5 Worst Looks for Christians

The end of summer has parents and kids dashing around the malls as they stock up on back-to-school gear. New clothes for a new academic year have long been one of the few perks for young men and women as they pick up notebooks, pencils and backpacks.

But perusing the fashion magazines and checking out the trendy new looks, I was dismayed to see an old fad returning among the glossy pages. I thought wearing devotional objects as accessories had been laid to rest in my teenage years of the ’80s, but “retro-chic” has returned the look to our city streets.

Following the popular list format of “best-dressed” and “top 10 trends,” I thought I’d prepare a list of the top five worst looks for Christians.

1. Cardinal socks. Tourists often ask me where they can buy cardinal socks in Rome so they can bring the distinctive red footwear back as a souvenir. While the socks are quite charming on the appropriate clerics, laicized cardinal socks diminishes the respect for the authority of their usual wearers.

2. Virgin Mary belt buckles. The most garish of these is about 4 inches wide and features rhinestones, and generally worn with low-rise jeans. Unfortunately the look is very popular among girls at Catholic schools. You get the picture. ‘Nuff said.

3. The rosary necklace. Pop singer Madonna catapulted to stardom by mocking her Catholic upbringing. Her signature look of a bustier and rosary worn as a necklace was emulated by millions of young women who would cringe today to see a picture of themselves in that ridiculous get-up. But soccer star David Beckham was recently featured in an advertisement bare-chested with Dolce and Gabbana’s rosary necklace framed by his numerous tattoos.

4. Crucifixes, chaplets and scapulars as accessories. It’s one thing to wear a crucifix around one’s neck as a devotional reminder, and quite another to wear it hanging from your ear. One young fashion designer was photographed for a Sunday magazine with a chaplet dangling between her shoulder blades. She referred to it as a “good luck charm” that she had picked up in the Vatican.

5. Satanic imagery. On the flip side of blasphemous sacred objects one finds the wholly unsacred. Unfortunately, this kind of attire is to heavy metal bands and their followers what khakis and polo shirts are to the preppies. Don’t call the devil. He will come.

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