Parkhurst: Put on your tie, we’re going to the state fair’
Looking through a booklet on the 110th anniversary of the Missouri State Fair, the one thing that stood out was the differences in how we dressed. The booklet, produced by the fair with photographic contributions by others, depicts a more formal dress prior to the 1940s. Nearly all the men wore neckties and jackets, and the women donned long skirts and fashionable hats.
Was the weather much cooler back then? I don’t think so. However they didn’t have air conditioning and were more used to the hot weather than we are today — plus they simply wanted to look their best. This all began to change in the 1950s and ’60s as the liberated fairgoer threw fashion out the window.
Wait a minute, what is fashion? Isn’t fashion a prevailing custom or style? If so, after 70 years of dressing up in our finest clothes, we changed very rapidly. Gone were the men’s ties and dress coats and the women switched to short-sleeved dresses and pitched the petticoats and fancy hats. As expected, the biggest and most provocative change came from the unfettered young. Girls began showing up in shorts (no tank tops yet) while boys tossed their bib overalls in favor of the new fashionable “Levi’s” and rolled up the sleeves of their short sleeved shirts — to better show off their masculinity.
So what’s going on here? Are we merely wearing clothes that make us feel more comfortable or suit the occasion better? Not necessarily. We all want to be different yet stay in the trend of the masses. After all, isn’t that what fashion is in the first place? The disturbing thing to me is the respect of the event or those around you.
Today is the annual Governor’s Ham Breakfast on the fairgrounds and it is probably one of the last bastions of a dress code to fall by the wayside. This also is an election year and I’ll bet the politicians running for office will be there looking their best. I have attended more ham breakfasts than I can remember and it was never a casual affair, for me anyway. One year our group even brought a chandelier and set the table with real silverware and glass goblets. I even bought the grand champion ham once and I sure didn’t want to go have my picture taken with the governor wearing my bib overalls or Bermuda shorts!
Those who know me are aware that I am not known for wearing the latest in clothing styles. However, I feel we should dress respectably or decent when we go out in public. Today I think things are getting a bit out of hand. Nobody wants to see your belly hanging out beneath your T-shirt. We all know how our legs are connected to our body — there is no need to wear your pants so low to show the rest of us that you are normal.
Maybe we should reflect back to the “then” of this year’s “Then and Wow” theme of the fair. Back then, the men with their white shirts and ties with jackets more or less all looked alike, a reflection that everyone wanted to look his best. Standing out, to me, as I walked around the fair this year were the men and women in uniform — the highway patrol, military forces, firefighters, paramedics and conservation commission personnel all looked sharp and fresh. A uniform serves two purposes: It makes one stand out as a member of their group and at the same time it equalizes everybody within that group.
Even volunteers for the State Fair Foundation selling water had identifying blue T-shirts, as did other workers in their brightly colored shirts guiding fairgoers into the grounds. It made me feel like I was attending a real “Wow” event.
Everybody participating in the fair has great expectations. Just like the Olympics that just finished in London, every presenter at the fair is exhibiting the best of what they have to show and we are invited to come and see the fruits of their labor. Don’t you think we should do likewise and present ourselves the best we can in the way we dress and act while attending the state fair?
Commentscomments powered by Disqus
Local Gas Prices