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April 07, 2008

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Dress2the9s

Excuse the rant in advance, but in a nutshell... yes, things are completely out of hand when it comes to casual dress.

I, too, recently attended the Lion King Broadway show event at the Civic Center in Atlanta (on opening night, of all things). And I was completely floored by the lack of couth associated with much of the attire I witnessed (I also had a big issue with the venue's management of the event, in particular the way in which exiting and reentry into the event was managed and the allowance of infant children into the event -- but I will save that rant for another blog, another day). This is a Tony Award-winning Broadway show we are talking about, ladies & germs! So one might expect at least business casual dress from the audience, perhaps a suit jacket or blazer for men, as an example.

NOPE. One would have thought it was a a picnic, the way most people were dressed for the event. I was a fish out of water -- I, myself, was decked out in a black DKNY wool suit with a black french cuff dress shirt sans tie at the event. I believe events such as theatre shows (especially Broadway events), plays, musicals, operas and dance company revues call for some bit of formality. This is obviously not the case, at least in Atlanta.

So I have unfortunately come to expect this cavalier form of dress at events such as Broadway shows taken on the road outside of New York City. Fortunately, however, I am undeterred so I will continue to live by example when attending these events.

Don't get me wrong -- this is not a rage against the 'come as you are' or 'come in what you can afford' regime. It merely is a call to action, mostly to adult-aged people, to dress more out of respect for the performers if not for those putting on the event, itself.

STYLEnosh

Thank you Dress2the9s! I like your point about respecting the performers. Never thought of it that way before. But I was really starting to think that I had turned into some fashion snob who looked at others with my nose slightly turned up. Fortunately, I'm not that person. I'm just a woman trying to figure out when did we get so lackadaisical about everything? I totally believe in the come as you are philosophy of churches encouraging everyone to come to worship without caring about whether they have on the right clothes. But this situation seems different. I feel like we don't dress up for work. And we don't "do" formal for the theater. I can't help but wonder, "Do we lose something by not dressing up for anything?"

STYLEnosh

Dress2the9s, I had to leave another comment after I re-read your comment about going to see The Lion King. Why would anyone bring an infant child to a Broadway play??? There were several times throughout the show that a baby's shrieking and crying rang out. I was totally unprepared for that one. I didn't think it was acceptable to bring infants to events that may negatively impact the other patrons.

Oh, and I love the outfit you chose for the event. I went to the 2pm show on Saturday so I chose not to wear the tuxedo jacket (cause I figured it would be too formal). But the black jacket I wore dressed up the outfit just enough.

Thanks again for your comments. They were so good I went back and read them again!! lol

Mo

I have an idea as to why people might bring infants to Broadway productions...they can't separate the play from the movie which is appropriate for small kids and also since the play is not ON Broadway then folks tend to have less respect for it. I am actually kind of surprised at the lack of dress, I saw it in the D and folks were dressed to the 9's for the matinee. I do think there is a lack of dress up for teens that is permeating our fashion culture. My mom used to make me dress up for certain events, teaching me the respect and importance for them. Nowadays teens (and many young adults) think a Baby Phat outfit is kosher for a job interview and/or broadway play. We need to lead by example and if we can take a cousin brother neice friends kid out dressed appropriately for an event perhaps we can "dress up" their world. Think of the impact Jay-z had when he exclusively started wearing button down shirts, we need that same type of fashion upgrade for girls and women as well.

August Deed

I agree that people do not dress for the events that " require" it.It is so rampant that I ask people why they did not dress the part at some things.
The Post Grammy Awards reception that the Recording Academy puts on for Atlanta Grammy winners was this past Sat. The invite specifies that one is to "dress to impress",but the room was filled with jeans and t shirts and flip flops and "run to the store" outfits. I know that dressy is not everyone's forte',but I do think that certain events call for you to travel that fashion road.I agree that it is a respect issue in some instances.

STYLEnosh

Okay Mo, you are helping people right now. I think you're on to something. There were a lot of kids in attendance and I remember thinking the play would be too much for kids under 5 to handle. Kids cry and they can't be still, ya know. But let me enlighten all parents right now, theatrical plays are not the entertainment equivalent of taking your young kids to say the latest Disney movie.

