Principal Dress Codes

By Rev. Fr. Eva Chuma Nnamene

Principal dress codes are two important points to be considered while dressing up. Not minding that most people would just dress up according to what is in vogue, there are some points to be considered while dressing. The first principal dress code is to "dress according to one's event or function".

Dressing according to where one is going is very important to avoid being "overdressed" or "underdressed". Though our sensitivity to being overdressed or underdressed is not so high in Nigeria, it is still important that people dress appropriately. If you are going to watch a football match, and you dress in suit and tie, you are not only dressed inappropriately, you are overdressed.

When you go to Igba Nkwu dressed in singlet and short and on bathroom slippers, people think that you are not only underdressed, but that you are mad or sick. It is important to dress appropriately. If the event you are attending informs the kind of dressing you put one, you are most likely to dress properly. It is good to let our events inform our choice of clothes, and styles of sowing when we go to buy clothes.

One may have a wardrobe of clothes, but most of them may be clothes for social events, and never for Church activities. The temptation might be to take the clothes for social events to Mass. And that is where most people begin to fail. A "WhatsApp" friend who reads this column sent me a clip of two pictures - tagged the "old time Church" and the "new Church". The clip depicted the dressing codes of the two times.

On the picture marked as "old time Church" there were images of a cross-section of women gorgeously dressed, and seated with some worship decorum; on the picture marked as "new Church" there were images of another cross-section of women skimpily dressed with legs crossed on their kneels as they sat to expose parts of their bodies. They sat like people who went to ballroom dance.

Comparing the two pictures one sees the modesty of the "old time Church" and the immodesty of the "new Church". And this can make anybody worrisome about the future of the Church at our own time. When people dress half-naked into the Church, they may need to be asked if they came for the Holy Mass or for Satan-mass. Is coming to Church half-naked not desecration of the Church? At times there are some unholy stories told about how cultists desecrate the Church by some unholy acts while the Holy Eucharist is going on.

You wonder if wearing clothes that expose the body isn't desecration of the Holy Mass? The second principal dress code talks about how people are addressed because of what they wear. This is because, "the way one dresses is the way one will be addressed". If one dresses properly like a child of God, onlookers will surely take the person as a child of God.

Have you wondered about this: at police checkpoints, some motorists are asked to clear from the road to get some thorough checking, while some others with a glance of the eyes are asked to carry on with their trips? What happened? It is all about dressing. Gentlemen who dress as hooligans are asked to clear from the road for more verification.

That is what happens. It is very important to dress appropriately. It gives meaning to our Christian obligations. It marches our character with the gospel we preach.

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