Tag: Fashion

#FashionFriday: Willi Smith

Willi Smith worked as a fashion illustrator with Arnold Scaasi for several years. From 1967 to 1976 he also worked as a freelance designer for companies such as Bobbi Brooks and Digits Inc. He specialized in sportswear, injecting an element of playfulness into functional garments such as the jump suit that he cut out of silver-coated cloth. In 1976 he and Laurie Mallet, who subsequently became president of the company, established the successful label Willi Wear Limited, which captured the spirit of pragmatic leisurewear. Together they launched a collection of clothes consisting of thirteen silhouettes in soft cotton, manufactured in India and sold in New York. Such was the demand for the relaxed styling and affordable clothes of the label that the company’s revenue grew from $30,000 in its first year to $25 million in 1986.

Smith’s Menswear

In 1978 Smith added a men’s wear collection, and in 1986 he designed the navy, linen, double-breasted suit worn by Edwin Schlossberg for his marriage to Caroline Kennedy, together with the violet linen blazers and white trousers worn by the groom’s party. He was, however, primarily a designer of women’s wear. From its origins in a single New York store, the company went on to open offices in London (a boutique in St. Christopher’s Place), Paris, and Los Angeles, as well as more than a thousand outlets in stores throughout the United States. The Paris store-his first eponymous store- opened posthumously in 1987. Just before his untimely death that year, he expressed his desire to Deny Filmer of Fashion Weekly to see all WilliWear products housed under one roof. “I want my stores to be a little funkier, like, wilder and fun to go into. You know that wonderful feeling when you go into an army surplus store, they have an unpretentious atmosphere. I don’t want to push a lifestyle” (p. 7).

Democracy in Fashion

Smith’s attitude toward fashion was democratic and the antithesis of the ostentatious 1980s. His main concern was that his clothes should be comfortable and affordable. He was dismissive of the edict “dress for success,” identifying with the youth cults he saw on the streets of New York and drawing much of his inspiration from them. To this end he provided comfortable, functional clothes in soft fabrics that did not restrict the body in any way. He very often chose Indian textiles for their suppleness, diffused colors, and attractively distressed quality. His clothes were moderately priced, loose-fitting, occasionally oversized separates. Skirts were full and long and jackets oversized, in natural fabrics that wore well and were easy to maintain.

He disliked the pretentiousness of haute couture. “I would love to have a salon and design couture collections, but it’s so expensive … and I hate the theory of ‘We the rich can dress up and have fun, and the rest can dress in blazers and slacks.’ Fashion is a people thing, and designers should remember that” (Filmer, p. 9).

Smith’s obituary in the Village Voice (28 April 1987) by Hilton Als read,

“As both designer and person, Willi embodied all that was the brightest, best and most youthful in spirit in his field. … That a WilliWear garment was simple to care for italicised the designer’s democratic urge: to clothe people as simply, beautifully, and inexpensively as possible. “

For a brief period after his death, the company continued to function, and it opened its own store on lower Fifth Avenue in New York. In 1996 WilliWear was relaunched, designed by Michael Shulman, and available in T.J. Maxx stores.

Although never an innovator, Willi Smith represented a paradigm of casual American style, creating affordable classic separates. Their functionality and informality was not reliant on overt sexuality or on the status implied by high fashion, and they appealed to a broad spectrum of people. Smith received the Coty American Fashion Critics Award in 1983, and New York City designated 23 February as “Willi Smith Day.” He was also honored by the Fashion Walk of Fame.

#FashionFriday: Tracy Reese

Tracy Reese is an American designer whose signature rich, daring colors and unique prints are crafted into joyful, feminine pieces for the modern woman. The TRACY REESE design philosophy is rooted in a commitment to bringing out the beauty in women of all shapes, sizes and colors. Stimulated by the world around her, Reese takes inspiration from nature, art, dance, travel and global cultures.

Reese attended Parsons New School for Design, where she received an accelerated degree in 1984. Upon graduation, she apprenticed under designer Martine Sitbon, while working for the small contemporary firm Arlequin. She has also worked at some of the industry’s top fashion houses- including Perry Ellis where she was design director for Women’s Portfolio.

In 1997, Reese launched her eponymous collection to rave reviews. By combining bold hues and prints with modern silhouettes and shapes, she creates fresh designs perfect for the confident, sophisticated woman.

