Better And Better

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Friday, September 04, 2009

Let me have your take on this:

Times seem to have changed. I've about gotten over the shock of seeing blue jeans and tennies at the occasional church-type event I go to (these days, mostly weddings and funerals.). But I'm still shocked at seeing jeans shorts at graveside.

I wear a uniform a lot. Most of the formal events that I go to involve court, where I wear a Class A uniform.

Let me hear your take on appropriate clothing.

When is a suit mandatory for a man to wear?

When is a dress shirt and tie mandatory?

When are tennis shoes out of the question?

When are walking shorts out of the question?

You opinon on caps and hats?

Collared shirts (golf shirts, polo shirts) versus T-shirts?

Tucked shirt vs. untucked?

And finally, buttoned-down collars on dress-shirts vs. non-buttoned-down collars? (My old college roommate Bill, has a wife who insists that button-downs are completely out of fashion, and are altogether too casual. Really? Since when?)

Gimme.

Labels: ,

31 Comments:

At Friday, September 04, 2009 10:32:00 AM, Anonymous Lucinda said...

This is a feature of modern life which drives me absolutely crazy. I've given it a lot of thought, and I have come to the conclusion that it is a result of the infantilization of Americans. There are no adults any more. Teenagers dress like prostitutes (the girls) and circus clowns (the boys). I live in California, where young people going to school look as if they are on the way to the beach. Why do the parents let them out of the house dressed like that? I think it is because they have a sick vicarous pride in their kids' lack of restraint. I was born in 1950, and in high school we (the girls) were not allowed to wear trousers of any kind, and the boys could not wear jeans. We were going to school, not to do farm labor! We had some dignity, which is sadly missing from daily life today. We were also far more prepared for the expectations of adult life in business or academia. I actually pity the younger people who do not know what it means to dress for the occasion, and to present themselves seriously and with pride. They are constantly told how special and wonderful they are, and then BAM! the real world descends on them like a ton of bricks. I think they suffer from a lot of problems adjusting to a genuine adult work situation where beachwear, slouched posture, and imprecise speech is not acceptable.

 
At Friday, September 04, 2009 10:34:00 AM, Blogger Alan said...

I had jury duty a while ago and I was the ONLY person in a coat and tie in the entire jury pool.

I HATE wearing a tie and I almost never do, but that morning I figured it was the right thing to wear. I guess not.

Honestly, I don't mind not wearing a coat and tie, especially in Texas. It's usually just too hot.

I do think there needs to be some attire that says "Formal Occasion" though. Maybe something that takes the Texas Summer into account.

Also, concealed carry has turned me into a bit of a slob. I almost always wear an untucked shirt now.

 
At Friday, September 04, 2009 10:40:00 AM, Blogger Sherm said...

Bare minimum at church service is a shirt and tie with dress slacks. Generally I wear a suit. Caps and hats (and sunglasses) are for outside and should be off in doors. You should pretty much outgrow t-shirts with messages or advertising by the time you have a family. I prefer button down dress shirts but that is simple prejudice. How you dress is a sign of your respect for the person or the occasion.

 
At Friday, September 04, 2009 10:44:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...

Alan, you were NOT wrong to wear a tie to jury duty. Nor were you wrong to wear a coat, though that's entirely optional, IMHO.

I see a few juries, and I am relieved when I look over at them and see a few grown-ups. Look, once I file a case, I really don't have a dog in the hunt as to whether they're convicted or not. But I like to see the jury be made up of people who look like they can dress themselves with an appreciation of the gravity of the proceedings. You keep doing that. Please.

I don't like to go out with my shirt untucked. I've found that has a lot to do with my love of genuine pocket pistols.

 
At Friday, September 04, 2009 11:07:00 AM, Blogger Mr. Fixit said...

Hmmm, Blue jeans are pretty much my standard for everyday wear. T shirts (tucked in thank you) about the same. Most times it is with an untucked button down shirt over it if I am CCW, I try to find flat bottom seems, but many shirts I wear untucked are meant to be tucked in.

