Dressed for Success

It’s a casual world we live in these days.  Some of it, I appreciate.  I enjoy wearing jeans to church.  I like it that I can wear pants and a sweater or even jeans to work.  I don’t remember the last time I wore a skirt, quite frankly.  But some of it still shocks me…does this mean I’m getting old?  There was a man in the parking lot of our local pet store, working on his car in his pajama pants.  Today, there was a guy in my favorite Chinese food restaurant picking up his take-out, and he was wearing pajama pants, a tee-shirt, a robe, and slippers.  No, really.  It could have been a Halloween costume, but I don’t think so.  I’m pretty sure he was having a lazy Sunday and went out to pick up his dinner.

When I was a little girl, I wore a dress to church every Sunday.  I always had a casual jacket, and a dress coat.  I had slips and tights and dress socks and dress shoes in my closet that I knew were only for church or weddings or funerals or other “dressy” occasions.  All the men I knew had suits and all the women I knew had skirts and dresses, and it was common to see them in these clothes.  I wore jeans to play in and “slacks” (does anyone else hate that word as much as I do???) to school.  I was always well-put-together and my parents cared how I was dressed.  I send my kids to school in jeans and sweats and tee-shirts.  Does it matter?

I went to a funeral the other day, and at least half of the people there wore jeans.  I wore black pants and a nice sweater.  I went to a wedding last month and there were very few people in dress clothes.  Most people looked the same as they would going to work or out for a decent dinner.  It’s just a different world than it once was.  How does that affect us?

I would like to say that it doesn’t.  Who really cares if some guy wears his robe and slippers to pick up his Chinese food?  But I wonder if we have lost a level of respect that we once had.  Does wearing jeans and a tee-shirt to church downplay the importance of it to my children?  Does it affect my attitude toward other people if I wear sweats to the pharmacy?  Do I exude a casual-ness toward life that misrepresents its importance to me?  Really…does it make a difference?

So much has changed in our world over the last fifty years that has contributed to the considerable loss of respect that we see among our children and many adults.  I know that it can’t all be blamed on the fact that we don’t wear suits and dresses as much as our 1950’s counterparts.  My lack of a strand of pearls doesn’t automatically mean that my kids are brats.  But I think it’s a fair argument that it hasn’t helped.  Maybe we’re all just too casual about life to teach our kids that some things are important enough….significant enough….for us to dress up for them.  Maybe that would help to stress what they should really concentrate on in this life.

I’m not saying I’m going out tomorrow to buy suits for my sons or a dress coat for my daughter.  But I do promise that you won’t see me picking up Chinese food in my pj’s.

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