Her secondary line, plenty by Tracy Reese, was introduced in 1998. Plenty embodies the modern bohemian spirit, offering a distinctive combination of joyful color palettes and playful details. The line is all about versatile everyday essentials with effortlessly, sexy styling.

Launched in Spring 2014, plenty DRESSES by Tracy Reese captures the needs of the contemporary dress consumer who is seeking fashion which takes her from work to a special occasion. Color, vivid prints and feminine styles have instantly made this brand a stand out.

Reese’s designs have been featured in the top fashion publications including Vogue, Elle, Glamour, InStyle, O, the Oprah Magazine, Essence and WWD. Her distinct point of view has also made her a celebrity favorite. Notable fans of the brand include First Lady Michelle Obama, Sarah Jessica Parker and Taylor Swift.

Reese serves on the CFDA Board of Directors. She is a champion for many charities and social causes—she is an advocate for HIV/AIDS charities and has served on the AIDS Fund Committee for the New York Community Trust for five years. She is also part of the Turnaround Arts program through the President’s Committee of the Humanities and Arts and is the Turnaround Artist for Barnum School in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Tracy Reese, plenty by Tracy Reese, and plenty DRESSES by Tracy Reese are sold nationwide in top department stores and specialty boutiques as well as retailers throughout Europe & Asia.

9 Things People Who Thrift Are Tired of Hearing

thrift

Charity shops get a bad rep sometimes, along with the women who thrift in them. If you’re part of the camp that can’t think of not buying retail, you probably have a skewed idea of what goes on behind those dollar-sale doors.

If you’re anything like my friends, you probably imagine little old ladies armed with their social security checks pushing squeaky-wheeled carts, making their way through racks of crocheted sweaters and ’80s New Year dresses. Or you think of little porcelain dolls with soul-stealing eyes and chipped mugs crowded onto the same shelves as old VCR players and 50 cent bibles. That or you imagine Macklemore running wild in a fur coat and buying used bed sheets. I mean, you’ve got some validity to a point, I’ll give you that. I may or may not have seen Macklemore in a ‘coon hat once or twice.

But thrifting is so much more than all of that! If you have the patience for it you can find barely used J. Crew coats and cashmere sweaters, beautiful vintage hats and Audrey Hepburn-inspired wiggle dresses. You can find just about all your basics for around $3 or less (like your turtlenecks and black maxi skirts), and a little bit of kitschiness can be charming when you know how to blend it into your living room or kitchen.

We women who understand the pros of thrift shopping have to endure quite a lot of flak, and more times than not, it’s a little bit funny. We just smile and shake our heads, still glowing over the fact that we just bought a brand new trench coat for $4. Below are nine things women who thrift are sick of hearing:

1. “Aren’t you scared you’ll bring bed bugs home?”

9 Things People Who Thrift Are Tired of Hearing

Charity shops get a bad rep sometimes, along with the women who thrift in them. If you’re part of the camp that can’t think of not buying retail, you probably have a skewed idea of what goes on behind those dollar-sale doors.

If you’re anything like my friends, you probably imagine little old ladies armed with their social security checks pushing squeaky-wheeled carts, making their way through racks of crocheted sweaters and ’80s New Year dresses. Or you think of little porcelain dolls with soul-stealing eyes and chipped mugs crowded onto the same shelves as old VCR players and 50 cent bibles. That or you imagine Macklemore running wild in a fur coat and buying used bed sheets. I mean, you’ve got some validity to a point, I’ll give you that. I may or may not have seen Macklemore in a ‘coon hat once or twice.

But thrifting is so much more than all of that! If you have the patience for it you can find barely used J. Crew coats and cashmere sweaters, beautiful vintage hats and Audrey Hepburn-inspired wiggle dresses. You can find just about all your basics for around $3 or less (like your turtlenecks and black maxi skirts), and a little bit of kitschiness can be charming when you know how to blend it into your living room or kitchen.

We women who understand the pros of thrift shopping have to endure quite a lot of flak, and more times than not, it’s a little bit funny. We just smile and shake our heads, still glowing over the fact that we just bought a brand new trench coat for $4. Below are nine things women who thrift are sick of hearing:

1. “Aren’t you scared you’ll bring bed bugs home?”

