Are standards elevating or elitist?
Dress codes serve many functions, but one of them is as a means of showing respect for others. And another is to remind yourself as well as others of the gravity of some particular situation. Seems like both of these apply to the United States Senate.
I certainly agree about respect. Churches, museums, senates, schools..........in fact in some high schools you can't tell the younger teachers from the students! It not only shows disrespect for those institutions and those around you, but reeks of lack of self respect. Don't even begin to tell me about how those poor people who can't afford the "nice" clothes now feel empowered to visit museums and churches, because that just isn't so. Lowering the bar didn't mean a tidal wave of new patrons and users. If we all dress down then soon only those in uniform (officers of the law, military,etc.) will stand out which would make for a definite wrong-headed us/them mentality. If all authority figures dressed with a modicum of good taste and respect there would be more respect over all.
Certainly there can be exceptions to a code, but that's what they should be--exceptions, not the new norm. i.e. an emergency piece of legislation catches a lawmaker mowing the grass or (more likely) on the golf course, yes, they should come in all due haste clothed as they are if the vote is essential and going on now. And, of course, other better exceptions exist, but again, they are EXCEPTIONS, used sparingly and not the pre-cursor to a new and lesser standard.
The garments one chooses to wear indisputably make a statement
The statement can be disrespectful (e. g., dressing in tattered jeans and a dirty T-shirt to attend a formal wedding, wearing a hoodie in Congress or donning a sweat shirt proclaiming "I Love 9/11" to a Fireman's Convention in NYC
Or your garments can display respect for your colleagues, family and even for your country; in particular for the flag that represents it
Perhaps in Roman times dress codes were elitist, but now IMO dress codes serve to desensitize elitism when everyone dons the same type of outfit. My school years, both elementary and secondary, required uniforms. It sure made getting dressed in the morning easy.....and, not that we cared, but economic standing was never apparent.
To have discontinued a dress code in the Senate only serves to highlight what a nation in decline we are.
Dress codes are necessary, set the tone and don't necessarily have to be a choice between comfort and looking respectable. Some appear able to dress appropriately with ease, while others (me) have a hard time with clothing and fashion. I chose a military career followed by farming. My farming attire is presentable only on the farm and I try to take pride in my appearance when off the farm. I find Fetterman's clothing to be an indication he's not serious. Same with the sleeveless attire for females. It degrades the office, imo.
When I was a young schoolboy, we had a dress code—button-down shirts and Levi's for the boys and Blouses and skirts for the girls. When we hit high school, we were allowed to dress any way we wanted, as long as it was business casual, which meant we wore either button-down shirts, polos, jeans, or slacks. The young women could wear capris, dresses, or skirts (as long as they came to mid-thigh, if not longer.) Mini skirts were out.
In college, it was the same. When we went to church, we wore suits, and women wore dresses that went to the knee. There were no mini-skirts allowed.
Business required business casual, polos, and slacks.
Today, there is no dress code. Therefore, there is no formality. Sometimes, it seems to be just distracting and informal.
With Fetterman dressing like an idiot, the Congress has become a joke, not that they weren't already a joke. But now it's an even worse joke.
Dress codes are essential. Freedom to dress like a hobo demeans everyone and reduces effectiveness.
In my years as a teacher, schools with stricter dress codes got better results and better dressed teachers had fewer discipline problems.
The only issue with modern dress codes is their vagueness. Business Casual seems to meant all things to everyone, and the ubiquitous "dress to impress" is even worse. Clear, strict and commonly used dress codes make things work better - if a uniform can help Zuckerface or Jobs do more, then rules can allow ordinary people to as well.
Rescinding an official dress code doesn't eliminate elitism and hierarchy, it makes the elitism covert. Like the South Park bit goes, "to join the non-conformists you have to dress just like us and listen the same music we do." People who have a sense for trends communicate status through clothing, even (or especially!) if they can mask the the signal under a thick layer of irony. You can't escape the game, dress codes just make the rules explicit.
In the paragraph on dress codes beginning "While most are familiar with the Toga...," I am guessing you meant to write "understanding its nuances," although I imagine quite a few Romans could have also testified to its "nuisances."
Kudos on your engaging takes on the enduring significance of Classical culture.
Funny enough, I was just joking about a black tie optional dress code for Thursday’s opening of the Philadelphia Orchestra. I am not a fan, thinking an event meant to delight the senses should allow for comfort. But I also recognize that a host determines these matters - the Orchestra and its benefactors would like to elevate this event and make it special and serious. Guests may choose to skip it of course.
So as a host-guest arrangement, I think dress codes are fine but overused. They are sometimes necessary to ensure decorum and seriousness of an event, to help set the tone. They sometimes seem to me exclusionary or simply unnecessary.
As a civic requirement, dress codes would not fly today tho, at least in the US. These would be seen as a form of government censorship if tried on a city wide basis like in Rome - dress and identity are so intimately linked. Even our Senate will not enforce dress standards apparently!
Dress slacks, button down shirt, and blazer are the casual look. Custom tailored suit all the way up to White Tie for formal occaisions.
"Need" and "codes" aren't helpful word choices. Do we (the culture and the individual) sometimes *benefit* from,*standards* of *decorum* I think is more to the point.
I fall back on one of my favorite questions: What's the point of having a dress code?
Some people suggest uniforms decrease bullying in school (that was not my experience); some people rightly point out that attire can denote status (as my mom did when I protested my private school switching to uniforms); sometimes it's about respect (as I was informed when I had to put on my "nice clothes" to go to Church); and sometimes it's about things like safety (as my brother learned preparing for a pretty extreme wilderness adventure).
And sometimes it's about something else entirely. Knowing the reason would inform whether I thought having a dress code — and what that dress code entailed — was valuable or not in that context.
Being Bored of and truly Sick of the Present and its endless and vapid messages, messes and purposeful “mistakes”...I find your CW missives a complete antidote.
Thank You for all you are doing.