In early English cloth was used of garment, dress, and shows up in our clad, cloth, clothe, clothing. Clothing is the set of garments, or coverings, by which the body is protected from the weather and concealed from view. In Masonic usage the meaning is much narrower and more technical; a Mason is clothed when he wears the apron, white gloves, and the emblem of his rank. The apron and gloves are also employed as symbols, though gloves have pretty much fallen into disuse in American Masonry.
-Source: 100 Words in Masonry
A Freemason in the United States of America is said to be properly clothed when he wears white leather gloves, a white apron, and the jewel of his Masonic rank.
The gloves are now often, but improperly, dispensed with, except on public occasions. "No Mason is permitted to enter a Lodge or join in its labors unless he is properly clothed.'' Lenning, speaking of Continental Freemasonry, under the article Kleidung in his Lexicon, says that the clothing of a Freemason consists of apron, gloves, sword, and hat. In the York and American Rites, the sword and hat are used only in the Degrees of chivalry. In the catechisms of the early eighteenth century the Master of a Lodge, was described as clothed in a yellow jacket and a blue pair of breeches, in allusion to the brass top and steel legs of a pair of compasses. After the middle of the century, he was said to be "clothed in the old colors, namely, purple, crimson, and blue"; and the reason assigned for it was "because they are royal, and such as the ancient kings an d princes used to wear. "
The actual dress of a Master Mason was, however, a full suit of black, with white neck-cloth, apron, gloves, and stockings; the buckles being of silver, and the jewels being suspended from a white ribbon by way of collar.
- Source: Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry
Clothes Make The Man and the Mason
Originally published as - A PROPER APPRECIATION
Masonry in many respects is the same the world over. The language of symbols, the legend of signs, and the tenets are alike everywhere, so that a man may be recognized as a Mason as well in Africa as England, or in Germany as in America. The forms and ceremonies may differ, but the mystic language is unmistakable.
There is, however, a vast differences in the esteem, and appreciation of the fraternity in different countries. We have often been impressed with the high regard our English brethren have for their membership in the Craft. We may say what we will about the clothes not making the man. One who is careful of his dress on all occasions and will always present the very best appearance he can possess, a certain element of refinement that is certainly commendable, and that brother who is careful to appear at lodge meeting in appropriate dress shows an appreciation of the place and the people with whom he is to mingle that is praiseworthy. The man who went to the wedding feast not properly clad for the occasion was made to feel out of place.
The brother who goes into the lodge room in rough, untidy clothing can not but feel a kind of humiliation if all about him have made a careful toilet. Our English brethren carry their own aprons and gloves with proper official decorations and are proud to put them on, not in a haughty matter but in a commendable pride that they are one of the great family of Masons, and the apron is the outward symbol of that membership. This feeling shows an appreciation of the fraternity.
The question has been asked frequently, "Why are our meetings not better attended?" The trouble is largely a lack of appreciation of the lodge work. There is sufficient in the work of the lodge, the conferring of degrees to interest the thoughtful student. The ceremonies are like the spring flowers, ever fresh, beautiful and new. The flowers have been blooming ever since mother earth began her yield of luxuries, and yet we never tire of them. The morning glory and the daisy, the turnip and the violet are the same year after year, and we cherish and love them the same. And so with the work of the lodge-room, while the ceremonies, signs, symbols and legends are the same, yet there is a beauty about them or fragrance, a very newness, which if we will only look for, we will surely find.
We often fail to appreciate the social side of Freemasonry and that is a cause for lack of interest. Take the combination of lodge work, and lodge sociability, and you have elements of interest and pleasure that should be attractive to everyone.
The friendships of Masonry ought to be the very strongest and tenderest. They are formed within a charmed, mystical circle, that should have the golden thread of fidelity running all through it, and while the experience of many may not be as satisfactory as could be desired, yet there is so much that is pure and unselfish that we should be proud of the fraternal chain that binds us together.
Let us really appreciate the lodge, so that we will not only be glad to assist in the work, but still more ready to study and learn. We will come to the meetings with clean hands and pure hearts, and clad in a style, not only in keeping with the dignity of the place, but showing that we have a high regard for the work and for our fellow-members.
Source - The Canadian Craftsman, March 1898