I went into a thrift store, not a New York City dumpster. You know all those times you cleaned out your closet and donated the pieces you were bored with? Did you happen to sprinkle some bed bugs into the bag before you dropped it off? I didn’t think so. All those donations are from normal, clean people. I have a higher chance bringing bed bugs in from the subway than a Savers.

2. “Aren’t you skeeved out by wearing used clothes?”

 two

You know that Zara dress you just bought? 40 other women tried it on before you. Granted they didn’t live in it, but that’s why we have detergent! Just pop that $2 find into a hot water rinse cycle and it’s as good as new.

3. “I just don’t have the patience to dig through all those racks. I don’t know how you do it.”

three

Have you ever stepped into a Forever21? That place is a labyrinth of clothes. And not everyone makes it out alive. If you can conquer that, you can conquer anything. A thrift store is child’s play compared to that.

4. “Everything is so outdated, though.”

four

Everything that was once old is new again. Tropical prints of the ’90s are coming back, as are culottes and wide leg pants. As long as you know how to style an outdated piece in a modern way, it’ll always look interesting and stylish.

That or you always have the power of a thread and needle backing you up. Did you find a busy Megan Draper-inspired print on a dress, but it’s a terrifying maxi? Hem it into a mini! Did you find a happy, sherbet-colored top but it’s three sizes too large? Turn it into a flowing crop top. Nothing is outdated if you now how to play with it.

5. “Are you part of the extreme couponing brigade, too?”

five

Just because I like to hunt down pants for 50 cents doesn’t mean I buy one-ply toilet paper. I’m a treasure hunter, not a TLC reality star.

6. “I don’t know how you do it, nothing ever fits me right.”

six

Again, you just have to be a little creative. If a dress is baggy but you just love the way it feels on you, cinch it with a belt and it’s automatically your size. If a jacket is a skosh too big but has the right look about it, roll up the sleeves to even out the bulky proportions. If a skirt is a smidge too loose, belt it and give the waist a paperbag feel. In this dress I snipped off the sleeves because, ew, polyester sleeves. I don’t just have a magic body type that fits all thrift finds. But if there’s a will, there’s a way.

7. “Man, I never find vintage like you do when I go.”

seven

As cool as it sounds, I’m not the pied piper of vintage. I don’t whip out a flute in the middle of the sales floor and have dresses and vintage Coach bags come waltzing to me.

You see this right here? You see this amazing, long-skirt, let’s-vacation-in-Hawaii-in-the-’50s dress? I found it after an hour of rack-cruising and shelf sifting. I didn’t lock eyes with it a minute through power-walking through the sweater aisle. Like with any great find (anyone who’s stepped into an Ikea or a TopShop on sale day will agree with me), it takes patience, determination, and commitment to go piece by piece, rack by rack. You’ll find it — you just have to give the mission more than five minutes of your time.

8. “I don’t know, I’d rather just pay a little more and get the same piece new.”

9 Things People Who Thrift Are Tired of Hearing

Charity shops get a bad rep sometimes, along with the women who thrift in them. If you’re part of the camp that can’t think of not buying retail, you probably have a skewed idea of what goes on behind those dollar-sale doors.

If you’re anything like my friends, you probably imagine little old ladies armed with their social security checks pushing squeaky-wheeled carts, making their way through racks of crocheted sweaters and ’80s New Year dresses. Or you think of little porcelain dolls with soul-stealing eyes and chipped mugs crowded onto the same shelves as old VCR players and 50 cent bibles. That or you imagine Macklemore running wild in a fur coat and buying used bed sheets. I mean, you’ve got some validity to a point, I’ll give you that. I may or may not have seen Macklemore in a ‘coon hat once or twice.

But thrifting is so much more than all of that! If you have the patience for it you can find barely used J. Crew coats and cashmere sweaters, beautiful vintage hats and Audrey Hepburn-inspired wiggle dresses. You can find just about all your basics for around $3 or less (like your turtlenecks and black maxi skirts), and a little bit of kitschiness can be charming when you know how to blend it into your living room or kitchen.

We women who understand the pros of thrift shopping have to endure quite a lot of flak, and more times than not, it’s a little bit funny. We just smile and shake our heads, still glowing over the fact that we just bought a brand new trench coat for $4. Below are nine things women who thrift are sick of hearing:

1. “Aren’t you scared you’ll bring bed bugs home?”

