Erica B had a great post the other day referencing a segment from CBS This Morning which spoke with Linda Przybyszewski, an associate professor of History at Notre Dame University. She is working on a book tentatively titled "Nation of Slobs". Here is Erica's post, and here is the article from Notre Dame Magazine. Without rehashing their words, I'll just jump in and say: Nation of Slobs? Yup, that sounds like America.
Since returning one year ago from my 3 year stay in India, I have been shocked and saddened by the state of dress (or undress) I have seen. Seeing people in the grocery store wearing pajamas and slippers makes be cringe and slightly nauseous. I've seen kids get on the school bus wearing slippers too. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.
It's likely that I'm more sensitive to this after being abroad for so long. In India, ladies wear outfits. All. The. Time. Sarees always look beautiful regardless of body shape. Saree blouses are custom made for each woman based on her measurements and desires. An older woman would likely have longer sleeves on her blouse ending at the mid or lower bicep to camouflage loose upper arm skin, whereas a younger woman can wear shorter sleeves. Necklines and bodice lengths can vary for each body type. Got great abs? have your blouse made shorter, ending slightly under the bust. Not so great abs? make the blouse longer. Your tailor's skills are at your disposal.
If an Indian woman doesn't wear a saree, a likely alternative would be a Salwar Kameez, or Punjabi Suit, which is a long tunic and drawstring pants. These outfits can be custom made or purchased ready to wear. I own several of these. A Salwar Kameez (there are different types of pants, tighter (churidar) or more blousy (patiala), but for simplicity's sake, I will use Salwar as a generic term) is a complete outfit of tunic, pants, and a scarf (dupatta), all of which coordinate. Typically the dupatta will match the pants and the tunic will be in a coordinating yet different design/color. I remember reading about color choices for clothing based on skin tone. "Lighter skin looks lovely in darker colors" or "Darker skin looks rich in brighter colors", or things like that. In any case an Indian woman will put a lot of thought into her clothing choices. If only the same were true here in the US.
Remember the book Midwives by Chris Bohjalian? I read it many years ago but the description of the lawyer character, has stuck with me. He was described as always dressed "one click up" from everyone else. If there was a barbecue and people were wearing jeans and sneakers, he would dress "one click up" and wear khakis and loafers. Imagine how much more eye candy there would be, instead of so many eyesores if more people did the same.
I make an effort to dress up whenever I go out. I went to Lowes (big US Home Improvement store) wearing a blouse and skirt one day. I have never had so many employees offer help than I did that day. How you dress is how you present yourself to the world, and dressing well says "I deserve respect."
Off my soapbox now. Thanks to Erica B. for a thought provoking post!