It seems to me that clothing styles have become overly “casual.” Although many people pull off the “casual look” with style, too many people today wear mismatched, sloppy outfits, often consisting of loose fitting jeans, a tee shirt or a baggy sweatshirt, and well-worn athletic shoes or work boots. Often, the pant legs are too long, or the jeans are worn or ripped. Even if you go to a nice restaurant, you are likely to find people dressed this way.
I shouldn’t be too hard on individuals. It’s the culture that’s changed. If you watch old movies, you’ll notice how well people dressed when they went downtown to shop, or to see a lawyer or a doctor, or to a restaurant, or to an office job. They wore jeans and tee shirts if they were working on an old car or hanging out at the cottage, drinking beer. You probably know that jeans were developed in the mid-1800s as durable work-wear. They weren’t meant to be worn by office workers or college students.
In the 1950s and 1960s, jeans became part of the beatnik and hippy culture. They weren’t fully accepted in mainstream culture, as anything but work clothes, until about late 1960s. I remember, in the early 1970s, when jeans invaded our school. Soon, most students wouldn’t be caught dead wearing anything else, unless we were going to the prom. My “jeans generation” is now middle aged and most of us are still attached to our casual wear. So jeans and other very casual clothes have become the accepted look, in most settings, for people of all ages.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against jeans or other casual wear. People can look good, dressed very casually, if they put some effort and thought into it. The problem is that many people don’t. It’s not as if clothes, even most “dress” clothes, are too expensive. If anything, factoring in inflation, clothes are cheaper today than they were 30 or 40 years ago. (Thanks to most clothing being made in low wage counties like Bangladesh.)
One of the reasons I look forward to going to weddings or business conventions is that the attendees usually dress very well. It’s refreshing. Downtown office workers usually dress well, too.
I know this is a religious website, so why am I harping on this topic? Well, I can’t think of a Bible verse to support my position, but obviously our dress, grooming and “body language” say a lot about who we are. I don’t think we should dress well out of vanity. We should dress well, be well groomed and have good posture in order to honour God, in whose image we are created. This is particularly true when we attend church.
It’s also important that women (and men) dress modestly. There’s a great deal of difference between looking sexy in a trashy way and looking beautiful (or handsome) in a modest and decent way. Finally, I believe that if we take some pride in our appearance, we it will improve our self-image and others will enjoy our company more.