I am so lost in the Isaiah chapters of Gospel Doctrine that I’m almost embarrassed, and so I sit in the back of the classroom, near a door, claiming “baby distraction,” or possible “baby emergency,” all the while not following the discussion in the least. Till a couple of weeks ago, when a woman raised her hand and said, “When I was little, we had to stay in our church clothes all day on Sunday. Mothers these days want their kids out of their Sunday clothes so that they stay clean. Then the kids put on play clothes and the mothers wonder why they misbehave.”
Is casual dress really that significant? Would my children really be little angels if I dressed them as such? Is it so basic as not letting them run around in their nightgowns and flannel bottoms all morning? Is that what’s causing such a ruckus at our house?
Elder Perry said, “Our dress and grooming send a message to others about who we are, and they also affect the way we act around others. I believe very casual dress is almost always followed by very casual manners.”
This is hard for me to stomach having grown up “in the mission field,” where a lot of times new converts (or old converts for that matter) wear jeans to meetings, no ties, flip flops. Or with a father, who since retiring has taken his weekend cargo shorts & t-shirts to a whole new level. I know these hearts—they’re lovely and loving. Can their dress really make them not so? I thought that “man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart?”
Still, I cringe when my daughter wants to leave the house in a pair of baggy cut off sweats & a thread bear tee scavenged from my pajama drawer. “Mom, she whines, “it’s just so comfortable!” She wanted to wear this exact outfit, the other day, to a primary program practice. I paused before I answered her, looking her in the eye, gauging my battle, but she interrupted me: “I forgot we’d be in the chapel. I probably should change.”
And maybe that’s it: the balance of it all—a time and place for everything, sweatpants included.
What do you think? What do you think about casual dress? The eventual hole in something? Do you ever dress down for meetings? Or do you always dress up?
(And if we’re going there, what’s your favorite dress up? Sorry. I couldn’t resisit.)