I went into a thrift store, not a New York City dumpster. You know all those times you cleaned out your closet and donated the pieces you were bored with? Did you happen to sprinkle some bed bugs into the bag before you dropped it off? I didn’t think so. All those donations are from normal, clean people. I have a higher chance bringing bed bugs in from the subway than a Savers.

2. “Aren’t you skeeved out by wearing used clothes?”

You know that Zara dress you just bought? 40 other women tried it on before you. Granted they didn’t live in it, but that’s why we have detergent! Just pop that $2 find into a hot water rinse cycle and it’s as good as new.

3. “I just don’t have the patience to dig through all those racks. I don’t know how you do it.”

Have you ever stepped into a Forever21? That place is a labyrinth of clothes. And not everyone makes it out alive. If you can conquer that, you can conquer anything. A thrift store is child’s play compared to that.

4. “Everything is so outdated, though.”

Everything that was once old is new again. Tropical prints of the ’90s are coming back, as are culottes and wide leg pants. As long as you know how to style an outdated piece in a modern way, it’ll always look interesting and stylish.

That or you always have the power of a thread and needle backing you up. Did you find a busy Megan Draper-inspired print on a dress, but it’s a terrifying maxi? Hem it into a mini! Did you find a happy, sherbet-colored top but it’s three sizes too large? Turn it into a flowing crop top. Nothing is outdated if you now how to play with it.

5. “Are you part of the extreme couponing brigade, too?”

Just because I like to hunt down pants for 50 cents doesn’t mean I buy one-ply toilet paper. I’m a treasure hunter, not a TLC reality star.

6. “I don’t know how you do it, nothing ever fits me right.”

Again, you just have to be a little creative. If a dress is baggy but you just love the way it feels on you, cinch it with a belt and it’s automatically your size. If a jacket is a skosh too big but has the right look about it, roll up the sleeves to even out the bulky proportions. If a skirt is a smidge too loose, belt it and give the waist a paperbag feel. In this dress I snipped off the sleeves because, ew, polyester sleeves. I don’t just have a magic body type that fits all thrift finds. But if there’s a will, there’s a way.

7. “Man, I never find vintage like you do when I go.”

As cool as it sounds, I’m not the pied piper of vintage. I don’t whip out a flute in the middle of the sales floor and have dresses and vintage Coach bags come waltzing to me.

You see this right here? You see this amazing, long-skirt, let’s-vacation-in-Hawaii-in-the-’50s dress? I found it after an hour of rack-cruising and shelf sifting. I didn’t lock eyes with it a minute through power-walking through the sweater aisle. Like with any great find (anyone who’s stepped into an Ikea or a TopShop on sale day will agree with me), it takes patience, determination, and commitment to go piece by piece, rack by rack. You’ll find it — you just have to give the mission more than five minutes of your time.

8. “I don’t know, I’d rather just pay a little more and get the same piece new.”

I’m sorry, my blood runs a little too Polish to understand what you just said. My mom’s been training me with the ancient Slavic tradition of haggling since I was old enough to “walk away,” so I’m just going to assume you’re having a stroke now and call you an ambulance. Hang tight, I have you.

9. “I’m not a hipster, I can’t pull the style off.”

nine

You don’t have to buy the Cosby sweater. Ignore anything cat-patterned and shoulder padded and just focus on the Calvin Klein shift dresses and the like-new knit sweaters and leather bags. Just keep your eye on the prize and breathe.

thrift 2

*Article originally posted on Yahoo.

Remembering Geoffrey Holder (1930-2014)

Mr. Geoffrey Holder, the dancer, choreographer, actor, composer, designer and painter who used his manifold talents to infuse the arts with the flavor of his native West Indies and to put a singular stamp on the American cultural scene, not least with his outsize personality, died on Sunday in Manhattan. He was 84.

Charles M. Mirotznik, a spokesman for the family, said the cause was complications of pneumonia.

Few cultural figures of the last half of the 20th century were as multifaceted as Mr. Holder, and few had a public presence as unmistakable as his, with his gleaming pate atop a 6-foot-6 frame, full-bodied laugh and bassoon of a voice laced with the lilting cadences of the Caribbean.

