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?|
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)|
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.