THE DRESS Its influence in the society

A change in the physical attire can create a change in the widening of the thinking horizon. The adage goes .Is it true?
The dress code brings its own discipline. The cleanliness of the dress can create a clean mindbend, provided we think in that way. Beware of white dress. It will be easily stained. The dress code in the different divisions of defense forces is the best example in this context, not to forget the dress code in corporate offices and factories that followed later due to the influence of globalization. But it is one thing to stand out, another to stand apart. All of them breeds differentiation, exclusivity, some sort of superiority and added to it a degree of fear and control. Even certain dress code creates divinity as well, provided the mind is also divine. Otherwise it is nothing but ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’.
It shows uniqueness, projects equality, a sense of belonging, unity, except in the rank and file and creates a friendly environment within the work area and this friendship stretches even outside the purview of set boundaries.
There is a usual norm, as we say dress for the occasion not to forget to respect the seasonal changes as well. But a soldier must walk with his uniform even in adverse conditions.
Here I would like to narrate my own story. On a rainy day, I had to wade through hip deep water to reach my office. I wore a kurtha and dhothi as it was convenient to fold and walk through the puddle. I did not use my bike. It happened to be a Saturday, and for a four hour sojourn in the office, I thought it will suffice. The CEO, in his official attire reached the office and seeing me, he muttered about the official dress. Even the personnel secretary, who was a lady, laughed at me. The CEO wanted a big parcel to be sent to the HQ office and he asked for my help in taking it with him in the car and deliver it at the post office. We both went and on reaching the post office, the CEO was hesitating to get down from the car. I could guess the reason. The car was in the middle of tyre deep water. He looked at me and the false prestige prevented him from requesting me to get down. His dress was preventing him. Conformism. However I got down pulling up my dhoti and got it to the post office and returned. With a disgruntled gesture, he thanked me. Here I remembered the episode of Sir Walter Raleigh and Queen Elizabeth 1. The queen knighted him, but me?
While the western world strictly adheres to this norm, in India, we generally do not follow this, unless it is so needed and made compulsory. In the northern regions, generally it happens.
See our MPs attending Parliament sessions. We accept the decorum and decency in their individual dress code. Most important is their attitude towards the citizens who elected them.
The different schools have their own design and colour to their uniforms depending on the classes the student studies. This gives an easy identification. The same dress code pattern should be implemented for colleges in their degree and higher levels. This will certainly instill certain level of discipline and decorum that seems to be at a loss at this stage, when we see certain headlines in the newspapers. Of course, these incidents can be fully awerted, if we had the disciplined mind bend, even without a proper dress code. Behind every student unrest, either parents or politics or both are responsible.
But the idea of conformism in attire creates confusion in the mind whether it will instill pride, selflessness and commitment? But the uniform does something different. It makes the soldier and policeman act, totally in a different mind bend and behavior and as stiff as the starch in his uniform. It often gives them ‘I am the great’ feeling. His tone, his body language is all about power and rank and control and totally blindfolded towards the humanitarian aspects. But sometime it warrants and we cannot blame them. But they should properly and precisely differentiate it.
Again, is it necessary to have a mortar board cap and a gown to collect a degree? In todays view point it is a show and mere waste. If not, why the word to collect the degree in absentia’? Is that uniform necessary here also?
Please do not stamp me as a revolutionary or antisocial, I am only pointing out the stubborn condition hidden within the uniform.
Only during the 20th century we started hearing about the dress code. Earlier there were only two colours that were in vogue, the ‘white collared and the blue collared”.
Then the fashion world injected new lexicon jargons like casual, formal and non formal and so many new names for the external and inner wares.
Even to this date I don’t know the in depth meaning of some of these! For me a clean dress is a good dress. Mainly it should cover where it should. Any way we have escaped from the suffocating Elizabethan and Victorian periods.
When we see the dresses worn by persons for some occasions of today, it is of compressed, expressed, oppressed and exposed nature in most cases in the name of modernity. I am totally depressed with it. The human eye is so crude sometimes and it will search for details with who wears what!Here we have given them full freedom, not to talk about percentage. The thread-bare minimum dress is the order of the day, creating a doubt in the mind as to whether the cloth (?) asking the thread to hold or the thread (?) asking the cloth to hold, a totally confusing situation. A tug of war game! Can be worn in obverse or reverse way, or upside down, nothing matters! The other day in a wedding reception I had an opportunity to see a lady in micro net type saree with thousands of beads embedded on them and the top was with thousands of holes with the same number of tassels hanging on them. At first sight I had a feeling that she was coming from a fishing hamlet as the dress resembled a fishnet with lead pieces attached to create weight for the net to sink. The paleontologists and anthropologists will have a real run behind her to unearth the secrets of her clothes. The question mark is to mention that both are invisible sometimes! Excuse me H G WELLS, invisible man. But with very visible dress .For the fashion lexicon, it may be called as ventilator, windows (Bill Gates should excuse), exhaust. Or use the longest word in English: Transptranslucespeque. For a common man it is a sticker without gum.