Mr. Holder directed a dance troupe from his native Trinidad and Tobago, danced on Broadway and at the Metropolitan Opera and won Tony Awards in 1975 for direction of a musical and costume design for “The Wiz,” a rollicking, all-black version of “The Wizard of Oz.” His choreography was in the repertory of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Dance Theater of Harlem. He acted onstage and in films and was an accomplished painter, photographer and sculptor whose works have been shown in galleries and museums. He published a cookbook.

Mr. Holder acknowledged that he achieved his widest celebrity as the jolly, white-suited television pitchman for 7Up in the 1970s and ’80s, when in a run of commercials, always in tropical settings, he happily endorsed the soft drink as an “absolutely maaarvelous” alternative to Coca-Cola — or “the Uncola,” as the ads put it.

Long afterward, white suit or no, he would stop pedestrian traffic and draw stares at restaurants. He even good-naturedly alluded to the TV spots in accepting his Tony for directing, using their signature line “Just try making something like that out of a cola nut.”

Geoffrey Lamont Holder was born into a middle-class family on Aug. 1, 1930, in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, one of four children of Louise de Frense and Arthur Holder, who had immigrated from Barbados. Geoffrey attended Queen’s Royal College, an elite secondary school in Trinidad. There he struggled with a stammer that plagued him into early adulthood.

“At school, when I got up to read, the teacher would say, ‘Next,’ because the boys would laugh,” he said in an oral history interview.

He Was ‘Suited & Booted’!

suited and booted

I never really thought I cared about how a man dressed until I met someone who was “suited & booted”. He was very attractive not because of how his face looked but because of how much care & effort he put into his appearance.

I really prefer a man who dresses nicely because it makes me wanna look better myself. I feel like I have to keep my looks up to match his & that’s a good thing because it keeps me on my toes. If he’s this meticulous about the way he dresses then that means he’s probably just as considerate about everything else that he does.

Any man who dresses nicely means that he will represent me well no matter where we go. Anyone can dress down but if I never see how a man looks dressed up then I don’t know whether or not he can represent me properly when we are out in public. And that’s a big deal to me because it matters how he’ll look dress in front of my parents, when we’re out with my friends & it will keep me attracted to him.

Although men are known to be more visual, dressing nicely can certainly help any man get noticed. What you lack in looks can be made up for in appearance –

What Not To Wear:

Untucked shirt – Can you say lazy? How much time does it actually take to tuck in your shirt? C’mon gentlemen, get yourselves together!

untucked shirt

Scuffed up shoes – There are shoe shiners almost everywhere. At the airport, the mall or any shoe repair place. There really is NO excuse to have raggedy looking shoes. And yes, women do notice!

scuffed shoes

Have dirty nails – Gross!

dirty fingernails

Frayed belts – Belts are such an easy & inexpensive way to accessorize. If your shirt is tucked in like it should be & your belt is showing then just make sure it’s not old & tattered.

frayed belt

Wrinkled clothes – Irons were invented for a reason. Take the time to make your clothes crisp before leaving the house. This is how a grown man should dress whether at work, on a date or anywhere else.

wrinked clothes

Mismatched tie/pocket square – All the fashionistas say that the tie & pocket square should match, or at the very least they should coordinate. Women do notice little things like that.

Pocket square

A bad haircut – A bad haircut can ruin a man’s entire face. I know that accidents can sometimes happen in the barber’s chair but if your hair looks that bad, men, you should just cancel your date until your hair grows back.

bad haircut

Raggedy wallet – A good wallet can cost you a lot of money, but it is SO worth it! Please invest in the very thing that holds all of your “investments”.

old wallet

Tennis shows or shoes with laces – Men, you have got to step it up in the shoe department! If you are taking a woman out on a nice date shoes with laces should be left at home. Tennis shoes on a date are only good for men under the age of 30.

Shoes with Laces

Cheap clothing – Don’t be cheap when it comes to how you look. First impressions are everything & a real woman can tell if you what you have on is cheap – from your cologne down to your shoes.

cheap clothes

Men, anyone can throw on a shirt & shoes but can you be “suited & booted”…..?

Look, Someone Spilled A Cheetah On Themselves!

