Growing up, clothing divided into three categories: church/dressy, school, and play. As an adult, that's become: church/dressy, school, and camp. Indeed, church/dressy includes a remarkably well filled out professional wardrobe for someone who's 25 and only ever worked campus ministry and camp jobs. As far as I'm concerned, professional clothing involves blouses, gray/black/chocolate pants (often wool or lined or both), long dark skirts, suits, etc. You have clothes for the academic year, and you have clothes for the camp season. And when you work in a hospital instead of a camp for a summer, you wear the former, because it's a professional (and highly air-conditioned) environment.
Today I discovered that not all clothing falls into the binary division of "fall/winter" or "camp". Today, I sat (figuratively) at my mother's knee and learned of a thing called "summer clothing." Today, my parents and I went to the outlets, where I acquired things like sleeveless and short-sleeved blouses, knee length skirts with bright colors, and ankle-length pants (some of which are pale). Today, my mother and Jane came very close to convincing me that a long black linen skirt with a nice top (not a blouse!) will be an entirely professional outfit for my first day at my internship parish tomorrow. I still have my suspicions, but since I am not yet permitted to retreat into clericals, I will wear this outfit, and I will act professional enough that there will be no doubt as to whether I ought to be working there. (Admittedly, the action/speech part is the more important part of the professionalism equation even in indubitably professional clothing.) I am informed that in the 21st century, a suit on a summer Sunday, or even a more formal blouse, will be overdoing it, even for an intern on her first Sunday at the church.
I am now trying to accustom myself to this new reality. My camp wardrobe is in a camping pack in the basement. My winter clothes are (mostly) in Evanston. Instead of either, the closet contains things suitable for summer work wear. (Ok, so it also has most of my blouses and a lot of my winter pants. I change slowly.)
Tune in tomorrow night to find out what happens when I show up in the aforementioned suit-free outfit!