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For years I’ve maintained that we Americans dress too casually. We look sloppy. We look like we don’t care about ourselves or others.
Wearing workout gear as street clothes was popularized in the 1980s (along with other self-inflicted cultural wounds such as stonewashed jeans and glam bands). That started a downward spiral that has left us with the public wearing of yoga pants, or, as I call them, the last temptation of Satan.
When I was a lad in the ‘60s and 70’s, we dressed better than today. We even had a “Sunday suit” we wore to church every week, a phrase unknown to today’s youth. Considering the shorts, sweat socks, and t-shirts I’m surrounded by in the pew every Sunday, wearing your “Sunday best” has been forgotten by adults, too.
In my hometown of yesteryear (Asbury Park, NJ) women who worked at the local department store, Steinbach’s, were required to wear dresses or skirts. Men had to be in a suit.
This formalized work attire spilled over into the streets. People wanted to look nice in front of their neighbors. Appearances mattered. Cleanliness was next to godliness. Clean, pressed clothing signaled a clean and pressed home-life. You didn’t put your business in the street, you didn’t hang out your dirty laundry, and you certainly didn’t wear unsightly or ill-fitting clothes while walking the boulevard. We were a better society for it. There’s less inclination to act the fool in public if you aren’t dressed like one.
Before my time, in the immediate post World War II years, people even wore nice clothes on the boardwalk. It was looked down upon to leave your home in worn attire that didn’t fit.
The first I noticed this change to wearing gym clothes everyday was when Italians who weren’t smart enough to be in the mafia wore velour track suits that somehow signaled they were in the mob. Why they wanted this affiliation still baffles me today, but there it was: A man in a crushed velvet sweat suit and a gold chain with a pepper hanging off it supposedly meant he was something he wasn’t.
The Italians were followed by rap stars, who, in their quest to co-opt everything Italian “gangster,” started wearing track suits too, complete with gold jewelry — except bigger chains and more of them, from Flavor-Flav’s giant clock all the way to Mr. T’s huge collection. At the street level, each chain represented another month of unpaid rent.
When black kids are doing it in America, white kids are sure to follow, whether it is sweat clothes as street clothes or today’s gravity-defying pants with underwear sticking out of the top. I’m stunned by that look. When I was a kid, the worst thing that could happen to you in grammar school was if a girl saw your underwear. Good grief, you might have to move out of town if a girl saw your underwear. I’m tempted when I see today’s ridiculously low-worn pants to check if there is a safety pin holding them up. Once below the hip bone, I don’t get how they don’t fall down.
Follow that with a trendsetter named Michal Jordan, who in the 80’s decided to ditch the NBA’s traditional gym shorts for a baggy pair that didn’t fit. His shorts became so long they were pants again.
True to the “white following black” phenomenon, Jordan’s shorts then influenced the skateboard and surfer crowd into wearing clothes that didn’t fit.
Thus the destruction of America was fully underway. Now, in all places public — on the street, at work, or in church — we suffer through our neighbors leaving the house in gym clothes that don’t fit; attire that is either too baggy or too tight.
What of pride? What of humility or modesty? When it comes to men in bikini bathing suits, what of courtesy? I don’t want to see that. There are plenty of European beaches where you and your banana hammock can feel at home. You give me the willies.
By the way, I don’t like transvestites and cross-dressers’ clothing. I can confidently say that without being labeled a bigot, because those people have nothing to do with gays or the silly concern for gender that has us unsure of what public bathroom to use these days.
Transvestites and cross-dressers are simply people with bad fashion taste, who choose to dress that way. They aren’t born clothed. If Joan Rivers can make fun of people’s clothes and be a cultural icon, then so can I. If you have a “y” chromosome then dress like a man. If you don’t have a “y” chromosome, then dress like a woman. I don’t give a potato who you sleep with because I can’t see it, but you wear your clothes in front of me. Community standards matter and you’re violating them. Stop it.
The final horseman of the America’s couture apocalypse is women wearing yoga pants everywhere they go (I don’t know if men are wearing yoga pants — and don’t tell me because I don’t want to know).
Yoga pants are literally a catastrophe of biblical proportion. Recently a blogger named Veronica Partridge did a post revealing that she has given up wearing yoga pants (in other news, there are still such things as blogs).
Veronica’s reasoning for her rejection of Satan’s leggings is temptation. She spoke to her husband, and he admitted that it’s hard not to break the 9th Commandment when in a room full of ladies dressed as yoga pant-wearing strumpets.
The 9th Commandant is “Thou shall not covet thy neighbors wife,” so you heathens don’t have to stop reading to look it up. “Covet,” for you illiterates, means “want.” Never mind the 6th Commandment to not commit adultery; the 9th says you can’t even want another woman, even for a second!
Christianity is a hard hustle. You see, humans are part of the animal kingdom with inbred instincts. One of those instincts is survival of the species, so when a man sees a woman there can be an innate reaction inside him toward perpetuating the species, which, of course, is done through sex. When a man commits to a woman, these innate parts of his being don’t shut off. If married, he ignores or suppresses them to the point where they don’t matter to him, except for his wife.
Now, the more the temptation, the harder it can be on a guy to ignore or suppress that desire to propagate. If he’s in an old-folks home, he may experience little desire to propagate the species. When he enters a go-go bar, he may be suddenly overwhelmed with a desire to propagate some dancer’s brains out.
So being a good Christian man is hard enough. Since desire can rise and fall with temptation, all Veronica Partridge wants to do is not be Satan’s tool. Good for her — and for us men, too.
Of course, not everyone is Christian, but I’m sure men of other religions and even atheists want to be faithful in thought to their wives. Ms. Partridge’s refusal to wear skin-tight sportswear in public will help those guys, too.
Now, before you radical feminists say anything, shut up. Don’t start bringing up “rape culture” and blaming rape victims for the way they are dressed. I’m not talking about touching a woman. This is about fashion. I know you people have “slut walks” and such, so feel free to be one. I imagine heaven is a crowded place, so by all means go to hell. But if you make a show of yourself, don’t complain if people judge the show.
As for you people who are going to compare Ms. Partridge’s sentiments to Islamic culture that forces women into a head to toe burka, you can shut up too. She made clear in a disclaimer at the top of her post that everyone can continue to wear what they want, which includes her, in case you missed that point.
We all have our own fashion sense and fashion is one area that gets judged, like it or not. We all take it on the chin. I prefer cardigan sweaters around the office, prompting some of the younger guys to start humming the theme song to Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood when I walk by. When some muscular lunkhead is walking around in a sleeveless shirt while the temperature is 10 degrees outside, I’ll tell the showoff he’s not dressed weather-appropriately.
Just because we have freedom in America to wear what we want doesn’t mean we should. We are civilized. We shouldn’t dispense with decency. Propriety in fashion separates us from the animals. And the Middle East.
Yet our community standard for what is acceptable fashion has been obliterated over the last generation. These yoga pants make it exceedingly easy for men to picture women naked, prompting the question: how close to naked will we accept? What’s next after skin-tight, see-through yoga pants?
Jimmy Kimmel has the unfortunate answer: