What do you notice in the picture above?
Casual fans might say, "That's the Rat Pack." True connaisseurs could name off Lawford, Sinatra, Martin, Davis, and Bishop. But apart from the men in the image -- what else stands out?
I saw a hip-hop artist named 2 Chains on a TV show last night and, while actually wildly entertaining, I could not believe the depths in taste our society had sunk to when looking at his wardrobe. Apart from wearing oversized designer sunglasses (indoors), he also wore two extremely ornate gold chains around his neck, an inordinately large black and grey fur boa, a flat-billed baseball cap, and God only knows what else on the lower half (he was seated at a table). A supposedly grown man, by the way.
Suffice it to say, what I wanted to point out in the above picture is the fact that each man is dressed smartly -- the epitome of class. However, I guess the old-fashioned look isn't so "hip" anymore.
Amazingly, though, if you ask most people in entertainment who was more "cool" between Sinatra and Dino or 2 Chains, nearly everyone would go with the Rat Pack duo. Why?
This is an issue for a much longer blog, but my belief is that we are living in a society so intrinsically connected to conspicuous consumption and image consciousness that stars truly feel like they are displaying their personality through their outfits. In fact, I distinctly remember fellow students telling me they hated our high school uniforms because they couldn't "show their personality." Even then, I thought the entire concept was outrageous.
How do items worn on the exterior of a human body have anything to do with PERSONality? It blows my mind the way this concept has become almost universally accepted.
In the old days, these men got on stage and distinguished themselves with their attitudes, their talents, their humor, and their interactions. Could you tell who you were looking at based solely on outfit? Absolutely not. However, the moment you heard Joey Bishop busting Sammy Davis, you knew who you were listening to. You also knew that each of these guys was full of life, full of laughs, and full of substance.
On the other hand, I saw 2 Chains wearing his outfit and it reminded me of a Li'l Wayne concert I went to, when another supposed "grown man" came onstage wearing red sweat pants and a tank top. For his job. Placed next to one another, I couldn't distinguish them. Personality-wise, each seemed apathetic and aloof. Style-wise, each seemed blind.
Our society is trying to get louder and louder with the wrong parts of ourselves. We are adding accessories, but losing depth. This may be a futile call to action, but I urge each of you to -- whether it be in yourself or in another -- help instill the REAL personality distinctions. Show your passion, show your humor, and show your love for one another.
And if you are really good at doing that, you can wear the most ordinary outfit possible -- and people will know exactly what you stand for.
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