So... We all know witches used to wear black. Well, a lot still do. For similar reasons. It collects energy nicely. It blends well with the trees and bushes in the dark. Its washable. If you have anyone with a burning desire to persecute chasing you... you can BLEND AWAY... Black is the mixture of all colors- including white- and thus makes a great conduit for any magick workings. Black is warm and comforting, and it has the feeling of being enfolded in the arms of Mother Night.
But in the interest of good PR, many witches have switched to wearing white ritual robes. White is clean, and white light is still touted as being very important to many pagans. White is seen as that beacon of magic in the anytime of day or night. Spirit Energy. Pure Energy, some say.
Then there's me. I did try to wear a ritual sweatshirt for a while. It was good, to start. It was warm soft cotton, undyed, and comfortable in the winter months. I needed the extra ceremony to help my mind calm and focus, and the extra layer to keep the chill in my home from distracting me. It smells heavenly now, too, after the bonfires (tiny, safe bonfires) and the sage smudges (don't go overboard with this-- but aren't they YUMMY smelling??) and the burning of bits of cinnamon and other spices in my tiny cauldron... (Be careful- powdered cinnamon makes lots of pretty jumping sparks when lit, and the oils in some of the other spices can be highly flammable.)
But I'm not so into the ritual sweater thing just now. I am still attached to my ritual scarf, however. And this seems to me a much more practical piece of ritual gear, being adaptable to all kinds of weather, from snow to high summer... unlike the long sleeve full-length robe. Mine is a calm dark blue with dark purple splotches on it, and a few silver threads running through its length. Just the thing for night magick and the Moon. Of any ritual wear, the most important aspect is that it needs to be made of natural material-- cotton or silk or wool or linen or something similar-- and it needs to be something that doesn't distract you from your craft, but rather helps focus your energies in your craft practices. That clarifies for you when you are entering a formal ritual and renewal, and when you are simply enjoying your connectivity with Mother Earth.
I was at a budget fabric store today, looking around. I found a really beautiful soft silver-grey rough silk. And I bought some. Not much, because even at a discount, it was pretty expensive... It made me feel like ritual and Spirit Magick was coming, just by looking at it. The hard part is that I really don't know how to incorporate it into my practice. It did remind me that you don't have to find a "Magick Store" or an expensive boutique with one-of-a-kind cotton robes and such to put together your ritual gear. Goddess knows most of my stuff didn't come from a place like that.
If you need or want ritual clothing for your Sacred Circle work, go to the discount fabric store, and buy 1/8 yard of a fabric that speaks Spirit to you. Colors have the meanings we give them, so if you are a Green Witch, and you find a spring green fabric with a leaf pattern that just feels right-- it is right. Hem the edges, and you have a ritual scarf. Add special beads or buttons that remind you of the mental state you want to be in when you meditate. Just sew them right on the ends of your ritual scarf, and you'll see them when you go to put it on or walk around your circle in casting. I have a bell with a sweet resonating tone that punctuates my ceremony. I think it was 25 cents at the local import store. These personal little do-dads can help you focus just as well as the flashy sixteen-of-a-kind robe you could have paid all that money for.
Get an old wooden mixing spoon out of your kitchen, and add it to your altar. Use it to mix concoctions-- real or magickal-- use it to direct your Spirit Energy in the circle or as a focus for your home/hearth abundance meditations. Free altar object. Right there. Buy some inexpensive tea light candles for your ritual candles (but try to get good quality ones just the same-- they don't have to cost more, and you don't want lead smoke drifting up through your clean energy). Go to the thrift store or local Goodwill and pick up a couple of canning jars to contain them. You can leave them burning, which is nice (if you put them in a safe candle container, and watch them closely) as they go out on their own after about 4 hours. Very tidy. Easy to add a drop of scented oil or a sprinkle of kitchen herbs to the melting wax, too. And the flame is the same as the one that might come from an expensive hand-rolled pure bees wax 18" pillar candle or what-have-you.
Get a bit of muslin at the fabric store while you are there-- 1/2 a yard costs less than $4. Buy a silver crafts pen for about $2.50 and make your own altar cloth with any and all symbols that have meaning for YOUR RITUAL WORK... easier and more personal-- and more natural-- than many of the star-and-moon nylon altar cloths you can buy online-- and you don't have to pay for shipping...Take a walk in the part or the edge of the woods with a friend. Grab a fallen tree branch-- a small one, maybe 10-15 inches-- that feels good in your hand. Use it for your ritual dagger work. It has already got good energy in it from the tree and the wind and the rain and sun... you'll add your own Spirit energy to it as you use it over and over in the Circle. Not so much with a $50 pewter wand or black-hilted dagger that needs your energy to have any life.
If you find an expensive gold-trimmed cape or other specialized ritual item and it speaks to you-- and you know it's in your budget-- go for it. Many of these things are made with love and given a little energy by their maker. The connection you have with the items you use is the important part, not the price tag or the origin of the item itself-- though for some, these are a part of their magick potential, too. So these are simply suggestions. Going bankrupt or buying ritual items on credit is not good joo-joo, so to speak. Appreciating what you have is a big part of connecting with what is.
And my grey silk? I think the black of the night is as important as the white of the moon that shines in it-- and so for me, that soft ethereal grey is a Spirit-Point. I'm not sure what it will become yet, so I'm holding on to it until I figure that part out. Maybe it isn't even FOR me. Maybe it's a gift I get to give to someone else down the road. That's the fun part about the journey. There's always something new to learn or figure out or share with someone you enjoy.