UPDATE: With a swing of the thurible to Uncle Jim in the combox at Adam's Ale, comes this, umm..., interesting story from the UK.
One of my early posts was part of the homily I used to give on the priesthood, the part on obedience. In the middle of the post, I mentioned an encounter with someone downtown who spoke to me because I was wearing clerics, and he simply asked me to send an email to his parents because he hadn't seen them in a while. His invitation to speak to me was because my clothes represented and spoke to the world who I was.
There is a conversation going on at Adam's Ale on the same topic, and I have not posted on it over there, but still wanted to share my thoughts.
One commentator mentions that if she were a priest (not that she is, nor advocates for a female priesthood), she "would only wear my 'collar' while working."
The problem I have with that is how do you stop working when by your very presence you represent Christ to the world? As a priest, you come to realize that you are always 'on,' even at dinner at a friends house, a friend you have known your entire life. You are looked at differently because you are priest.
Yes, it can be absolutely frustrating. But it can be a moment of grace as well, as my wearing clerics invited a total stranger to approach me in confidence that I could do something that no one else could: send an email to give reassurance to his parents. Why did he ask me? Not because of any good gift that I have, because I was Christ to him. (Trust me, I know how inadequate I am for such a representation!)
Now, I certainly do not wear clerics constantly, in fact as I sit at my computer typing this post, I have jeans and a sweatshirt on. But any time I am 'on,' I try to wear clerics, including a sport coat. To me, it looks official, it causes me to think that I am not here because of me, I am here because I represent Christ!
(Funny enough, because I often now wear a 'rabbi' collar, which is just a half shirt, or shirt front, I often take that off to celebrate Mass. Clerics are our secular garb, for wearing out in the world. Our particular priestly garb for Mass is the stole and chasuble. That's one thing that drives me crazy, priests who wear a tie into the Church where they are assisting or presiding at a liturgical service and then proceed to take the tie off and put on clerics before the alb and stole. WRONG! In fact, the legislation seems to state that civil clothes, of which clerics are a part, should be covered by the liturgical vesture; hence the wearing of an amice.)
My own thinking on this subject has changed, and I am now much more apt to wear blacks than not, even on a hot sunny day. Not out of ego, but as I have seen mentioned several times, it is a great witness to the faithful that a (fairly) young man has embraced this call and is not afraid of proclaiming Christ through his mere presence and vesture.