Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Dressing Up ~ A Lost Art?

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


  1. Yep, I'd say you pretty much nailed it, Dayle. I'm all for comfort and when I'm just hanging out at home, you may want to call ahead...just be sure I am presentable, lol! Going out in public is a different story and I can't believe some of the things I see some folks wearing! I actually feel better about myself when I clean up a bit, don't you? Great reminder.

  2. Yes. I miss dressing up. I still do it on Sunday mornings occasionally, but we've been warned that being too overdressed may make visitors feel uncomfortable. So I have dresses hanging in my closet that I pull out every now and then. I hope it doesn't make others uncomfortable.

  3. Go, girl. You know I agree and have voiced my opinion loudly.

  4. I liked this post! Even though I am a stay-at-home mom now, most of my clothes are pretty dressy because I use to be a teacher before staying home with my kids. Sometimes I feel silly running errands in nice slacks and a buttoned up top, but it does feel nice to be able to do so even though I have 3 kiddos in tow.

  5. I love this post, Dayle! As the years pile up, sure, my 'panty-nylons' are a bit harder to pull up, but I wouldn't dream of going out in heels and a dress without them.
    ... and while that get-up might occur only 1-2 times a week, personally I feel better and tend to stand a little straighter.
    Hopefully the 'pajamas pendulum' starts righting itself before long .....

  6. I so agree with you. I have always felt like when I dressed a little nicer than normal for church, I felt like I was honoring the Lord. I think when the dress is so casual as it is nowadays, the mood is not as worthy as it should be. My opinion but I don't think it takes that much time or effort to do a little extra.


  7. Growing up, my mama, the preacher's wife, worn a long line bra, a girdle, a slip, hose, heels and a dress everyday of her life until I was probably 14 or 15. That's just the way it was! We only wore dresses to church. Of course, it was different when my kids came along but you still wore your dresses on Sunday morning and pants on Sunday evening were okay. When mama was getting dementia, her clothing was the first thing that changed. Daddy would get so upset when she wore slacks to church. She was argumentative and he was so embarressed. It is a different world now. I've seen kids sing in church with shirts and shorts that they had to pull down. Finally, my sister took over the youth-led worship and all changed:)

  8. My husband and I dress "well" to fly on planes, still. We always get stares. We dress well to go to the dentist or doctor. We dress well when we go outside to run an errand. We always try to imagine running into the big cheese. Now, sometimes our hair LOOKS like we've been on a 30-hour flight (oh! we have), but we really try to start at the finish.

    A LOT has sure changed. Love the Chanel quote, and I'm with you: One can never be overdressed.


  9. Hi Dayle. I like to see people dressed nicely, too. The worst today is seeing guys with their pants half down! Now THAT I cannot bear to see. Want to tell them, "Pull up your pants." ha haha Susan

  10. Well it looks like I might be in the minority here, lol. I will say however it is ALWAYS nice to see someone dressed up! My HANDSOME hubby wears a suit everyday. And I can say i think more lines should be drawn and pj's at school should be OUT, and so should skimpy or revealing clothes always. But you are ALWAYS going to have those who push that line. Human nature I guess. Maybe living in So. California has influenced more then I think. But if dressing up were a requirement for church i am afraid our pews would be a lot more empty. And I'd rather see them packed with people wearing wrinkled and casual clothes worshiping God and hearing the Word, then not there at all. Having said that i will also add i personally NEVER leave the house without my makeup on and me in a tank top NEVER leaves this house, lol But i am a casual gal.

  11. You have very valid points. - I like dressing up but I must admit to actually wearing jeans to church. I have a hard time finding dresses that are comfortable and look nice on me so jeans seems to have been my choice but I do wear nice tops with them. - I draw the line at wearing pajamas out in public.

  12. Thank you for addressing this very subject. Recently I saw a boy/or a girl with pajama bottoms and a long tshirt walking to the high school near my home and I thought perhaps they had forgotten to change the bottoms...then I saw another person wearing a similar outfit. You have cleared up my confusion. I'm so old I recall, dressing with respectful attire for school, church, jury duty, and jobs. Casual attire? I just call it lazy.

  13. Preach it, sister! I totally agree. I think dressing well is a way of showing respect, to yourself and to others. Plus, as a confirmed girly-girl, it's so much more fun! I always think of that episode of The Andy Griffith show where Andy and Opie and Aunt Bea are flying to California. Andy and Opie are wearing suits and ties, and Aunt Bea has on stockings, a hat, and gloves. It emphasized the specialness of the occasion. And while I'm glad to see people in church, I think we owe the Lord a little more respect than just showing up in our gardening clothes!

  14. I'm late in reading this, but I wanted to chime in my agreement, especially at church. A friend and I often talk about how people dress. She told me it was a shame that most people care more how they look at a club on Saturday night than how they do to see the Lord in his house on Sunday morning.

    A year or so ago, I saw Joyce Meyer in a sermon explaining how she used to dress up for her sermons, but she wanted to attract a younger audience. Therefore, she put away her dresses and high heels and wears jeans and slacks instead. You know, I think it's a shame that ministers feel they have to lower their standards to make their congregation happy. More than anyone else, the leader of the church should set the example and if they are up at the pulpit in ripped jeans and a t-shirt, then how do they think the congregation is going to dress?

    One of my most clear memories of Sunday school when I was a little girl was one of my Sunday school teachers who gave us a lesson one day about how to dress for church. We had a lot of "bus kids". Generally speaking, they were children from low income families who's parents put them on the church bus alone. Our teacher didn't want them to feel embarrassed about their clothes, so she explained how Sunday was different than the other days of the week because it was the day we went to God's house. To make that day feel different and to show our respect for the Lord, we were told we didn't have to wear the prettiest dress in the room because He didn't care about that, but we should dress our best to show honor the day.

    Today I look at a lot of people in church and think more Sunday School teachers should have given that lesson.

  15. An excellent post!
    I wear casual dresses and find that I am treated with more respect than I might be otherwise. My income doesn't allow dressy dresses right now, but maybe sometime!

  16. How Refreshing, Dayle and I do 'get it.' While in our churches we want people to come to learn and to worship no matter what they are wearing...we leave the teaching/learning to the Lord.-There is a need for Balance, appropriate to the occasion/place, and consideration for others as well as taking pride (care) in our own appearance. I have noticed our behavior is affected by how we dress. A wonderful college age friend of mine recently replied when I complimented her dress: "Well, I try to dress like a grown up and not like a college kid." and boy does it show and make her stand out. No I don't necessarily want to go back to the day in the 1960's when I went shopping to Mobile w a neighbor and we wore heels and gloves- not practical huh? However, I am sure we looked great for that special little restaurant where we chose to dine.All about balance and being appropriate I think.

    1. oops I forgot to include this personal note: We were married in 1959 and I shall always recall seeing my husband in a basic dark blue [correctly fitting] dress suit. He always dressed appropriately and it meant so much to me. He was not stuffy just neat, fitted properly and appropriate to the place and occasion . In 54plus years we had, I was never embarrassed by his appearance. He was a gentleman & looked the part.


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