Clothing choices send a message about self-respect

Our clothing choices send a message about self-respect

I try and buy clothes as cheap as I can and I'm a regular at all the finest preloved clothing stores and op shops.

I once asked an elderly lady at the counter of a St Vincent de Paul shop: "Excuse me Madame, but could I please trouble you to show me the cheapest clothes in your store?"

She looked me up and down and said: "I think you're wearing them."

Thrift stores are usually charities, yet on my exit from these places after simply browsing, I've been insulted by staff with shouts of: "I hope you're going to pay for those clothes you're wearing!"

Of course, when you wear the same outfit every day as I do, you expect a little wear and tear.

Mind you I had no idea how threadbare my clothes were until I went to the cricket and the police tried to arrest me for streaking.

Okay, some of those stories were just lies.

Someone once said to me: "Oh, you're wearing new trousers!"

"Who looks at people's pants?" I thought.

Obviously, this person.

That means they saw those tattered old pants I'd been wearing since the dawn of time - and possibly the rips I thought couldn't be seen on one wearing dark colours - and said nothing.

I read a story once of a man on a bus who didn't know what stop he had to get off at.

Another man in trackies and a t-shirt with a dark stain said his stop was still a number of stops away.

However, yet another man who was dressed sharply, whispered to him that he should get off here.

The uncertain traveller listened to the well-dressed man and as he walked the long and frustrating road to his desired destination he mused on why he listened to the wrong man and ignored the original and correct advice.

You don't need to be Pierre Cardin to know why.

The man who dressed sharply looked like he was on his way home from the office.

The dude wearing trackies and sporting a dark stain on his t-shirt looked like he was going nowhere.

The protagonist in this story wondered how can you trust the instructions of someone who can't be trusted to even keep food off their clothes?

Even so, although we can pretend we believe the old English proverb "clothes don't make the man", clearly everybody acts as if they do.

It's the very people who say the loudest "it doesn't matter what you wear" like popstars and actors, who seem to worry the most about what they themselves are wearing.

No one seems to believe the lie more than those of us who call ourselves believers.


Not that long ago people went to church on Sundays in what was called their "Sunday best".

Today, people predominantly wear to church what they would wear for a quick trip to the supermarket.

Does it matter what we wear? If it doesn't, why do so many executives still wear neckties?

Perhaps in the eyes of the woke a tie is the ancient past's shackle on the present; the living still a slave on the end of a leash held in the rotting hand of the dead.

A tie is clearly a superfluous piece of fashion. Yet nothing is superfluous in the world of fashion.

Everything means something.

Dressing well is not only about respecting yourself.

It is also a sign of respect for your audience and the people you visit and spend time with.

Christians and non-Christians alike this weekend will celebrate Easter.

When I was a boy neither the rugby league nor the AFL played on Good Friday as a sign of respect.

Now, they both do.

Has the commercial world dressed up Easter with chocolates and the Easter Bunny because we who claim to believe in the Resurrection have for so long dressed down the deeper meaning of Easter?

On the first Easter in the Bible we read that when Jesus was being crucified the soldiers divided up his clothes among them and engaged in cleromancy (gambling) to see which one of them won his underwear.

Why? Because Jesus dressed well.

Twitter: @frbrendanelee