Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Dumbing Down of Society


When I was a child, my parents taught me many things. One of the things I remember most, is that we were taught to always look nice in public. It did not matter where you bought your clothes, as long as you looked clean, put together, and respectable. We didn't eat out often, but when we did, we looked our best. I especially remember dressing up for air travel or to ride the train to Richmond. In high school, I rode the train to visit a friend who was in Boarding School in Richmond. My friend, Laura, and I wore our best dresses and long wool winter coats. In fact, we have pictures of us all dressed up in front of the train.

Since the early 1990's, the demise of society has continued. Today if you ride an airplane, you are more likely to sit by someone wearing baggy sweatpants who forgot to bathe than someone who is dressed in a nice pair of khakis and a cashmere sweater. Men no longer wear smart-looking hats like those worn up until about the 1950's. Today's men might wear a backwards baseball camp instead with their pants pulled too far down their backside. What has happened to our society? Why don't we respect ourselves enough to look our best in public?

I remember well the first time I saw a man in his FLIP FLOPS at church. I am sorry, I just don't think it's that difficult to wear a closed-toe shoe for a few hours for church. I know you are not at church to impress others, but for me, church is a place where I can worship the Lord. I feel like looking my best honors Him.

There are certainly days where I run to the store in my running pants and tennis shoes in between a walk with a friend and pick up time at preschool. I don't think it's wrong to not be perfect all of the time. In fact, I never look perfect. However, if I am joining a friend for dinner, going on a date with my husband, or flying to see friends in Dallas, then I am going to look my best. How do you feel about the way people dress today?

(This photo courtesy of Peopleofwalmart.com)

20 comments:

Trish said...

Sweet Mama Henley, I am way behind on commenting due to work travel, but I adore this post. I grew up with the exact same values and love that you are passing that tradition onto your beautiful children. Best to always use your manners and put your best foot forward. It's not about who you're wearing, it's about presenting yourself like a respectable lady/gentlemen. I agree society has gotten way too lackadaisical in this arena! Hope y'all are having the most wonderful weekend and that you got the takeout from Pane Rustica tonight!! XOOX

southern pretties said...

Amen...siser! {this coming from a girl who would scare young children if I still took Macy into school each morning...hahaha} xoxo

EntertainingMom said...

We always make sure the kids are dressed properly when they travel... go out to eat, etc... always. And despite what their friends do they have learned not to even argue with me!

sevenalstons said...

One or two of my children recently asked me why we have to dress up when traveling by airplane. I got the "nobody else does" kind of an argument. But looking nice while traveling is something that is non-negotiable in our family. Thanks for letting me know there are others out there who are like minded :)

Courtney said...

Great post. I am amazed at the number of people who think pajama bottoms are for going out in public. I am a teacher and I don't how many times I have had parents come in in their pjs for a parent teacher conference. One mother even brought her child into the school in her flannel nightgown!

The Mrs. said...

I was just talking about this last NIGHT! I am so over men and their board shorts, tank tops and flip flops! Nobody is surfing, running or at the beach so stop it! I dress for church but it's a casual church. I still think people take the casual thing too far though! I mean flip flops at church? COME ON!

Raining Pearls said...

Could not agree more!!! Jeans to church, track suits while flying... It's all too much. I try to always look my best. Sometimes I wish it were the 50's, everyone was so put together. My precious Grandmother passed away last year and I can remember going to church wiht her. She always wore a matching skirt suit, jewelry and bag. While the suit may have been polyester, and the jewlery plastic she looked amazing. Everyone commented on "Jo's outfit"... Thanks for a great post, it actually made me think of my Grammy Jo :)
xoxo

Valerie said...

Such a meaningful post.

And I while I hate to have to share this...I think it needs to be said.

As a former classroom (elementary) teacher, I was often appalled at what my COLLEAGUES wore to work. For goodness sakes...if we don't have enough respect for ourselves (by dressing the part of a professional) then how in the world can we expect people outside of the teaching profession to take us seriously?

Before getting my Masters in Education, I worked in politics. One would never show up to a congressional office wearing jeans/track suits/flip flops, etc. Yet, I saw women (mostly) do this in elementary buildings all of the time.

While I get that you might not want to wear Ann Taylor to teach kindergartners, there is no reason you can't wear a simple pair of khakis with a sweater set. Sheesh.

Can you tell this was one of my biggest pet peeves...LOL. (I was also often voted by staff as "best dressed" for work! HA!)

Blessings,
Valerie

JDB said...

I've done several post regarding the same topic. Just makes you sick doesn't it? The clothing people wear to church is the proverbial bee in my bonnet.

The demise of society indeed.

Mrs. Expat said...

You certainly hit the nail on the head with this post. It amazing to me to see how well-dressed extremely poor people in Delhi can be. Then along comes a tourist in their sloppy gear and fat stomach. Makes you wonder why anyone wants to emulate us.

Sherrie said...

I agree with you! It drives me crazy when people are dressed in jeans or hoodies at church. My boys are always well dressed at church.

As a middle school teacher I have seen the fashions change since the early 90s. The WORST phase ever IMO was grunge. I remember the mid 90s when every kid wore t-shirts, sweatshirts, and jeans. No one ever dressed up and they looked awful. So glad that phase is done and kids like to look decent again.

Jillian, Inc said...

I so agree. There seems to be a lack of self respect with a lot of people which translates to much bigger issues.

Jo said...

My views are no different than the others that have commented. I think one of our biggest downfalls is our so called "rights" in society.

Saddly, I don't think we have seen the worst of it just yet. I am amazed (at school and in public) to see how children talk to and treat their parents. There are no consequences ~ it's very obvious.

This is our future and they have already learned to do and act as they please.

Great post ~

Jo

North of 25A said...

Yes! It drives me crazy when I see someone in Church with jeans or shorts (!) or someother inappropriate outfit. It is not about judgement it is about repsect...
Thanks for the wise words!
Best,
Colleen

mamamagnolia said...

Not too many years ago workplaces introduced casual Fridays. This was just the beginning. Fridays got more and more casual. Schools have stopped enforcing dress codes. Attendance has take precedence over following rules and meeting deadlines.

Mrs. Bogarde said...

My grandmother used to have a fit about the way people dressed when shopping. She told me when she was young people "dressed" to go shopping. She would wear her best things and groom herself for the occasion. It is interesting, isn't it?

wendy said...

I so agree!!!! Preach on, Sister!!

Shannon said...

Couldn't agree more! I sometimes feel that people don't get dressed up anymore...The last time we flew, we sat next to someone in pajama pants! Seriously! Church is another biggie for me. I was raised to dress to the nines for Sunday service. I've even seen people in shorts! It also used to bother me when my co-workers (other teachers) dressed slovenly to work. I always felt that they should dress more professionally and look the part rather than like they just strolled in after a morning spent gardening!

Ann said...

Agreed! I remember flying to NY as a kid, way back when they used to serve dinner to - it was cheese soup- anyway it got over over my brother and it is a story we all remember - anyway, a sort of reverse story is that it was funny this Easter I dressed us all up in coordinating colors, and my 2 yr old with hat, gloves, purse, etc. and my husband said "we look like the people who never come to church" ha! he was right, all the regulars had on flip flops, etc. great post!!

bevy said...

I can remember "dressing" when going home for a visit from college. It just made the visit more special. Also, it was a way to show my parents how much I appreciated them!

S and J do fuss when I make them wear button-downs, Lacostes, or "church shoes", but they will appreciate it... I know they will. I know they will. I know they will... someday!