Grin and please don’t bare it


I understand, I do, that in our post 9/11 world it has become de rigeur to seek a sense of solace and security in our everyday lives. We favor soft furnishings, comfort foods, and the familiarity of hearth and home.

From Spiderman to Scooby-Doo much of the summer’s entertainment is a retread of the tried and true. reports a marked increase in the number of recipe requests for meat loaf and mashed potatoes (leaving aside the question of how we ever became a nation of people who need a recipe for mashed potatoes?)

Little too comfortable. As a nation stricken with uncertainty, we are seeking the comfortable and familiar for a sense of succor. The trouble is that with the urge to carry reassurance too far, people well past potty training age are wearing their PJ’s in public.

And just when I thought we’d driven a stake through the heart of sweat pants.

Retailers and assorted fashionistas may call those flannel pants and skimpy T-shirts and tanks “lounge wear” but there is no lounging to be done at the supermarket, gas station, or the office, now is there?

Once you leave home, your lounging options are severely limited. Even in those really long lines at the Wal-Mart. Yet there you’ll be, all pajama-ed up and nowhere to nap.

Moreover, I remember fondly when a glimpse of someone’s undergarments was embarrassing to the wearer. Today, average folk and celebrities alike regularly expose flesh once shown only in doctor’s offices.

Fashion and celebrity magazines assure us that it’s crucial that your foundation garments match your blouse since both will, it is presumed, be on prominent display.

It’s almost unfathomable that there was once a time when to whisper “your slip is showing” to a young lady was intended to save her embarrassment. Today, it would most likely be taken as a compliment.

Dress codes. Meanwhile, in everyday U.S.A., the media focused on stories of high schools across the nation forced to pass a “mandatory underwear” provision in their school dress codes after one too many students chose to skip foundation garments altogether.

Now, I can remember when your mother might’ve reminded you to wear clean ones in case you were in an accident, but even the most overbearing of mothers didn’t feel the need to remind you to wear them in the first place. That was just sort of a given.

America is a nation that takes everything to excess. Look at what we did with all those Rocky movies and the annual per capita consumption of Big Macs. We are not a people noted for our ability to know when to say when.

This is how a fairly decent idea like casual dress burgeoned to such a startling degree. Just a generation or so ago we were a nation of people who wore white gloves to the supermarket, and “leisure” suits for our downtime.

The next thing you know we’re pumping gas in our pajamas and swinging by the bank in our bikinis. Didn’t we used to have nightmares of just this sort of public underwear debacle in grade school?

Undergarments on the outside, pajamas as outerwear. Casual dress so casual it’s a wonder people wear shoes to the office anymore. Face it folks, we are a nation of slobs.

New garb? The Statue of Liberty may as well ditch the toga and be recast in flip-flops and a tank top. Although, come to think of it, when your nation’s symbol of greeting to newcomers is a woman in a toga, perhaps she’s casual enough already?

Lady Liberty aside, for the rest of us I think a new rule of thumb should be in order. Is it too much to ask that if a hospital would issue a gown to cover it, then you needn’t flaunt it on Main Street?

As a nation we have to take a stand for truth, justice, and decency in our hemlines and under things. Heaven knows, dressed as we are, that we must take a stand because quite a few of us definitely should not bend over.

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt welcomes reader comments and fashion tips c/o P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460 or

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