PHOTO BY: RUBEN RAMIREZ
The original article was written for and published on https://www.theissuemagazine.ca/the-issue-magazine/returning-to-the-etiquette-of-dressing-up
A certain intriguing and predictably inspiring exhibition is going to happen at the Art Gallery of Alberta on August 29th, 2020. The gallery will present “the works of some of Canada’s most celebrated artists—The Group of Seven.” The exhibition will continue until March 13th, 2021, therefore there is still time to purchase that special outfit for visiting the gallery to witness the finest works of 100 years of Canadian art. Now, this suggestion leads us to the topic itself-the the sanctuary, be it of artworks or music deserves a special attire on the one who visits it.
At some point when the history of fashion gradually escaped the imprisonment of corsets, uncomfortable underwear, high heels, and inability to show up to the public without lipstick, we have also lost that genuine elegance and endeavour of dressing up accordingly to the occasion. At some point, we started noticing a new normal in the appearance of those who visit cultural events such as the symphony orchestra concert, for example. Instead of supporting the idea of creating a sophisticated appearance, some visitors walked the contrary way by wearing anything from UGG to jeans and sweaters. The period of complete comfort exchanged days when the sophistication of the clothes was approached as something unquestionable, and we, instead of fighting new normal, followed it with much enthusiasm. I would not dare to deny that jeans are extremely comfortable and can be dressed up or down. And yet, as we speak of the necessity to start dressing up fancier than our habitual fashion for cultural events, we must agree upon leaving the comfort zone of jeans and sneakers aside and see what our other options are
I used to work in a local boutique that offers a variety of European and Canadian designers, clothes that are professional, elegant and comfortable at the same time. During those days of my constant communication with clients, one concern united most of those ladies. "I wish to dress up, yet have no such occasion or place to express myself through clothes," they would say. At first, such statements would deeply astonish me. I grew up in Russia, surrounded by teachers of music and art who were obliged to look a la mode as they served in temples of knowledge, and the visual example for students was as important as the information they taught. Therefore an image in my head was clear; a person, and not only in a professional field can and should look sophisticated, especially during visiting places of art. Then, thinking of that, I suggested my clients start dressing up for herself, for any single occasion as a date night out, a gallery visit, a concert; for occasions that perhaps are not as grand as gala, yet they have a significant role in cultural heritage. Convinced, by the example of those teachers, until today I believe that places that carry some sort of intellectual value shall be approached in the manner of appreciation, including the appearance of the visitors.
DRESSING UP NOT ONLY SHOWS RESPECT TO THE EVENT BUT CREATES AN INTELLIGENT SOCIETY
Cultural events that happen in the city involve showing up to the public, creating a society, a group of people who do care about learning, supporting and passing on the inspiration they receive. Therefore, as long as a society is a group of people, it is the responsibility of those people to show appreciation and all seriousness through their appearance. The common idea of clothing etiquette suggests such dress code as semi-formal or business attire when attending an art show or symphony orchestra concert. Such dress code offers a variety of clothes from knee-length dresses, trousers and a shirt, or a suit, that looks more formal than office wear but less formal than a tuxedo. If on one hand it can be observed as an old-fashioned set of rules and restrictions, we perhaps should look at it as a chance to, by wearing a dress or a suit, create an elegant society. I am convinced that while artworks and music matter at first, it is the public that makes the whole event appealing. And that starts with not only knowledge of the occurring event, but also with proper clothes choice.
APPROPRIATE ATTIRE CONTRIBUTES TO BETTER MEMORIES OF AN EVENT
Another factor to consider is the emotions that stand behind enjoyable preparations for an event. Think about it, the most time of our lives we spend wearing a certain type of clothes doing a certain type of job. Then, something is planned for that night on Tuesday, and how could it be marked, how could it differ from routine, how could it fuel your heart and imagination for the next month of habitual rituals? It is only possible by adding some spark, some unexpected move. It can start with a set of jewelry saved for a special day. It can be a change from a casual button up to a silk blouse, or a longer dress. We are apt to associate memories with items, scents and feelings we connect with those subjects. Only doing something exceptional, something that stands out from an established fashion, could stimulate memories that are worthy of treasuring. Thus, a year from that art event looking at the dress or a pair of shoes involved in the whole process, your heart will be only warmed by memories of that whole experience. Hence, all those facts do worth pulling out that special dress from the top shelf and finally daring to wear it.