On a warm Sunday afternoon, I dropped by a convenience store on my way home from church to pick up a loaf of bread. Business came to a screeching halt as patrons gawked at me as if I had just touched down from somewhere far away.
At first, all of the stares rattled me. What was the deal? Was there toilet paper trailing behind my black leather pumps? What?
As I left the store, I could feel eyes following my every step.
It took a while, but it finally dawned on me what the commotion was all about. I was dressed in my Sunday best and appeared to be the only person in the store in what I call “real” clothes. Everyone else had on stuff resembling pajamas or underwear. I guess seeing me decked out came as a shock. What kind of a nut was I anyway, dressed like this on Sunday morning?
The truth is, folks don’t dress up much anymore—period. Students at some of our local high schools are allowed to wear pajama bottoms to school. Honestly, they are. Casual Fridays in the workplace look more like head-to-the-beach-day. Attend church services at just about any place of worship and you will see people filing in wearing everything from wrinkled T-shirts and Bermuda shorts to tight jeans and skimpy blouses.
It used to be that people dressed with class when shopping, when boarding a plane, when visiting those in the hospital, when attending church, when dining in a fine restaurant. What happened?
I am not against dressing for comfort, but tight jeans are not worn for comfort; a loose skirt would be much more comfortable. And how could a wrinkled T-shirt and Bermudas be more comfortable than say a Polo-style shirt and a pair of ironed slacks?
Be he young or be he old, there's nothing sharper than a man wearing a suit.
And in the words of Coco Chanel, "Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman."
I remember a few years back when the corporation I worked for decided to alter their strict dress code, allowing business-casual clothes on a daily basis.
It turned out that most employees ignored the “business” and went overboard on the “casual,” showing up in tank-tops, flip-flops and flowered shorts, even though the new policy “prohibited” such things. I suppose the corporation was so large that it proved difficult to enforce the rules.
Since my boss continued wearing a suit and tie, I dressed accordingly. And I was very glad I did the day he rang from a meeting with the CEO, asking me to deliver some documents to the boardroom. Imagine my embarrassment—and his—had I sauntered into the room wearing my purple flip-flops.
I am not suggesting that we go back to the days when people wore their finest clothes while shopping, or out to dinner, or boarding a plane, but I would like to see people putting more thought into what might be suitable attire for certain occasions. It would also be nice to see dress codes enforced in our schools. Not necessarily a standardized uniform, but no pajamas, please.
Until next time, dear friends, maybe I'm in the minority here, but I tend to agree with whoever said: "One can never be overdressed."
Images via Google