Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Slob Nation: Why Do So Many People Today Dress Like Hobos in Public?


I've complained on here before about the way people--Americans in particular--dress today, but the topic is worth revisiting. The massive decline in dressing nicely and appropriately in our country has gotten so bad that Bill Maher addressed our world of "slob culture" on Real Time in October 2013 (when Crocs were introduced in the late 90s, Maher quipped that people won't be happy until they can go shopping in a diaper) and I've read numerous blog posts attesting to how our European counterparts dress compared to us (hint: we've really let ourselves go.)

Some might say I'm being snooty, superficial, judgmental--and maybe even a bully for having this opinion. I'm not saying that I have a problem with people wearing t-shirts, shorts, etc. when running errands, by the way. I love to dress casually myself and it would be pretty ridiculous to don a dress and gloves to pick up milk and bread, like they did in the 1950s. However, there is such a thing as being too casual. To me, it's not a question of bullying but of having respect for oneself and others when out in public to dress in a way so that we're not subjecting innocent bystanders to seeing a body part where normally the sun doesn't shine. This is the reason why sites like People of Walmart get the attention they do--many of the images on there are so unbelievably grotesque and repulsive (breasts, bellies, and butts spilling out of too tight fabric; underwear missing altogether; bodily fluids leaking onto the aisle floor) they make me throw up in my mouth.

It seems nowadays that the only time people make an effort to dress up is when they HAVE to, like at job interviews, weddings, and funerals. And from what I hear, slob nation is making its way into those social situations, too. People today just don't seem to give a s*it about their appearance and the way they present themselves. 

The Canadians apparently take more pride in their appearance than we do. Consider a recent story in the news about Mitchell Casado--a Canadian flight simulator pilot working for uFly--who was fired for not dressing professionally enough. He had appeared regularly on CNN to discuss the missing Malaysian airliner wearing jeans and open plaid shirts, which didn't sit well with viewers, who told uFly's owner that he was "shaming Canadians" and making the country look bad to the rest of the world. Despite warnings from his boss, Casado refused to upgrade his on-air wardrobe and was subsequently fired. I have one word for uFly's owner and his decision: huzzah!

Coco Chanel once famously said, "Dress shabbily, and they remember the dress. Dress impeccably, and they remember the woman." That quote must be extended today to both sexes. Women notice certain things when they first see a man--his eyes, his smile, his shoulders. I notice those physical traits, too, but also the way he is dressed. Unfortunately, so many men today in this country seem to be horrendous dressers. (Side note: I am not laying all of the blame on men here. Women...a lot of women...dress sloppily, too--but as a woman, I've noticed a few things about guys that have turned me off.) 

I have seen too many men dressed inappropriately in fine restaurants and other venues that call for some professionalism: baseball caps (a huge no-no when worn indoors, guys--remember that scene from The Sopranos?), wife beaters or tank tops (that expose their tattoos; lovely), baggy items that are way too large, sweatshirts, t-shirts, shorts, sneakers and sandals. On the rare occasion men wear a suit again, it is often way too large, unflattering, and clearly hadn't been tailored or chosen more carefully for their body shape. 

I once went to a Meetup event after work once that was held in the downstairs lounge of a nice local restaurant. The guys who showed up--many of whom were single--looked like they were about to go hiking or to the beach. It was a little unimpressive. Whatever happened to the saying "the clothes make the man"?
Suits, ties, and dresses: Ah yes, the way people used to dress for summer BBQs. Extreme? Maybe, but have you seen the way people dress today?
Take a look sometime at how male movie stars are dressed for a magazine shoot, and especially European celebs. They are always wearing a suit that's been tailored to work with their physique, and fit them properly, or a nice jacket over a button down shirt. Even the way they dress casually is heads and tails above us. Their pants are slimmer than that staple of American men's closets, chino pants. American guys hate slender pants, by the way -- they say this style looks "gay"; I say it looks way more flattering than baggy pants (though part of the reason the slim pant trend will never catch on here is because of men's weight issues, which is another blog post entirely.)

But I digress...this post is about how people in general dress today. I'm not asking that every man dress like Don Draper and go to work wearing a suit, tie, and hat (but us ladies would certainly not complain if the working world looked like that again; just saying.) I am asking for someone who dresses like a gentleman and presents himself professionally when the situation and setting calls for it. A nice fitted sweater or button down shirt and clean shoes, for example, goes a long way. 

Some women wear way too big/baggy/frumpy clothing as well. 

Even the mod youth culture of 1960s England was made up of some pretty snazzy dressers...(picture via Paul Townsend on Flickr)
It's interesting to look at vintage photos of any decade of the 20th century through the 1980s, and compare it to your average shopping mall photo of today. I'd say it was around the late 1990s that people gradually started slacking off more and more in the wardrobe department, perhaps due to the widespread adoption of casual Fridays in the workplace (which eventually became casual Monday through Friday) and the rise of the dotcom industry, with its laid back company culture (which allowed people to ride scooters inside the office; I worked for one of these places myself.) It was a privilege to wear jeans on Fridays, but now it seems we've gone to the other extreme, and in many offices the dress code is too lax or nonexistent. 

Today's pop culture doesn't help, either. Have you seen what celebs wear in public (when not posing for those magazines, of course) vs. how they used to dress when not filming a movie? A lot of so-called "stars" look like they left the local homeless shelter. The baffling popularity of reality TV shows like Duck Dynasty seems to send a weird message to men that walking around in camouflage with a beard and hair down to your nipples is sexy. 

