Doug Robinson: Have Americans gone too casual?

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  • RedSandMan St. George, UT
    June 23, 2014 7:46 a.m.


    Is that a t-shirt you are wearing in your picture representing your professional work at Deseret News? Just asking... :)

  • Fan Base Salt Lake City, UT
    June 21, 2014 8:43 p.m.

    please don't wear golf shirts to weddings!

  • Kronk Blackfoot, ID
    June 20, 2014 1:14 a.m.

    I recently attended a dance (for adults, not teens) that was clearly advertised as "formal or semi-formal" dress. Many showed up in tuxedos/formal dresses. Many showed up in suits and nice dresses. A dismaying number, both men and women, showed up in blue jeans and T-shirts, and even some shorts. I completely agree with Doug Robinson on this one. Our attitude is reflected by our dress, and we express our attitude with our dress. If we take a date to a "formal" dance dressed in "casual", is it any wonder our relationship with said person will likely also be excessively casual?

  • Bob K Davis, CA
    June 19, 2014 8:24 p.m.

    Doug, fashions have changed in recent years.

    Actors and singers are wearing suits and nice dresses on TV -- Justin Timberlake had a song "Suit and Tie", and "How I Met Your Mother" is always mentioning suits.

    However, the older generation, who live through the sloppy 1980s, is looking pretty bad.
    Some of them are still clinging to schoolboy haircuts, or toupees that try to make them look as they did when 20.

  • Socal Coug San Diego, CA
    June 19, 2014 3:39 p.m.

    Thank you Captain Obvious.
    Can you also tell the guy at the 24 Hour Fitness locker room that it's not okay to walk around naked, even though so many others do it? Seriously, you have a towel, use it!
    I know, a topic for another day, but it's this general malaise of sloppiness, I-can-do-what-I-want-so-I-will, and lazy attitude about life.
    Take some pride in what you do, even if you're just going out for eggs and milk.
    I still wear a shirt and tie to work and people comment like I'm over-doing it.
    Whether you're representing your employer or your family, your dress says how you feel about that thing.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    June 19, 2014 11:30 a.m.

    I'd like to see people take their hats off more, such as when they dine or enter places where there should be a modicum of respect.

  • Pendergast Salt Lake City, UT
    June 19, 2014 10:34 a.m.

    re: Erika

    "The People of WalMart is an entertainment website...,so it isn't a commentary on everyone who shops there.)"

    You are correct. It isn't a commentary. Its a reflection.

  • suzyk#1 Mount Pleasant, UT
    June 19, 2014 9:18 a.m.

    Nothing is more demeaning than a male or female going into a store(even Walmart) looking like they just got out of bed. When I see someone like that my first thought is that is the way their life is - unkept, disorganized and no self-esteem. I don't understand how especially women allow themselves to get so huge and yet they wear clothing that is for young people. What happen to self-respect?

  • Erika Salem, Utah
    June 19, 2014 9:13 a.m.

    The People of WalMart is an entertainment website, for those who think this author is singling out people who shop at WalMart. It features photos of outrageous and unusual dress and grooming encountered by people while shopping at WalMart. (Obviously, those submitting photos would be WalMart shoppers, themselves, so it isn't a commentary on everyone who shops there.)

  • GK Willington Salt Lake City, UT
    June 19, 2014 8:39 a.m.

    per one old man

    "Imagine this: Forty years from now, can you imagine all the little old ladies sporting wrinkled tattoos"

    Actually, I have. I have said to my friends who have kids in Elementary School or Jr High that if their kids have any interest in medicine/science encourage them to become plastic surgeons... In 25 yrs or so, there will be a real demand/need

  • Wally West SLC, UT
    June 19, 2014 8:34 a.m.

    to JediToby

    "We are all The People of Walmart."

    Speak for yourself. I like to get my essentially useless swag made in China from Target

    re: A Guy With A Brain (yesterday afternoon)

    Agreed. As for point 2, I agree especially with those who have tat sleeves. You are not Mickey Rourke in Iron Man 2 nor is your skin the Sistine Chapel.

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    June 19, 2014 8:25 a.m.

    to Understands Math

    Or maybe, its to discern what people are wearing under their coats w/ all the rain in the NW??

    Seriously(?), there are numerous people who wear flip flops where I work. Its lazy and unprofessional IMO.

    Don't even get me started on people who wear wool caps when its 85 degrees or shorts when its 35.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    June 19, 2014 5:49 a.m.

