Sunday, December 27, 2009

Too casual??

One of the things I love about the time immediately following Christmas is trying out all the new clothes I got from "Santa", or perhaps the ones I may have purchased with gift cards or from the many sales that occur this time of year. I was gifted with a beautiful new peacoat (I love a good double breasted coat!), as well as several button down shirts, and even a few vests for work. I just love getting "dressed up", and will use any excuse to do so... in fact, when I was a kid, I used to say I wanted a job where I could wear a shirt and tie everyday... and teaching gives me that opportunity... though sadly, many in my profession (mostly the lucky full time bunch) have opted for a much more casual attire.

As I look around during holidays at what people are wearing, I have to ask myself the question, when did we become so casual? It wasn't long ago that women would not dream of going outside without a pair of gloves on, or a man without a button down shirt and hat (note I said hat.. not cap.. there is a difference). It seems that almost over night, we as a society have moved from one extreme to the other. As my Grandmother used to tell me, "I wouldn't have even walked to the mailbox without a girdle on", and now people go to the store in their pajamas. It's quite sad really. We seem to have lost the appreciation for presentation, and confused sloppiness with comfort.

When I was a wee lad in the late 80's, men still would don a tie at least for special occasions such as attending Church, weddings, Christmas and Easter. Even those rare occasions for "dressing up" have declined in importance. Blue jeans are the standard uniform for any and all occasions, and ties are seen as mostly obsolete and oppressive. Dresses on women? Archaic.

There are a few of us who don't mind bucking the system, and still ponder "what to wear?" when going out. The professional and formal are still part of our attire, as is the relaxed and informal. I am always delighted to see someone in my age group (late 20's) who has the guts to wear a suit, and even a hat (the guy in the photo is from a chat group I belong to... and though I don't know him personally, felt this photo proved I am not alone in the world). I once heard a similarly minded priest (in his early 30s) refer to such people as "young fogeys". That title still makes me laugh.

Perhaps to many I sound arrogant or worldly, but I would have to ask the question, "What's wrong with making everyday a bit of a special occasion?". Have we "progressed" so far that pajamas and hoodies are the hallmarks of American street wear? I don't know.. I'm certainlly not Queer Eye or Joan Rivers... just a young fogey. I doubt it has little to do with the cost of clothing... whether you're on a budget or not is irrelevant. -- When was the last time you looked at the price tag of decent hoodie?

Regardless of where you are in the casual versus formal debate, there is something to be said for the craftsmanship and quality of the styles of yester year and the disposable nature of today's garments.

Maybe I have simply watched the Harry Potter movies one too many times, and become obsessed with the neat robes that the adult characters and teachers wear, that when I head off to work, I'm snapped back to reality that a tie can make me seem grossly out of place. Oh well, if I ever get a job teaching at Hogwarts, I'll know what to wear!

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