Why dress up?

Elizabeth Vincentelli of the NY Post makes a plea close to my heart: For the love of God, stop dressing like crap.

Imprecations to the Divinity aside, Vincentelli drives the point,

If you dress like a child, chances are you’re going to act like one.

We are right now in full infantilizing mode: “Children” can remain dependent on their parents until age 26, at least according to Obamacare. The welfare state is based on the assumption that individual responsibility is erased and that the state is the adult. Fashion trends are marketed to grownups mimicking kids’ clothes.

At the same time, children are sexualized; even children’s toys are made to look like little tramps.

Back in the day when people couldn’t afford many clothes, they dressed up. Photos of lines at soup kitchens during the Great Depression show men in suits, neckties and hats, because that was all they could find. Nowadays, we have a huge selection of styles, and many people would rather imitate what sports and entertainment celebrities [are paid to] wear than find something that actually is appropriate to the occasion and flatters the wearer.

Deeper thinkers than I may see this as part of a greater pattern of leaving the culture without a basic agreed upon set of foundations principles and ideals. Clothes are a principle of civilization.

Superficial person that I am, I prefer to think of it in terms of this: Be the grown-up.

Grown-ups know that what you wear shows the world how you see yourself.

Do you respect yourself? That is, do you give a damn about yourself? Do you have enough self-discipline to take the time to find clothes that are well-cut and fit well, and that are clean and well-pressed, and in good condition when you wear them? Have you taken the time to see if that thing you’re wearing actually belongs in the trash can?

If the answer to any of the above is yes, you are not heading to a theater matinee, for instance, in flip-flops, stained tank tops, and cut-off shorts. Instead, you may wear a light dress, if you are a woman, and a dress shirt and slacks, if you are a man, and comfortable shoes in good condition. You may look better while actually spending less, at that.

The psychology of dressing is such that the clothes you put that message in will determine the way it’s received: Dress the message.

It’s up to you.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz always overdresses. She blogs at Fausta’s blog.