Thursday, July 22, 2010

Where Did Classy Go?

A few weeks ago, I found myself watching a special on one of our local news stations about the 100th anniversary of the St. Louis Zoo. I thought it was so very interesting. It was really amazing to hear about the beginning of it all, some parts dating back to the World's Fair in 1904.

But what I thought was the most intriguing was a picture they shared of a group of visitors back in the 1930's (if I remember correctly).














The women were wearing nice dresses. The men were in suits and ties. The children followed this pattern, looking very classy as well. Everyone topped off the ensemble with a hat to match. The narrator commented that the people would wear their Sunday best for a day out like this.

Classy. All of them. Just for a trip to the zoo.

This got me to thinking deeper about something that has been on my mind for a while now. Why has our culture fallen away from classy attire, even for trips to the zoo...or to the theater...or even to the store?

Have you ever looked at pictures from the 50's or 60's of a group of people walking along a sidewalk? Or footage from those years of just something simple like a fair parade?

Or this picture I found from 1956...













...notice the women, who are just visiting what I think is Disney Land, wearing dresses. The men are wearing nice shirts and pants, most are wearing hats.

Do you know what my family would look like if I went to Disney Land?














Pretty much like this. This was the day we went to the zoo in the spring.

Is it a good or bad thing that we have drifted away from classy? Over the course of the last 40 years or so, women have gone from always wearing skirts and dresses to hardly wearing them at all. In fact, if I see a woman wearing a skirt at Wal-Mart, I assume it has to do with her religious beliefs, not because she just wants to look feminine or likes skirts.

And what does this mean for me? I am a self-proclaimed, t-shirt and jeans girl. When it comes to comfort, I'm all about it. I'm frumpy, I know. But I wonder what it would be like if I began to think and dress like the authors of Feelin' Feminine? "To encourage, inspire, and challenge ladies to rediscover the treasure of dressing in a feminine manner."

It's not just women, though. I don't see men wear ties all that often. No suits. No shined shoes. Maybe you see a man in a suit and tie if he's going to work in a nice, business office. But you wouldn't see this if you went to a Harvest Festival in the fall.

Are we better off now? Or have we lost something that made us a classy culture?



23 comments:

kimberly said...

I have thought about this as well, especially in airports. When traveling you dressed in you best outfit. I think we have lost the classy culture. Are we better off I don't know. I can't imagine going to the zoo in 100 degree weather in a dress with hose on.

cfoxes33 said...

I wear skirts to work often and my father wears suit coats and ties on Sunday to church. They are even getting away from dressing up for funerals. It's sad.

Mommy said...

Good point... and I have often looked back at older pictures and wonder how we all got away from dressing so much nicer.
I think it would have been fun to wear dresses and matching hats everyday :o)

Mrs. Haid said...

I wish we were a more formal culture, just wearing beautiful clothing, not necessarily "gendered" clothing. Just wearing something other than free T shirts and flip flops all the time. (Which I am wearing right now!)

I think that movies and TV still make our culture look this classy, but those producers haven't been to my town lately!

And honestly, after spending so much time in pajamas as a new mom, sometimes JEANS feel dressy! Ha!

Ashley Sisk said...

Great discussion point. My husband and I have argued about this because I think that certain occasions call for being dressed up. For me, these include parties, church, work, etc.

I recall at an engagement party that his family threw for us that I went out to look for a new dress to wear because I thought it was a special occasion. When my parents and I arrived, we were the only ones dressed up while everyone else was in shorts and tshirts. My husband was quick to tell me that "they're just family," but my question is...why should we slack off for family if it's for a nice event.

I'm not sure it's necessary to wear your suit and tie anymore...but pajamas to do your grocery shopping? I think we have a country have just slacked off. Granted, I'm the same girl that goes to a church that is very casual, so I don't always dress up...but when I go to my parents church, absolutely. I'm rambling now, but I absolutely agree.

Jamie~ said...

Hear, hear! I have bemoaned this fact over and over to my husband for years. I used to be a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal, still am in fact. But, I find real joy in wearing skirts for no reason in the middle of the week. It's time we got classy back!

This Daddy said...

Chrissy, I think being classy is also in the way you act as well. I think just because we (the public) may wear shorts and t shirts and caps with running shoes on doesnt mean we are classless. I have met people in suits and dress' and they have acted like ass'. I think the appearence of a person is a basic qualifier. I will never believe for a second just because of the way someone dresses that it makes them either classy or classless

And I heard that you are going to homeschool this year, that is awesome!

Maegan said...

Chrissy-great post!

