While perusing CNN for news tonight I stumbled on the above photo of the prime minister and defense minister of
Speaking of presidential inaugurations when was the last time anyone dressed formally for one? My memory may have faded a bit but I think Reagan wore a morning coat to his first swearing in. Jack Kennedy was famously the last president to wear that traditional symbol of high formality, the top hat. Toppers however are still de rigueur at many functions outside of this country (see the photo above).
Whatever happened to respect and etiquette in this country? How far have we sunk as a society? I go to weddings and see people dressed in jeans and flannel shirts. When was the last time many of us were bothered to put on a coat and tie when going to a nice restaurant? Not long ago I had to explain to a good friend of mine who was getting married in the morning (after his fiancé made it clear he was not going to be allowed to just wear a coat and tie) that you don’t wear a tuxedo before six.
Has anyone been to a shopping mall lately and not seen young men walking around wearing pajamas or with their jeans hanging down around their knees? Some years back when I was in traffic court a young man who could not have had his license for long gave the judge a particularly sharp look when he was told to take his baseball cap off in court. I waited in vain for the judge to fine him for contempt of court. This trend towards casual to the point of slovenly dress seems to have even made its way into some of our churches. And lest we say this is just a universal trend favoring the complete abandonment of any semblance of manners and polite behavior, I can assure the reader that people outside the United States do in fact know that you don’t wear evening dress for an 11 AM wedding!
Sorry, but this breakdown in social graces is I think a very distinctly American phenomena. I guess I am just wondering when we became too lazy or embarrassed in this country to show a little class in our dress.