By Matthew Pierre
The way we dress often says a lot about who are, what we believe, and where we come from. Think about this for a second. There’s an ole time saying that goes “Show me your friends, and I’ll show you who you are” and I fondly remember one of my secondary school teachers using this proverb as a measure in determining the character of a person. In the same way, clothing can be used as another measure for the same purpose. It is often said that first impressions last because subconsciously, we judge people based on what we see before we even hear a word that comes from their mouth. That’s probably how the saying “Dress to impress” came about.
Dressing is woven into every aspect of our lives both individually and communally, sometimes without us even realizing it. Did you realize I used ‘woven’ to describe relationship? See how clothing can be found even in language and literature? That’s because clothing and the way a thing is dressed up SAYS something about the object it refers to, and invites persons to think along a certain path of thought by just seeing; in the same way a logo is associated with a company. Why is this?
It’s because clothing is a basic human need not just for the body, but also for the inner person. That’s why it matters. If you were a film director, and wanted to portray a pirate, or a gangster, how would you portray them? Why portray them in that way? You’d most-likely portray them as the stereotype of such a character, no? Why does a priest wear what they wear? You see, Clothing is a means used for determining identity, belonging, expression, and importance of and for both the tangible and intangible. It is a SIGN that often points to a reality beyond itself, and that’s why we must take great care in the way we dress, and what we consciously or sub-consciously choose to label ourselves.
As founder of a catholic clothing brand named Anima Christi, I am personally involved in the creation of clothing. I can attest to the deep thinking processes involved in the creation of a T-shirt design for production. Factors that immediately come into play include deciding the purpose, message, style and market of the given design, normally in support of our mission to symbolically clothe people with Christ. Have you thought about what purpose or message your clothes may be serving by you wearing it? Do you examine the signs and symbols being showcased on your clothes, and what they may be showcasing or inviting into “your space”.
These days, from my Christian worldview, I observe that our secular clothing brands have bombarded the fashion industry with themes of death, violence, pain, fear, vice, spiritualism and even blatant Satanism. An example can be seen by searching for ‘Macy’s death fashion’ on YouTube, and you’ll soon realize that most of the clothing we wear contains messages and symbols pointing to the just these. And you’ll also see that it has become quite popular in our culture. From Skulls, to black wings, even to distorted crosses. Could these clothes and designs be sub-consciously teaching a morale, a mode of thinking and a manner of behaviour which is destructive to be considered normal and acceptable?
Be reminded that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit because God lives in you. You are a child of God through baptism and should dress as such. Choose what you wear wisely and pay attention to details when you purchase your next best outfit.