Commentary

A Clothed Case

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By Rachel Birdsell
TFW Contributing Writer

When, exactly, did it become OK to wear pajamas out in public?

Somehow, we’ve gone from not dreaming of leaving the house without a hat and gloves on, to shopping for groceries in our slippers. But it’s not just sleeping attire that has my drawers in a bunch.

While men once wore suits on a daily basis, we now see them running around town with backward hats on and their jeans halfway down their butts. For that matter, there are women who wear jeans that come halfway down their butts, and then wear thongs underneath them because they think it’s sexy for that little inverse triangle of satin to be showing.
Not the case, ladies.

Do I think we should return to wearing hats, gloves and suits? Well, actually, yes, but that’s because I’m a romantic old fool, and because I think a man in a suit is super sexy. RAWR!
Alas, while I may be a romantic old fool, I’m also a practical old fool. I realize that gloves and suits aren’t sensible for a lot of professions or for everyday wear. But, c’mon people. Can we make just a modicum of effort before leaving the house?

I don’t expect women to wear makeup or have on jewelry every time they walk out the door, nor do I expect them to be fashionistas. I don’t expect men to look like they just stepped off the cover of GQ. Hell, I don’t even expect them to wear clothes that match all of the time. There are some things, however, that I think should be absolutes. The first is that you should be clean.

Even if you haven’t showered before leaving the house, please make sure that you don’t stink. So, at least smell clean. This means having bathed at least once in the prior week. Wear deodorant if needed; brush your teeth, regardless.

I encountered someone at the store the other day who reeked so badly that I actually gagged and had to walk away for fear that I was going to hurl on his shoes. Maybe I should have, because god knows, it would have made him smell better. If you’re going to step out of the house being nonstinky, your clothes should be nonstinky. They should be nonholey and free of stains, too.

Also, please wear clothes that fit. If your jeans are getting small enough that your muffin top has morphed into a fallen soufflé top, you need bigger jeans. No one has to know that you need a larger size. It can be your own little secret. By the same token, if your jeans are so big that you have to hold them up to keep them on, buy a smaller pair. Maybe you could swap jeans with Little Miss Muffin Top.

Some argue that we shouldn’t judge people based on their appearances. They’ll spout off the quote that “clothes do not make the man,” and use it as an excuse for looking like a slob.
The entire quote is “Clothes and manner do not make the man; but, when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance.” This was said by Henry Ward Beecher who died in 1887, long before crack-showing jeans were the rage.

The quote does not suggest that a person who dresses like a slob is a lesser person, but that fancy clothing and manners do not necessarily guarantee success.

So why is looking at least somewhat decent before you go out into public important? Because, it’s a direct reflection of how you feel about yourself.

If you don’t respect yourself enough to practice personal hygiene and be clothed properly, why would you expect anyone else to respect you? We like to pretend that we’re above judging others based on their appearance, but it’s not true. We do it all the time. If we see someone who is dressed in stained, holey sweat pants and a T-shirt with the arms cut off, we think differently about them than if they were dressed in a suit.

I realize that my dream of men wearing suits every day probably isn’t going to happen.
But I will never stop hoping for a world where pajamas in public are outlawed, and being stinky will get you a heftier fine than some random chick spewing her lunch all over your shoes in the canned vegetable aisle.

Rachel Birdsell is a freelance writer, artist and semi-professional cat wrangler. Feel free to drop her a note at rabirdsell@gmail.com.

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