Always Wear Underwear

The pride, respect, and necessity of cultural Elegance, and why we’ve lost it
Photo Credits: Saint Sass
May 16, 2024

Can I rant? 


Where has Elegance gone, and will it ever come back? By Elegance, I refer not only to attire, but to behavior, to conduct. Yes yes yes, who does not find succulent scandal riveting? Irreverent politics, vulgar social media, risqué celebrity roasts…It’s become business as usual, and we engorge in their indulgent undeniable entertainment value. But we also can’t deny how generally unpleasant scandal can be, especially when it is round-the-clock.


Our culture has morphed into complete self-disclosure—butt-cracks, muffin-tops, social media trolls, and a Tom Brady roast. Where do I begin? Well, for starters, an expression comes to mind: “Always wear underwear.” By this, I mean a filter. I mean human decency. “Not wearing underwear” is like leaving home without protection, like lacking a sense of decency, respect and thoughtfulness for ourselves and others. First, foremost, and fundamentally, social media has influenced modern culture to explicitly express ALL sentiments (which, let’s not deny, can sometimes be fickle, ephemeral or a result of misinterpretation/misinformation). The concept of “wearing underwear” is to keep us filtered, proper, and private. What’s missing lately is the sensitivity and decency to NOT express all emotions and impulsive unfiltered opinion that is crass or narrow-minded (and I say “narrow-minded” because opinion is simply a point of view at one moment in time). 


Would it be so impossible to sway the pendulum back to the sexy, mysterious, somewhat more formal manner of the 60s, 70s, 80s or 90s? I invite you to recall Bond films from that era. Can we possibly strive to preserve even a modicum of that Elegance, that same good-nature, sensuousness, and discreteness of conduct? Can we hope to preserve whatever we’ve got left of it, in a world that’s become too crude, hard, and fast to bear? 


“It’s a pandemic of overcommunication [and overstimulation, if I may add to this] that’s led to an absence of intimacy.” – Mad Men


A strange thing has happened. Our growing “connectedness” has caused a growing lack of care and respect for others’ feelings, as well as our own. We’ve become more isolated in our “connectedness” and this has led to discontent, confusion and anger (which we direct inward and then take out on someone else). We’ve forgotten that politeness and class (towards ourselves and others) are integral to our happiness.


As far as appearance is concerned, my sense is that Elegance and decorum within public standards have gone disturbingly and devastatingly astray. Anything—everything—seems to go now. But we still wear our undies, right? 


Clothing, conduct, manners and grace are unquestionably a form of communication and expression. When we take measures to present ourselves with class, we preserve a meaningfulness in our expression. American culture stands for practicality, comfort and efficiency. But when things are done too quickly or too effortlessly, certain matters that matter are compromised.


America, as many other cultures, loves casual. And I get it. Casual is freedom and comfort. It’s practical, easy and cheap to wash. Casual blurs the lines between all the genders, ages and social strata. And this is all snoochie boochies and a bag of fritos, but I’m not much of a fritos-kinda-gal. 


Sadly, even occasions such as dining out or attending a matinee no longer demands dressing elegantly. People dressed in shorts and flip flops or sneakers can be spotted dining at a $300/person restaurant nowadays. Where is the FUN and DIGNITY in that??


Dressing with Class has nothing to do with social strata, income, or energy level. And dressing Crassly doesn’t either. Elegance comes from within. It’s a statement to yourself and to those around about how we feel about ourselves. It’s a nod to others of our respect towards them, just as it is a way of offering them a sort of visual pleasantry. It’s a declaration that time and effort were taken. Hubbo Javi’s abuelo, Tomas, always believed that “Un caballero siempre debe llevar un blazer puesto en un avión,” which translates “A gentleman should always wear a blazer on a plane.” He also declared that “En la mesa y en el juego se conoce al caballero,” meaning “At the table and in the game, the gentleman is known.”


Clearly, by this token, a clean classy elegant appearance commands respect. We can’t deny that dressing elegantly wins respect from others and wins us self-respect.


Beautifully garbed people and catchy dialogue, like in the Bond films, I know are far-fetched at this point. But at least my appearance and my conduct are fully under my control. I wish to present and represent myself in my best manner. Cuz honey, it feels good. 


No more crass sass, just spiffylicious class, please. And keep ’em drawers on, will you? 


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