But all of that is when I am minding my own business- shopping, running my errands and such.

Polo or golf shirts pretty much take the place of t shirts to me.

As for Sunday Church clothes, our church is small enough, and we all consider ourselves family enough that full suits are rare. Nice, dark starched jeans and a button down are pretty much minimums for me there. Don't forget the boots, ranger belt and shiny buckle.

Funerals get at least slacks and tie if not a class A depending on who it is.

Weddings- sticky situation. I've been to a 'camoflauge' wedding, where suits and ties really stuck out. On the other hand, white dress and tuxedos deserve a tie at least.

Sneakers are for everyday, never for dressing up.

Shorts, when I play golf-maybe.

Mandatory?:
Suit and tie?- when going to the symphony, a 5 star restaurant, job interview, when you are the guest speaker at a business meeting.

dress shirt and tie?- Jury duty, funerals, speaking in front of a Texas House or Senate Committee, When appearing before a judge.

Tennis shoes out of the question always except for doing my errands and working out.

Walking shorts take the place of jeans when running errands and are out the same as tennis shoes.

Caps go with tennis shoes
Hat- like a cowboy hat can be dressy but men take them off inside


With a tie I want button down collars. For 'business casual' (slacks, shirt, no tie) unbuttoned collars are ok.

Mr Fixit

 
At Friday, September 04, 2009 11:10:00 AM, OpenID dneylon said...

I got a bit wordy so I posted my response. :)

http://voidwhereprohibited.typepad.com/musings/2009/09/matt-g-asks-for-advice.html

 
At Friday, September 04, 2009 11:38:00 AM, Blogger Crucis said...

I'll make my comment short. Suits should be worn, with white shirt and tie, for weddings and funerals---you own.

All other times are negotiable. I would agree that wearing a suit to court (if you're the defendant) would probably be wise.

The rest of the time, I wear jeans with a shirt, buttoned and Polo. I have one T-shirt I wear inside on very rare occasion.

That suits me. YMMV.

 
At Friday, September 04, 2009 12:31:00 PM, Blogger Keith said...

At a bare minimum, caps and hats should always come off while eating.

 
At Friday, September 04, 2009 1:15:00 PM, Blogger Kristopher said...

Tucked depends on the shirt.

A lot of folks are wearing hispanic /wedding/formal/cigar shirts ... light, long, and meant to not be tucked in.

They make great CCW summer clothes.

 
At Friday, September 04, 2009 1:19:00 PM, Blogger James said...

I'm closing in on 60 and outside of workware, all I own is jeans and some button up shirts. Workware is scrubs and after that jeans and a long sleeve shirt feel like dressed up.

 
At Friday, September 04, 2009 1:42:00 PM, Anonymous Retardo said...

As I understand it, button-down collars are American, and the British think they're a bit weird. Screw 'em. If they don't like it, they can fight off the Germans by themselves next time. On this continent, with a good-quality, white, fine broadcloth shirt, a button-down collar is suitable for anything you can do in a suit.

Get one good white broadcloth dress shirt at Brooks Brothers, wear it only when you must, get it dry-cleaned every time, and it'll look like a million bucks the day they bury you in it. At an amortized cost of about two dollars a year. The same goes for suits, except the cost is absurd.

Evening dress is a whole other can of worms and God only knows what's up with it.

 
At Friday, September 04, 2009 1:51:00 PM, Blogger Farmgirl said...

Western dress etiquette:

Weddings, funerals, important business meetings: Long sleeved, button down shirt, bolo tie, "new" Wranglers (not washed enough to fade appreciably) ironed, please, and un-scuffed boots, polished to a nice shine. Dress boots are usually made of the skin of some kind of reptile or bird, ostrich is rather popular. If you choose to wear a hat, it will be felt, and will come off when you enter the building.

