Dressing tips for (Men and) Ministers.
September 9, 2012
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Quoting Donald S. Whitney writing to Ministers:
I’m writing these clothing tips specifically to help the minister (and anyone else) who sometimes must dress up, but who feels some need for guidance on the matter and cannot afford to spend a great deal on clothes. I am no expert on haberdashery, nor do I want this piece to give me a reputation as one. These are simply things I was taught while growing up, as well as a few other pointers I’ve picked up in the decades since. Having observed many young ministers who seem not to have received much guidance in this area, it occurred to me that I might be able to help by condensing what I’ve learned over the decades into something practical they can read in ten minutes…
Your first and best suit should always be navy blue or black and relatively—if not completely—solid, that is, without pinstripes, checks, etc. Ministers used to refer to this as their “Marryin’ and buryin'” suit, as it was the most appropriate one for the most formal of occasions in which they most frequently found themselves. Such a suit is versatile, too, as it is fitting not only for weddings and funerals, but for any other suit- wearing occasion. The same is not true for a lighter-colored suit which, while appropriate in many other situations, would be out of place in a funeral, because tradition dictates dark colors.
Two-button, three-button, and double-breasted suits are always in style. Lapel width on the two and three-button suits may change with the fickle winds of fashion, but lapels that are approximately 3.5 inches wide are almost always acceptable.
Except when seated, keep your coat buttoned as much as possible, especially when preaching, teaching, etc. As with sportcoats, the bottom button on two and three- buttoned suits should normally remain unbuttoned.
Buy classic ties, not trendy ones. Classic patterns—such as British regimental stripes— will always be in style. Never wear humorous or themed (such as promote your favorite NFL team) ties with a suit. The great Welsh preacher of the twentieth century, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, thoughtfully observed that a minister should avoid ties that might distract people while he preached.
At the outset of building your wardrobe, look for ties that accommodate the greatest number of clothing combinations. A maroon tie with a very simple pattern, for example, has the versatility to coordinate with almost any color suit and the simple pattern works with either a plain or busy sportcoat.
While it is a good idea for your wife to confirm that your tie harmonizes with your shirt and coat for that day, it may not be wise to let her buy your ties. Unless she knows traditional styles, the patterns and colors that attract her eye may be more feminine than masculine. [Continue here]
Take off your sportcoat or suit coat before riding in a car. Otherwise you will crumple the lower half of the coat like an accordion.
Dressing well is not about “dressing for success,” but dressing for the glory of God. Choosing clothes is a part of doing “all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).
P.S.—Don’t anonymously give this to a gentleman or minister without buying him a suit or tie!
HT Biblical Spirituality