I am not a fan of cheetah print. I think it looks ridiculous when it’s overdone. If a woman has on cheetah print from head to toe it just looks tacky. It’s just too much (And the same thing can be said about leopard print too.)

We were all born with our own skin so why go around trying to wear clothes that look like the skin of an animal? Is the goal to make yourself look more erotic or to announce to the world that you’re animal-friendly?!

Whatever the reason may be, I’ve decided to dedicate this post to the women who wear cheetah proudly even though they don’t wear it well:

Cheetah

Cheetah 1

Cheetah 2

Cheetah 4

Cheetah 3

Cheetah 6

cheetah 5 Cheetah 7

Cheetah 8 Cheetah 9

Cheetah 10 Cheetah 11

Cheetah 12 Cheetah 13

Cheetah 14 Cheetah 16 Cheetah 17 Cheetah 18 Cheetah 19

Cheetah 15

You Went To Prom Wearing That?

Prom season is here! There is so much to think about from dresses to limos and pictures to hair appointments.  According to Glamour.com, families spent $1,139 on prom expenditures last year and those numbers are expected to increase with each passing year.

There are a lot of ways to save money on prom costs such as splitting costs with your date, limo pooling with other couples and borrowing accessories from friends. But regardless of how much money you’re able to save (or not save), one thing you can’t be cheap with are the photos. These will last you a lifetime and may end up in your high school yearbook, or worse yet – all over the internet!

Take a look at some of the craziest photos taken during prom season:

 

prom 12

prom 10

prom 7

prom 1

prom 18

prom 6

prom 2

prom 20

prom 11

prom 9

prom 8

prom 5

prom 4

prom 3

prom 17

prom 19

Stop Dressing So Tacky For Church

If the Rev. John DeBonville could preach a sermon to lift the souls of churchgoers across America, his message would be simple: Stop dressing so tacky for church.

DeBonville has heard about the “come as you are” approach to dressing down for Sunday service, but he says the Sabbath is getting too sloppy.

When he scans the pews of churches, DeBonville sees rows of people dressed in their Sunday worst. They saunter into church in baggy shorts, flip-flop sandals, tennis shoes and grubby T-shirts. Some even slide into the pews carrying coffee in plastic foam containers as if they’re going to Starbucks.

“It’s like some people decided to stop mowing the lawn and then decided to come to church,” says DeBonville, rector at the Church of the Good Shepard in Massachusetts. “No one dresses up for church anymore.”

Church leaders like DeBonville have harrumphed about declining dress standards for Sunday service for years, while others say God only cares what’s in someone’s heart.

But which side is right? What does the Bible actually say about dressing properly for church? And does Jesus provide fashion advice anywhere? Wasn’t he a homeless, Galilean peasant who wore flip-flops?

The answers to these questions are not as easy as they may seem. The Bible sends mixed messages about the concept of wearing your Sunday best. And when pastors, parishioners and religious scholars were asked the same questions, they couldn’t agree, either.

Wearing ties on first dates

There was one point on which both sides did agree: People are dressing sloppier everywhere, not just church.

Take a trek to the supermarket on Saturday morning and you’re bound to run into a sleepy-eyed woman in slippers and rollers at the checkout counter.

Pajamas in public: The battle of ‘appropriate’ vs. ‘comfy’

Or take a walk outside and you’ll be greeted by teenagers slouching around with their jeans sagging over the butt-cheeks.

Even corporate America isn’t immune. Casual Fridays has morphed into casual every day and even tech tycoons like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wear bland T-shirts during public presentations.

It’s a sharp departure from another era in America before the 1960s, when people wore suits, dresses and white gloves in public.

The Rev. Gerald Durley, a sharp-dressed civil rights activist in Atlanta, recalls taking his future wife, Muriel, on their first date. When he showed up at her house, her father opened the door, looked at him, and took him aside gravely, “Young man can I talk to you for a minute.”

“He told me, ‘If you’re going to take my daughter out, you can wear one of my ties,’” says Durley, a retired Baptist pastor.

Jennifer Fulwiler, who wrote an article for the National Catholic Register titled, “Why Don’t We Dress up Anymore,” says her great-grandfather would put on a coat and tie just to go grocery shopping.

The reasons why people stopped dressing up could fill a book. Yet Fulwiler offers one explanation that’s seldom mentioned – lack of gratitude.

