In every part of the world, in every culture, being dressed to suit the occasion is an accepted custom, an in-built trait and a common etiquette of even the most primitive tribes.
How we would dress to attend a wedding is different from dressing for a funeral. What we would wear for a party is not the same as what we would clothe ourselves for shopping or sightseeing. Hiking and trekking require special parnephelia that is not the same as when we swim or run or jog. Working at home means we must dress to enable chores such as cooking or washing or cleaning, while working from home, a recent development due to covid, needs other suitable attire. Business meetings and office space require appropriate appearance and outfits, not to mention sleep time which needs right clothes that would promote rest and repose.
Dress sense and fashion consciousness does not relate only to haute coutre designs but also to insight and acumen needed to know and note the occasion for which the apparel is being worn!
No one goes to visit the poor or does slum cleaning or other community work in their best clothes since it would hurt the cause and wound the sensibilities of those we seek to serve. It is not good breeding to go to honor the dead in flashy clothes or gaudy show , but one must wear what fits the somber mood of the occasion and the sentiments of those around. We don’t go before a dignitary dressed in a way that would show disrespect to their persona nor attend a personal award function in rags. Again, no one dresses in wool in summer or thin cottons in winter, for that is foolishness to say the least!
Each and every season, occasion and focus demands suitable garments and appropriate or fitting apparel. So, fashion is stated as prevailing style (as in dress) during a particular time, custom, usage, or style as well as a form of self-expression and autonomy at a particular period and place and in a specific context, of clothing, footwear, lifestyle, accessories, makeup, hairstyle, and body posture. Being fashion conscious implies being able to match your tastes and interests to your personality and the occasion you dress for or being groomed for.
It is interesting to note that the Bible does talk about how one ought to dress and the manner to be suited for different occasions.
In the Old Testament, God instructed the people of Israel on different dress styles for the various people, according to gender, office, the task and the occasion.
The High Priest and other priests had definite robes and special garments made for use in ministering to God: “Have Aaron your brother brought to you from among the Israelites, along with his sons Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, so they may serve me as priests. Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron to give him dignity and honor.” (Exo 28:1-2 NIV). They could not wear that would make them sweat as its smell was reminiscient of curse and therefore, repugnant to the Lord (Eze 44:18).
God also gave specific dress codes for men and women, as well as instructions on not to mix linen and wool, etc (Deut 22). He showed them what to wear to signify various expressions of solemnity such as repentance, sorrow and mourning (sackcloth and ashes). Teachers and other instructors of the law had a distinctive garment that made them conspicuous as to their vocation. Thus, God did indeed prescribe a particular fashion code for His people so as to distinguish them and set them apart as His particular followers from those around. I believe that His demands were also given keeping in mind for them to be in tune with the weather and their environment to preserve their health!
When you read the New Testament, the focus is more on the inward orientation and the clothing of the soul that is required as the followers of Christ. It was not enough to dress up the outward, but the inner being had to line up to the truth of what is being exhibited on the outer. Jesus very specifically condemned the Pharisees and Sadduccees, naming them white-washed sepulchers, for projecting a false picture of piety and sanctity, when in reality their inward was rotten.
The leaders and apostles of the early church, steadily and constantly taught the disciples of Christ the importance of being clothed with the right attitudes and intentions (Col 3:1-15). They also instructed on the right demeanor for each occasion and event. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep, says the Holy Book in Rom 12:15. In Jas 5:13-14 it says: Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing. Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray and anoint you with oil in the name of the Master.
Being well-dressed or clothed tastefully is not about just buying the best available or the costliest you can afford or the brand on display. It is about being a wholistic human being, in and out, the outer coinciding with the inner. The way to dress to impress is to clothe the outer to adorn and exemplify the inner orientation. Good nature enhances and amplifies the outward adornment causing an aroma of innate fashion to be felt and smelt!