What type of clerical attire is this?

Hi, this is my first time on here so I’m not sure if I put this in the right category…

I was wondering about a different type of cleric I saw a priest wear that I’ve never seen before. He had a “normal” everyday shirt on but had his clerics on over it. It wasn’t the full black cleric like you typically see. It was as if someone took just the front of it. It had all the buttons and had the collar of the usual clerical shirt, but didn’t go all the way around. What is this and is it normal and I just haven’t seen it, or is it uncommon?

The thing you are calling a “cleric” is called a cassock, I would guess. What you saw this priest wearing is called a cassock rabat, AKA a “clerical dickie”. They are quite common, and have been around for centuries. They were invented to prevent the problems associated with wearing too many full-length layers of cloth. Heat build-up was a major issue, but so was the esthetic problem of the garments bunching up or getting puffy, or just not laying right, or restricting movement.

It’s called a rabat and some priests wear it under a suit jacket. They’re pretty common but you normally wouldn’t see them unless the priest removed his jacket.

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Gotcha. Normally a cassock is full length but that might be right.

Gotcha. He didn’t have a jacket on. I had never seen one before. It was longer than rabats are based on google results, but maybe they make longer ones too?

A cleric is a member of the clergy.

Clerical attire, sometimes abbreviated as “clerics,” is what is worn by a member of the clergy.

The way you asked your question made it sound like you were asking what kind of clergyman you’d seen.

It sounds like a long rabat, halfway between the small one used to hold a collar under a cassock and an actual vest. Sort of like the mock vest worn under a tuxedo sometimes.



Thank you. I wasn’t sure what the correct terminology was. I appreciate you pointing out the proper vocabulary for that as well as your answer. At least it made sense even though my vocabulary was wrong

It sounds like a rabat, also called a collare. It may have been something like the image I’ve attached. Your username suggests you maybe in the UK. Maybe he was sort of in mufti because it’s such good weather here (typical when we’re all under house arrest.)


I was going to say that this sounds like a stock. What’s the difference between a stock and a rabat? Googling it, it seems that a stock is just a piece of black cloth with no buttons, whereas a rabat has buttons. Is that it?

Also worth pointing out to the OP is that you can tell even when the priest is wearing a jacket if you look carefully at his cuffs. I used to see an Anglican priest around Oxford who would wear the old-fashioned kind of shirt that all men used to wear that has a detachable collar attached with studs and double cuffs held together with cufflinks and then he wore a black stock. But you could tell what color shirt he was wearing by looking at his cuffs.

Not quite what I’m talking about. What this priest was wearing had buttons and literally just looked like he was wearing the front of a clerical shirt. Also, I am from the USA.

Like this? I imagine in warmer climates where a Priest must wear his jacket all day this would be a lot more comfortable.


That would have been the next garment I posted.

Yes. Exactly that!

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Same with my (RC) bishop.

When I was an altar boy I used to observe my parochial vicar wore similar. He was a large man, presumably prone to sweat, so I presumed the less he needed wear under vestments the better?

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