I find myself wishing sometimes that I lived in the late 1800's, when women were women of class and modesty and men were men of integrity and honor! There were 'rules' about how to treat a lady and what was respectable and what was not. Yes, I understand there were MANY MANY more hardships in that era, but I'm simply referring to the 'class' part of it!

Instead of bringing sexy back, let's bring classy back!! I like that!

Elizabeth said...

I do wear skirts quite often, just because it is hard for me to find shorts that are long enough (no daisy dukes for me!) and I notice that when I am in a skirt people show me more respect...seriously! Men will hold doors open, etc. So it's still ingrained in people to treat a lady like a lady and it seems that people realize you are lady more when wearing a dress or skirt. That's not to say that I think it should be that way...but I do notice a big difference when I wear jeans or shorts...I just blend into a crowd.

Ember said...

I LOVE this post! What a great blog!

I'm in agreement with "this daddy" above, I think having class and tact makes for a better society but just because you dress the part doesn't make you that way. Besides I just don't think I can give up my flip flops! =)

Causey Fam said...

I notice this most when I look around church. Skirts and slacks are worn by a few. Jeans and even shorts are worn by many.

Angie said...

I can't imagine going to an amusement park or zoo in nice clothes. Too uncomfortable and hot! I love wearing dresses, especially in the summer time but it's just not practical in some situations. We're just like your pictures. Jeans, or shorts, tshirts, or tank tops. I'm following from Friendly Friday. Stop by when you get a chance: http://www.luvsavingmoney.info

Miller Racing Family said...

Now this post gets me thinking. I totally agree with the majority of the post as I am another t-shirt and blue jeans type of gal. Though I remember how fun it was a child to get all ready for church. You would spend most of Saturday night preparing for the big day. Now we just rush around and hope we get there on time. This does make me think about what is really important, not the clothes but the activity behind the clothes.
Great post.

Shining 2 Save said...

Hi, I am your newest follower from Friendly Friday, I look forward to reading your blog


Kari,
http://shining2save.blogspot.com

Jessica said...

Good post. I think a lot of it has to do with where you live and work as well. I noticed a big difference in wedding/reception attire down here compared to up in St. Louis. Up there, all the guys were wearing shirts and ties and some even had suit jackets. That's not something you see a lot of around here, at least I don't anyway.

I'm a frumpy girl just like you and I like it! It is fun to dress nice and get all prettified, but it's kind of expensive too...

Hootiebee said...

Newest Follower from Social Parade. I hope you can stop in and see me at www.hootiebee.blogspot.com

Amy Walker said...

Great post! I think about this a lot. My grandmother still thinks it inappropriate to go casual even for shopping and doctor visits.

Following you from New Friend Friday. I LOVE your title and header! One of my favorite scriptures...
Amy www.thecheapandchoosy.com

e said...

This is just my opinion and experience, but I think that classy dressing still happens. It just rarely happens in rural areas. I think most people would consider someone walking around in a nice dress at Wal-Mart on a Tuesday afternoon a show-off. Someone putting on "airs".

I know that when I lived in the city my circle of friends dressed up for everything. It was very uncommon to see someone dressed down when out to dinner. Everyone dressed up to go "out".

Now I dress to fit in with the locals. I think it's a cultural thing.

Shawna said...

Hmmm, I hate dressing up. So I'm glad this practice has gone by the wayside. :) We're a very casual family. But I will check out the blog you referenced.

I'm following you from the Social Parade!

shawna-mygirls.blogspot.com

Shawna said...

P.S. I came to check out your blog because of your blog title. Did you name it after the Max Lucado book?

Rajee said...

lovely family pics!

Followed your blog, username Rajee I am your new follower. Would love if you follow my
blog, http://momsfocusonline.com


You are also welcome to Time To Follow: Blog Hop for July - Link up your blog name and badge to return the favor to follow you back

Nice to meet you!

Mindy said...

Interesting thoughts! Just to show how the times have changed... My 89 year old Grandma doesn't like jeans (especially jeans with holes in them) because back in her day, only the "poor people" wore them. Also, a lot of older people don't like the fact that my generation wears jeans to Church.
Personally, I like dressing up and wouldn't mind if we were a more formal culture. It's funny because when I wear something nice on a "normal" day, my family always ask.. "Where are you going? Why are you so dressed up?"
I'm not sure if it's a good or a bad thing.. but I sure wouldn't mind living back in that time.

Jamie said...

I agree with your post whole-heartedly!
however...
I'm the frumpy, jeans and t-shirt girl too...I think I might dress up more if I had someone help me figure out what looks good on my body type and an unlimited budget.

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