Non-Utilitarian Apparel

Men's formal clothing, black and white tuxedos.

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There is a certain arbitrariness born of tradition regarding what is considered dressy attire. Utilitarian wear is not the first principle of design.

There is nothing intrinsically praiseworthy from a practical standpoint about tying a piece of cloth around one’s neck that gets in the way. They don’t call it a tie for nothing. It’s a form of restraint. A necktie is a symbol of repression. Nor is there anything praiseworthy about wearing a coat either indoors or out in a city where the daily temperature often reaches 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Likewise, there is nothing commendable about women who wear high heels that throw their bodies out of alignment, forcing them to walk more slowly, and risking spinal and ankle injuries.

Men are considered to be “dignified” when they wear suits and neckties because this is what the business community wears. The implied assumption is that the business community is considered dignified, on the whole a group to be looked up to as a standards setter. The reality is much to the contrary; it is mostly those who strive to become a part of that community who narcissisticly confer that status upon themselves, and because they come to be the ruling class in society, impose it on others.

Jehovah’s Witness men (of which I am one) are strongly urged to conform to this standard of appearance. Why we are required to imitate the appearance of greedy sleazebags who rule a class of individuals that God has promised to destroy is an amusing question that has never been adequately justified to my own satisfaction.

If we are to imitate a class of individuals, why not choose a class more worthy of the honor, such as college professors, or professionals?

The efforts we make in our widely known work of visiting people at their homes would certainly improve both in quality and quantity if, when engaged in the work, we would wear clothing that is appropriate to the conditions rather than that which causes people who already regard us as flakes to conclude that we are also unreasonable.

Such clothing can still be regarded as attractive rather than slovenly, in addition to being practical. In the hot months in Phoenix standard items of apparel might include dressy walking shoes rather than formal dress shoes, shorts rather than long pants, moisture wicking, short sleeve, collarless shirts, and hats for head protection. But that’s not what we wear.

Nonetheless, the standards are what they are, and are unlikely to change.

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About Lynn

o Writer and Editor o Computer Technologist o Composer o Ultrarunner
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