This is all in theory of course. I sort of have ethical issues of wearing one because its sort of purposefully deceptive, as only Episcopalians in the know understand what it means. Seminarians in the C of E do not have any such invention of the seminarian collar. I wore a seminarian collar a couple of times when I was doing CPE, mainly when I was on call overnight. It was helpful for a sinister looking man like myself walked into the ER in the middle of the night. Collars in general did not always go over so well with the good ole' boy "you papists worship Satan" crowd, but generally the ER staff would immediately know why I was there and what my function was. They assumed I was the priest on call.
I would generally be asked to wear my seminarian collar this summer on the reservation for "my own protection," especially at funerals where traditional spiritualism was more prevalent and white men were viewed with suspicious or outright hostility. Interestingly enough, any sort of spiritual leader, be it medicineman or clergyman, was highly respected in the community. In fact, one time after a funeral, the priest and myself were about to leave the church building and was approached by a man who had come to the funeral and was afraid to go back out to his car. There was a gang waiting to beat him up apparently (we didn't ask why but probably over drugs or money). He specifically asked if we would walk him out to his car because he knew that the gang would never dare attack a clergy person. I was a little skeptical of this, having had a former job in security, but sure enough it was true. We walked him out. There were some people milling around, but as soon as they saw the clerical collars coming, they immediately all got in their cars and left.
I bring up this rant because of an ongoing problem I have at my field ed parish. I have only a few times wore a seminarian collar mainly because I constantly get called "Father." I will have no problem with being called Father once I am ordained. The conversation usually goes (with some variation) like this:
Archer: "Good morning, Mr. X."
Mr. X: "Good morning, Father..."
Archer: "You know, I'm not ordained yet, so its not really appropriate to call me Father."
Mr. X (nodding): Oh yes, I understand, Father."
I want to say, "Well, no you don't, but that's OK." This is an incredibly Anglo-catholic parish and many of the parishioners don't speak English as a primary language. They mean well, and truth be told, the seminarian collar is sort of intellectually dishonest. I just feel unethical wearing it though.
This strikes me as odd because on another level, I find the full Anglican dog collar to be completely ridiculous looking. The collar and the black cassock and all were originally created as a sign of solidarity with the poor. Everyone wore detachable collars and the black fabric was the cheapest material that could be bought in Victorian times. Now, clergy (some of whom quite happliy) are forced to spend large sums of money so they can play dress up in Victorian drag. This, of course, complete defeats the purpose of why the clothing was invented in the first place.
Sigh...I live in such a weird Kingdom.