Whatever the reason, I refuse to believe that lack of money is the main cause for dressing like slobs. As Maher pointed out in his on-air editorial, if you can afford $17.99 pajama bottoms with the Budweiser logo on them, then you can afford the $11.99 jeans at Target. Or in my neck of the woods, if you have hundreds of dollars to drop on Red Sox tickets, beer, and hotdogs, you have more than enough for a decent coat or jacket. 

I could go on and on about this topic all day, but I guess I will end on a positive note: if I'm ever having an "ugly" day, all I have to do to cure it is make a visit to my local store.

67 comments:

  1. Hi, Pam! I couldn't agree with you more. During my childhood in the 1950s, the manner of dress was much more formal than it is today. My father practically wore a coat and tie to mow the lawn. Most people took pride in looking their best and dressing for success.

    I take after my father and still enjoy wearing a suit even when it is not required and I run the risk of being overdressed. I believe that people feel better about themselves, perform better, enhance their credibility and create their own good luck by looking their best.

    Thank you for an interesting and important post, Pam!

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    1. I know I'm late. However, I do believe this condition of looking like bums seeming to have little to know pride, is all (Gov.) "planned". First, it was clothing, then came the no shave look. Look at TV shows, like Hawaii Five-O, past vs new series. Just who is the "boss"?

      You can say the same about "Reality" shows, while a few decent ones, most are junk. They're like spying on your next-door neighbor. Oh, and the "language", notice the level of profanity that is mostly bleeped out, radio, TV, etc..

      Great topic, Pam!

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  2. Hi Shady - Thank you for your comments and you raise a good point that I failed to mention; I feel more confident when I'm pulled together. It's kind of sad that wearing a suit and tie would make one overdressed in certain environments I remember when some restaurants required jackets and would lend them to men who walked in without wearing up. Anyways, thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Hmm, interesting points. I wonder if the slobbiness could be a cause of a societal lack of confidence, or, the other way around, if a societal lack of confidence could be the cause of slobby appearance?

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  4. Annie -- I think it's a combination of several reasons: laziness, lack of pride, lack of common sense, the spilling over of casual Friday (which I never had a problem with) into places where one shouldn't be so casual. Considering it takes a lot of nerve to wear PJs out in public, I wouldn't count lack of confidence as one of the reasons.

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  5. P.S. Thanks for your comments!

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  6. Good piece, Pam--I honestly think about this almost everyday (from an office perspective). I'm constantly surprised by all the jeans in the office (I guess at 52 I'm old school, but I can't bring myself to wear 'em to work. My first job out of high school was in a home improvements store, and in 1980 they werent permitted even there!)

    From my first office job in the mid-1980s up to 2000, I always had one suit in the cleaners, 2-3 "work suits" in my closet & 1-2 "good suits". At lunchtime you'd walk into the local Macy's mens dept, say "no thanks" to the cologne lady who wanted to spritz you & join the 100 other guys at table after table of dress shirts and neckties. In the 80s we "woven ties", around 1990 everything was silk with geometric patterns, in the mid 90s, the trend was floral ties!

    I walked into that same dept store a week ago and saw virtually nothing. One tie rack in the back. No one at it.

    I honestly think my boss likes it this way though. He's the only one in our office wearng a shirt & tie now, it's obvious who's boss. All I know is, I make twice the money I did in 1995 but feel about half as professional.

    (Sorry for my long ramble)

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    1. I am only 16 years old, it's not only age that matters, it's intelligence and basic common sense of capitalism and aestethics. The people don't try to look their best because they live inside a marxist fever dream where everyone is their best buddy and everyone is so very equal. All this nonsense with the jeans (mining and peasant trousers) started in the 70s with the rise of the left. As I live in a German speaking country I have also noticed that formal greeting is being more and more reduced. The only people that I know who dress acceptable are the elderly. This loss of basic common sense of what looks good has been indicated into the people for generations. They do not care what they wear and where they sleep on. They even go so far as to consider formal clothing stiff and boring. Thirty year olds having the mind set of a 15 year old. This nonsense has to stop right now.

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    2. I am only 16 years old, it's not only age that matters, it's intelligence and basic common sense of capitalism and aestethics. The people don't try to look their best because they live inside a marxist fever dream where everyone is their best buddy and everyone is so very equal. All this nonsense with the jeans (mining and peasant trousers) started in the 70s with the rise of the left. As I live in a German speaking country I have also noticed that formal greeting is being more and more reduced. The only people that I know who dress acceptable are the elderly. The people nowadays don't seem to care about anything important or any basic cultural and social norms. This nonsense needs to stop right now.

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    3. This is what modern technology has wrought. Iphones have become the "opium of the people." Also the problem of world overpopulation and terrorism are alarming. Yet, given enough time there may be a reaction to all this boorish behavior and sloppiness masquerading as fashion. My grandfather used to say that the "pendulum swings." I'm still waiting to see if it will.

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  7. Love your observations, Doug. It's interesting what you noted about necktie supplies...

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  8. Nice column, Pam. Public slobbiness started earlier than you noted. I went to Las Vegas (for the first and last time)for a business convention in 1990 and was staggered by how badly everyone in the casinos dressed. It was especially shocking since I expected casino-goers to be as well dressed as they were depicted in movies and on TV shows.