A night on the town: Button down shirt, clean wranglers, boots at least dusted off. For this more casual setting a bolo is not necessary, and the collar button can be left undone on your shirt. Hat can be straw or felt, but if it's battered and beaten it had better have a good story behind it.

Court functions: subtract the hat from the wedding/funeral attire. (You're going to be inside for the whole thing, anyway) Probably avoid bolos with a dead critter in the centerpiece.

 
At Friday, September 04, 2009 1:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm from the midwest, let me start there. Been living in Texas for 16 years. Went to our first Texas funeral about 11 years ago. Put on the church clothes, made the daughters wear dresses, made son wear tie. Hubby wore dress uniform (cop). Get to the funeral home and first person I see is standing outside by the front door wearing old jeans, dewrag, tank top with Zepplin on it, and drinking a can of beer. Um, yeah. Welcome to Texas??

 
At Friday, September 04, 2009 1:56:00 PM, Blogger charlotte g said...

I see a lot of jeans and untucked shirts. What actually raised my mental eyebrows the other day was a young mother with her toddler wearing (loose) short shorts and flip-flops at the 11 a.m. service. I know her, and like her. I was surprised, though.

 
At Friday, September 04, 2009 2:23:00 PM, Blogger Rabbit said...

For the office/prairie dog ranch I work in, I wear jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt almost every day. It gets cold, I don't see many folks during the course of my day, and they don't pay me to impress people over the phone with my attire.

On the other hand, I wore starched and pressed jeans and a white broadcloth shirt to a professional baseball game last month. It kept me from having to wear the hideous 'gimme tee' that the group handed out when my party arrived.

I wear a suit to religious functions, when I attend. I wear nice shoes, long pants and a shirt with cuffs and a collar when I go to an eating establishment that uses cloth napkins. I wear a coat and tie whenever I'm in a function where the moderator would logically be expected to wear the same or similar- legal functions, business meetings, political functions.

Then again, I wear kilts sometimes. Go figure.

Regards,
Rabbit.

 
At Friday, September 04, 2009 2:39:00 PM, Blogger Andrew C said...

I'm a university student living in Idaho. For school, I'll wear jeans and a t-shirt. For work (at a tech company, whose dress code is "be dressed"), I wear a polo shirt instead of a t-shirt, and khaki slacks if I'll be meeting with someone outside the company.

For church, I usually wear khakis and a polo shirt.

For weddings/funerals, I pull out my suit, and even in the very casual Northwest, am surprised when someone is in shorts at a wedding.

I wear tennis shoes to work, but upgrade to black dress shoes for anything that is not casual.

I should probably figure out what I'd wear for jury duty - I'm in the jury pool for the first time next week!

 
At Friday, September 04, 2009 4:37:00 PM, Blogger shooter said...

Okay, lemme try:

Suits: Job interview, weddings, funerals, work (where appropriate or necessary), church, theater (not transformers 2, but real theatre), dinner at a 4 star joint, jury duty

shirt and tie: work (where appropriate), campaign trail (have a jacket handy), church, job interview (maybe), nice dinner, first date, theatre (maybe if you can't afford a suit)

shorts, t-shirts, unbuttoned, untucked, flip-flops, hats and sunglasses should never be worn at or around the above mentioned. I was the only one to show up for testing at the local county sheriff's office wearing a full suit. Some had ties on, some women were appropriate, but I can assure you, I made it to the background investigation and the other 25% who did were dressed similar to or as close as possible to me (that's out of 250 people!)

I will wear shorts, t's and sandals when I'm bumming around or working around the house. My lazy clothes, if you will. When I'm CCW, I will tuck the T, wear an over shirt, and dress a little less scruffy. Casual with friends would be jeans, boots, button-down shirt or T (depending on circumstance), shorts rarely, if ever (usu. summer months at outdoor social gatherings). And please remember: SHOES MATCH THE BELT, ALWAYS!

 
At Friday, September 04, 2009 4:42:00 PM, Blogger shooter said...

