Many aspiring Wiccans find themselves wondering whether there’s really a “dress code” for participating in formal rituals. Much has been made of the practice of working “skyclad,” or nude, in Wiccan covens. While it’s true that the original Gardnerian form of Witchcraft involved ritual nudity, and that many traditional covens still follow this practice, skyclad is certainly not the only option. In fact, today there are many creative, eclectic approaches to Wiccan clothing and jewelry, as you will see below.
If you’re seeking to join a coven or an informal Wiccan circle, you'll want to find out what their protocols are in terms of ritual attire (if any) and choose according to what you’re comfortable with. Of course, if you’re a solitary Wiccan, you don’t need to check with anyone but yourself when it comes to what you’ll wear during ritual. If you follow a tradition that calls for working skyclad as a solitary and you’re comfortable with it, by all means do! Otherwise, you may want to consider some other common options used by covens, circles, and solitaries alike.
Robes, cloaks, and other possibilities—common Wiccan clothing items
Ritual robes are often worn by Wiccans and other Pagans as a way of separating themselves from the everyday mundane aspects of life and enhancing their sense of magic and mystery. For these practitioners, donning a robe is as much a part of the mental and spiritual preparation for ritual as taking a cleansing bath or sitting in meditation. Typically Wiccans wear nothing underneath their ritual robes, but this is a personal choice—as always, do what’s comfortable for you.
Robes can be purchased or handmade—you can find very simple patterns online even if you’re not an experienced sewer—and are available in just about every color imaginable. Whether you’re buying or sewing, however, be sure to pay attention to a very important consideration: flammability. There are some very elaborate and flowing robe designs out there that should not be worn anywhere near a candle flame, especially if there’s a breeze!
Some practitioners prefer to wear a cloak during ritual, particularly if it’s being held outdoors. These can be worn over ritual robes or regular clothing, but are generally not worn on their own since they usually only fasten at the neck. Depending on how elaborate the design, cloaks may or may not have hoods and/or sleeves. As with robes, you can find plenty of pre-made cloaks online, or make your own. You could also do some hunting around at vintage shops and repurpose an old garment into your own ritual cloak!
There’s no need, however, to make or purchase special Wiccan clothing for your ritual work if you're a solitary practitioner. Plenty of Wiccans simply choose to wear something that’s already significant to them—a favorite flowy dress or shirt, an all-black ensemble, or some other article of clothing that has a special resonance.
In addition to, or even instead of, special clothing, many Wiccans will wear one or more pieces of magical jewelry during ritual and spellwork. This may include a pentacle or other magical symbol on a cord or chain around the neck; crystal-studded rings, bracelets, anklets or necklaces; or even a gem-encrusted headpiece. Anything that you feel enhances your personal energy is a good choice.
Of course, it’s best to charge these pieces with your personal power in order to get the optimal effect. If you charge them well, with enough focused intent, you will likely feel a very slight “buzz” of energy when you put them on.
Clothes don’t make the Witch…
Despite how appealing one or more of these options may sound, it should be clear that special Wiccan clothing and/or jewelry are not at all necessary for participation in Wicca outside of coven practice. In fact, comfort is probably the most important factor, since you don’t want an ill-fitting, itchy, or otherwise uncomfortable item to be distracting your focus from the ritual work at hand.
Nonetheless, it can be an effective confidence-booster to wear something specifically designated for Wiccan occasions. When worn with reverence, ritual attire can serve as extra protection from unwanted energies, enhance the energy of your ritual space, and add power to your work. But whether or not you choose to incorporate special clothing or jewelry into your practice, always remember that the power ultimately comes from you.