    I was wearing business casual -- dress shirt, tie, nice slacks and shoes -- and people stared at me. When I decided to try a casino's vaunted buffet, I had to make my way through a milling throng. As I passed one couple, I heard the wife tell her husband, "Follow him, Ed. He must know where he's going. He's wearing a tie."

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  9. image is the provenance of the non-performer.

    or, as we said in the Army, "All show, no go."...if you're counting on your appearance to carry the day, it's doubtful you have the chops to compete any other way. take the Kardashians, for instance.

    (please,take them, and far away if you do. %-)

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  10. Gene - first of all, from a fellow Pole to another, dzien dobry! Second, very funny observation about your casino experience. Casino clientele today is definitely not the way they look in the movies!

    redc1c4 - I suppose you've never heard of the saying "dress the part"? Even in the Army, that uniform and one's appearance is part of what makes a man a soldier. I don't consider the Kardashians a good example of the point you're trying to make, because a lot of what they wear is trampy.

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  11. I should qualify my comment by stating that my work environment, while assigned a "suit-position", requires that I wear clothes more conducive to getting dirty, i.e., t-shirt, jeans and work shoes; my uniform of the day which is always clean and well fitting at least at the start of the day. Having said that, I wholeheartedly agree with you; the absolute laziness and sloppiness of people (including, but not limited to, prospective employees) appalls me. I LIKE wearing a suit when I go out, though I may appear overdressed in even "fine dining" establishments. Proper manners in general have slipped exponentially. It seems to get worse every year. Shady has it right, you feel better about yourself when you are "looking your best". I hope sometimes that I DO make people feel uncomfortable for being under-dressed. "Dress for success" is a true statement. Never apologize, Pam, for stating the obvious. That's not bullying, it's setting the standard.

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  12. Once again, Pam you've gotten inside my head and blogged about what I'm thinking! I actually had a senior faculty member come and talk to our new faculty about how to dress professionally (and why it is important...and these weren't just the stereotype faculty who lack "social skills," shall we say?).

    When I'm "casually" dressed in a basic skirt and sweater, I'm considered "dressed up" because everyone else is running errands in their pajamas.

    Well...you know...I could rant on this forever! *laugh*

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  13. Do you remember the effort put out in buying an Easter outfit? I do; a little mans suit with shiny black shoes, a little fake kerchief, and a perfect coiffure. That training reflected in my life. I believe such personal values start at home but the catch-22 is if they weren't there or inculcated to begin with. I spend a lot of time wondering when people will care of such things again. When will a renaissance begin? Or darkly, is the past never to repeat, stagnating or spiraling down? That thought chills me and make me sad, and more lonely for days gone by. s-a-h-d

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  14. Another excellent post! I was reminded of a David Sedaris essay where he suggested to North Americans visiting Paris that one shouldn't visit another person's country dressed like they have come over to fix the plumbing.

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  15. Bobby TrosclairMay 03, 2014 10:06 PM

    In re J D Lowe's post, there was a popular series of travel guides published back in the 1960s and 1970s with titles like "Europe on $10 a Day" or "New York on $5 a Day." They were very popular, but most of the suggested hotels were skid-row dives and the restaurants tended to be of the Automat (remember them?) variety. A suggestion in one of the European books was to save all your worn-out, stained, threadbare clothes for your big European vacation, and then throw out each item after it was worn - that way, there would be ever-increasing space in your suitcase for souvenirs.

    That suggestion always seemed like the epitome of bad advice to me - to save your money and then travel to the source of western culture, only to dress like you're getting ready to paint your house back home.

    But really, that's essentially what we are doing now as a nation, as Pam points out. Even working class people (which I am) used to take pains to dress as best they could for special occasions, such as church or going out to dinner. Nowadays, everyone wears sweatpants like cranky children who insist on wearing their pajamas out in public. Seemingly half of our youths wear those hideous "gauge" earrings that distend their ear lobes, coupled with neck tattoos that used to only be seen on convicts, big chunky necklaces, and baseball hats worn sideways and uncreased, like an escapee from a lunatic asylum.

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  16. Loving the comments...Bobby, I wonder if that travel guide you mention was responsible for starting the phrase "ugly American."

    Someone on Facebook (not a fan of the blog's page, but another page who shared it) took offense at the post and said people don't have enough money to afford food with this economy, let alone proper clothing. (Never mind the fact the photo I used showed a woman shopping for food in the grocery store.) I don't buy that argument because if you can afford PJ bottoms with the Duck Dynasty logo on them, then you can afford proper daytime pants from Target or Walmart.

    It's not a question of money, but of class, as in the way you present yourself in public. Both of my parents grew up in thrifty households, but my grandparents always made sure they and their siblings had appropriate clothing to wear to school, church, etc. They always had a winter coat.

    Speaking of strange body piercings, has anyone seem the disturbing trend online which may or may not be Photoshopped where people are piercing the sides of their faces and expanding the holes so that you can see their teeth? It's truly revolting and frankly, seems dangerous--you're just asking for an infection.

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    1. Hi Pam, I just came across your page and the "class" part is spot on. I work in an elementary school and always dress professionally even though my title is not a high one at this point. It is a question of class. I can go to the thrift shop and put together a nice outfit for $10 so when my coworkers, who show up in jeans/leggings say they can't afford to look nice that's unacceptable to me. Maybe don't spend $5 on starbucks and $15 on a pack of cigarettes and instead go to Target or Kohls and look through the clearance racks and I bet you anything they could find something affordable. Thank you so much for this article. I thought I was the last one out there who missed the "Carey Grant" look or the beauty of Grace Kelly and I'm in my 30's! I am striving to dress better every season.

