Thursday, August 25, 2005

Still in DC, but hopefully more lucidly...

I see, in rereading, that my original DC post left something to be desired. I failed to make an all-powerful and mighty distinction between "clothes," "Clothes," and "Sunday Dress Code." Little-c clothes we wear during 'off' time, like to dinner and on Saturdays and in the early morning while we're still bleary-eyed and dopey from sleep deprivation. Big-c Clothes we wear to class, lunch, and midday Mass. SDC we wear, of all things, on Sunday, or when a major speaker comes and we feel the wild need to dress super nicely so that the notable personage is impressed by our decorum in the fashion sector. It will comfort you to know that the dresscode to the left was abandoned about 4 years ago, on account of the breeches being deemed 'unprofessional' for classroom use. The hair is still in fashion for some of our young men, but I'm not talking to them right now. This is all about girls, clothes, Clothes, and, well, you know.

Let's adress these one by one, in my inimitable and verbose fashion. First, clothes. These are the things which must always be modest, but not neccessarily always be stylish, coordinated, or neatly ironed and pressed. Shorts, jeans, tshirts, sporty polo shirts, modest (ah, the objectivity suggested by that word!) tank tops, and all other manner of 'casual' stuff is labelled 'clothes.' We wear these clothes with great gusto, many of my esteemed classmates taking the trouble to change as many as five ties a day, in order that every non-class-dresscode moment may be spent in the comfort of warmups and a sweatshirt (both also styled 'clothes.'). Little-c clothes are the lowest level of clothes, and they form the foundation of the 'modesty dress code' which is always in force, which helps us maintain the standard of appearance which is in keeping with the proper Christian yound lady's idea of propriety, chastity, purity, modesty, and all those other 'ty' words. (This threatens to send me on a long digression about a line of beanbag animals...)

For Clothes, on the other hand, there are more nuances. For Clothes, we stress the idea of "Professional Attire" because there is a nebulous, but meritous, idea floating about campus that if we look nice and clean and neat and dquared away on the outside, it's possible that osmosis or something will make our cranial content appear in the same fashion. Por exemplo, we do not wear jeans to class. Jeans make us slouch, they make us relax, and (worst of all for class attention span), they make us think of being outside and enjoying the beautiful weather which only happens in the mountains during this transitional time of year. Jeans do not make us concentrate on the material being taught. Theoretically, nice khakis with belt and button-down blouse or nice sweater will make us concentrate on the material being taught, hence these are styled Clothes. We do not wear a denim skirt to class, unless we take special care to 'dress it up' with a very nice blouse or a jacket which denotes 'professional.' Again, nebulousness takes hold with an iron grip in here someplace, because what you call professional and what I call professional might not be the same thing. However, it's the spirit of the law at stake here, and we'll assume that denim doesn't equal professional. Again, Clothes also fall under that 'modesty dress code' thing which I shan't type out in entirety again.

I could go into footwear that are Clothes here, but I shan't. Takes too much time. I'll stop at "flip-flops are not professional, class" and leave it at that. One's feet, I suppose, can't technically really be immodest (they can be other things, like unmentionably dirty, blistered, or even scarred from the Virginia Reel), but there is something about attitude conveyed by footwear. This is another post for another day.

"Sunday Dress Code" (*angelic singing sound effect and reverent head inclination*) means we dress up really, really nice because it's the Lord's day and you've got to do something special for Him. Come on! I mean, if we change clothes five times a day to get comfy, or if we are late for breakfast because we had to wash, iron, and in other ways mutilate a particular blouse because it would look soooooo cute with the pants we had to dry, hem, and patch this morning because they would look sooooo cute with that blouse, we can certainly take a little extra effort with Sunday. So we do. No pants on ladies for Sunday Mass and Brunch, no denim skirts on ladies, no clothes, only Clothes. Very simple. (If this were a post for guys, I'd include here the clause about adding a blazer/suitjacket/whatever else they call it to the menu, but this isn't a post for guys.) SDC is a very special thing, because it makes you sit up and realize that something is different and special about The Day. Yeah. I'm into Sundays. {Insert original clause about the modesty dress code.}

However, I feel myself slipping into mushbrain syndrome. Political Science at 8:30 in the morning does that to me. Just keep in mind that I wrote the above with ladies in mind, and that there are many many many many many nuances to this little DC thing that I haven't gotten into. The great comfort is that, no matter how many potential infractions and loopholes and questions and issues and faux pas (how does one pluralize that?) we see, there are (uh-oh, can't remember the exact number) a dozen or so beautiful ladies here on campus who spent a week learning to take care of us, and clothes, Clothes, and Sunday Dress Code are three of their specialties.

See your RA or proctor if you have a question, Betty. It's always okay! (-: Besides, they get paid for it.


  1. Keep in mind I went to a formerly-Protestant turned non-denominational private college, so my grasp of these things is fuzzy, but...

    Why can't women wear slacks and be wearing SDC Clothes?

  2. It's just the way things work.

    SDC is set apart from all the other dress codes, and since we wear slacks in class often, that was one distinction that was made.

    It's very much paralleled by the guys' wearing of a blazer for SDC. They're completely decent and moral and nicely dressed without the coat, but it's just an added touch which sets apart the day.

  3. They can't because SDC is actually a double-acronym of a most entoundre variety. SDC also stands for Slacks Don't Count. Combined with the other part of this doublt acronym, "Sunday Dress Code," we can actually determine quite verily why they women can't be doing both the wearing of slacks, and the wearing of SDC at simultaneously.

  4. I'm totally cool with the "it's the way things work" or "because I said so" answer (I do have small children, after all.)

    I just hope that somehow that doesn't translate into an assumption that in order to be properly dressed or truly feminine, women really *ought* to be wearing skirts (which I see in plenty of Catholic circles).

  5. No, I see where you're going. I'm not an official representative of the college, obviously, and there are many different people on campus with many differing opinions about whether a lady should always be wearing a skirt in church.

    I'm personally not opposed to the wearing of pants, provided they keep to a standard of modesty which should be observed in all places at all times. But by the same token, I don't intend to imply that skirts are magical articles of clothing which will automatically be modest and acceptable. Far from it...but I will gladly attach myself to the sentiment that the wearing of a skirt is an acceptable nod toward making SDC 'nice' and set apart.

    Not sure I'm making my point well, but there it is. (Told you so (-:)

  6. I can see it, certainly. In fact, when my oldest was about three, he once remarked to our deacon, "Do you know how I know it's Sunday? I'm wearing a collared shirt, dad's wearing a collared shirt, and mom's wearing a skirt!" It was a rare thing in those days, and usually saved for Mass.

  7. True. It's something that people notice. Thanks.

  8. An old ChristendomiteAugust 29, 2005 at 5:23 PM

    Ah, but you forgot to tell the masses about back patch pockets which completely screws up your entire clothes wearing if that's what you bought before reading the dress code code.

    And "little c" clothes reminds me oh-so-much of "little t" tradition vs. "Big T" Tradition.

    Nice blog by the way. It's fun to read that things are still the same.

  9. Oh, yes, dearie. There are back patch pockets, and 'sporty' polo shirts, and all sorts of odd distinctions which one would not immediately come up with as, well, plainchant and obvious dress code no-nos.

    Oh well. Like I say, they have to draw the line someplace, and since I'm always in dresscode anyway, it doesn't really matter. Might as well be back patch pockets as anything else.