Wednesday, June 25, 2014
"Dressing well is a form of good manners." - Tom Ford
I've been thinking about this quote lately. I've recently attended several events that normally guests would dress up for. We have become a very casual world in the area of wardrobe but sometimes I feel we're slipping past enjoying personal comfort into disrespect.
Etiquette is all about the expected behavior of members of society that demonstrate respect. The rules are there to make everyone feel comfortable. It's all about how you treat others. We should either be making people feel appreciated or being considerate of their feelings.
I was at the ballet twice last month and spent an afternoon at a funeral. Most of the other guests were appropriately attired. It seems however, that there are always a few people who turn up looking like they are in the wrong place. I'm not thinking of those who are casual and tidy. I'm looking at the more extreme examples, of "I'm ready to work in the garden", take a nap in the "I'll just wear them one more time pajamas" or at the opposite end of the spectrum "let's get it on". I'm never sure if they are making a statement or are being purposely contemptuous of the occasion?
According to Emily Post for funerals you should "Remember, though, that it is a serious occasion and your attire should reflect that, especially if you are participating in the service. At the very least it should be clean, neat, and pressed as for any other important occasion."
From about.com dance when attending the ballet the advice is, "Dress Appropriately. Although there is no specific dress code for ballet performances, most people try to dress up out of respect for the ballet. Some people prefer to dress in business attire while others prefer trendy, but casual, clothing. Formal attire is not generally worn. If you are attending the opening night performance, however, the atmosphere will be a little more formal."
The two pieces of advice above seem to be simple to follow. I enjoy dressing up. I enjoy the sense of occasion it brings to any event. I enjoy seeing others turned out fashionably. I'm not saying that those of us who dress casually most of the time are never appreciative of anything. However,our culture does seem to be demonstrating an indifference towards many traditional occasions. I find myself wishing that social mores hadn't changed so much. I suspect it's reflecting a shift in what we value in modern life. Most of us still dress up when we feel that an activity warrants the effort. I personally will continue to do so and at the same time I'll feel a little sad for those who don't see the value in taking the trouble.