Dressing Up

Getting dressed in the morning is a philosophical, mindful process each day. Although I choose the garments before bedtime the previous night, I still scrutinize my choices as I put them on in the morning. Even though I no longer work in the conventional sense, I prefer to dress in business casual attire before doing anything else.

There are at least a few reasons for doing so. First, I feel “put together”. Second, I feel mentally primed to write this blog. Third, I’m ready to run errands later in the morning. Fourth, I have more polo shirts and nice sweaters than necessary–so I want to get my money’s worth. If the agenda calls for home repairs or yardwork, I change afterwards from a business outfit into grubby jeans, an old tee-shirt, and scuffed shoes.

Last week, a pair of Mormon missionaries made a surprise (to me) appearance at the front door. As is customary, I invited them inside so they could give me their sales pitch in comfort. After they had finished their discussion, out of curiosity, I asked why the missionaries always dress in white shirts, dark slacks, and wear a necktie. The youngest man in the pair answered that they are representatives of their church and should behave and look in a manner that inspires respect and trust.

They are asked to keep their clothing neat and in good repair and be mindful of their hygiene and grooming habits. The men are supposed to keep their haircuts conservative and above the collar. They are also not to grow facial hair. The women are encouraged to choose conservative, easily maintained hairstyles and not wear “garish” makeup. In a nutshell, the missionaries dress with a purpose in mind. Their style, colors, and types of accessories are used in proportion so as to promote their goals and objectives both outwardly and inwardly.

After the two missionaries departed, I reflected about how their mode of dressing helped promote positive feelings and put me at ease. Whomever created the church’s dress-code was wise and understood human psychology. You might say that person or committee believed in the old proverb, “Dress for success”.

I briefly recalled the last wedding I attended and how people dressed. By and large, the women dressed reasonably stylish in the current fashion. However, the men’s attire was a mixed bag. The older men and the preacher were dressed in business suits. The younger men wore casual jeans or khakis along with polo or casual button-down shirts. Some younger men wore graphic tees with torn jeans and sneakers. Of course, the wedding party itself was dressed in formal wear; with the bride dressed to the nines in a gorgeous white gown.

I reflected that for the most part, our dressing standards appear to have become more disheveled looking. Although women in Nebraska have a plethora of women’s clothing shops to choose from, many towns do not have even a single men’s clothing store at all. We are relegated to Target or Walmart. If we want to buy a business suit, J.C. Penney’s is the only store within a 100-mile radius from which to choose. If a man wants a quality, tailored suit, the closest menswear stores are in Sioux City, Iowa. We could travel much further for premium mens clothing to Omaha or Lincoln, Nebraska.

Our town used to have at least two premium men’s clothing stores and many smaller towns also sported at least one on their Main streets. Unfortunately, dressing standards devolved towards business casual along with jeans and tee-shirts. Since most men no longer favor suits and fine clothing, exclusive men’s clothing stores suffer a lack of customers.

I recollect that mainly the only men I see dressed in suits in Nebraska, are business executives, funeral directors, and Mormon missionaries. On the closing day, when I bought my house, my banker was decked out in a fashionable suit and tastefully chosen accessories. On the same day, I wore dress slacks, and a white shirt with a necktie. My outerwear was my best winter jacket.

As I tap out these words, I wish that men’s dress fashion would make at least a modest comeback. It doesn’t need to be expensive nor flashy. Just mindfully selected and thoughtfully worn. Men don’t need to dress like Mormon missionaries, but we can try harder to have the right approach. Anyway, a person who pays attention to his/her wardrobe is a sight for sore eyes. We do judge people on outward appearances. There is truth to the saying, “Dress for success”.


The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes coach, counseling psychologist, entrepreneur, model, and writer, Utibe Samuel Mbom. “Speak fluently. Dress neatly. Move swiftly.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in cultural highlights, Hometown, Meanderings, religion and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Dressing Up

  1. Personally, I’ve found that certain things are essential to success, and dressing appropriately is one of them. For me, not necessarily to be perceived in a certain way by others, but rather to be able to function well. It’s similar to my workplace: if you have a sloppy work environment, you become sloppy. If you become sloppy in these essential things, sooner or later you will become sloppy in your thinking and acting.

  2. Hi. I used to dress in business casual. But, since retiring from my white-collar job, I’ve worn jeans just about every day. I like chinos, though, and maybe should reintroduce them to my wardrobe.

  3. As you say, the way we dress even has an affect on our own perceptions of ourselves as well as the way others see us. People, including me, should definitely pay more attention to dress. My dress style is the opposite of yours. I dress ultra casually until I need to go out or am expecting visitors.

    Nebraska is a long way (figuratively and literally) from the major metropolises like New York City. Another blogger had a recent post about a story from the WSJ I believe that informed readers there were actually places to buy men’s suits for under $1,000! Who would’ve thought?😊

    • swabby429 says:

      There are a few excellent men’s clothiers in Omaha and Lincoln. They’re out of my price range, but the shops are there for top executives and politicians. Again, men don’t need to be spendy on clothes. Clean, neat casual clothes and shoes can make the man. Whatever style works for the individual looks and feels best.

  4. tiostib says:

    A thought provoking post. I agree with the general thoughts presented and you’ve made me wonder how what I wear is affecting my attitude about life. Thank you.

  5. Such a wonderful blog about dressing well , I really enjoyed reading it and as a fashion blogger myself there are a few words that gave me ideas such as you mentioning the way dressing sharp has devolved to business casual which is what I notice even where I stay most men don’t wear a full suit but opt to strip on jackets as outerwear and a suit/sport jacket with jeans only and sneakers but rarely do I see most in formal wear. Thank you for this post have a great day🙌🙌

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