make a difference in how you can pursue your work while looking great.