I forgot to mention:

men should at least own a pair of black and brown shoes, respectively. A tux if you can afford it, if not, a suit...if not that, a sport coat and tan slacks. Try and go tailored before shopping off the rack. Tailoring will make the outfit look ten times better on you. In Texas, contrary to what my own Texas-born parents think, brown boots or black boots will suffice in a pinch. Match the belts, gents, please. Straw hat for summer and work, felt for the fancier stuff.

 
At Friday, September 04, 2009 5:09:00 PM, Blogger Old NFO said...

When is a suit mandatory for a man to wear?
Church, funerals, when you are the guest speaker, important meetings, job interviews. I wear suits or coat/tie every day for work. Also, LONG SLEEVE shirts, not short sleeve shirts. Tux for the opera, shows etc. depending on the location and attendees.

When is a dress shirt and tie mandatory?
See above, although business casual is now devolving down to polo shirts as the defacto business casual. IN Hawaii, Hawaiian shirts are considered dress wear for work, etc. due to temps.

When are tennis shoes out of the question? Any time other than casual situations. Definitely NOT with any form of dress wear.

When are walking shorts out of the question?
Same as above, unless you're in Bermuda, then shorts are part of dress wear with coat and tie...

You opinon on caps and hats?
Outside only. Caps only for casual situations. Hats and condition depending on the situation.

Collared shirts (golf shirts, polo shirts) versus T-shirts?

About the only place I wear T-shirts is at the range, or working around the house. Otherwise polo shirts at the minimum.

Tucked shirt vs. untucked? Normally tucked unless I'm carrying with an OWB holster.

And finally, buttoned-down collars on dress-shirts vs. non-buttoned-down collars? Button down with sport coats, khakis or dress (clean new jeans); otherwise with suits spread collars. Also if you wear braces, no pocket on the shirts.

 
At Friday, September 04, 2009 7:47:00 PM, Blogger Sabra said...

See, I go to the Come As You Are worship service at my church, and we are laid back and generally regarded as slovenly by the people who go to the main service (my church, mind you, is the one where LBJ got married & counts Gen. Lee as one of its founding members; we come by our elitism honestly). But I'd feel silly in a dress and heels at CAYA.

I do not feel especially qualified to speak as to men's clothing, though owning a suit and knowing when to wear it will raise a man quite a bit in my esteem.

A friend of mine got married in June, wearing Keds bought for the occasion and with his shirt untucked. If it had been a very casual wedding it would have been fine, but his bride wore a very fancy (if nontraditional) dress.

And yes, dammit, hats need to be taken off indoors!

 
At Friday, September 04, 2009 10:02:00 PM, Blogger Strings said...

You're gonna ask this question of a guy who is either in a)a kilt or b)riding gear?

Even *I* own a couple suits. But they aren't "standard" suits: they're "glad rags" for when Spoon and I want to go out in a different way.

Court (or job interview, or similar) is Dockers and white button-down. I don't do broadcloth: my dress shirts are almost all silk, in some form or another (the "interview shirt" is cotton/silk). This is what happens when you have family in Thailand...

Weddings/funerals/other mournful dress occassions? Tartan kilt, dress sporran, white shirt and tie, jacket (getting the full Prince Charlie this year).

When it's a brother has ended (read: biker wedding or funeral), black button-down with either kilt or leather jeans.

"Casual" for me is a button-down with a Utilikilt. Or wearing boots with the tartan instead of hose/ghillies...

 
At Saturday, September 05, 2009 4:29:00 AM, Blogger John B said...

Usually I take advantage of the fact that I'm fat, -and the only guy that understands computers- to get away with some bad fashion choices.

Then put on virtuous airs when the kids choices make me look like "Bond, James Bond" in a Tux by comparison.

 
At Saturday, September 05, 2009 8:03:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unless I am working at home, or working out at the gym, I'm in long slacks or skirt and longsleeve top, generally button collar. And a hat unless the sun is down. For church, a nicer dress/skirt than I wear to work and slacks only in bad winter weather in case the car breaks down and I end up walking. And NO flip-flops, even the sandal kind. I don't wear shoes that I can't run in.

