CLOTHING & HABITS
Religious brothers do not all wear a particular style of clothing. Depending on the person and institute, a brother may wear a habit, clothing that seems appropriate for a particular ministry, a Roman collar or other vestments often associated with ordained ministry, casual or professional clothing.
Habits. Some communities have a habit that is original or traditional clothing. Examples include the black and white habits of the Dominicans or the brown habits of the many communities of Franciscans. Other communities wear habits which resemble clerical garb. In some communities the use of a habit is flexible depending on circumstances or optional all together.
Clerical clothing. In many men’s communities some, most, or even all the men may be involved with sacramental ministry, parish administration, or another aspect of Church life that makes clerical garb appropriate. Members who are deacons or priests also may wear vestments during Mass. In some mixed communities, lay religious Brothers may wear clothing that is often associated with ordained ministry.
Casual clothing. For some consecrated men, a habit does not reflect the institute’s charism. Some communities of men find value in wearing clothing similar to those to whom they minister. Others wear clothing that reflects the culture in which they find themselves, and others find casual clothing is the most comfortable and practical option.
Professional clothing. Many consecrated men are members of institutes in which professional standards of dress are consistent with the institute’s charism or mission. In fields of ministry such as business, education, medicine, or social services consecrated men often wear clothing common to their area of expertise.