I can't believe the D (Detroit) out-dressed the A. Wonders never cease. :)

And about this Baby Phat takeover of black America, (yeah, I said it :), we really need to eliminate this notion that wearing matching Baby Phat pants and a shirt is dressing up. (I've had this conversation with a bunch of people and I think it's time for its own post.) I'm all for better role models. So we need to ask ourselves, "What kind of example are we showing our teens/young adults?"

STYLEnosh

August Deed, you're breaking my heart! Not t-shirts and flip-flops at the post Grammy reception! Say it ain't so!!! And I love your "run to the store" comment. I need to start passing out a few more business cards. Apparently my services are definitely needed! lol

I think the problem with that situation is that most people don't know what dress to impress means. It's too ambiguous. These days, invitations have to spell out No jeans, no flip-flops, no timbs!

Meg from FruWiki.com and All About Appearances

Yes. YES! (and yes.)

No wonder people say, "But I have no place to where ____." They've already decided that gym clothes, beachwear and pajamas is perfectly suitable attire for every occasion, so what occasion do would they have for nice clothes? I just wish they wouldn't ruin it for the rest of us who want some place we can go and dress up. I for one like a bit of glam, but it's hard to keep up the feeling when you look around and see people walking around in wife-beaters and Crocs.

STYLEnosh

Thanks Meg! I totally forgot about the use of gym clothes OUTSIDE of the gym or pjs outside of the house. Why, people, why?? We just have to stay committed to NOT letting the casual dress of others to deter us from our precious moments of glam! I've always said that I don't mind being the overdressed person in the room. These days, I've actually grown quite used to it.

Dress2the9s

Good stuff. I have always argued that big change actually starts with subtle change (hear this, 2008 Presidential candidates???).

So, yes... let's start by not wearing or displaying one's underwear in public (there is a reason why they call it UNDERwear). Then we can move on to not wearing sleepwear and personal hygiene items in public (robes, house slippers, hairnets, hair rollers, 'doo-rags,' shower caps -- do I need to continue?). Next comes wearing clothes that actually come remotely close to fitting one's actual size (I often wonder whether or not people put themselves in good position to run from danger when their pants are belt-tied around their thighs).

It is all a matter of respect (or lack thereof). Believe it or not, I still see people come in for office interviews not appropriately dressed, and some even chew gum during the actual interview.

So, my fellow bloggers... it begs the additional question (which takes the original leading question associated with this thread to greater heights):

Is it that attitudes in general are too casual?

Is dress merely one of many by-products of casual attitude?

What about other physical appearances , like long hair (personally, I am okay with long hair... as long as it is somewhat kempt)?

What about how we view and adhere to certain laws & public policy (personally, I feel as if the human race is rapidly becoming more and more ambivalent about violent crime, especially homicide)?

Rant concluded. I am off to see Mary J & Jay-Z in concert here in the ATL. I am certain I will have fresh material on this topic come tomorrow

STYLEnosh

Thanks Dress2the9s! And keep the rants coming! Oh, and please let us know what you see at the Jay-Z concert. I'm sure there will be plenty to talk about! lol

Dress2the9s

OK, I am back from the concert (can't believe I am up so early, given that the show didn't end until just past 11 PM). The event was cool, Mary J had a much better show than Jay-Z (Jigga, who?) and she was the opening act. I am officially getting old, Jay-Z darned-near put me to sleep. Mary has definitely softened her fashion edges over the years. She looked really good, couldn't tell whether or not HGH was a factor (only kidding, people - sort of)

As far as the fashions in the general audience went, the ladies ran mad laps around the men. Personally I though perhaps there was a little too much cleavage in the air (most things are better when they are not so immediately prominent -- wealth, intellect, certain physical attributes) -- but, hey, I certainly understand the situation. A lot of very feminine attire, I love it when ladies wear dresses made of fine material accompanied by shoes with a heel. Yes, the subtle sexy look definitely won over the she-is-barely-fitting-into-her-younger-daughter's-clothes and the one-would-think-she-is-a-call-girl looks.