Call me old fashioned, but going to a wedding/funeral/business event in shorts/holey jeans/tee-shirt or with a flopping shirt tail is disrespectful UNLESS you've asked and been told otherwise, or have an arm in a sling or some such. Hats, please remove if indoors (indoor arena doesn't count unless your chapeau blocks the view). Slacks and nice shirt (tucked in) at the minimum for job interview, jury duty, taking girl out to nice place or any other time you want to impress the rest of the grown-ups.

That's my $.02.
LittleRed1

 
At Saturday, September 05, 2009 9:48:00 AM, Blogger Phillip said...

Living in Florida, most things outside of work are casual. Shorts, t-shirts or Hawaiians, and usually some form of Crocs or boat shoes are normal wear for almost everyone. It's just too hot most of the time for anything more. Trust me, a half hour in 98 degree weather with humidity so high you feel like you're drowning, and the guy with the shorts and light shirt looks much more put-together than the guy with the wilted dress shirt and damp slacks.

That said, I own suits and a tux, and will dress for going to a play at the theater, a graduation, wedding, etc. If it's indoors and slightly formal, we dress up. If my wife and I go on a date, we dress up some, even if we're just getting dinner at Olive Garden.

 
At Saturday, September 05, 2009 1:07:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

Okay, generally, y'all's opinions match my own on dressing one's self. Which is nice to know.

But really-- I need more input on the reported demise of the button-down collar. Anyone else heard this? Is my buddy's wife crazy? (She mentioned this right at a year ago.)

 
At Saturday, September 05, 2009 3:03:00 PM, Blogger Hunter said...

Matt,
If the button-down collar was extinct, explain why they are still so available. Go into any good man's clothing store and look at the selection of shirts. Any salesman worth his salt will be able to help you match the shirt collar to your face. I grew up with button-downs (Virginia), khakis, Levi cords, Topsiders (never with socks), and to me, that is the classic casual. Heck, Ralph Lauren has made a fortune out of that classic look.
Now the beard is long enough and heavy enough that it really does not matter what collar I wear.
And I'm with String, I wear a Utilikilt daily, a tartan on dressier occasions, and the full regalia on formal days. Nothing, but nothing, beats a tartan kilt to raise the dress code at a social event.

Hunter
Alaska

 
At Sunday, September 06, 2009 10:51:00 AM, Blogger JPG said...

Indeed, times have changed.

I used to maintain a Class A uniform - - Long sleeve shirt and tie -- for cop-type functions. Worn to public service activities, memorials, cop-type funerals and (once or twice) weddings. Since retirement, no more. In some areas, retired peace officers wear full uniform for certan functions, but that's not normal in my locality.

A suit is appropriate for any formal or near-formal occasion. There are but few functions when anything more formal is called for, and these are denoted on the invitation. A proper suit is almost always accompanied by dress shirt and necktie. I occasionally see suits worn with nice solid color t-shirts, but this defeats the purpose of wearing a suit, in my opinion.

A dark blazer or nice sport coat, worn with dress shirt and tie, substitutes nicely for a suit in all but the more formal functions. Loudly patterned or brightly colored sport coats and blazers, with or without tie, are best reserved for (much) less formal occasions.

Dress shirt and tie, without jacket or coat, are a pretty neat compromise for less formal civic and business functions, especially in warm-to-hot weather. This shows respect without significant discomfort. A dress shirt and tie need NOT be uncomfortable. If the collar is too snug, a man simply needs a larger shirt.

Do you mean generic sneakers or actual athletic shoes? Dark, solid color sneaks have come to be acceptable in polite company, even with a sport jacket. White or brightly colored athletic shoes should be reserved for recreation or very informal street wear.

Walking shorts on grown-up men are out of the question for wear in any but resort or recreational wear, or in the real tropics. Sloppy shorts such as hacked-off jeans or BDUs are seldom suitable for public wear except for the roughest kind of recreation or trips to the home improvement store on the weekend.

