Wednesday, July 20, 2005

To Wear or Not to Wear

This may be old news for some, but today in class we were discussing appropriate dress in school settings (uniforms, etc.) and someone metioned that some of the members of a college championship women's lacrosse team recently wore flip-flops to meet the President.

The title: "You Wore Flip-Flops to the WHITE HOUSE?!" echoes my reaction. Of course, the females in our class immediately had to explain the difference between "dressy" and "casual" flip-flops to the males, but even with that distinction, I was shocked at this revelation and felt the action was highly inappropriate, especially once I viewed the photograph. Out of the nine girls pictured on the front row, four were wearing flat, relatively inexpensive flip-flops.

Though I wear flip-flops often during the summer (in fact, I am wearing a $2.50 pair of Old Navy flip-flops at this very moment), and have been even been known to *gasp* wear a pair to church paired with a skirt, I find the fact that the girls wore them to such an important event appalling.

Perhaps this is just my Southern "no white shoes after Labor Day" breeding? Many of the girls in the article gave the excuse that "everyone else was doing it" and "it matched my outfit, so I thought it was okay." It didn't even cross their minds that this might be a breach of some sort of fashion code. However, the comments by various etiquette masters and even parents and other relatives of the girls revealed the audacity of their fashion faux-pas. So my question is-- what do you think?

I think this ties in with the blatant disregard for respect for formal occasions in our society. I know the trend has long been for "casual Fridays" at work, but I have been sad to see the trend extend into Sundays in the past decades. Not that I'm advocating hose and heels every Sunday (especially in Hotlanta, which gets its nickname for multiple reasons), but I do think attire reflects an attitude of proper respect and reverence during corporate worship.

I believe this casual trend in evangelical circles is a direct reflection of the casual approach to worship. Denying the gnostic tendency to separate the spiritual from the physical, I believe that our appearance on Sunday mornings both affects and reflects our attitudes about corporate worship. I am NOT saying that only the rich or well-dressed can attend on Sundays, I am just pointing out that the way we dress is connected to our beliefs about how best to honor the Lord in His house. (The casual attitude comes to bear in substance and format choices for corporate worship services as well, but that is another topic for another post.)

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