Over a breakfast, on Tuesday, of pastries and coffee with sports business icon David Cushnan, I opined energetically on the issue of Sunday’s staggering sartorial slump, whilst he ramped on about Formula One.
Cushnan, complete with the northern hubris of Fred Dibnah, and I bemoaned the fact that people look worse on a Sunday than any other day in the week. The subject, which has been on my mind for years, raised its hatless head when Cushnan tugged at the lapels of his charcoal suit and announced that he was in his “Sunday best”.
There was a wonderful era when men wore hats and a chap without a tie was socially unacceptable. I only wear a hat at the racetrack and a tie when needed – a gentleman in elegant tailoring on God’s day now only receives indignant looks.
Where did it go wrong? When did it become as popular as that oblivious person on the tube wearing a back-pack, to dress smartly on a Sunday.
I live in lovely Parsons Green and despite the general good taste of the incumbents – Monday to Friday – it becomes a slovenly wasteland of fashion on a Sunday.
Ripped jeans, gym kit, and often vests.
There have even been abominable occasions when I have stood, deep in thought over what to buy for breakfast, when next to me appears a lovely looking lady strolling around the shop in her pyjamas.
This is not normal behaviour, nor should it be condoned, and it is utterly perverse and lamentable that a well cut suit and hat should invite more ridicule than a, presumably unshowered woman, looking unkempt…much is the world we embrace.
Sunday traditions of yore dictated that the whole family would totter off to church at 11 o’clock for a little light repenting and singing of hymns – the ladies would return home to start on the joint, whilst the men would confess their sins over several large gins.
Startling as it will sound to us of the gastro pub era – pubs closed at 2 o’clock. The men would wobble back like laughing policemen to eat, still in their Sunday best.
So really the church should be praised and chastised in equal measures – the decline in churchgoers on a Sunday is equally matched in the decline of Sunday’s sartorial standards.
My atheist beliefs dictate that I do not want to be in church for an hour on Sunday but I could be convinced if it means that I can ponce about like Beau Brummell for the rest of the day…but God, like whomever was before him, will never learn, for the last church I was in had a congregation full of jeans and cagoules.
Despite my protestations to the contrary, I wouldn’t want to return completely to the Sunday best of yore – starched shirts and grey suits. This is far too Presbyterian for my tastes. I would advocate the wearing of a tie and create an atmosphere upon which wearing a hat would be appropriate.
Add some colour to the drab day, perhaps adding a blue blazer or a bold tweed with some chinos and a tie. That would set off against the desolate grey of an October’s afternoon.
Pocket squares would be mandatory.
And in summer the clothes horse must become an accompaniment to lush bright surrounding. A crisp linen suit, which one rarely gets the opportunity to swathe oneself in, is a joy to wear and it becomes a blank canvas for a pallet of vibrant colours – splashes or ochre or azalea would suffice.
If the world doesn’t want to join me on my dance of returning to a more formal or smarter garb, then at least attempt to stop looking so atrocious on a Sunday.
A little bit of pride goes a long way dear thing. And quite frankly one would rather be walking with a capuchin monkey on George Seurat’s right bank than bathing with the shirtless slobs on the left.