Me, I think I held my own ground by keeping it simple-yet-sleek with a tan two-button blazer with subtle vertical and horizontal stripes, a striped collar dress shirt, taupe slacks and brown slip-on rubber sole casual shoes. But in general, the men were slippin' well behind the ladies. I think the men were dressing not to impress the ladies, but to impress each other. I must be getting old, I remember it used to be the other way around.

So here's the fashion tip of the day. Fellas, if your lady dresses THAT much better than you, rest assured that if you think other guys are staring at both you and your lady friend in public because they either envy you or they think you are a cute couple... think again. They are most likely wondering why this well-kept woman is hanging around a bum like you or, even worse, they are either fantasizing about laying up with your woman while you sit in the next room twiddling your thumbs or they are merely undressing your lady with their eyeballs.

Which, of course, leads one to think that she is only with you because you are renting her time for the moment i.e., paying her way into the show, buying her drinks, food, etc..

So, fellas, try taking a 1/4 of your next ten paychecks to do a better job of fashionably keeping up with the ladies. Go out and buy yourself some clothes that don't have logos on them, hang completely off your tail-feather, or look as if you are still in high school.

STYLEnosh

Dress2the9s, Great review of the fashions from last night's concert! I agree with you that Mary's fashion game has definitely improved over the years. I'm surprised that Jay-Z almost put you to sleep! Say it ain't so! lol

It sounds like the ladies really looked good! I'm glad to see women embracing dresses and feminine dressing in general. And people would be surprised how far simple and sleek would get you. But you had to know the cleavages would be out and on display! lol

Great advice for the men. I wonder if the problem is that a lot of men still think it's cool to dress like the young hip-hop stars when they need to be taking their fashion cues from the older stars like Kanye West and Diddy! lol

Mo

OK So I went to the Street Kings sneak peak here in Seattle last night and dammit if camera phones weren't allowed b/c I had SO much material for you. It led me to think on this thread and also perhaps I am turning into my mother. I wonder how much age has to do with us thinking folks can't dress for certain events. I would argue that there is a lack of self esteem (piggy back on Dress2the9s) in casual events as well. I saw all kinds of housewear, some huge bamboo earrings (I mean really?, too much cleavage (and as a DD woman I can talk about other trashy women) and some hirachi/snowboot/moonboot/sock attached/hoeboots made by Nike (shudder)! I mean dang people a movie is a generally dark event, however you do have appear in front of others beforehand and in the lobby. PLEASE PLEASE have some self respect, use Tim Gunn and Veronica Webb's sweatsuit alternative and PULEESE dress for your age. Perhaps we need to go further back into the 40's and 50's for our clothing wear men still wore ties and hats and women wore gloves and skirts (ok not all the time) but use that kind of pride as a starting point to push fashion forward. I mean why do people care more about the appearance of their cars and houses than they do themselves? Nosh, 9's, Deed your thoughts?

STYLEnosh

Okay Mo, first let me start by saying that your comment (hirachi/snowboot/moonboot/sock attached/hoeboots made by Nike) almost made me choke on my veggie sandwich! (kudos to Panera Bread). But I was thinking the exact same thing about going back to the 40s when style and presentation were important- regardless of income bracket. I'm not saying that I expect everyone to wear suits and skirts either, but housewear? Come on people! lol And what's up with the ginormous bamboo earrings. Don't tell me that trend is making a comeback. Age is definitely a factor but I've seen quite a few H.A.M.s in the over 30 crew too! Anyhoo, I'm on a personal crusade to motivate people to show their true selves, not the broken-down version they typically display in public. ;o)

Dress2the9s

Mo -- I am already there with you. A car cannot make an impression for you during a job interview.

It starts and ends with pride and self-respect. Apathetic attitudes toward physical appearance have gone mainstream. And I am at a loss for ideas as to what brings things back from the brink of fashion insanity.

