Here’s a thread about popular culture and dress codes…
I grew up in a society where dress codes were the norm. Now I live in one where they are almost non-existent. School tie, school blazer, white shirt…. In my day, if your skirt was half an inch was too short, you were sent home. That happened to me more times than I care to remember…
Now I live in one where …anything goes!
Stop Press! New Flash!
Hats off to the Norwegian women’s beach handball team for refusing to kowtow to the European Handball Federation’s outdated, dress code about bikini bottoms. This should not even be an issue in 2021.
The EHF fined the players for wearing shorts. Talk about an own goal. Every tabloid journo in Europe must have been delighted.
Back to matters sartorial….
Anyway, oddly enough, I was thinking about dress codes in the arts this morning. Both for the performers and the artists. Have venues or artists the right to impose a dress code on those attending a gig, concert, opera, play, or film screening?
I was amused to read about the Hawera Cinema in New Zealand who turn away cinema goers who turn up in jim jams, onesies and dirty gumboots. Shameful! Hey Kiwis Let’s have some respect for Bergman, Bertolucci and The Rock!
“Smart casual” is now acceptable, I read, at many classical concerts. Smart casual my ass! When I go to a live show, I want to let my free flag fly and my hair blow in the wind
Zappa understood these things!
”Who cares if hair is long or short
Or sprayed or partly grayed . . .
WE KNOW THAT HAIR AIN’T WHERE IT’S AT”
There will be a day when you can even take your clothes of when you dance.!
I’ve been listening to a lot of music from Colombia recently. In Latin America, dress codes are the norm. Many bands have extremely natty outfits which are worn by all the musicians. Dress code deviations really stand out. I was therefore very struck by a video of La 33, a Bogota salsa band, where the singer was wearing a Ramones T shirt.
Sabroso! What a track! When you are good at what you do, you can beak all the rules!
Which makes me think of the magnificent Kronos Quartet who dress for a gig just as they would to go to the local Superstore. I saw them play a stupendous set at the Roskilde Festival. Exciting, challenging, hypnotic, enthralling. The tent was packed with an audience of Danish rock fans and Kronos went down a storm.
Who says the kids don’t enjoy classical music?? Could it be that the dress codes for the performers and a rather stiff, informal atmosphere at some venues is off-putting?
To be fair, these days Stockholm’s Konserthuset (or indeed the RAH) is as keen to welcome Jackson Brown, Caetano Veloso and Herbie Hancock as a symphony orchestra, so maybe this is far less true today.
Is there a dress code in folk music? Probably best not to go down to The Pickled Newt in an Armani Suit. Dust my broom? The British Blues Boom were a right bunch of scruffy blighters.
In the world of funk and soul however, a dress code was normally de rigeur,
Here’s Maceo Parker talking about working with James Brown:
“You gotta be on time. You gotta have your uniform. Your stuff’s got to be intact. You gotta have the bow tie. You got to have it. You can’t come up without the bow tie. You cannot come up without a cummerbund ..” (Wikipedia)
All this got me thinking and dividing up my favourite artists into those who follow a strict dress code, and those who do their own thing, man.
Zealot Warlords of Immaculate Sartorial Conformity
London Symphony Orchestra
Earth Wind and Fire
Dastardly Dress Code Deviants
Rammstein – a metal band that dress like a Teutonic bankers’ board meeting
The Mothers of Invention
“Warlords of the Weejuns”
Finally, here’s a third category: artists whose whole career is a sartorial firework display. To kick off I’m nominating Miles Davis, Björk, David Bowie and Carmen Miranda. Honourable mention to Althea and Donna. “See me in me ‘alter back, Sey me gi’ you ‘eart attack.”
Would any of you care to add any comment or candidates to my lists??
Best dressed? Worst dressed? Most innovative dressers?
My gut reaction is that most dress codes are an anachronism but I don’t think I could have convinced the Godfather of Soul.
Incidentally, I hope you have all read the Sartorial Terms and Conditions for the Afterword. They are surprisingly austere. Heaven help you, if the Admins discover you are sitting there posting wearing a multi-colour Grateful Dead onesie, grubby riding boots and a bowler hat. You’ll on the first plane to a remote island in Northern Canada!