by Kenneth Justice
~”Clothes makes the man”….ever hear that before? Is it true? What about when it comes to women; do clothes make the woman too?
Clothing is a billion dollar industry (perhaps trillion) world wide. Every magazine and NEWS rag usually has a Style section, Fashion Week in Paris, New York, Milan and elsewhere are usually major NEWS stories. Women and Men spend unfathomable amounts of money every year on the clothes they wear.
But how often do we actually think about what we wear? I mean REALLY think about it?
Clothes say a lot about who we are as individuals. If you are orthodox Jewish or Muslim it is likely we can spot you in a crowd by the clothes you wear. If you are Amish, Hindu, or Mennonite your clothes say something about what you believe.
If your in a position of power your clothes tell others that you demand respect; Judges, Law Enforcement, Military……
But what about the average person……what do our clothes say to those around us? Should our clothes say something to those around us? Or should others look beyond our clothes and see our hearts and our minds…..see us for who we are and not for what we look like?
One of the nice elements of being a writer is that people get to see our words, which are an extension of who we are, and they don’t get bogged down by the way we look or the way our voices sound.
However, as much as we wish the world was perfect……it isn’t and therefore our outward appearance says something about who we are.
–) If we don’t shower regularly and smell like rubbish it sends a smelly message to those around us
–) If we wear clothes that are entirely out-of-date it might convey to others that we are out-of-step with where the world is currently
–) If we wear a meat dress it might convey to the world that we badly want others to notice us
Clothing is as much a signature of communication as anything else we do; whether we like it or not, clothing is a way of communicating to others what we believe about the world.
Does it sound like I’m propping clothing up on too high of a pedestal?
Having grown up in a Conservative Christian home I witnessed firsthand the drama that often ensued among Christian parents and their daughters; the daughters inevitably would want to wear clothing that the parents deemed ‘inappropriate’
Christian parents would say “The bible says that women should dress modestly and that outfit is definitely not modest!” and so the Christian daughters would put a baggy sweatshirt on over the ‘immodest’ outfit and once away from the parents the sweatshirt would find its way on the floor……
Does ‘modesty’ even exist anymore?
I mean, lets be real, in Western Culture men and women wear pretty much anything and everything these days, acceptable attire in Western Culture would range from the very skimpiest outfit to a heavy sweater…..right?
In recent years I’ve noticed more-and-more (usually younger) women wearing pajamas out to the grocery store or mall. Not to sound like an old dude, but when I was younger I certainly can’t remember it being acceptable to wear rather skimpy pajamas out in public………
—-) But times change, right?
—-) “Yesteryear” shouldn’t be the standard for clothing today…..right?
—-) We need to keep up with the times….right?
As someone who is a Christian I’ve thought about the various verses that talk about ‘modesty’ in clothing and wondered how in the world one would even apply such a thing to the modern world. After all, what many of us believe to be ‘modest’ is merely our own subjective opinions (usually based on standards from our childhood).
Modesty is usually only thought of in reference to women but I also think about it in relation to men; is it ‘immodest’ for a dude to wear a $5000 Gucci suit? Modesty isn’t limited to things of a sexual nature, but it also has to do with concepts such as humility. Thus, in a day-and-age when economic woe is so prevalent, should we really be spending a ton of money on our clothes and shoes? Wouldn’t that money be better used by serving others, helping people in need?
So why am I so clothes-minded? Because I believe it is important to think about communication and our clothing is connected to the way we communicate with others……
Or at least that is what I’m going with at the moment…..
Time for another coffee,
Categories: Culture & Society