One cannot expect a farmer working in the paddy field to wear a 3 piece or 4 piece suites. There he will wear only bear minimal clothing. The loin is a uniform there. For an occasion like wedding, he will come even in RAMRAJ dresses or even better depending on his financial positions. For example, PADAYAPPA film scene of celebrating the birthday or for that matter, the wedding anniversary of Rajnikanth and Soudarya. A rose is a rose in whatever way it is. A real change of dress code was presented from modest to modern for the happiness of his daughters.
In many occasions we see, many persons in very high position wearing dress showing their simplicity.
At the same time we see the extreme, the dress patterns of pseudo intellectuals and the pseudo riches. The unwanted and unwarranted extravaganza. One can easily pick them out, as they are visible both physically and from their detailed exposures to show the so called ‘careful carelessness’ and the body language behavioral pattern which gives us a clear visa about their global bouts. Generally they will have a coterie of subservient persons.
Now we see a new dress pattern which has an international recognition thrust upon it. The Bermuda, as people call it. It can also be named as Quartails, (slightly deviating from statistical name) as it will carry ribbon like straps hanging from all known and unknown places and pockets to hold all the latest electronic gadgets. Like XL and XLL marks on shirts, it can be LQ and UQ and IQR in this category to make sure they are below the knee, above the knee or for that in between knee, a loin for short. Do not worry; advertisers will hang around if worn by special persons. Was it unearthed by the scuba divers in the effort of trying to locate a missed ship or plane in the Bermuda triangle? Then it must be the full trouser of the captain or one of his crew, weather-beaten or eaten out remains by a shark which got pulped up into a new avatar! Or was it torn by the angry blood hounds while a thief was jumping over a wall or gate to escape their talons and canines? It doesn’t need a wash! A proud father was proclaiming after wearing his always flying son’s. One size can stretch or crush as per the body size. For a shift system one is enough between father and son. Some Bermudas will get stretched by inches under every wash and at regular intervals a piece can be removed and used for other purposes till the entire stuff transforms into cobweb design.
In my childhood and school days I had half trousers with crossed straps, either with the same material with button holes or an elastic cross white band with buckles! Latter was considered a luxury and exhibited richness.
Ultimately the dress code has lost its prominence, which I had seen in my own official life.
Again, there is only one functional need for a uniform and that is recognition.
I had the opportunity in meeting the British manager in Chartered Bank Calicut in his casual T shirts and shorts in his official cabin during 60’s and 70’s.
Is uniform a ‘Who we are and what we do’? Does it really? Is it a related term we think? I think so.
The legal garb, the stiff wing collars, the bar jacket and the wig for the judges creates a doubt whether the correct arguments and cross exams and the final judgment can or will be delivered only by wearing it by the bar and the bench?
The doctor can come in any neat dress of his or her choice and nobody expects them to be present in lab uniforms. Here the patient needs only a proper and sincere care to get his disease cured and he expects a Messiah’s touch. But in the operation theatre, the surgeon and his associates should have a dress code, that should be sterile and there is no compromise for that. The real dress code of a doctor can be seen in the biography of Dr. Mary Anne Scharlieb M D of Kasthurba Gandhi Hospital for Women; Triplicane Year 1866.It is the humanitarian approach, of course.
We can highlight many incidents and events that had taken place in the life of great men who loved in simplicity in their dress wherever they went. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Theresa, to tell a few, followed simplicity in their dresses.
Mahathmaji attended the Round Table Conference in his barest minimum clothes. Even the Britishers were wonderstruck and stood before him when he entered the hall. It was the charisma that attracted them and not the dress. When he was in South Africa, he was in full suits.
When he came to India, he could see the people who did not have anything to cover their body and the poverty. He resorted to simplicity and did not force anyone to follow his life pattern.
The humor filled story “The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Anderson will throw a clear light on the dress code and how stupid was the king to accept the swindlers words and how his nakedness was revealed by a child. Conformism and yes men and sycophants following them make everything stupid.
The idea came to Anderson to write the story was a real incident that had taken place when he was a child. He was waiting for the king Frederick VI and when he saw him, he cried out, “the king is nothing more than a human being”. He made his story look satirical. The king in his attire was merely a show for him.
Under the ultimate analysis, dress has no impact on the influence in a society. Depending upon the climatic conditions, cover the body, if one wants to really protect it. As per Darwin, we have transformed from Rhesus to man with a cover, which is the dress.
Be modest in the dress habits. The adage: The way you dress makes what you are was an old sentence usually practiced in the transcription copy book with four lines to improve the handwriting. Everything is a bygone memory as old as a mummy. A king’s dress will suit only for a king. Some onion peel tight dresses gives an ‘egg or hen first’ effect.
But the dress code continues in some avenues even today and it will. The Private Clubs of conglomerates demand a dress code. Here, money, influence, supremacy and privilege and all these are sewn and starched in the dress code. It seems, it is also vanishing slowly. In an A/c ambience, it’s ok . In the sweltering heat, it has to be thrown away.

The latest news item in The Hindu dated 16th July 2014  Page 19

The New York Times Syndicate under the headline”The clothes make the negotiator”

Quote: The team theorised that dressing unconventionally in prestigious settings signals that a person’s status is so high that he /she doesn’t have to bother confirming to established norms.

When the playing field is more level,though,you might actually gain status in your counterpart’s eyes by letting your personality and perhaps a bit of whimsy. Unquote

I think the last line belongs to lovers, who are going to get married or newly married?


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