Time to ditch the pajama pants

January 12, 2019


Americans were saddened while viewing the funeral of President George H. W. Bush, but I have to admit, I felt joy when I realized no one showed up in yoga pants and a T-shirt.  Dignity, proper behavior and class were on display and America once again looked like a country of real grown-ups. 

Finally, political differences were put aside and there wasn’t a dry eye in the country when former Senator Bob Dole struggled to stand from his wheelchair in order to salute his friend.

The crowd looked appropriately somber with some of the clothes looking new and expensive while others probably pulled out the best they already owned. No one standing in the long public lines for the viewing in the Capitol Rotunda appeared to munch a snack or wear a baseball cap. 

In a time when there is an abundance of pajama pants and no one stops talking when the flag processes by at a parade, it was refreshing to see respect and dignity at a formal ceremony.

This photo is from a 2015 story in the New York Post and shows how people were dressed going into a Broadway Play. The story, by Elisabeth Vincentelli was, “For the love of God, stop dressing like cr*p.”

No matter what the hoi polloi screams, proper etiquette is craved by humans because the unspoken rules remind us that no matter how crazy, wild, rude and ugly this world gets, beneath it all, we love order. That’s why we follow the traffic rules or beam with pride when our children use good manners. We want everyone to be nice. Good people value kindness and understand peace flows from order. 

That’s why I tend to prefer a more formal church service where I can feel real reverence.  It’s one time of the week I can sit still in peace and know what to expect so I can focus on the beauty and message of spiritual issues.  

I visited a church recently where the theme wasn’t ‘bring your best to God” but rather “God loves me just as I am without one plea,” — which I feel are both correct on some level.  The pastor wore jeans and an untucked wrinkled shirt, which made me think he didn’t realize it was Sunday until about 9 o’clock that morning. When he waved his arms around in praise and/or worship, we caught a glimpse of his hairy belly, highlighted in the spotlight. Score one for a good sport coat, suit, or even better, a long black robe. A belt would have been a miracle that caused hundreds to fall to their knees in tearful thanks. As it was, I tossed back a handful of Altoids to combat an overwhelming acidic choke.

Ruffles and Flourishes, the national anthem and remorseful hymns at the President’s funeral were accepted by the congregation as beautiful touches and no one flubbed up the words. As far as I could tell, no one propped their feet up on the pew and no one pulled out their cell phone to text, “Hey! You ain’t gonna believe where I am!” I didn’t see a selfie taken with the casket or anyone smacking gum. 

The Oak Ridge Boys and Reba McEntire performed at the
President’s funeral and looked very nice.

We said goodbye to a President and Americans from all walks of life and both political parties were well behaved and civil. If only everyday could be like that, without the sadness of death.  Maybe it all begins by leaving the pajama pants at home. And really now, would a sport coat or simple dress every now and then kill us?  

This story first appeared online at AL.com HERE and in the Mobile Press Register, Birmingham News and Huntsville Times.

  • I couldn’t agree more. I think people should try and look presentable when going out, not counting the folks who have excuses and quickly have to go out at a moments notice! Going to public places, travel etc. it doesn’t take a lot of effort to dress appropriately. I think most just don’t give a @#@@!!!!!

    • My 99 year old friend always takes the time to look beautiful. Her clothing and makeup is perfect and it’s a sign of respect for self and others! Thanks Emily!

  • Amen, Sister! My Anglican church finally grew large enough to offer both traditional and contemporary services. One of the things I like most about the traditional service is that people dress nicely for church, even the Clemson students. What does it mean if folks are too lazy to dress with respect for the Lord?

    • I’m not so sure it’s disrespect, but others sure do see it that way at times. They don’t realize it sends a powerful message to others.

  • I am so tired of seeing people in their work out clothes everywhere I go, the tight leggings that leave nothing to the imagination on bodies I don’t particularly want to see! The story of the rumpled pastor makes my skin crawl! Once again, we need your voice to save our world!!

    • Ha! Thank you! (as I sit here in my sweat pants — but I’m at home getting ready to clean the house, so that’s okay, right?)

  • Cathy Flanagan says:

    Amen. Thank you for writing this- agree wholeheartedly!

  • George Nelson says:

    Nice! And I agree. But you are invited to attend The Gathering from time to time!

  • Thank you for writing this. You may be a voice in the wilderness with this one but the odd thing is, I think people would really feel better about themselves if they tried it sometimes.

    • Thanks Dewena. I didn’t have room to mention that in schools with a dress code, behavior is usually better.

  • OMGoodness! AND, thank goodness there are still people who haven’t forgotten about proper dress and etiquette! (Said she who has been known to admit, “My style of dress could best be described as, ‘I wasn’t planning to get out of my car.’ “)
    I agree with you 110%, and being very “old school,” have come to appreciate clerical robes. Don’t get me started on teens and their mid-thigh, sleeveless, (or gasp! strapless dresses) and bare legs in church IN WINTER! That’s enough to make this grandma stroke-out!
    You hit this topic out of the park.
    Thanks for proving that there are still young people whose mamas taught them right. ❤️

    • “I wasn’t planning on getting out of the car” is a legitimate style. We’ve all had to run out for a quick drive-thru milkshake without getting dolled up (or so I’ve heard!!!) bahahaha! Thanks Sue!

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