Question of Clothes a Great Problem
Where Is the Deadline Between Men’s Comfort and Decorum?
The hot wave brings, up anew the question of midsummer negligee. To what extent may conventionality in clothes be disregarded for comfort. The refusal of the management of a fashionable hotel to serve a guest in his shirtsleeves was an incident of yesterday’s news. At the Congress of Whist Players a southerner of the old school remained true to traditions of respect for the presence of ladies and sweltered in broadcloth, while the other players sat coatless. Where is the deadline of decorum to be drawn?
A generation has witnessed extraordinary concessions to comfort in summer clothes. Suits of linen and duck and seersucker date from before the war, but it is only since the eighties that unstarched shirts and low-cut shoes of tan or patent leather has come into general use. It is during that period that outing clothes and the “two-piece” suits of thin fabrics and washable materials have gained their great hold and the belt universally replaced the suspenders. “Athletic” underwear, so called, is of very recent adoption. The inroad of negligee on manners is a serious phase of the question.
The shirtwaist man is endurable in his place, but that place is clearly not at a public dinner table or a formal public gathering, nor yet in an automobile. The question of shirtsleeves on the streets is a moot one. But does the slight gain in personal comfort compensate for the necessary loss of self-respect? The line of propriety in summer clothes is now so lax that it should not needlessly be overstepped. – New York Tribune, 1908
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