On one recent morning, the staff of our community magazine were batting around ideas for our often-printed article theme of “Do You Remember…?” We got to talking about what we once wore for a plane trip, or to church, or to work. There were various levels of dress, from “just got out of bed” to “Sunday Best.”
Staff members remember the men in their families going off to work in suit and tie, or even in overalls, jacket, shirt and tie. And, bowler or fedora, they always wore a hat. Men’s hats seem to have gone out of favor when J.F.K. went around without one. Women’s hats stayed in favor longer because Jackie Kennedy wore them.
|Not a hard hat to be seen! You can be sure that this was in the 30's, long before OSHA|
Sundays might have found women in a neat suit, but they usually wore dresses. House dresses, day dresses, Sunday-best dresses. And aprons too. Most of us can remember June Cleaver or Margaret Anderson, pertly and appropriately dressed, apron in place, and usually wearing high heels. Today we shake our heads at this style of dress. Just think of all the ironing! Just think of housekeeping in those high heels!
|Thr caption on this one from Google was "retro vacuuming." I'll say it's retro!|
I'm glad that those days are long gone.
Adult men of all ages seem to have dressed similarly, but with women it was a different story. Mothers usually wore open shoes, be they high-heels or flats, and Grandmothers usually wore black lace-ups with chunky heels. Actually, some women of those years, thank you Kathryn Hepburn, did wear slacks every day. Grandmothers? Never.
Do you remember bobby sox, saddle shoes, penny loafers, poodle skirts, the craze for grey and pink? Do you remember, of course you do, miniskirts, bell bottoms, go-go boots, and Nehru jackets? Clothes seem to be less faddish these days.
|Holey socks, you can still get poodle skirts!|
I never had one, didn't miss it at all.
“Sunday Best,” the dress code easily understood by all, was the thing to wear on most special occasions. We wore Sunday-best to go to anything a bit more special than what we did every day. We dressed up for a plane trip, with hats and gloves and matching luggage. Same for a long trip by car or train. We always dressed somberly for funerals. It was just what was “done.”
Today, what is “done” is frequently “anything goes.” It is still true that we are judged on our attire, however unconsciously and silently, by others. We still want to spruce up to go out to dinner, but the dress code is casual. But then, now we dine out much more casually and frequently than our parents did. We seniors may think that standards are slipping miserably, but then seniors in any era probably thought the same thing.
|This one's from The People of Walmart.|
Walmart's dress code is "Anything Goes." and you
know there are worse getups than this one.
Are we any worse, or any better, for these changes? No, we are status quo. Today’s social standards and mores have evolved and developed along with technology. We have a wider availability of goods and services and the money to pay for them, and, especially in wash-and-wear, a vast array of clothing choices.
"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society."