Columnist Jim McGregor, decidedly snazzy in this file photo.

Column: When in doubt, wear blue jeans

Jim McGregor considers changing fashion for formal occaisions in B.C.

I have a family photograph from Easter 1969. My Mom has my sister and me and my two younger brothers standing in a line outside, ready for church.

I’m wearing a snappy three-piece suit complete with vest and tie, my sister is wearing a white knee length coat with a pill box hat and matching gloves, and my brothers are wearing blue blazers, grey slacks, white shirts, and ties.

I’m sure many of you from my era have similar family photos from Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas.

That was how we dressed to go to church.

In fact, we dressed that way any time we went anywhere important.

A tie was required if we were going to meet Grandma at the airport or see her off on the train. We wore clean clothes and jackets if we were going downtown shopping on Friday night.

We wore suits to church because we had worn our good clothes to Sunday school.

We wore dark suits and sombre dresses to funerals out of respect to the deceased. They were sombre occasions, not celebrations back then.

At a recent celebration of life, I was one of the few wearing a tie.

Others sauntered in wearing blue jeans, tennis shoes, and T-shirts.

Some even slid into the pews carrying coffee in foam containers as if they’re going to Starbucks, and a couple of young boys wore their baseball caps during the service.

It looks as if casual Fridays have turned into casual Sundays now, too, but I don’t recall the Bible giving out fashion advice or telling us what to wear on Easter Sunday.

One modern clergyman even pointed out, “Wasn’t Jesus a homeless Galilean peasant who wore flip-flops?”

Recognizing that attendance at Sunday schools and church services is down for most faiths, most churches are reluctant to establish a dress code for fear of driving people away.

There are many good things about living on the West Coast, one of them being our casual lifestyle.

Our laid back attitude is expressed best in the way we dress; basically, anything goes. We can wear shorts and sandals to church, we can wear a Hawaiian shirt and blue jeans to a wedding, or golf shirts to funerals.

Even many pastors or ministers are setting a standard by dressing more casual, giving the congregation permission to be comfortable in the pews.

My dad could never get his tie tied properly and I often thought it was cutting off the blood flow to his head, that’s why he always fell asleep in church.

It doesn’t matter what you wear, just as long as you are there.

Celebrate Easter however you choose. If that means sitting on the porch watching the sunrise on Easter morning in your sweat pants with a cup of coffee, I’m sure that will be just fine.

Besides, if you wear a black suit, white shirt, and black tie these days, people may think you are a politician.

At least that’s what McGregor says.

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