Now, I think she's been clergy for a very long time. In fact, I think she's one of the first in our conference. I can understand wearing one to be set apart -- to signal to people who and what she is, especially seeing that many years ago, women clergy were an odd beast. It would be rather like a college prof wearing a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches, a little bow tie and smoking a pipe. Or like the receptionist at a doctor's office wearing scrubs. A sort of "unofficial" uniform.
I purchased one on a whim a couple of years ago. The shirt fit like a tent, so I have altered it a bit. I wore it once to the hospital (a Catholic one, at that -- and on purpose as a "statement") and I've worn it at a funeral where I needed to set myself apart without wearing robes. I found it grotesquely uncomfortable. I've noticed some Methodists wearing them. I will admit that at first I found it an affectation. We are not terribly a formal institution; more "fellowship-y" than that.
But meeting that clergywoman last week had me thinking -- I did indeed unconsciously view her somehow *differently* because she was wearing that collar. It was a comfort to me, oddly enough. Otherwise, I would have just viewed her as another LOL (little old lady). Perhaps that is the reason I've seen so many women wear the collar in my denomination. I know I acted differently and people re-acted differently to me as I wore one. In a way, I didn't like it -- I didn't LIKE being set apart. I like being "one of the guys." But ... I am indeed set apart. Perhaps it would be a good reminder to me of that. And the uncomfortableness would be a part of it.