    It's perplexing.... because yes, we are more casual, but the same time we are obsessed with superficial beauty in equal extremes. I am glad that in today's workplace, at least in my industry, that what you do is more important than how nifty you dress..... or if you are sporting a 6 pac.... or have perfect legs.

    so yes, at the end of the day, I will take hairy arm pits over a pretty face if the arm pit dude can actually do something more than look pretty.

  • EJM Herriman, UT
    June 18, 2014 11:36 p.m.

    @21MOM: Doug has hit it on the nose here. In terms of the weight issue brought up by a few of the poster let me tell you this. We have, as a society, gotten fatter over the last 100 years. Look at all the people around you. Most people have pretty good sized bellies and when you see them in clothes too tight then it looks bad. Plain and simple. America is becoming obese due to over consumption and a lack of exercise.

  • benjjamin Beaverton, OR
    June 18, 2014 11:14 p.m.

    I thought I was going to disagree with this article when I read the title. I thought the author was going to spew out junk about work attire. As in, we should all be wearing tucked-in dress shirts and ties to work.

    But, after reading the article, I just have to say, "Well said." I agree 100%. Good article. The author surprised me by writing something that makes sense. I don't see a whole lot of that coming out of news media these days. Kudos.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 18, 2014 8:12 p.m.

    Agree with the article. My experience has led me to believe that the uber-casual attire mode causes or is related to poor manners in dinning, inability to engage in adult level conversation and in general broadcasts a "I don't give a care for myself or others" attitude.

    I have a hard time taking supposed adults seriously when they wear teen-age styles into their 20'such as "Home-boy" shorts complete with Name-that-Team tank top and askew ball cap. The same for those who expect the world to sink to their slovenly level of table manners, speech and dress.

    We do send messages or signals by dress, manners and speech. Ask anyone who interviews people for employment. The first 30 seconds are critical, and you don't get do-overs for a first impression.

    Manners, commitment to a reasonable dress code and ability to speak, read books and converse as an educated adult are still admirable traits to aspire to or master.

    The last thing the world needs is an over-the-hill high school sophomore wanna-be.

  • DEW Cougars Sandy, UT
    June 18, 2014 8:12 p.m.

    I haven't noticed what was going on in this world because I don't have any visual field at all. Last week one of our church member brought in her new born child to church. I didn't know she was pregnant. Anyway, I won't have to look harder next time when I go to restaurants which sound scary. Hopefully Gene Therapy for my eyes would be available soon so I can enjoy the sight seeing away from crouds.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    June 18, 2014 6:28 p.m.

    Along with the degradation of appearance, there is also the dreadful degradation of manners and the increase of foul language. Can they be related?

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    June 18, 2014 6:24 p.m.

    It seems that the preferred fashion style for many Americans is to make yourself as ugly as possible.

    Between piercings of every imaginable body part, tattoos of all kinds -- usually full of skulls and other grotesque images, clothing that is designed to look worn out and dirty (costing a lot more to buy because of all the work it takes to make it look that way), unshaven men (and some women), hair of all colors and looking like it was combed with a mix-master, we've become a nation in which there appears to be an ongoing contest for Slob of the Day.

    Imagine this: Forty years from now, can you imagine all the little old ladies sporting wrinkled tattoos?

  • 21MOM Keaau, HI
    June 18, 2014 6:15 p.m.

    #2 comment:
    I think that to class people as "Wal-mart" type people is completely unfair prejudice and supposition. Wal-Mart is a blessing for people who cannot afford department stores and the like. D.I. is not available in Every state. In Fact even the Goodwill here in my state can often have the same prices or be even more expensive than something brand new at Wal-Mart or Ross, etc.
    Lastly, Didn't your mother ever teach you not judge those who may be overweight (according to your scale), until you have lived their life and been given their circumstances?

  • 21MOM Keaau, HI
    June 18, 2014 6:14 p.m.

    #1 comment: I love MOST of this article!
    I completely agree that many, if not most people, have become lazy, uncouth and unconcerned with modesty and decency and grooming, etc.. But, as the gap widens between the poor and the wealthy in these latter-days, we must be careful not to get caught up on our Rameumptoms. I know many people who would love to dress themselves and their families with more etiquette and decorum, yet are quite unable to do so. If we are going to complain of their appearance we need to be ready to offer something better that they may not be able to provide for themselves.

  • Wonder Provo, UT
    June 18, 2014 5:13 p.m.

