"Mad Men" last night. We both love the show for a couple reasons, but the styling is just so spot-on beautiful it's hard not to stare, especially if you're a mid-century modern fan like I am.
And oh, those clothes. Even when the characters' lives are falling apart, they look spectacular. Yes, I know that we're talking about 1960s Manhattanites here, and I know it's a TV show, but my mom has also told me that there was actually a time when people dressed up to leave the house.
Oh, how far we've fallen.
For example, in yesterday's USA Today there was an article about how some states are presenting stricter dress codes for appearances in court. I guess people were showing up in flip-flops, short-shorts, clown suits (?), micro-mini skirts, etc. Really? Seriously? You're supposed to be defending yourself in a court of law and you show up looking like you just rolled out of bed? This from Delaware Superior Court Judge William Witham, Jr.: "We're not out to treat people as school kids, but we do expect if you come to court, you need to treat it with the appropriate respect and dignity it should deserve due to the occasion."
So in one or two generations we've gone from ladies wearing white gloves to lunch to people wearing flip-flops in court.
But wait - there's a place where you can see how we have truly let ourselves go - I think you know where I'm going here - yes, I'm referring to "The People of Wal-Mart" (see photo above). I'll admit - once I'm on the site, I get sucked in, sometimes for lengthy periods of time. I can't help it. I just can't believe that people would go outside in these clothes (or lack thereof).
I don't frequent Wal-Mart, so I just don't see this level of freakishness. But I used to witness it in some of my co-workers at the newspaper where I worked. There were some paper carriers who would show up to get their papers in dirty pajama bottoms - some would show up shirtless. Now, it is a dirty job, but for God's sake, couldn't they have worn a clean t-shirt and jeans? It's a dirty job, but it's not as bad as working on a farm!
Not to get all psychiatrist-y, but I do believe that in our society today, where anything goes, one's appearance is an indication of their mood. When one is feeling good about him- or herself ususally that individual will make an effort to at least run a comb through their hair and perhaps wear undergarments when stepping outside. Personally, I can't leave the house without my hair done and my eyeliner applied (the phrase "my hair done" makes me sound like I'm my grandmother, doesn't it?). It would make total sense for me to take my walk in the morning, before I shower; but I can't do it. I just can't have people see me with messy hair! So the only time I walk before I shower is when I use my treadmill, which is deep in the recesses of my basement where no one can see how bad I look. :)
I wonder if the pendulum will ever swing back. It would be nice. I think if people look decent, they act accordingly (I know, not always!). There has to be a happy medium between individuality and decency. I'm really not shocked by anyone's appearance anymore, and I'm not judging, either - there are plenty of people who are tatted from head to toe and look great. But I also think there's a time and place for everything, and looking presentable is just a way of saying that you respect your fellow citizens and that you've stopped just thinking about yourself for once. Here's a hint - if there is even one iota of your backside showing, either at the top or bottom of your apparel, it's time to buy some clothes that fit. PLEASE.