Category: On the streets

Pious Pieces


At first I thought there would be no post this week due to lack of content, but lo and behold, I got a gift from God (pun intended).  A nun waiting for the train at Columbus Circle.  Even though nuns are supposed to look as plain as possible, there is something about those habits that are just so amazing. I love the long veil, the rosaries draped at her waist, the flowing skirt. Even with a bit of research,  I couldn’t  figure out what order she belonged to, but what I did discover is that her white veil means that she is a Noviciate nun.  She is in the stage of “developing her relationship” with, or in other words dating, God. If she progresses to the next stage, she will wear a black veil which signifies her “death to the world” and marriage to God.   I also came across this gold mine of a website: nunsandsisters.com.   Its has loads of vintage pics of nuns from all different orders wearing the most amazing habits!  I wish a sister would dress this flamboyantly today.  The Sister Adorers of the Precious Blood (below) appear to have tunics and scapulas (aprons) most similar to our Lady in the subway but their scapulas are red (naturally).











From the photo gallery, these are my favorite looks:











The Bernadine Sisters (is that a flattop with a crown on it?)











The Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul (it’s Sally Field!)










Sisters of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross (why, it’s the hats from Balenciaga S/S 12!)










Sisters of Saint Anne

Sisters of the Order of Mercy (it manages to simultaneously elongate and conceal the neck)

The Congregation of Notre Dame Montreal

It is no wonder that these ladies have been such a huge source of inspiration for designers and the subject of  numerous editorials.  Using the iconography of the nun’s habit is an easy way to play with the dichotomy of sex and religion.  My favorite example being this editorial from last March’s W (Edward, you are KILLING me).  As far as designers go, Stefano Pilati went overtly nun at YSL for A/W 2010 and I feel like there is always a little nun somewhere with Givenchy, Ann Demeulemeester and Rick Owens.  This is also a theme that Jean Paul Gaultier tends to revisit.  The only instance I found where the flow of  influence went the other way was in the 1960’s when Christian Dior  redesigned and  simplified habits for the Daughters of Charity (so he is to blame for habits being less flamboyant? How ironic).  Imagine if Raf Simons designed the habits for a real order of nuns today?  Wow, one can only pray.


I’m going to buy the whole box for $20 and sell these outside Pier 59 Studios on the West Side Highway. My target market is hard up hair stylists and Queens with wig emergencies.