Is Clothing Part of Manners?

I received this interesting question and was at first at a loss if an answer was appropriate as it doesn’t strictly pertain to manners and etiquette. Then, after thinking about it, I do believe it is a good question for us all to ponder.

Dear Lady Hooper-Brackett,

Do you think clothes have anything to do with manners? I mean, the items we choose to wear every day have nothing to do with how we treat people. Am I wrong to think this way? 

Casual Dresser

Dear Casual Dresser,

Your question is a good one…and seemingly very relevant in our less formal ways of current living.  Clothing does communicate to others, and this communication should be mannerly and in good taste. Yes, I do believe that clothing is part of manners and gracious living. You wouldn’t (hopefully) show up at a formal dinner wearing a Speedo.  You wouldn’t wear a tuxedo to a pool party. These examples show that these choices would call attention to yourself and make others uncomfortable. As much as we hate to admit, people judge others upon first meeting. Your appearance will color what others think of you, more than the fact that you open doors for ladies or have impeccable table manners.  Especially if you seek to dress differently for shock value, choosing the wrong clothing can be rude. Appropriateness in all situations will make you and everyone else around you comfortable.

Best Clothes Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Rudeness on a Shirt

*I apologize ahead of time for the allusions to curse words in this post*

As I have stated in an older post, mail time is a favorite event in the course of the day. Mixed in with the usual correspondence today was a catalog. On its cover a large banner proclaimed “MIX AND MATCH RED BOX SPECIAL Tees! But 2 or more for $18 each” Next to this was a photo showing just a few of the 96 different varieties of T-shirts available. One of the T-shirts in the sample photo had emblazoned across the front “I would like to thank my middle finger for always sticking up for me when I need it.”

Some other statements that you, too, can make with your clothing for the low price of $18 included:

  1. Friday is my second favorite F word.
  2. I’m up, if you’re expecting bright-eyed and bushy-tailed go catch a fr&#$ing squirrel.
  3. And yet despite the look on my face you’re still talking.
  4.  I turn beer into pee. What’s your super power?

I could list more, but I won’t. I am sure most people see these as being jokes and funny, simply novelty items to stick in a drawer and never wear. But let’s hope that  impressionable people don’t think that it is perfectly fine to go around offending people. By all means, in the privacy of one’s own home these are not offensive. BUT! By their very design they are made to shock and offend and I cannot help but be dismayed to see these things for sale.

Best Clothing Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Why The Approach Was Wrong

Here is a follow up to the last scenario as I was asked about my concerns about the way Mr. Old High School Crush had approached the seeker of advice. I received two emails asking me to please follow up. Here are my thoughts, for your eager consumption.

I took exception to:

  1.  Him staring at someone across the room repeatedly and so conspicuously that they noticed.
  2. Him approaching the table and asking the lady if she recognized him. Why not say, “Hello, I am Mr. SoAndSo, I believe we went to high school together and wanted to say hello.” Doesn’t that sound better than “Don’t you recognize me?” and putting the innocent party on the spot?
  3. Him standing over a seated person. If an empty chair was at the table, he would have done well to ask permission to be seated. By remaining standing, he called attention to himself and the table.
  4. Him revealing a lady’s age in public by announcing to all gathered what year she graduated from high school. (Oh, the horror!)

Am I being nitpicky in this situation? I don’t believe so. Certainly, having a bit more polish would have been more of a credit to this man. And if he remembered the basic tenets of Putting Others At Ease and Never Calling Attention To Oneself he would have come out smelling like a rose! However, I suppose in his enthusiasm for seeing his old school chum, he forgot and according to the letter, no harm was done. In this case, I will give him the benefit of the doubt. After all, ignoring innocent social flubs should be part of our own code of etiquette.

Best Mannerly Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Mobile Manners:The Etiquette of Cell Phone Usage

I cannot begin to list how many times I’ve been out with Lord Hooper-Brackett and while enjoying a meal, having the peace shattered by a big mouth at the next table having a loud conversation on his cell. Of course these vociferous exchanges are usually precipitated by an obnoxious ringtone playing a vulgar song. 

I’ve pretty much had enough of cell phone use in public and have compiled a list of things that will help you in not being one of ‘those people’ who annoy others when using your cell phone.

  1. Etiquette and manners are about consideration of those around you. If you remember nothing else about manners, remember this: Do Nothing That Will Draw Attention To Yourself. (I say this part loud: Please reconsider your public ringtone)
  2. Speak softly and speak quickly.
  3. Do not discuss private topics or other people in a public place. Voices carry.
  4. Do watch your language and do not curse or swear. 
  5. Do not repeatedly glance at your phone, text, or check the web while you are conversing with others.
  6. Do not be a distracted driver and use the cell while you are driving.
  7. Silence phones in theaters, libraries, churches, schools, meetings….anywhere that people can be disturbed.
  8. If it annoys you when you see others doing it, it annoys others when you do it. Remember that people and relationships matter; be mindful of your habits and control them.

Technology is a wonderful thing…after all, it allows you to read this blog! How we handle the technology is another thing entirely.  I am hopeful that a day will come when everyone in restaurants looks up at the person they are seated across from and not down at their phones.

Best Cell Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett