NB (5th Aug 2011): I have decided to wear the Cantab MA gown as I have a good one in my possession. It thus fulfills the ‘black gown of a traditional master’s shape’ requirement.
It will only be a matter of time before I read for a Fellowship of the Burgon Society. On successful submission, I will become a fellow and be awarded letters and be entitled to wear the society’s academic dress which is as follows:
Gown: A black gown of a traditional master’s shape; or any other suitable black gown to which the Fellow is entitled.
Hood: A black corded silk hood of Dean Burgon shape [s2], lined and bound with ruby shot silk (giving a pink effect).
Cap: A black Bishop Andrewes cap [h4]; or an ordinary black square cap [h1].
The main thing of interest here is how I am left to choose a suitable gown. What would be the gown I should wear as a Fellow? A number of interesting options arises:
- A master’s gown of the traditional shape (i.e. square sleeve ends with no cut-outs)
- A master’s gown of a degree which I would take in the future (in this case, the (silk) Oxford MA gown for Sheffield MAs or a Dublin MA gown) (see note 1 and 2)
- The master’s gown from the university I originally obtained my first degree from (in this case, Wolverhampton specifies a master’s gown in the traditional shape, surpa 1)
- An MA gown entirely of my own choice or one that I have available (in this case, a Cambridge MA gown)
- The master’s gown of the insitution of my bachelor’s gown (in this case, Oxford MA since my bachelor’s gown is a Oxford BA)
- A master’s gown of my own design and make (see note 3)
- My own bachelor’s gown that I’m entitled to wear
The question would be what is the correct option to choose and whether it infringes entitlement.
In the case of option 1, it would seem plausible at least since it also has option 3 in mind. However it may be, I find a plain master’s gown a tad bit boring and would want something more elegant than a mere solicitor’s gown… Option 2 is good but alas, I technically am not entitled to it as of yet.
Option 4 seems to be the general idea (Thorsten Hauler ‘chose’ his gown as he hadn’t read any British degrees at the time; he chose the Cambridge MA since he was doing marshalling there), in which case I can go for a gown of an institution which I have connections to (directly or indirectly) or one I like. That institution is either Oxford or London.
Option 5 is trying to be more logical, as if a means of upgrading. I suppose an Oxford MA would work. I also suppose that other Fellows have this gown so I can blend in (not that I want to blend in but to avoid a faux pax).
Option 6 again is good but it won’t be a traditional gown. Plus, I do not as yet have experience in making yokes, nevermind a curved one, and I might screw it up. Option 7 is the safest and probably the most correct at this time but why would I want to wear the same old bachelor’s gown when I am entitled to a master’s one?
This needs careful consideration as I don’t want to step on anybodies toes, look daft or underuse my privilages…
Note 1. I am planning/hoping on the Sheffield MA, the Oxon MA gown would be most likely.
Note 2. I am also planning/hoping on doing a BA at Trinity College Dublin (after which I would proceed to MA three years later) so another likely gown is the Dublin MA gown. Another way to be safe is to create a gown with square ends and then cut the boot of the sleeve accordingly in the future when I obtained said degrees.
Note 3. I already have such a gown: the Officer’s gown of the Xi Kang Qin Society which I had commissioned. It is certainly non-conventional but may be used as a stand in before I take my masters degree.