The Blue Gardenia

How casual is too casual? June 29, 2010 09:07 6 Comments

SundressImagine this dress with spaghetti straps. Push your imagination a little farther. Imagine the spaghetti straps tied in little bows right at the top of the shoulders. Imagine the length a little longer, the hem falling right underneath the knees. Relax. Go deeper into the fantasy. Imagine this dress on a woman in her late 50s. Imagine her wearing this get-up at church. She is attractive. Yes. She is. She sashays when she walks. Her hips swing back and forth. Absolutely.

But. You knew one was coming. Didn't you?

Am I being harsh when I say that this dress is totally inappropriate for church? Am I? Now, it would look adorable on a child. And I could even see it on a 5-year-old at Sunday school. I wouldn't think twice. I would not frown. But on a woman? No. Absolutely not. It's too casual for a grown-up girl to wear to a house of worship. Way, too. Way.

Now. At this same church service - last Sunday, to be precise - someone else was wearing jeans. Ratty jeans. Not pressed and spiffy trouser jeans. No. These were ranch jeans. Suitable for riding horses or roping cows or whatever it is they do on ranches. And these were not just any folks, these two. No. These were ushers. Ushers! Walking down the aisles and collecting money for the deity.

I'm not taking on the ranch hand garb. I'm not. Maybe the cowhand found out at the last minute he didn't have to muck out the stalls and was therefore free to saddle up the pick-up truck and head into town for church. But I will take on the woman. She's at church every Sunday. I know her. She always has her makeup on just so. She always wears heels that reach to heaven. And she often wears clothes more suitable for a picnic or a hootenanny than church. And they are often more suitable for  a teenager.

Mccall's_7675_church_frockI would dress her in McCall's 7675, copyright 1965. She has a lovely figure, this woman, and this would show it off.  Yet, it is respectful of a place of spiritual worship. Churchwoman likes red, so I see this in red linen. View A. That gives her a bow, but a sophisticated, age-appropriate one. Truly. This dress is chic. This dress is feminine. This dress is sexy. And this dress is elegant enough for church.

And, yes, dear readers, I know the Bible says "judge not, lest ye be judged." I know it. And I admit to feeling a tad guilty for criticizing my fellow churchgoers. But. On the other hand,  to quote a pal of mine who has a different perspective: "You'd better, by God, judge other people. They're examples for you. Watching them shows you how to act. Or how not to act."

So. I am curious what you think about casual wear. Do you think our definition of casual has gotten too lax, too broad? Are we simply too lazy these days? Are we unwilling to take the extra time to look presentable? Are we all just one two-sizes-too-small tee-shirt away from becoming people of Walmart?

(Yes. I am wearing yoga pants, a 3 Dots tee, and Merrell shoes as I write this. But, if I do insist myself, they are all attractive, and proper for my home office. And even Costco! Really.)