Dressing Down A Culture for Refusing To Dress Up

CBS Sunday Morning's Nancy Giles thinks that dressing elegantly for the most routine matters is a tradition from a distant past is a shame:

"There was a time when a woman really made an entrance! Remember? Skirts swished, heads turned ... and it wasn't for a red carpet event, either. It was for dinner, or going shopping. What happened? These days, anything goes. Shorts and flip-flops are fine for any occasion. And so are pajamas. Dressing up? A quaint and bygone custom. Have we become a nation of slobs? Professor Linda Przybyszewski teaches a class called "A Nation of Slobs: The Art, Ethics and Economics of Dress in Modern America." at the University of Notre Dame, in South Bend, Indiana. -  Watch video: Dressing down a culture for refusing to dress up.

Linda Przybyszewski wrote a book called: Nation of Slobs: How Americans Learned and Forgot How to Dress.

"We used to live in a world where people cared about how they dressed. I am shocked how often I will be out somewhere, whether on a street or in a restaurant, and I see only a handful of people who seem dressed appropriately, and even fewer dressed beautifully,” she says. 

In this article: The Lost Art of Dressing, Linda Przybyszewski sites reasons on why she feels people stopped dressing up. Reasons such as Baby Boomers moving into the suburbs, the Youth Movement of the 60s and the 70s, when the Feminist movement caused home economics to be formally dismantled. 

In this article, Linda talks of her love of sewing She makes almost all of her clothes (she doesn't knit sweaters or cobble shoes). "Dressmakers feel sorry for people who don't sew," she says. "Most people are dependent on ready-to-wear sizing they don't realize their clothing could be made to fit. I'm not saying everyone needs to run out and commission a dressmaker and have everything custom made. But an alterations person in their life might be nice if they can't do it themselves." And she adds "Sewing is not that hard to learn. People think its hard to sew, but they'll spend hours miserable in the mall looking for something to wear."

Updated on May, 28, 2013: Currently reading "Americanah" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche and laughed at this quote:

When it comes to dressing well, American culture is so self fulfilled that it has not only disregarded this courtesy of self -presentation, but has turned that to disregard into a virtue. "We are too superior/busy/cool/not-uptight to bother about how we look to other people, and so we can wear pajamas to school and underwear to the mall."

No comments