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When Clergy Fashion Goes Wrong

“The Mysterious Third Nipple” and other horror stories

At a recent ministry event, I seized an opportunity to test out my favorite new party trick among clergywomen.

"I'm just curious," I queried, "if anyone has had a professional wardrobe malfunction…"

Though the term was officially coined by TV execs in the wake of the 2004 Super Bowl fiasco, as an attempt to explain Janet Jackson's accidental exposure, clergywomen have been well acquainted with other variations of the common malady for…ever.

I'd long suspected these stories were out there, based only on my own fashion debacles: the inch of wrapped tampon sticking out of the breast pocket of a dark denim jacket before a college chapel service; catching a weighty falling gold earring, with my catlike reflexes, during a Scripture reading; chucking an unwieldy red headband under the pulpit mid-sermon; and, of course, terrifying innocent worshipers by swooping into the women's restroom robed like Darth Vader.

When my colleagues chimed in with their own stories, however, Vader-gate suddenly seemed like a fun day at the Super Bowl.

One denominational executive offered, "The crotch of my hose had slid down to my knees, so I had to waddle out to the communion table like a penguin."

The Penguin received a round of knowing nods.

"While I was preaching," another offered, "my pantyhose had fallen all the way to my ankles."

Now it was getting fun.

"I kept preaching, slipped off my shoes, wiggled out of the hose, and put my shoes back on. Then I realized the choir was behind me and saw the whole thing."

These vignettes only confirmed my long-held suspicion that pantyhose are of the devil.

Being Great With Child

The women who had been pregnant pastors sounded like the most miserable among all women. Yes, it's heartwarming for your prego clergyperson to read Mary's Magnificat while dressed in a tent—or robe…whatever they're calling it these days—but Mary didn't have to deal with something I'm discovering are called "pulpit shoes." While my preferred pulpit shoes would be red Converse high tops, my fashionable diva friends seem to wear sleek stylish heels to deliver the Word.

If you can believe it, bloated pregnant women no longer fit into these death traps.

One, confident her duties would keep her behind the reliably obscuring pulpit, wore fuzzy pink bunny slippers in worship. Her secret was safe until she walked down the aisle.

August08, 2013 at 8:00 AM

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