Monday, 19 October 2015

Dumbing down

I don't know that I entirely disapprove of the trend towards a more casual lifestyle that is becoming evident in society but there are times when I think it has gone, or is going, just a little too far.  The time was when the BBC required announcers on the radio to wear evening dress - presumably only after about 6pm! - in case they had to interview guests on their way to or from dinner and who were dressed accordingly.  Nowadays, television news readers - well, the men, anyway - always wear a suit and tie, but it is increasingly common to see reporters tieless.  My opinion is that a reporter (or correspondent) covering a press conference should dress for the part, which means at least wearing a tie if the person involved is a man.

A more casual approach has also grown up around what were at one time fairly formal occasions.  Most men attending a Lions Club charter night dinner and dance still wear dinner jackets and bow ties.  At least, they do in this country.  And when smoking was still legal, nobody would light up until given permission to do so after the Loyal Toast.  Similarly, nobody left the table until the Loyal Toast had been drunk; nowadays people wander about at will.

Some years ago, when I was President of Brighton Lions Club, the guest of honour was the Mayor of Brighton, who, that year happened to be a lady.  Everybody had been served with their starters but nobody was eating.

"Why is nobody eating?" the Mayor asked me.

"They are waiting for you to start," I replied.

Can you imagine that happening today?

And the office dress code has become almost redundant.  When I started my working life in a bank, men were expected to wear suits Monday to Friday, a suit being matching jacket and trousers.  Sports coats were permitted on Saturdays.  A sports coat was made from tweed and the definition didn't cover other "smart casual" jackets that are seen these days.  Actually, I'm not sure that they even existed back then.

But I have to say I'm more than happy just to look at the ties in the wardrobe and wear one only very occasionally.


sp murphy said...

I am torn between the opinion that people should wear what they like and that more traditional standards should be maintained if only for the sake of beauty. Considering many people slouch about their errands wearing pajamas I tend to lean on the side of keeping up appearances, though! Studies have shown that when you look good you feel good. Isn't that proof enough?

joeh said...

Sometimes I miss the old formalities. It used to be nice dressing up to go to dinner or even a movie. Doesn't really make sense, but there was something nice about it. Relaxing formalities seems to reduce civility.

Brighton Pensioner said...

I agree with you both. dressing up - even if just occasionally - makes you feel good!

Bea said...

My father never wore a tie to work and I'm not sure how he got away with that in the early years of his career.

What I find interesting are the wealthy who seemingly disguise themselves in shabby, old clothes. I work in a high street that borders an extremely upscale area and some of my most 'monied' customers look almost like paupers.