    Oh brother. Dress nicely if you want and mind your own business about everyone else.

  • JD Tractor Iowa City, IA
    June 18, 2014 3:13 p.m.

    I live in the Midwest, and if you think Utah is behind on the times, wait till you see what's coming!

  • B ob Richmond, CA
    June 18, 2014 3:12 p.m.

    Easy options for me. Skirt and a blouse instead of shorts and a T-shirt. Slacks and a sweater in place of jeans and a sweat shirt. Messy bun instead of a pony tail. Tinted lip gloss vs. plain Chapstick. Takes the same amount of time..may be take seconds more to put in earrings and use perfume.

  • chubydukskruber Mapleton, UT
    June 18, 2014 2:31 p.m.

    This article is ridiculous to me. I agree with JediToby. It's annoying he uses the people of Wal Mart as his low class comparison. Who cares if someone wears pajamas outside, who cares if someone wears a tanktop to a store. I think it's funny that people want 'Dress Codes' at a restaurant. Wearing 'sloppy' clothing only affects the people wearing them. If it bugs you that the guy next to you wears sweat pants while you eat at a different table, you need an ego check. For me there is a time to dress nice, but that does not mean that I feel uncomfortable around those that decide to wear less 'Fashionble' Clothing. It's up for personal interpretation. Times change, look at what we wore 200, 150, 100, 50 years ago.

  • A Guy With A Brain Enid, OK
    June 18, 2014 1:06 p.m.

    Man!, I couldn't agree more with this article!!

    How we dress is merely a reflection of who we are on the inside. Period.

    Wearing pajamas in public?! Tacky, utterly tacky. You want to look like a slob (guys) or a frump (ladies)?.....knock yourself out.

    But I promise you this:

    1) If you continually dress like a slob, you will eventually become one.

    2) I will absolutely think less of you. No, not as a human being....I'll still hold a door open for you or pull you out of a burning car, but less of you in terms of how much (or how little) I trust you to interact with me and others with class, civility and dignity. Sorry, but if I have to choose between interacting with you or the person next to you who's dressed with some class and holds themselves with dignity, they get the nod.

    3) I will never dress like that. That's not "I'm better than you" arrogant pride. That's "I know who I am and I will act like I matter at ALL times."

  • David Mohr Victoria/BC/Canada, 00
    June 18, 2014 12:37 p.m.

    When I was a kid my family lived in Germany. I was often reminded that I represented Canada. We knew who the Americans were at that time - mid 60's - because of how poorly they dressed. They were the ones with rollers in their hair - the ones that looked like they threw on the first thing they picked off the floor. I am appalled that this lack of respect for their person has invaded Canada. I remember a comment about the so-called comfort clothing. If it isn't comfortable then it doesn't fit you. Why have we decided that cut-offs, old T-shirts, ripped jeans, stockings with runs in them are the height of sartorial excellence?

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    June 18, 2014 12:20 p.m.

    Tooele, UT

    The scriptures refer to the Proud as those who wear expensive fabrics.
    I've heard it said many times in church that "everyone can afford a suit," and this is a lie.


    I've bought dozens of $300 and $400 suits at Deseret Industries for less than $15

    That's what God is meaning by "PRIDE",
    and insisting on or only wearing expensive fabrics.

    I know "Mormons" who wouldn't be caught dead wearing anything from D.I.,
    let alone be seen shopping there.


    June 18, 2014 11:58 a.m.

    No, It's not just Utah, as some folks have stated. I also grew up in the 60s and 70s. There's been a general decline in how one dresses, male and female, since the mid/late 60s. This has nothing to do with have/have nots. If you look at pictures from the 50s or earlier, people even dressed up to go to the ball game. I have a 1951 photo of a Thanksgiving family get together. The men were in ties and the women were dressed up as well. Many of these folks were hard working blue collar workers, and some highly educated. But everyone dressed up, regardless of socio-ecomonic lever. Now, people go to church in clothes one wouldn't even wear to recreational outings 50 years ago. It has nothing to do with income level. We have generally become a nation of slobs!

  • birder Salt Lake City, UT
    June 18, 2014 11:51 a.m.

    OK, I'll add my two biggest pet peeves regarding attire - women who don't cover up sufficiently on top, and pregnant women who wear those ultra-tight tops. Ugh.

  • Morgan Duel Taylorsville, UT
    June 18, 2014 11:39 a.m.

