Society is moving away from formal dress at a quick pace


I had to get a suit.

It’s not that I didn’t have a suit already. Actually, I had a couple of very nice suits I bought when I had a corporate newspaper job in the Chicago area. They were not cheap. Sadly, they also didn’t fit.

I bought them years ago, and they were just a bit too small. Pre-COVID-19 I probably could have worn them. Now? Well, my “anything I can shove in my face” diet had pretty much ruined my chances with those suits, so it was time for a new one.

I needed this suit, by the way, for a very special event. My wonderful daughter Julie is getting married this month in Duluth, Minn. I am very happy for her and she is marrying a nice young man.

Since I am the father of the bride, I can’t show up wearing my usual uniform of jeans and a T-shirt with Converse tennis shoes. Or shorts, depending on how hot it is outside. No, that wouldn’t do at all.

But frankly, I’m not sure of when I would ever again wear this suit. I know things come up – special events, funerals, celebrations – but we are not exactly a “suit society” these days.

It is interesting to look at how fashions have changed over the years, of course. But in general, we have been moving to more casual dress at a quick pace. When I see old photos or film of people at professional football or baseball games even 50 year ago, there are suit coats and ties. Now? Shorts or jeans and jerseys.

We used to get dressed up on the first day of school when I was a kid. No ties or anything, but we made it a bit of an event. Kids don’t do that much these days.

Church was always good for dress pants and coats. Formal family events, too. Even the holidays could mean a trip to see family and nice slacks.

My dad wore a tie every day to work when he was a school principal. And I mean for years. When I was the editor of two daily newspapers, I wore a tie daily.

But times have changed. I remember the first “casual Friday” back in the day. Basically, it meant we didn’t wear a tie. It felt like we were real rebels.

Then came “jeans Friday.” Wearing jeans to work? Crazy! I know, it all sounds so quaint now, but wearing jeans to work then was a total treat. I remember thinking how wonderful it would be if we could wear jeans all the time.

These days? It is pretty much anything goes. I see way too many people wearing pajamas to the store. Sorry, but that is still just a dumb idea. It is almost like some people have regressed to being children when it comes to dressing themselves. They just throw on anything they can find, no matter if it matches or is even appropriate.

I will be honest here – I lean strongly to the jeans and T-shirt side of things, especially these days. I love to be comfortable.

But I am looking forward to wearing my suit at the wedding, even if I do have to wear a mask with it. (We bought an extra pair of pants so my mask would be an exact match. I know, I know…).

I think we have gone a bit too far down the casual rabbit hole at times, but that is society. It could change in the future, but for now I am just happy that I am not seeing people running around the streets nude – at least not yet.