For the youth, I want to believe change starts with the parents... but, dag, I look around and it's the parents that are setting the bad examples for their children

For the adults, I think it takes some drastic world event or series of world events to get things back in line. September 11 did not do it... so what (if anything) else will?

aurko

Dressing to go to the theatre is part of a ritual, part of the anticipation, the enjoyment and and a part of respect for the arts. It can become excessive if the focus moves from the performance to those attending the performance, but baring this, the ritual of dressing should be encouraged. Perhaps even taught!

Christen

hmm - as a mid 20 something, i have to say, i LOVE dressing up. my friends always comment that I'm usually the most dressed up person at any event, but i don't mind. even if i'm just at a friend's birthday party, i take the time to put a unique look together. i especially love dressing for "cultured" events like the theater/plays or such. i don't get a chance to go very often, but when i do - i make a point to think about what to wear.

i think that some people make the excuse to wear casual clothes because "it's dark and no one will see". to that i say - before and after the performance, others will see.

and i have to agree - i'm sick of the track/sweat suit look. the words across the behind is so not attractive. i had one that i wore in the house only, but would never wear it in public. come on people - you may not have to look at yourself, but we do.

STYLEnosh

Aurko, I agree with you. The focus should be on the performance and dressing for the theater is a part of the whole event. I think we honor the artists by putting in a little extra effort when we go see them. :o)

STYLEnosh

Christen, you're the new hope for 20 somethings! Unfortunately, a lot of younger people, both men and women, don't see the value in putting the effort into looking good. We will look to you to set the way!!!

And I love your last line! People should kill the words on the butt look so we DON'T have to look at it! lol

crunchycon

If you think concert-going is bad, try business travel...the ensembles you see at the airport (shorts, T-shirts, flip-flops and track suits on the better dressed passengers) will make you cry. I'm not saying to go back to the days of my parents in the fifties and sixties when air travel involved dressing to the nines (I flew overseas at the age of four in my Sunday best, but I loved dressing up even then), but at least look better than you would to wash the car! And, while I'm on a rant, please have a presentable carry-on bag! GRR...

katie

Hey,
I recently turned 20 and had an epiphany when stumbling upon a site much like this one.
I realized that there is no reason not to dress up and look my best all the time. Especially when going to a special event. My mother raised me going to the opera and theatre and so I am quite familiar with the ritual of dressing up for that sort of thing, but now I try to make every occasion a special one by always looking my best. A few of my friends who used to run around in sweatsuits all of the time, have caught on to my renewed sense of style and have been following suit.

Shannon Hilson

Another post I can really get behind! To answer your question -- YES, people are dressing far too casually these days. Unfortunately I've never had the opportunity to go to a big theater production, but I would have been appalled to find people there in flip-flops and shorts. That sounds like the type of thing I'd wear to Raging Waters or the community pool... certainly not to the theater. Like you and some of the others have said, it shows a lack of respect for the artists, and to be honest, I feel like it shows a real lack of respect for oneself as well.

Perhaps I was just raised differently than many people were. I was taught that it was actually rude not to fix yourself up at least a little if you're going somewhere -- that even if I'm just going grocery shopping, I am still going to be around people, so I should at least be wearing clean clothes that fit properly, match, and are completely free of holes and rips. It also meant having my hair combed, neat, and clean at all times and wearing at least minimal make-up. If an event is something that could be considered "special", then a dress, a skirt, tailored slacks, or whatever "nicer clothing" would be appropriate is required. NEVER jeans, never shorts, and don't even get me started on flip-flops.

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As far as the fashions in the general audience went, the ladies ran mad laps around the men. Personally I though perhaps there was a little too much cleavage in the air (most things are better when they are not so immediately prominent -- wealth, intellect, certain physical attributes) -- but, hey, I certainly understand the situation. A lot of very feminine attire, I love it when ladies wear dresses made of fine material accompanied by shoes with a heel. Yes, the subtle sexy look definitely won over the she-is-barely-fitting-into-her-younger-daughter's-clothes and the one-would-think-she-is-a-call-girl looks.

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