Fulwiler’s revelation came one day as she watched scruffily dressed people board a plane. She flashed back to a black-and-white photo she had seen of her grandparents boarding a plane in the 1940s. Most of the passengers were dressed in suits and ties and dresses because air travel was such a privilege at the time.

“We dress up for what we’re grateful for,” she says. “We’re such a wealthy, spoiled culture that we feel like we have a right to fly on airplanes,” says Fulwiler, author of “Something Other than God,” which details her journey from atheism to Christianity.

Church is like air travel now – it’s no longer a big deal because people have lost their sense of awe before God, Fulwiler says.

Yet some of these same people who say it doesn’t matter how you dress for church would change their tune if they were invited to another event, Fulwiler says.

“If you had the opportunity to meet the Queen of England, you wouldn’t show up in at Windsor Castle wearing jeans and a T-shirt,” she says.

The church customer is always king

Shouldn’t people have that same reverential attitude when they show up at church to meet God, some ask? After all, doesn’t your dress reveal the importance you attach to an occasion?


Just what do you mean, ‘dress festively’?

That sentiment, however, is seen as hopelessly old school in many popular megachurches across America. Casual Fridays has morphed into casual Sundays.

And many of the popular megachurch pastors are middle-aged men who bound onto the stage each Sunday dressed in skinny jeans, untucked Banana Republic shirts, and backed by in-house Christian rock bands. They’ve perfected a “seeker-friendly” approach to church that gets rid of the old formal worship style with its stuffy dress codes.

But there’s a danger in making people too comfortable in their clothes on Sunday morning, says Constance M. Cherry, an international lecturer on worship and a hymn writer.

Some churches have embraced a business-oriented “the customer is always right” approach to worship that places individual comfort at the center of Sunday service, says Cherry, author of“Worship Architect: A Blueprint for Designing Culturally Relevant and Biblically Faithful Services.”

“Many young people and boomers judge the value of worship service based on personal satisfaction,” Cherry says. “If I get to wear flip-flops to Wal-Mart, then I get to wear flip-flops to church. If I get to carry coffee to work, I get to carry coffee to church. They’re being told that come as you are means that God wants you to be comfortable.”

What the Bible says

The Bible says that’s not true – people had to prepare themselves internally and externally for worship.

In the Old Testament, Jewish people didn’t just “come as they are” to the temple in Jerusalem. They had to undergo purification rituals and bathe in pools before they could enter the temple, says Cherry, who is also a professor of worship at Indiana Wesleyan University.

Both Old and New Testaments suggest that people should not approach God in a casual manner, Cherry says. Psalms 24 urges the faithful to “ascend the hill of the Lord …with clean hands and pure hearts.”

When Jesus taught in the synagogues, he also observed the rules and decorum of being in God’s house, Cherry says.

Cherry isn’t calling for a restoration of first-century cultural norms, such as women covering their hair in worship, or a rigid dress code. She says churches should meet people where they are, and make even the poorest person feel welcome.

She just says that preparation for worship should give less thought to people and more thought to the divine.

“There should be some sort of approach to God that will include certain steps to honor the God that is not our buddy but fully The Other,” she says.

Others back up Cherry’s call to keep the Sabbath special. Dressing up really makes a difference on Sunday, they say.

“It puts you in a different mindset,” says Tiffany Adams, a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who grew up wearing jeans in church. “It actually sets the Sabbath apart from every other day.”

And there are still pockets of church culture where no one has to persuade people to look sharp on Sunday.

The African-American church is one such place. Many of its members still insist on dressing up on Sunday because of the historical struggles of blacks. Sunday morning was often the only time in the week that a black person could assert their dignity, says Durley, the Atlanta civil rights activist who also is a retired Baptist pastor.

“On Sunday morning, when you put on your tie, your shirt and put your palms together and slicked down your hair, you were no longer the hired help, you were a trustee, a deacon or you chaired this board and you dressed accordingly,” Durley says.

What would Jesus wear?

There are others, though, who say God cares more about the person’s soul than their style. No one wears a bracelet today asking, “What would Jesus wear.” Clothes just weren’t important to Jesus or the early church, they claim.