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    2. Hi Anonymous, welcome and thank you for your comments! Indeed, there is a consignment store in my town that carries some really cute items, most of them designer labels, for really reasonable prices. Also, you can't go wrong with Macy's -- I get coupons from them all of the time that are often good on top of sale prices. Good for you for making the effort to look nice!

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    3. You are exactly right. They may claim no money,but even thrift stores,have nice clothing. And guess what...I can afford my groceries,too. And no,I am not by any means rich or well off. Too many people now days,either dress like slobs or sluts&I find it apalling,personally. There really is no excuse for it,except that people are'nt taught to dress better by parents or media. Plus,laziness&lack of class,does indeed play a role in it. One does'nt have to 'dress up' per se,but they can certainly try to dress decently/nice. You know,like they actually give a damn about themselves.

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  17. Bobby TrosclairMay 04, 2014 11:10 AM

    That trend sounds like the "Jonah Hex" or "Two-Face" look - why make yourself look like a comic book character?

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  18. Very nice post! I get "dressed up" to go out. I usually put on a day dress and heels to go to school and get looks from people in their pajamas, it's very strange. I think dressing is a lot of fun and it's sad that more people don't see the fun in it.

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  19. Wow! That really got 'em going. What you say is true, and as a New Zealander living in the UK, my impression is that the British are more careful about what they wear and many of my compatriots have slid down the same mucky hole as some Americans. On a recent visit to LA calling into a Walmart was depressing. What is notable in both countries is that the standard goes up with the average income of the shoppers.

    Ties I can live without, but there are plenty to be had in UK shops, and if anything they seem to be having a revival especially with younger men. My occupation means suits much of the time, or if I'm lucky very samrt casual. Most blokes manage to scrub up well, but, man, do some women take liberties.

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  20. Personally,I fail to see how any of these teens expect to be taken seriously in the real world,when they dress like dumpster divers,street walkers,and wannabe gang bangers,and are covered with tattoos,body piercings,and other mutilations.News flash child,nobody wants to see your underwear,or your scrawny (or giant) backside. Respect has to be earned,it's not an entitlement.

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  21. I've gotten rather tired seeing ordinary people out in public places looking as though they were either refugees, or inhabitants of homeless encampments. Even though America is still in an economic depression (yes, it really is!), I think it repulsive when I see big ugly people wearing their "jammies" to the store, or sagging their grungy pants as if they flaunt being a lowlife. If there is any question that the masses of "God's Country" have been dumbed down to idiocy, then one only need look, if you are able to, at the hideous way most people are "dressing." EGADS!

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    1. Very well said&very true. Dumbed down&looking like dumpster divers or whores. Zero class. It really is a shame. \: I guess they forgot,or were never even taught,that pajamas,are for sleeping in,not shopping in...

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  22. Very true article, the men today dress like they just rolled out of bed.
    The typical male attire is a wrinkled up T-shirt, baggy shorts, no socks and flip flops; pathetic!

    Truthfully, is it asking too much to wear a clean pair of jeans, a dress shirt and shoes with style?
    Also make sure to button-up the tunic, wearing a dress shirt with the top unbuttoned is a no-no.

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    1. It seems sadly apparent that the average "american male" has been bereft of a culture in which fathers would show their sons how to at least form a necktie. Now I see twenty somethings who, when trying to wear semi-formal or business attire, are doing so in the wrong way, such as leaving the shirt untucked, or wearing sneakers with a suit, etc. I really long for a return to the days when men looked somewhat respectable even when wearing what was once considered to be casual clothing. Of course, anything seems to go nowadays, but it still perturbs me when I see it. Not to mention, all the unsightly tattoos that these idiots are defacing their bodies with.

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  23. Everything looks like rags now, cheaply made with the least amount of fabric and no linings. what happened to nice variety of long and short woolen coats? Now in winter everyone looks the same with the same over the knee length cheap looking mass production made coats and jackets. Women should never wear leggings - if only they can see how awful they look in it, or maybe they know but it is what the stores want you to buy so they all buy the same crap. and not to mention the tight down to the ankles pants, men and women look so stupid in them. Who designed such crap is beyond me. This look ruins some nice designer made pants and you can't even sit properly in them without feeling tightness around your knees. This is dangerous for blood circulation. All the blouses are super long that I can't find a decent blouse to go with skirts. And what happened to nice big collars?
    I blame the education system where they let their teachers come to work in casual sloppy clothing and I also blame the retail business and wholesale manufacturers. I am sure there is some blame to be put on the top fashion designers who dictate what should be in fashion but come on, bring back real clothing.

    All this from Canada, I might add.

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    1. Unless you have a personal tailor, probably at least 99% of clothing sold in what was once middle class retail stores is cheaply mass produced in some chinese sweat factory. It lacks style and substance; it is likely priced at ten times more than what it cost to make; and is generally indicative of a society of consumners that is hard-up financially. I feel nostalgia now for the days when I worked in a chain retail store--only twelve years ago! Even then there were much better choices and styles in menswear and home furnishings, etc. The same store today has nothing to speak of anymore, which is a pity. And the new generation of students don't know any better either, because they were born into a digitalized society that places no emphasis on personality and style, since one is supposed to be a vapid automaton. I hope this reply helps.