    But wait tell they have to go to court for living their lives as slobs and every one dresses in a dress or a suit and tie and cleans themselve up by bathing and shaving. Why!!

  • JediToby Tooele, UT
    June 18, 2014 10:25 a.m.

    I thought to make a comment on someone's sartorial choices yesterday at work. Apparently, everyone else thought it was funny, but after I said it, I realized that this is really not something Jesus would do, and I spent the rest of the day apologizing. How is this different, though writ large?

    The scriptures refer to the Proud as those who wear expensive fabrics. I've heard it said many times in church that "everyone can afford a suit," and this is a lie. It's also a lie that in all cases, other people will buy suits for someone who can't. And, in today's body-conscious world, those whose molds don't fit cannot buy them at the local stores. We are all The People of Walmart. Who are we to judge?

  • AZ Ute Scottsdale, AZ
    June 18, 2014 10:15 a.m.

    Great article, Doug, but lose the T-shirt in your photo and you'd get more cred. Mike Royko only dressed like that when he played 16" softball.

  • Dutchman Murray, UT
    June 18, 2014 10:14 a.m.

    Even the Beatles wore suits and ties on the Ed Sullivan Show. How times have changed. I hate neck ties but come on guys we can still wear a nice dress shirt and slacks.

  • atlcoug Atlanta, GA
    June 18, 2014 10:13 a.m.

    I promise, it isn't just Utah! And "Understands Math", your comment sounded pretty judgmental to me!

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    June 18, 2014 10:11 a.m.

    I can only compare what my college students wear today to what I remember from the sixties. I would have to say that kids are better groomed and more neatly dressed. I think a sure sign of old age is propensity to complain that the rising generation is going to heck in a hand basket and that their music is too loud. Fortunately I have avoided these symptoms ... well ok, may the music is getting a little loud.

  • alleycatrn Lilburn, GA
    June 18, 2014 10:00 a.m.

    I live in the East and slobs are everywhere!

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    June 18, 2014 9:59 a.m.


    It's a Utah think more-so than most other places.

    I still wear slacks and dress shirts to work,
    but most of my peers do not.

    Likewise --
    Going to the store and seeing girls in pajamas?
    Women dressed like truck stop hookers?
    Men looking like the just walked away from a beer and lawn-chair?

    And here I thought the 70's had hit rock bottom with women's halter tops,
    and men wearing dress shirts unbuttoned 2 or 3 button holes!

  • Joseph Rosenfeld San Jose, CA
    June 18, 2014 9:58 a.m.

    I appreciate the humorous candor with which the article was written. As a personal brand and style strategist who helps people in Silicon Valley discover their personal brand and design their personal style, I constantly deal with people's struggles to move beyond the lowest common denominator of being too casual. An "anything goes" attitude lowers the perceptible quality of a person at work, home, and socially. If you don't dress and present yourself to a higher standard, you cannot possibly expect others to hold you in high regard. I say, "When you show others who you are, others will believe you."

    I do take issue with a point made in the article that, humor aside, must be responded to. The mention of hairy men eating tikka masala makes me wonder if the author has an ethnic bias against Indian men. I am a well-groomed hairy man who loves tikka masala. Leave our hairiness alone. The point really is to appropriately cover areas of the body when in public. And the point certainly applies to all persons and of all ages.

  • Understands Math Lacey, WA
    June 18, 2014 9:59 a.m.

    I can't say I see what the author sees up around where I live.

    I guess that either means we have a higher standard of dress here in the Pacific Northwest, or else maybe we're less judgemental.

  • neece Logan, UT
    June 18, 2014 9:55 a.m.

    I so agree with this article! There are now women who have never owned a dress. Yes casual is nice... and I dress casual when I can, but there is just something to "dressing up" and going out with your handsome Husband or Beautiful wife... it just feels different... more elegance perhaps, us actually use table manners. You would NEVER think of going into a nice restaurant in a tank or shorts, flip flops, Stomach or Breasts on a woman. This one gal was so low cut there was nothing left to the imagination and I felt like leaving her a dollar for the show!...There are now people who go to work dressed horribly. Pregnancy is beautiful but I don't want to see your barely covered stomach!What happened to self pride? What happened to looking your best in some situations? Instead of not caring what you look like? I like dressing nice to work, make up some jewelry looking professional... Sigh We are slobs! WE ARE looking a lot like Walmart people!

    June 18, 2014 9:49 a.m.

