Full Fledged Rant

When did it become acceptable to wear cargo shorts to church? That is my burning question. The casualisation of America is in full swing. When did it happen? When did it become the norm for women to wear Day-Glo biking shorts to work? When did women think it was a good idea to wear sweat pants to a court house? Why do men think it is acceptable to wear items they would wear to a baseball game to church?
I am astounded by the lack of social graces everywhere I go these days. Before you say “oh one more old person bemoaning about young people and the way the dress”. I am the last of the baby boomer generation, born in 1964. I love clothes, fashion, dressing for the occasion and am saddened by the decay of social dressing. I am specifically aiming this at people my age and older, unfortunately the social norm now is to dress as dowdy and badly as possible.
Even business casual has taken on a whole new meaning. Gone are nicely pressed khaki’s, instead jeans with holes in them are the norm, and t-shirts. Gone are the days of nice slacks, button down shirts, ties and Italian shoes.
I miss the days that men wore suits to church and women wore dresses. Nice dresses, not horrible lavender, flowered, column dresses that went out of style as soon as they were “in”. I miss the days that women knew you did not wear hose with open toe, strappy sandals.
Where are the women and men who remember how to dress for every occasion? Where are you hiding? Several years ago I had to go to court with Elizabeth (not a juvenile delinquent, traffic court); she asked what she should wear. I told her to dress like she does on Sunday’s for church. She wore a nice skirt and blouse with nice shoes. When we went into the courthouse there were teens there with not so nice jeans, none dressed and the parents were wearing sweat pants (not juicy, wal-mart) and jeans (not Seven, wrangler). None were dressed for the occasion. My daughter was a little put out, she said “Mom, we are over dressed” I said “No, they are horribly underdressed.” It was then that I started noticing the horrible way people are dressing. At church that Sunday I saw a man in cargo shorts and his wife was in denim Capri’s. What upbringing told them this was ok? A house of worship is a sacred thing and we should show respect. We should dress for the occasion. In the workplace began noticing the 300 pound women in biking shorts, the one middle-aged woman who insists on wearing skirts so short that when she walks you see everything she has to offer. Who told her this was acceptable business wear? Before you ask, I work in an office for a major telecommunications company. Not in a small town, in a major, cosmopolitan city. A city that is known for fashion giants. If we are so fortunate to have the fashion giants in our city, why then do we not know how to dress?
How to rectify this horrendous situation? Well I do have a solution to the problem. Advertising and mandatory dress codes are a good start. Yes, there, I said it. Obviously when you leave mainstream America to there own devices they make horrendous fashion choices. They should be led; reading Vogue, W, and Lucky should be mandatory beginning in Middle School. Not only for the girls, but the boys should be included as well. The way men are dressing these days is also horrifying. There are the men who wear t-shirts with inappropriate logos in the office, men who wear jeans and cargo shorts to church. Men who wear sweat pants and pajama bottoms to the store, to work and sporting events. Men who show up for a date wearing gym shorts. Who does that you might ask? Or maybe you won’t ask that, because you know who does that. The question is who doesn’t do that. Well, the answer would be gay men. It seems that gay men are the only ones who know how to dress for the occasion. Just catch an episode of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. I have noticed even when Carson Kressley takes one to task and takes him shopping, buys him the clothes, even puts the outfit together, inevitably the man messes up. Ignores Carson’s sage advice on fashion and wears what he thinks looks good. Ok, men, the women in your life would not have nominated you if you looked good to begin with. Stick with Carson’s advice. Watch a few episodes of What Not to Wear, The Look for Less, and the BBC version of What Not to Wear. I noticed even on the Look for Less recently a woman did not take the advice of Lloyd Boston and went back to her old New Jersey ways. A pity, because she looked amazing in “The” look and looked trashy in her regular way of dressing.
Why oh why do we have to be so stubborn? With a plethora of designers, magazines and television shows, why do we insist on doing it our own way? Is it the old American independence asserting itself? Are we trying still to break away from European traditions? What is it about us that we have to be different? And not in a good way. There are a lot of things about us that is good, the whole democratic thing, the way we have to urge to defend the defenseless, wanting to help the unfortunate, getting involved. These are good things to be different in. I am just asking that we look to our European counterparts for a little fashion flare. A cognitization of our not so distant past when dressing for dinner out was a given. Dress for dinner out with your partner, male, female, whichever it is. Put a little effort, when you go to the office, church, restaurant, the mall, the library, to your children’s school. Remember the rest of us have to look at you.

11 Replies to “Full Fledged Rant”

  1. Hooray! Good old fashioned rant!

    Dressing down for church has always been a pet peeve of mine, and I heartily agree with your opinion. Anything less than slacks and nice shirt for men is not showing the proper respect for God. Not saying it is a sin, but there ya go.

    But if you try to get me to read Vogue, we will have a discussion coming on…

  2. Well well well.. I agree with you for the most part. At my church, we practice the come as you are approach. But we are adults and should know that doesn’t mean come in a bikini or barely have on clothes.In which case you need someone to help you. When you are going to church I think it should be come as you are because if you are truly going to a house of worship to hear the word and be blessed it shouldn’t matter what you have on. Whether its jeans and a tee shirt or a dress and a suit. But being adults we should know that we do have to show a some respect. Now when you see someone come to church in less than ” church respectable” attire you shouldn’t immediately think the worse. Maybe they are in a situation to where that is all they have to wear but they need a blessing and to hear the WORD. The bible does say come as you are. But as for the rest of the stuff I am with you whole heartedly. My philosophy is.. If you can do better you should”.

  3. Good rant! I do agree with you on most everything especially the Church thing, as we did grow up in the same church and all. I definatly get that. However we do have to remember that at the school age level and even adults in this economy, not everyone is lucky enough to afford name brands and sometimes wrangler or hand me downs will have to do. I know first hand how hard it is to afford nice clothes but it is still possible even on the strictest budget to look presentable and clean, or at the least to look like you did your best to do so. It amazes me how much the youth today shows their skin, I know, I know I sound like my Dad but really the shortness of shorts and lack of material in shirts and the sheerness of clothing is terrible in my opinion. I am all about accentuating your assests but do we have to see them fully even if we don’t want to? Show off what you got but cover it up please. And no crocks and flip flops are not proper attire for Church, School, dinner out, put on some shoes for petes sake. Well, thats my two cents worth anyway. 🙂

  4. Yes, if the wranglers are clean, then I agree. I was using it for an example. I don’t like jeans in church, but if that is the best you have, then by all means. The ones that really irritate me are the one that I know can afford a dress, or slacks and come in clothes that are more fit for a baseball game than church. To me it is insulting.

  5. I don’t care how poor you are the poor people even found the time to dress nice to church when I was a kid it’s respect now it’s just lazy and trashy….

  6. I don’t think it has a lot to do with people buying cheap clothes because I don’t buy a lot of brand names but I can dress up what I do have. Its a matter of pride in your appearance. Respect for yourself and the place where you worship. I agree with others as well. People have gotten lazy in this generation and if people accept what they do, or wear then why should they change it. Sometimes I think instead of progressing we are going backwards.

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