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  24. Hi Pam! I believe it started somewhere in the 1990s...I remember a scene in the movie "Clueless" where Alicia Silverstone's character Cher mentions how boys dress "nowadays": "So, okay. I don't wanna be a traitor to my generation and all, but I don't get how guys dress today. I mean, c'mon, it looks like they just fell out of bed and put on some baggy pants, and take their greasy hair—ew!—and cover it up with a backwards cap and, like, we're expected to swoon? I don't think so!" (1995).

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  25. Help! I am a male in my early thirties who has, or at least once had, a penchant for "dressing up", before the economy crashed. I don't really like the modern styling and choices of men's suits, since they are almost made only for those who look like some kind of GQ model with a perfect body. I prefer the traditional look. Yet, I am finding it increasingly difficult to find what I want these days at an un-exorbitant price, as many retailers seem to have opted for cheap ass materials and poor styling, etc. Even when I search the internet for garments made from real wool with classic patterns, I am more and more at a loss to find what I want. If anyone ever invents a time machine, take me with you back to the past to where what once counted as good taste was not some rarity as it is now! Besides, at least in the town where I unfortunately dwell (It really sucks living here) I would probably experience cognitive dissonance should I "dress up", as a lot of persons have now adopted the "just got out of bed and am still in my jammies" look. Blah! What a shame that no one seems to give much consideration to their personal adornment anymore. I wish the times would change back to at least twelve years ago, before the advent of the Facebook and Twitter generation of dishevelment and disillusionment. Sorry for the rant, Pam.

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    1. Lose weight and you too can fit into nice suits. The same decomposing society that allows grown men to walk around in tattered clothing and prison tattoos permits them to be big, fat, disgusting pigs, and then calls the few who still notice how wrong this is "fat shamers".

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    2. Very good point. It's hard to look good in anything,if you look like a beached whale,both men&women. Part of looking like you care about yourself,is taking care of both how you dress AND how you take care of the only body you have. And I think these big fat slobs SHOULD be shamed. People used to take decent care of both dress&their bodies,years ago. Now we have fat slobs&sluts,who enjoy(or at least don't mind)making the list,on 'people of walmart',even if they are'nt IN walmart. Too much soft-pedaling stuff/PC ,these days,is another part of the decline in class,IMHO. Talk about a decline in class,decency&values...ugh.

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  26. Let's not pass over the fat women slobs out there. It isn't just all about the men who look bad. I think it ridiculous when I see a woman who has an oversized derrier that she feels she can stuff into a pair of tight jeans. Or how about Kim "Kar trashian" and her implanted, hippopotamus-sized ass? Disgusting. This is what "American culture" has given to today's world, and people eat it up like candy because they want to be like these people. Yuck.

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    1. I agree with you, Anonymous. Years ago I wrote a post called "Why Are So Many Of Us So Fat?" I tried to be polite about it without "fat shaming." Yet...I'm at a loss when I see so many obese people in public and I've noticed there's a LOT more obese women than obese men, it seems. And no, not all of them have a thyroid issue or medication causing it...it's what they're choosing to eat. Just look at how trim the general American public was in the 20th century.

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  27. Hi Pam, I've commented on this site before, and I thought I would give you an update as to how the thoughtless, ignorant masses are "behaving" in service restaurants these days.
    I recently went out to dine a "chain Italian" restaurant that shall be nameless, but is one that is very popular and is nationwide. For a clue, its name ends in "Garden." I saw no fewer than four men who were seated at tables or booths with grungy ballcaps firmly on their heads. One pair belonged to a father and son schlub team; in fact the dad even had his sunglasses on the top of the ballcap, which was camouflage, while junior was wearing his typically backwards. Said restaurant now has little, brightly lit computer monitors obtrusively placed on every table. I immediately asked the waitress to remove it from my table when we were being seated. Looking around the restaurant I noticed one woman who was at table with a Bluetooth in her ear. People were fiddling with phones, and are mostly unable to even put the damn things away for a half hour meal. At the end of our meal, the waitress brought back the little computer monitor to my table. This is how one is supposed to pay, by using a machine instead of having the waitress give the bill and then give them money or a card. Then you use your finger to sign the screen! I can't believe that this is where being a diner in a service restaurant has come to.
    So I'm thinking that now even dining out has been monopolized completely by technology. It has really become pervasive, and I won't go back to eat at a restaurant that operates this way. People seem to have no thought about etiquette anymore, and go out as they are and think nothing of it. This is a nation of slobs, all right, and brainless, too. And it's only getting worse, I'm sad to say, while "technology" is displacing manners and common sense.

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    1. I said on here a few months back in another post that every day we're another day closer to the depressing world depicted in "WALL-E" where humans are so obese they are immobile and they suck their nutrition from cups all day while glued to computer screens. Sadly we seem to be moving right along into that direction. And I've heard of the tabletop ordering systems at other chain restaurants. It's sad -- seems like there's a plan for these businesses to separate us from other humans and save some money in the process.

