Friday, August 2, 2013

Let's Face Facts

Some subjects bother me more than others. I try to conceal my dislike of such things as bad drivers, people who obsess about their cell phones, and loud, uncontrolled children. When you get right down to it, there are plenty of daily encounters which can prove annoying.

With that said, today's rant is about the lack of concern over personal appearance. Each time I venture out to shop, eat or conduct any business in public, I am stunned by the general sloppiness that has crept into our society.

I'm all in favor of change when it is warranted. I would hate to see us return to the days when women wore gloves and both men and women wore hats. That era ended about the time that Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower were living in the White House. In old newsreels, footage of prominent men in overcoats arriving at and leaving Congress while doffing fedoras is almost laughable now. Times have changed and some styles are best left in the past.

But let's face it, we are a long way from fedoras and pill boxes with matching veils.

Today's casual appearance has gone off the charts. A few years ago, an adult man might have thrown on some shorts and flip-flops to take out the trash. Now he wears the same attire to go shopping or to the movies, perhaps only checking to make sure that he is wearing his "best" T-shirt, the one without the oil stains.

In the past, his wife might have worn work-out clothes to, well, work out. Now she wears sports bras and leggings to buy groceries. Never mind that people stare. She is busy, pressed for time perhaps, so just don't look if you don't like it.

The other day I saw an extremely heavy woman in skin tight leggings. The poor garment appeared to be grimacing, as if the thread was frightened of what might occur at any moment. The woman was wearing a T-shirt that stopped above the navel, doing nothing to conceal the bulging flesh below it. She was not washing her car or mowing her lawn. She was walking down a busy street in a large city, turning heads and getting honks in the process. It was quite a sight.

What has happened to our sense of taste, let alone our sense of style?

All of this casual dress and sheer laziness is worsened by the fact that few people even care about how they look. They must not have any mirrors in their house. They must never ask someone if "this makes me look heavy." They must have no shame.

This is not to say that we must return to the days of yore and the styles of the day. But it might not hurt us to pause for a minute and THINK how we might look. Am I the only person who has ever caught a glimpse of myself in a reflection from a store window? Apparently so.

To make matters worse, most of us have gotten heavier. Much heavier. I'll admit that I have put on a few pounds in the past five years or so. Emphasis on "few" meaning 10 or 15. But I'm not stupid enough to think I can still squeeze into a bikini and look good or that no one will notice if I wear size 6 pants like nothing has changed. I am fully aware of the matter when I buy larger sizes and tops which help camouflage my temporary setback. We only improve matters when we take steps to do so.

It would appear as though we have all just thrown in the proverbial towel. Why care about anything? Who cares if our clothes hug us where no fabric should hug us? Why bother with things that are seemingly unimportant?

Why? Because how we look does matter.

It's hard to identify precisely when attire began to slide toward the extremely casual. It must have been somewhere in the 1970s-80s, perhaps when Don Johnson began to wear T-shirts under his jacket on Miami Vice. That was about the same time when it became fashionable for a man to grow three days of stubble and still look stylish.

Unfortunately, my plumber now continually sports beard stubble and a T-shirt. Needless to say, he does not look like Don Johnson.

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