[ This article was first published in the Shrine Beacon – May/June, 1996. ]

Have you ever heard one say:  “Clothes makes the man”?   In other words, clothes, the way we dress, coupled with the way we act, portrays to others what we are.  Do you dress for the occasion?  Are you modest in dress or are you just plain “grungy.”?

Grunginess or “dressing down” seems to be the big thing nowadays.  There is no longer respect for the occasion or the place (especially Church), or for others, or even for themselves.  It’s a “anything goes” attitude.  When are people going to wake up to the fact that this dress-down “grunginess” is simply being promoted to destroy the dignity and respect of true manhood, womanhood and thus Christian society itself?  There are signs that someone besides this author is getting fed up with it.

In a local paper we found evidence that some people have finally began using a little common sense in this regard.  Consider the following:

            “Recently Newsweek had a cover story “A Nation of Slobs?”which cited the increasing trend is evident everywhere, almost to the point to being commonplace, especially during the warmer months and in warmer climes. 

            “The trend got the goat of Bob Shaw, manager emeritus of the Minnesota Newspaper Association.  He attended a college graduation recently and noted that people dressed as they would have for a garage sale or to work in their compost pile.  ‘No men wore ties,’ Shaw recalls. ‘One man sitting near me wore an armless T-shirt… Some didn’t take off their hats.’

            “Shaw continued:  ‘I was taught that one dresses up to show respect for an event; that what one wears tells something about how one feels about an event.’ 

            “Seth Schmidt, editor of the Tracy Headlight Herald, echoes the thought that the dress-down trend is evident in Tracy. 

            “Schmidt noted, ‘One sees T-shirts and blue jeans even at the most formal occasions nowadays, including weddings, graduations and church services.  Only a few bastions of formal attire remain.  But even at funerals I’ve spotted cutoffs and logo-embossed sweat shirts.’ 

            “It seems like eons ago that blue jeans were banned in public schools.  Now denim is part of the uniform of the day.  Clothing stores feature much more casual apparel than dress-up. 

            “Schmidt also asks, ‘Why is it suddenly permissible to appear in public with one’s underwear showing?’  This is after seeing a girl at a car wash wearing a white bra and a bottom that ‘looked’ underwear. 

            “Other dress-down trends Schmidt can’t quite get used to:  Clothing at public gatherings with rips and holes; men and boys who don’t remove their hats indoors, especially while eating; government leaders who wear flannel shirts in public appearances; sweat shirts and T-shirts in church. 

            “Both Shaw and Schmidt agree that how we dress reflects our attitude towards church, graduation, or any important event.  Sloppy dress tends to reflect a sloppy attitude and lack of respect. 

            “As Shaw notes, ‘We all got dressed up to show respect.’ 

            “Of course, such thinking is terribly old-fashioned and out-of-date.  These are, after all, the mid-90’s and grunginess is considered the norm for many.”  [ From “Jottings” by John Fredrick Moore. ]

We as a nation and as a society are in pitiful shape if “grunginess” is considered normal for many and has become more of a common practice than modest dress.  (Remember, how you dress influences how you act and influences others as well).

As for being modest in dress:  Just what does it mean?  Modesty in dress means more than just being covered properly.  The word, modest stems from the Latin, “modestus” which in turn comes from “modus.”  It means “a limit.”  It means to be restrained by a sense of propriety, not forward or bold, not excessive, extreme, or extravagant, in a word, moderate.

In defining “modest,” you note we used the word, propriety.  Propriety simply means conformity to acknowledged or correct standards of behavior or dress.  It means conformity to established social customs.  In a Christian society this means Christian customs.

We as a Christian society are almost non-existent for there is little evidence of it.  “Grunginess” in dress depicts a pagan society not a Christian one.  “Grunginess” has taken over and has become the “outward sign” of what we are as a society.  What a pity!  Holy Mother has pleaded for modesty in dress and what have we become?

We all know GOD WILL BLESS MODESTY IN DRESS!  But if you are a TRUE Christian and respect Christian manhood and Christian womanhood, then don’t you think we should dress the part?