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    2. Very true&very depressing. Too much technology&laziness&not enough class,common sense,or values,anymore. I really want a time machine,so I can go back to something better...because yes,things ARE getting worse. \:

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  28. Yes Pam, I think you are completely right when you say that these businesses are trying to save a dime at the expense of customer service and shave their labor costs. I'm pretty sure that the wait staff probably doesn't like the idea of shortcutting the traditional process, because it could lose them tip money, which is what they are really relying on, since they don't get a high hourly wage.
    I'm sure you've noticed how customer service is non-existent these days in just about every field? One goes to the grocery store and can use the self-checkout lane, yet human labor is still needed to oversee that we can, ironically, do it ourselves and not cheat or steal while doing so. But the mentality of the store bigwigs is that they can use one person to oversee four computerized terminals instead of hiring four additional people. Shame on them!
    I go to my local library; instead of handing my items to a waiting librarian to check them out for me, as I once used to do, I am now made to do it myself. Yet, there's a librarian still waiting at the checkout counter to assist you to "do it yourself" and unlock dvd cases. The whole process seems counter-intuitive to me, and why do they feel too important now to complete the process for you?
    I went to a department store and wandered around browsing in the clothing section. The one store "associate" who was there never greeted me, and looked at me as though I was in her way, while she was more interested in pretending that she had to tidy up. Needless to say I won't give money to that store in future. The examples go on and on, but it is coming to the point where interactions with other people, even as a customer, are lowering to a nadir. And the folly of it all is that in the longrun these cheapskate tactics don't save the business money, but actually lose them customers like me, who'll want to shop at a place where we feel our business is appreciated. One would think this common sense, but evidently it's a mystery to those at the management level. However, I've read the book "The Peter Principle," and although it was published about fifty years ago, the same practices it satirized are still being committed by the ignorant to this very day.

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  29. So what's up with the overly-shaggy haired and bearded look in which famous men appear these days? Even the so-called heart throb actors appear to be in need of a long hot shower and the services of an expert barber. Why has it become fashionable to actually want to look like a bum even when you've got plenty of moola to your name? Maybe they feel emasculated by a gender-blurred society and have retreated to cave man esthetics. I find it off putting and want to tell these Hollywood and U.K. guys to spruce up and look like a successfully civilized person, not a digital age Neanderthal Man. Just because they're known to millions of adorers still doesn't impress me with their grunge appeal, and doesn't enhance any fantasy about wanting to be in bed with them. The cleaner cut look will always be timeless as far as I believe.

    P.S. And if you haven't picked up on it, I am a male myself who holds these "old-fashioned" opinions.

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    1. I am a woman&I too,hate that disgusting,hairy homeless bum,ungroomed look. But it's not just the men,who pay to look trashy,now days. Sadly,so many women also do it too. It's quite repulsive.

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  30. It is such complete bullshit to try to blame the way that people dress on a lack of money. For my entire life, I have dressed well and spent very little money. I see the latest Issue of GQ with the newest sportcoats from top designers and buy an identical one for pennies on the dollar. Sores like HM and Zara have the nicest clothing for the same price you would pay for what you usually buy. Burlington Coat Factory, Filene's Basement, and Marshall's all have designers clothes marked down to ridiculous prices. So if someone looks like a slob, it's completely their fault. As a professional designer, I realize that at least 90% of people wouldn't know what looks good, and they need to be shown.

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  31. Hi Pam:
    Your blog has really got me going about how indecently people are appearing in public these days. I have written a few comments here about it, and I fear that I am starting to sound like a broken record. I apologize, but let me tell you about the latest I observed which was beyond the pale.
    First, for a clue, I live in a town which is called "The Biggest Little City in the World," and which the comedienne Amy Schumer referred to as a "Dump." She's right, by the way.
    I went to my local grocery store which is now in a somewhat run-down shopping center in what used to be a better area of the "Dump." I came out to the parking lot after buying groceries, and a big white new SUV slowly backs into a space. Out gets a latino woman and her man, who is wearing basketball shorts, a t-shirt and is covered in tattoos. They have two children with them. But get this: the woman was only wearing skimpy men's boxer shorts under her shirt. I almost couldn't believe what I was seeing! She walks with her "family" into the store. I thought this was so disgusting that I called the store and told them to look out for this person who went in. The store thanked me for reporting this and said they would take care of the problem.
    It's really gotten ugly out there, I am sorry to say, when I feel compelled to report these public obscenities now.

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  32. Hey Pam, I'm not American, i'm a young male living in Brisbane Australia but we've picked up the super casual slobby dress here too especially in my generation.
    I'll usually wear jeans/shorts/chinos with a plain well fitting T-shirt or polo and a nice pair of shoes for casual wear.
    Even wearing this which i don't think is overly flashy I stand out like a sore thumb in a decent size city amongst my age group and older ages. I've copped a few comments about trying too hard and things like that which i just let wash over my head. God forbid if i choose to wear a nice casual dress shirt and even worse if i tuck it in which in my opinion looks great if its well fitted.

    I can't help but feel like other people seem to have no respect for their appearance particularly the young males here who regularly wear singlets with enormous arm holes, baggy graphic t-shirts, board shorts and walk around bear footed or in cheap crappy shoes. Not to mention the hoards of young males with scruffy beards and un-groomed facial hair.
    I get the feeling many have never heard of such a thing as a belt as well. I won't change but i definitely don't fit in appearance wise. To fit in you have to look like your from a homeless shelter over here.

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  33. americans dressing like slaves is by design. In the 90s, after all clothing manufacturing, even ordstroms, was move to china the powers that be recognised that the quality was not very good for fashionable clothes. So they started promoting the casual slob look in sitcoms, magazine, fashion shows and in the media. That way they could develop a sloppy style that could be made for very little money and sell clothes for a lot of money. Including torn stained levys. It made the manufactures rich and the rest if us look like slobs.