The early church was anti-hierarchical and adopted a “come as you are” approach to worship, welcoming outcasts and the disenfranchised who often couldn’t dress in fine clothes, says Carl Raschke, a religious studies professor at the University of Denver.

Raschke cites Mark 12:38, where Jesus mocks the fine clothes worn by the Pharisees, a group of elite Jewish religious leaders of his day.

Others cite James 2:2-4, where the writer of the New Testament book criticizes early Christians for discriminating against poor people visiting the church in dirty clothes and favoring the man “wearing a gold ring and fine clothes.”

“Adopting a dress code would not only be suicidal for American Christians who are swimming against the stream of casual secularism, it would be antithetical to what Christianity sees increasingly as its abiding mission – to reach those who are marginalized and ‘don’t fit in,’ ‘’ Raschke says.

Some people, though, remain convinced that casual Sundays are getting too sloppy.

“The casualness of Sunday church attire has gone too far,” says DeBonville, the pastor of the Massachusetts church. “It’s about respect and honoring God.”

When DeBonville looks across the scruffy fashion landscape of America, he sees only one profession that’s holding the line against tacky dress.

It’s not the preachers or priests, though. These people belong to another profession whose members aren’t exactly known for respect and honoring God.

“The last ones wearing shirt and ties are the politicians,” DeBonville says.

Easter is supposed to be about the renewal of hope, but when asked if the spread of sloppy Sabbath can get any worse, DeBonville sounds gloomy. Yoga pants in the pews, pajamas near the altar – will everyone soon start showing up at church dressed like “the Dude” in the film, “The Big Lebowski.”

Nothing would surprise DeBonville anymore.

“There’s growing casualness everywhere,” he says. “I don’t know if it can get much worse.”

tacky

*Originally published on CNN’s Religious Blog.

The More I Stay In, The Less I Spend

One of the best reasons to stay at home is that I get to save money. Lots of money actually (well, if you multiply it by the amount of nights that I stay in). As much as I complain about not having a date sometimes, I never stop to think about how many great things I get to do at home for little to no money.

Here are some pretty cool ways to spend your weekend indoors –

  1. Work out to an exercise DVD or find a fitness show on television – Were you meaning to make it to the gym this morning but didn’t? Well, now’s your chance to get in shape in the comfort of your own living room. (And you don’t even have to shower afterwards if you don’t want to)
  2. Organize your room – Reorganizing something can make it look fresh by giving it a whole new look. Move some furniture around, pull out some old artwork to hang on the walls or even plug in a new room deodorizer. Trust me, a great smelling room can make a big difference
  3. Catch up on your TV shows – This is probably the laziest item on the list, but after a long week it’s sometimes nice to just veg on the couch
  4. Put a puzzle together – Have you ever tried to make your own puzzle before? Take a photo or a page from a magazine and glue it to a piece of cardboard (you can use the back of a notepad for a piece of cardboard). Cut it up into little pieces and there you have a homemade puzzle ready to be put back together!
  5. Write a letter – Remember these? There are still lots of people who appreciate a good old fashioned hand written letter. I should know; I’m one of those people =)
  6. Run a bubble bath – Ah, you might as well go and relax in a nice warm bubble bath. I never use mine, but if you don’t have a bathtub you can still create ambience in your bathroom with soft lighting or candles
  7. Experiment with a new hair or makeup style – I love changing up my hairstyle. Since I can’t always make it to the hair salon, a night at home is the perfect time to experiment with my own hair. Men, you may not be able to practice new hair styles with your hair but you can use this time to experiment with your wardrobe & create new outfits for yourself
  8. Write in your journal – Even if you’re not a letter writer, you still might like to write to yourself. It’s always nice to be able to reflect on your life by reading journal entries you’ve already written
  9. Try to replicate a restaurant recipe – Why spend all that money in a fancy restaurant when you can have a gourmet meal from your very own kitchen. Check out the websites of any notable cook including Rachel Ray, Wolfgang Puck or Chef Curtis to discover some new ways of making your usual dishes
  10. Explore some of those free apps on your phone – Now is the time to start playing with all those crazy icons on your phone. I have so many on my phone that I didn’t even install myself, and I have the least bit of knowledge on what they all do. I’m sure there are lots of apps that I would probably like to use but I just haven’t discovered them yet

Happy Saturday!

stay in 3