ASK FATHER: Where to get a decent cassock?

From a reader…


My husband serves for the Traditional Latin Mass at our parish. He has mentioned that he’d like his own cassock and surplice for Christmas.

Do you know of a good place to get a nice looking one that won’t break the bank? Thanks and God Bless!

I think it is a good idea for men who serve regularly should have their own cassocks and surplices.

In general, you can go to your local Catholic religious goods store, if there is one where you live.  They should have a range of cassocks and they can order if necessary.

If you are not near such a store, in these USA please contact my friend John in church goods at Leaflet Missal in St. Paul – 651-209-1951 Ext-331. 

John coordinates the Biretta For Seminarians Project.   He is a traditionalist, at heart.  Therefore, he stocks and know how to get the good stuff.  He won’t steer you wrong.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Elizzabeth says:

    For lads (and gentlemen) in the UK – they are made to measure, and you can choose fabric & style according to how much you want to spend. (I do ship abroad too.)

  2. EC says:

    If you have any friends (priests or seminarians especially) who are from Colombia or Poland and/or are going there – those are places where nice garb is very cheap.

  3. Geoffrey says:

    As an instituted acolyte, I am still trying to find the perfect alb. I finally found a cassock and surplice, though the cassock is a bit small.

    Am I the only one who could use a primer on how to properly measure oneself for albs, cassocks, and surplices? Resources are few and far between. Even when I use the charts and graphs provided by the proprietors, I always have to professionally alter everything I purchase.

  4. Geoffrey: Albs are not that hard. I have gotten albs from Leaflet and from a couple places in Rome. Once you have your basic height measurement, they are easy. For cassock, after the death of my tailor, I have used Gammerelli (slow, but good), Barbiconi (quicker and acceptable) and Euroclero (fast and acceptable… better than anything I’ve seen made in these USA and less expensive). I just asked Euroclero for their measurment form, because I should have an purple MC cassock made for someone here for those occasions when I can’t be MC. This is what they sent me:

    A-B : misura dalla base del collo ai calcagni
    A-B : measure from base of neck to heel

    A-C : misura dalla base del collo al centro della schiena
    A-C : measure from base of neck to centre back

    D-E : misura della schiena da spalla a spalla
    D-E : measure back from shoulder to shoulder

    E-F : misura della manica dalla spalla al polso, presa sul gomito e braccio piegato
    E-F : measure sleeves from shoulder to wrist, with flex arm

    I-L : circonferenza del torace
    I-L : measure around chest

    H-G : circonferenza della vita
    H-G : measure around waist

    M-N : circonferenza del collo
    M-N : measure of neck

    O-P : misura dalla base del collo alla caviglia
    O-P : measure from collar to ankle

    The Gammarelli measurement form is somewhat more thorough, as they also ask for an indication of general posture.

  5. Elizzabeth says:

    Yes, I’ve realised from experience that it’s hard for folks to know what measurements are needed, so I always put a detailed explanation on my sizing forms. It’s also hard to measure oneself accurately, so it’s good to have a friend help with taking the measurements!

  6. Matt R says:

    I would add that the length from collarbone to heel is something of a preference. I know some people who let it touch the floor. Others like it to cover the socks but nothing more. I wear it like dress pants, to the middle of the heel or so. [It’s always possible to have it shortened.]

    For albs, just try things on. My local place carries decent albs, at least for a travel set. I would like to have one made from linen and a little lace, after I, one day DV, am installed to lector and to acolyte. I know that while it’s a little less beautiful, better to be on the short side with an alb than too long…

    Surplices really are a matter of preference, so long as the shoulders fit correctly. Some people like them bigger, with longer or shorter sleeves, etc.

  7. sekman says:

    I am always grateful for these posts, it seems it is always difficult to keep track of good sources for these things. To the original question, I would suggest buying something here in the states. If you call Leaflet they will most like offer typical offerings from manufacturers such as R.J. Toomey or Slabbink, alternatively you could order from Almy, here in the states. All of these companies will have pre-made general sizes that are quite flexible and fit nearly all body types.

    For those looking for a true tailored cassock there are a number of options available. First, here in the States are only two legitimate cassock tailors that I am aware of. Those being House of Hansen in Chicago and Renzetti-Magnarelli in Philadelphia. They both make fine cassocks. A Mass cassock with piping and the traditional buttons will set you back a solid $650.

    If you really want to take the next step up, then your best bet is to order from a Roman Tailor. Gamarelli of course is the gold standard, but you are going to pay for it. The cost of delivery will be around $100 plus your order could be subject to import taxes. One other, lesser known company is I Sarti del Borgo. This company, also known as C&G per there storefront in Rome makes marvelous cassocks, along with being the tailors to the Swiss guard that manufacture their extremely complex uniforms. I have seen this in person and wholeheartedly recommend them, they will be a tad less than Gamarelli yet matched in quality. With the Roman tailors you have a more diverse option of materials along with items that really make a cassock pop such as silk buttons.

    When it comes to cassocks you can easily tell the quality of the cassock based on the neckline. If the neck of the cassock looks proper than it is a decent quality cassock, most home made cassocks fail miserably in this regard, they have these shabby looking necks that flat don’t look right. Keep this in mind before ordering from India or having someone make one at home.

    Now in regard to albs, since they are not truly fitted garments aside from sleeves and overall length, they are much more universal. Any alb from one of the church goods stores here in the US should fit fine. I prefer the tie neck alb as opposed to the square neck. It holds the amice in better and in general looks cleaner to me. One recommendation I would make for a custom alb, especially if you want something in linen is to contact Patti Dunne, she has a bit of a backlog at present but her work really is superb. She has a great variety of lace options as well.

  8. Father, what’s this about a purple cassock for MC’s? Is this something in any rubric book? I am genuinely curious as this is my first time hearing this. Perhaps a separate posting on that topic is warranted.

    [For our frequent PONTIFICAL Masses. We do that here in Madison with the Extraordinary Ordinary.]

  9. fishonthehill says:

    For those in North East, Arnaldo Yannantuono is still around! He has been making cassocks since
    1959! He’s from the Italy but lives in the states. He recently called my rectory, looking for a priest no longer assigned to the parish; as I have seen many of his cassocks, I made an appointment and he came over measured me and all. The cassocks were not cheap, but I have to say some of the finest wools I have seen on a cassock! He also makes suits, gilets or vests, and the grecca. He tends to be generous with measurements so if you really want it form fitted be sure to tell him. He still uses a typewriter for receipts!

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