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  34. Well just look how horrible their parents are today that don't even know how to raise their children right anymore these days when years ago most parents back then knew how to raise their children right. Quite a different time today unfortunately and nothing at all like the good old days were.

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  35. I saw a guy I'm a red basketball jersey (sick a sickening garment that needs to stop being worn by non athletes) and lime green shorts. Who has lime green shorts? It's laziness and stupidity not money issue. I don't have a lot but I manage to look my best in any given situation. Going to the grocery store especially when I'm inundated with foul dress. Large women in ugly t-shirts with vulgar sayings, "my other friend is a slut too," political or just idiocy. Bra less too. Large breasts swinging to and fro makes for an ugly site from gals who are not attractive in any way.

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    1. LOL. On that related note, I don't get anyone that wears shorts in the winter. Also, I've never understood the appeal of bulky hooded sweatshirts, particularly on women.

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    2. How about the trashy women who wear bra tops with ugly tattoos showing? As John Wayne said, "Life is hard enough but it's even harder when you're stupid." You can see what this means by tuning into Judge Judy and looking at how far down the tubes America has really gone in the last 20-30 years!

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    3. I posted about my distaste for tattoos on the Facebook page for this blog a couple of weeks ago, along with how I feel it's a serious sign of the lack of self love people have for themselves and their bodies (and also a denial of their natural beauty.) Or this pathetic need to stick out and get noticed, or join in because it's a fad and you want to belong. I had a couple of social justice warriors tell me that I was judgmental and that I had nothing better to do then complain. A few people also unfollowed the page. Apparently you're not allowed to have an opinion, especially if certain people disagree with it these days.

      There's a big difference between getting ONE meaningful tattoo and inking your body up from head to toe. It's no different than plastic surgery -- getting a bump smoothed out on your nose is one thing, but transforming yourself with multiple surgeries into a human Barbie (or Ken) doll is quite another. Quite frankly I think the latter is a sign of mental illness and that applies to going overboard with tattooing and putting them on very visible body parts like your face.

      Go Retro is about celebrating the retro, and that means appreciating what people used to look like before these over the top trends took hold. Could you imagine someone like Elizabeth Taylor or Cary Grant covered in tattoos? I personally don't find anything attractive about excessive tats and crazy colored hair on either men or women.

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    4. I couldn't agree with you more Pam. I think all the excessive tattooing which has apparently become "mainstream" is indicative of an ill society that is in a sad stage of deterioration. It is also reflective of a society that imitiates anything it sees its "celebrities" doing (on TV of course!). If Justin Bieber gets twenty tattoos on his body, then this must be okay and cool for the young and dumb kids to do. People don't think for themselves anymore. I couldn't imagine seeing Elizabeth Taylor or Cary Grant with even a small wrist or ankle tattoo, let alone being covered with the goddamn things like David Beckham (nice body, yet he's covered with these obscenities which detract from the appearance!). What's more, if I'm not mistaken, the mania for tattoos really accelerated starting around 11 years ago, when it was still uncommon to see the average person with "sleeves" and the like. Now looking as though one has been in prison for a while has become acceptable. Ye Gods!

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    5. That's what I don't understand. Why would you want to emulate a style that's notoriously associated with gangs and criminals? Aaron Hernandez, the ex-Patriot that was on trial for murdering two people (and who killed himself after being found guilty) was covered with them, including sporting random ones on his neck. Plus although they're rare, there are risks with getting tattoos such as contracting a skin infection. I also believe the idea of having a foreign substance such as ink -- which is often made in China -- could have side effects years from now. I never found David Beckham attractive and part of it definitely is the excessive tattooing. But yet people get offended if you voice your opinion about this. To me it's no different then saying you don't like a certain artist and their artwork. (I hate Picasso, for example.) Everyone has their own idea of what is esthetically pleasing and for me personally, tats don't fit my definition of beauty.

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    6. Pam it is interesting you said that "everyone has their own idea of what is esthetically pleasing." Ironically, I think that this is where most of today's confusion originates in the problems that are upon us now. People have cast off classical beauty and age old esthetics for what they think is the new thing, when it really is the old abnormal. I'm not saying that I think all men should be wearing gray flannel suits or that all women should be wearing Paris dresses like they did in the conformist 1950s. However, I continually wonder what the hell has happened to our country, with its sham "values" and its embrace of the ugly and hideous, whether it be in fashion, bodies, attitude, politics (don't get me started about Trump!) or just about anything. It appears to me, in my humble opinion, at least, that our society has given up apsiring and has accepted these debasements, and doesn't care about "keeping up appearances" at least for the sake of one's self respect. Then again, the rationale is: why should one much bother to wear a suit when most people will show up to the party looking like schlubs? It's a complete difference in attitude between what my grandfather would have considered appropriate or even halfway decent, as compared to the 20 year old pop culture twits who have infantilized the world with their inane behaviors and digital music.

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  36. I just don't understand why females dress like slobs. Clothes way to tight or to small. The fashion industry doesn't help by encouraging with the "rags" it comes out with. I will not wear the rags. Clean and neat is good. Pajamas belong in the bedroom not at the store.