    I don't think it's America so much; it's Utah. When I visit friends back East or even in California, I notice that the general level of dress is higher.

    My pet peeve is the way parents dress to go to events at the school - band concerts, graduations, etc. If you kid has to wear a tie, you should probably take the time to put on a real pair of shoes.

  • Bifftacular Spanish Fork, Ut
    June 18, 2014 9:44 a.m.

    I was at Disney World a couple of years ago and the entertainment wasn't the rides but people watching. I sat on a bench for several hours and watched one horrible dress ensemble after another walk by. People - seemingly oblivious to how bad they looked. Just as alarming was the number of over weight people. We are a fat, out-of-shape country. I couldn't help but muse it would be a great time for a leaner meaner country to attack and take over. If that happens, I hope they have some good diet ideas.

  • Aggie238 Logan, UT
    June 18, 2014 9:42 a.m.

    I think the author is attempting to address too many separate (though related) issues at once here. The result is a scattered rant that doesn't actually have much substance or sufficiently discuss the issue. I think the real problem is that our casual is too casual, but our "dressed up" is too "dressed up." Ties are a great example. Particularly in Utah, the prevailing culture is that you aren't in your best if you aren't wearing a tie (if you're a male). What exactly makes a colored piece of cloth knotted uncomfortably at one's neck worthy of praise? It doesn't look any nicer than a nice collared shirt with the top button undone and no tie, but don't you dare show up to church without one or you aren't showing respect to God. Same goes for white shirts. Why can't our dressed up clothes be more comfortable/easier to take care of, and our comfortable/easy to take care of clothes be more dressed up? It shouldn't take an hour to look nice, and if it does, you can't expect people to take the time to do it.

  • Knightwolf LOGAN, UT
    June 18, 2014 9:26 a.m.

    I agree entirely. When I got married I was a jeans and a t-shirt guy. Shorts in the summer. The shirt was usually black or grey from Walmart with a design on it. Now, after 4 years, my wife has finally got me dressing up, and I like it. The most dressed down I get now is a nice pair of cargo pants, with a polo or button down when I'm out in the winter, and a nice pair of cargo shorts and the same polo's and button downs in summer. It's not that much effort, and I actually like it. So come on guys! Ditch the slob look and lets look like adults again in stead of teenagers.

  • Buford Buckley Provo, UT
    June 18, 2014 9:18 a.m.

    Just a hint here. Your clothes, no matter what they are, will look better on you if you lose 10, 20, 50, 100 pounds. The obesity epidemic is making poorly dressed Americans look even worse. Let's get some exercise, folks, and lay off the Krispy Kremes.

  • Mona Beaverton, OR
    June 18, 2014 8:59 a.m.

    On a just completed weeks long business trip I had plenty of time to observe folks in airports. Oh, the horror. A very large woman wearing hot magenta sweat pants with a large PINK written across the behind along with a tank top that was bursting from its load; hairy men with not enough covering, and like you say, dirty laundry straight out of the hamper. How hard can it be to at least put on a clean pair of jeans and t-shirt. Or upgrade to a button-down?

  • 3grandslams Iowa City, IA
    June 18, 2014 8:57 a.m.

    It's about time! Great article, cheap shot at Wal-mart, no reason to disparage others for cheap humor.

  • Aggie5 Kuna, ID
    June 18, 2014 8:57 a.m.

    Dressing causal and grammar errors are bad in the same eyes? I guess I will stick with the dressed down crowd then.
    Stuffy is out with the money is everything crowd.

  • DonP Sainte Genevieve, MO
    June 18, 2014 8:41 a.m.

    You have nailed it, but it is deeper than merely appearance. Correct usage of the English language is gone with misspellings and grammatical errors showing up everywhere, not just in emails, postings and tweets but in news articles written by people who supposedly have a degree in journalism. Etiquette is also gone. People fight over parking spaces. TV shows accentuate drama over substance. I think what we are witnessing is a general decline in the society in general. I am hoping that the pendulum will swing back at some point.

  • igotworms Salt Lake City, UT
    June 18, 2014 8:35 a.m.

    I completely agree with this article. I have yet to find a restaurant that has a dress code in Salt Lake City. My wife and I want to get all dressed up and go out on special occasions, but there is no guaranteed we won't be sitting next to sleeveless-sweatpants-guy. I have noticed that in Manhattan and Chicago, there is a culture of dressing nice that I really admire. Maybe it is a big city thing