The other night we took visiting family to a very nice local Italian restaurant, one that, while not pricing menu items the way they would be on either coast, would not qualify as inexpensive anywhere, except perhaps in comparison to Michelin starred restaurants.

Everyone in our group was dressed in a fashion I’d call tasteful casual, the women in dresses or blouses and trousers, the men in slacks and collared shirts. The restaurant is enclosed and air-conditioned and was close to full. Not a single man besides those in our group wore a collared shirt, and several inhabited shorts or trousers that either swallowed them or which they barely fit into. Most wore flip-flops or tennis shoes without socks. And the T-shirts had generally seen better days. Hell, the T-shirts I do yardwork in were in better condition than some I saw in the restaurant. The women weren’t any dressier, either.

When we took our daughter and her daughter to the airport, many of those entering the security check point were attired in an even more “casual” fashion.

I’m not talking about well-fitted T-shirts and jeans with sneakers. I’m talking tank tops and too tight shorts revealing too much corpulence in the wrong places and flip-flops.

Now… I realize that I’m certainly less casual than almost any writer out there, since for nine months of the year I write wearing long-sleeved dress shirts and slacks [usually with vests], switching to polo shirts with slacks only when the temperature exceeds 90 degrees F. I do wear boots, rather than sneakers, but that’s because any brand of sneakers I’ve tried hurts my feet. I don’t expect other writers working at home to follow my sartorial preferences [not that many could ever be persuaded], but wearing worn T-shirts to nice sit-down restaurants does strike me as being in bad taste, and it can’t be a matter of money, because people without money can’t afford those restaurants.

Is it the idea of “freedom,” carried to excess, i.e., “I’m comfortable dressing like a slob, and I should have the freedom to be a slob everywhere?” Or is it that good taste or manners are obsolete and considered irrelevant? Or possibly, the flaunting of wealth and power through a total disregard for neatness and taste?

If that’s the “new wealth,” I’m in even greater support of higher income taxes.

6 thoughts on “Sloppy”

  1. Clayton says:

    I think some of it is just that many don’t think they need to dress for other people’s standards, especially when those standards can be antiquated and uncomfortable (I cannot abide long sleeve shirts, but would wear a polo shirt to a restaurant like that). Good taste is subjective and what I consider good taste, someone else likely considers bad taste.

    That said, there’s no excuse to be wearing worn/torn shirts/pants if you can afford to eat at a place like that.

    1. Chris says:

      I generally agree, but just wanted to point out that cost doesn’t seem to be the issue. People are paying hundreds of dollars to get jeans that come from the store worn/torn. I personally don’t understand why someone would pay extra like that, but they do. ex:

  2. Tom says:

    This “sloppiness” comes down to two traits of todays society (everywhere in the world):

    I want!
    Too bad if you do not like! (Just be sure to “like” me on Facebook and prove your worthiness by “sharing”)

    Why these attitudes exist to such an overwhelming degree I cannot fathom. They sure as certain do not improve the world: not my life and not even other lives.

    Fads on steroids enhanced by increased ability to communicate the boring!

    1. Tom says:

      Our noted “sloppiness” may be the response noted by Brooks Brothers who are bringing out the post-pandemic line labeled as “casual”! Not business casual but just “casual”.

      More seriously the answer to Americas appearance might be found in reading –

      1. Shannon says:

        I enjoyed that article. Thanks for mentioning it. It’s a good assessment of the current divisions in America.

  3. R. Hamilton says:

    “good taste or manners are obsolete and considered irrelevant” – give or take some variation over time in taste, that’s it right there. Wealth or poverty has little to do with it, one can get a passable button-down short sleeved shirt for no more than a printed t-shirt; and those who are already plus size in their persons would be far more comfortable in something that didn’t make them look like an overstuffed sausage.

    I’ll partly agree and partly disagree regarding travel. I tend to wear an inoffensive printed black, gray, or dark blue t-shirt in good repair, clean cargo pants (lots of pockets to put stuff back in, once I get past security), and a lightweight plain black leather jacket that makes the t-shirt look a bit less casual – unless I’d have to have a professional appearance immediately in the destination airport or at the hotel desk, which is unlikely, since I’m retired. (also a black nylon belt with polymer buckle, that does not set off metal detectors; and post-security, probably a black fanny pack too) Sitting for five or six hours in a seat with very little room is uncomfortable enough without adding business attire to the discomfort.

    OTOH, for some things (classical or folk or light contemporary concerts, for example) I may wear something fancier (dressy country shirt and bolo tie, or a suit perhaps), to express appreciation for the performer; on the high end of what others are wearing. That may get a bit more creative if still somewhat dressy in hot weather or outdoor venues.

Leave a Reply to Shannon Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *