At a legal function the other day, I saw a young family in attendance. The father was wearing an oxford dress shirt and blue jeans, with the tails of the shirt rakishly blowing in the breeze, had there been one.
I, good old hidebound traditionalist that I am, raised an eyebrow in opprobrium. I don't think that dressing as if one is heading out to sweep out the garage is the proper mode of apparel for interacting with the justice system.
This is hardly the first time I have been reducing to headshaking this way. Not that many years ago, I had to wonder about a guy who showed up in District Court on theft charges, and thought it would set a nice tone for the trial by going through his extensive t-shirt wardrobe and choosing one with the slogan "Don't wait up for the shrimp boats; I'm coming home with the crabs" neatly emblazoned on it.
And just two days ago at the grocery store, I encountered a woman who betrayed no sense of irony while wearing a t-shirt that read "You know your from Kentucky when..."
It was over thirty years ago that my very foundation was rocked by seeing a guy show up for a wedding wearing a flannel shirt. And these days, if you get married anywhere between April and November, count on seeing guests who look like they just got dropped off on their way home from the beach.
My point is that it shows a certain amount of respect for the law, for the church, for the deceased and for the other guests to wear a tie and jacket or dressy clothes to court, preaching, funerals and weddings. Shirttails a-flappin' are perfectly fine for casual events such as going to the mall or unloading freight trucks. Legal and solemn events are not casual, and we undermine our dignity by treating them as if they were.
Yes, I'm old fashioned, but it feels nice to know that I cared enough to leave the bib overalls home for a day.