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    1. I just don't understand why some, if not many, lesbians choose to look obscene. Is it because they are trying to imitate little joke ass punks like Justin Bieber? Today I saw what had to be the world's ugliest lesbo walking into my local grocery store. Fat, tattooed, wearing sagging athletic shorts showing underwear. Well, I have absolutely nothing against same sex people, since I am one. But I can say this with a shudder: If I were a lesbian, I would not find this type of hideous look the least bit of a turnon. The PC Police will probably be after me for saying as much.

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  37. When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I worked at a nationally known clothing and home goods retailer. This was in the beginning of the 2000s. I was a sales associate in the men's and coats departments. Even though I didn't get paid a lot of money, the store's dress code policy then stated that the male sales staff were expected to at least wear a dress shirt and necktie with either khakis or dress slacks. I often went beyond this basic requirement and donned a sportcoat as well. This was some fifteen years ago. Nowadays, the same type of store lets the employees wear whatever they choose, with tattoos and/or piecings unhidden. And it has become harder to differentiate who works at these stores and who is really the customer. I have actually been mistaken on numerous occasions by other shoppers as an employee because I was dressed halfway decently. Whatever happened to company dress codes? Apparently, the youngest of the millenial generation will work for minimum wage and be exploited, but is happy so long as they get to express themselves by looking vulgar and unprofessional.

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  38. I went out today to go clothes shopping, hence being on this site now. But, after looking through the shops, I can offer one reason (among a few) for why people look so terrible--I went looking for dress slacks or chinos for work, and couldn't find one thing. Skinny jeans, skinny slacks, ankle slacks--teacher should not wear skinny slacks to work, but there wasn't anything else. As for ankle pants--what happens when winter hits? I'm moving to Korea, where my length doesn't exist; I can't just buy more pants. The dress pants that were available were of cheap fabric, studded with rhinestones, and had fake pockets. Casual pants with bleach spots and rips as fashion. Clothes have gotten cheaper, tackier, and minimal in variety.

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  39. Well don't just attack guys. I find that the males are dressed far better than the women today in my area (North East)I was just in Manhattan a few days ago. We went to a concert at the Beacon (unbelievably ornate) and most of the women, no makeup, bare legs, tattoos, ugly clothes, appalling! The guys were better but not by much, dress shirts, clean dress pants/kakis. What happened to the days when you had to go out "dressed appropriately"? The whole bare legged crap with tattoos, scars, birth marks razor cuts, and my ever favorite, that spray on orange crap they use running down their legs! And they complain about "suntan" stockings? Women look like hell aside from the FAT, poorly dressed, bad attitude, no makeup face, greasy hair, body odor, fifty earrings in their ears. Even in the court house, I asked my attorney (suit and tie as with most of the men) females working there with bare legs and tattoos that actually think they look good? Yeah great makes me want to ask them out! BTW I had a suit on as well!

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    1. There appears to be no common sense of what is appropriate, compared with what is trashy and disrespectful. Sure, everybody thinks that because they live in the United States of Moronica, have tattoos, piercings or want to look as though they have been living in a homeless encampment (even if they really don't) that this is freedom of expression. Maybe so, but it also sums up the decadence and lack of self-respect and confusion of mores that our society is experiencing these sad days. If one wishes to appear in public at large with tattoos, and looking like the circus freaks of old (often worse) than that is indeed one's choice. However, the sad part is that we are now supposed to believe that such public obscenities are to be humored, or accept them for what they choose to be. Variety is the spice of life. But I can't help feeling that there are too many dirty ingredients in the melting pot now.

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    2. Obesity is a problem (latest report out said -- SURPRISE -- it's increased among American adults AGAIN) but if anyone says they are only physically attracted to someone their own size they get attacked. I did say in the post that both men and women are dressing terribly these days. As far as tattoos, I did write a post several years ago here about my distaste for them. It's one thing if you have ONE tattoo that is well done and has personal meaning to you; it's another when someone has an entire body part or their body inked over, often with various random designs that don't relate to one another. I'm just at a loss as to why someone thinks that looks good. Tattoos are also going to fade over time. The human body looks better, in my opinion, when unadorned.

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    3. I know, Pam. But you've got to realize that we live now in an age of post-1984 surrealism and computerized fascism. All of this appears to go hand in hand with the socio-economic problems that afflict our country, and, by extension of our misbegotten empire, the rest of the world.
      59 people were murdered in Las Vegas fairly recently by another deranged white male with no motive other than hatred. They have already been forgotten and more mass shootings will inevitably follow. Donald Trump, the shameless, pathological liar and huckster who thinks he has been put in office to do as he pleases, will continue to damn the consequences, damn the poor, damn the ramifications. People stare mindlessly at digital devices all day, then retire to their shanties to stare at the flat screen idiot box all night long, reinforcing big brother's aims at dumbing them down by mass infotainment. Even bums on the street have digital devices, as though to be without one is the ultimate comedown in our culture of automatons. I could go on and on, but I fear I have said much and don't wish to pontificate at the expense of your patience or your blog.
      Ray Bradbury had it right sixty years ago with his book Farenheit 451. So did Kurt Vonnegut and Gore Vidal, all whom I miss, with their varied works that satirized the foibles of We the People and the hideous and incompetent "leaders" we "elect."

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    4. I'm not sure what dressing down has to do with Trump or mass shootings. It's a trend that started a good 20 years ago, most notably when companies started casual Fridays and it kind of permeated society from there through the years. Technology and addiction to devices, maybe.

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