Caps and hats? I've taken to wearing a hat in the last few years, especially for outdoor activities or to add a touch of formality. The various billed caps are very informal, but are acceptable any time it is desired to shade one's eyes. The bill should be at the front when the cap is worn by an adult. Exception: Some sporting activities.

In any case, there are still vestiges of etiquette to observe. A cap or hat is NOT worn indoors in a private residence, nor at the dinner table. It seems to be fine to wear headgear at lunch or breakfast in a bare-table cafe. One can tell much of how a man was raised if he wears headgear in close quarters to a lady.

Collared golf/polo shirts are fine for practically any time you'd wear a sport shirt. T-shirts are A LOT less neat and are usually reserved for manual work situations. Exception (maybe): "Designer" Ts or those bearing tasteful slogans or art work are suitable for public wear.

Tucked shirt vs. untucked? I wear suspenders ("braces,") often under an untucked shirt. I feel this is acceptable with a golf or other shirt with finished bottom.

A dress shirt with button-down collar IS somewhat less formal than a plain collar. I still have several of the former and am not bashful about wearing them in public, especially with a blazer or sport jacket.

None of the above applies to clothing for performing automotive or yard work, nor to wear specified by one's employer.

I wrote the above off line, BEFORE reading the other comments. I'll now be interested to check out what others say. I guess I ought to 'fess up to being a surly old curmudgeon. ;)

 
At Sunday, September 06, 2009 6:12:00 PM, Blogger John B said...

My button down collar collection is fairly significant. I never consider the buttons on the collar tips, just "Is it Affordable or Comfortable enough for 4-6 hours."

My Dad is an old southern gentleman of the middle class. He always thought Button Downs were a tad more class than felt he had to show.

What's your Dad think? I respect his opinion on everything he's expressed one on.....

 
At Monday, September 07, 2009 5:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny that there's so many mentioning suits for job interviews. I wore one (gray with a blue dress shirt and red patterned tie) to a promotion interview a couple of months ago. The interview panel consisted of one man and one woman, both of whom I know and see almost daily.

The man was wearing jeans and a polo shirt. The woman was wearing jeans and a T-shirt so tight it looked like heatshrink (which is her usual mode of attire). Now, we work in a railroad mechanical shop - required attire is work clothes, boots featuring a defined heel (for climbing access ladders) and ankle support, and hard hats.

But still, it seemed to me if you're conducting a job interview, you'd dress a LITTLE nicer than the standard for the day. Or change after the meeting. The first words after we shook hands were, "Little overdressed, aren't we?"

Sheesh.

 
At Monday, September 07, 2009 5:33:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

I don't expect people conducting the interview to be better dressed than they usually are in their daily work.

But in ANY given work interview, I would rather risk being overdressed than underdressed. Every job that I've applied to since becoming an adult, I've worn at least a dress shirt and a tie to. When I went to pick up applications to police positions (note: not interview for; just pick up the app.) I wore a full suit. My attitude is that people will take you no more seriously than you apparently take yourself. Plus, a good suit is like armor against the world.

It would appear that the consensus is that the button-down collar's day is most definitely NOT done.

 
At Tuesday, September 08, 2009 3:31:00 PM, Blogger mdmnm said...

Matt,

Well, if the button down's day is done, someone should tell Alan Flusser. His book "Clothes and the Man" is a pretty good bible for proper dress with lots of history and in it he opines that in the US the button down collar is acceptable with a suit. Straight-point is most versatile and safest, but you're ok with button down at anything but a pretty formal evening event.

It amazes me the people I see show up for court events dressed very casually and, even more tellingly, without putting any effort into their appearance (as with the above-mentioned crisply starched and ironed jeans). If you're going to jail anyway, I guess I can see not-caring, but in a civil case you're asking people to award you money, more often than not, and I'd think folks would dress like they cared about the result.

 

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