The origin of the adage “clothes maketh the man” goes back to ancient times and refers to “man” as male, while “maketh” is an ancient biblical word. Both words have since been hijacked by females and modernists respectively. “Man” now refers to both male and female.
The men of that era considered clothes a vitally important item. Kings, princes and judges pranced around in heavily powdered, shoulder-length wigs, eye shadow and lipstick, which would have made them winners in today’s gay parades.
Today’s fashions have become a mix, from the sublime to the ridiculous. Everything goes anywhere.
When attending the theatre of yesteryear, men wore dark suits with collar and tie, with ladies in long dresses and teased hair.
Dressing up for these occasions took hours, with men struggling to get collars tied around bull necks and women battling to squeeze into clobber two sizes too small – not forgetting the strangling borsrok hubbies had to (man)handle for them.
Today’s trends? Recently we attended a symphony concert at an upmarket theatre. Out of habit we dressed in our finery. I gave a tie a miss, my Heidi opting for a tasteful pantsuit. It turned out we were the best-dressed couple.
We were aghast at how theatregoers pitched up for a cultured evening of classical music. One oke wore sloppy, long shorts with orange Crocs. Another sported open sandals and green socks and an old geezer had on khaki shorty shorts and blue stokies with two yellowed protruding big toes.
The women were no better. Micro minis and straining jeans on figures crying out for tent-sized kaftans. We couldn’t equate this motley crew with the brilliant concert. But having said that, the audience really enjoyed the music, giving many standing ovations.
So what’s this about judging appearances? When it comes to the deeper things in life, who cares about dressing “appropriately”?
In fact, Messrs Protruding Toes, Crocs, Sandals and Mesdames Micro Minis and Straining Jeans are probably academics or professionals earning more than us well-dressed dudes.
So “clothes maketh the man” is garbage. A better axiom is “don’t judge a book by its cover”. Heidi adds a proviso: “As long as the undies are clean.”