The pope, as the head of the worldwide Catholic Church, is instantly recognizable. He cuts a figure that seems to have leapt out of history, his flowing robes and ornate headgear marking him out as the face of Catholicism.
But have you ever stopped to think about what makes the pope look like the pope? The papal regalia—the pope’s clothes—isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when we think of the pontiff, but the fashion of faith is what makes the pope so recognizable. These items of clothing are visual symbols of office that date back over 2,000 years. They’re a uniform—just as you might put on your suit and tie for work, the pope puts on his stole and cassock.
Fashion communicates so much about a person or organization, and the pope’s style is unlike anything else we see in everyday life. Let’s take a look at 7 pieces of the papal regalia, and what their stories are.