Every once in awhile I put on a suit and tie for our Sunday worship gathering. It does not happen often, but I do wear a tie from time to time.
Without fail, at least one or two people will tell me about how good I look “dressed up.” I’m often at a loss as to a retort. This week, I quoted George of the Jungle to them: “George just felt like looking special today, that’s all.”
From time to time, I have been asked why I do not wear a tie to lead our worship gatherings.
I grew up in a fundamentalist church, so it is sort of my default setting to put on the suit. As a point of fact, I “look good” in a suit because I know how to wear one. Most people who wear suits (including most pastors who believe Jesus would wear a suit if he came to their churches!) don’t wear suits well.
How NOT to wear a suit
As a sort of side note, here as some of my issues with the poorly attired.
- Neckties: if you insist on wearing a necktie, would you please, PLEASE, PLEASE knot the thing properly? Nothing drives me insane more than an uneven, skinny or too long necktie. For cryin’ out loud, I could tie a necktie at 6!
- Pant hems: please have a tailor hem your pants! A suit is a classy ensemble – of that there is no doubt – but not when you can see the uneven stitches your wife slapped in to keep the pants from dragging. Is looking like a homeless guy trying to apply for a job really worth the $25 you saved by not going to the tailor.
- Patterned shirts/uncoordinated accessories: NO! Your Santa Clause necktie does not go with that paisley shirt!
- Ugly suspenders: For one thing, braces (suspenders are the elastic ones) are meant to hold your pants up, not to coordinate with your tie. They are not resting places for your thumbs; nor should they circumscribe your coffee belly (since Baptists don’t drink, it can’t be called a beer belly.)
- Unbuttoned buttons: OK, this can be confusing; but you NEVER button the bottom button of a single-breasted suit; and you NEVER, NEVER, NEVER wear a double-breasted suit unbuttoned. Don’t wear shirts that are so tight you have to unbutton the top button; and don’t wear shirts with MISSING BUTTONS!
To be honest, I am a suit snob. If you’re going to wear one of these god-awful contraptions, at least do it with some dignity. If you’re going to “wear your best for God”, then PLEASE wear your best. Don’t look like some hobo.
Why I don’t wear a tie (or a suit)
With that diatribe over, let me explain why I do not wear a suit or tie. Simply put, they’re uncomfortable and they’re too much work.
If I am going to wear a suit, I have to spend half an hour ironing and prepping the suit. I make sure the shirt is crisp and the creases sharp enough to cut stuff. The suit lapels are flat and stiff; the tie is knotted perfectly. My shoes are polished to a sheen so brilliant it is blinding.
I don’t go halfway with a suit.
But I simply cannot embrace the value that God is in heaven waiting for me to show up in a suit as a sign of my submission. It smacks of a pharisaical attitude of attaining righteousness. God does not love those who worship in suits any more than he loves those in clean shirts and slacks.
And I’m ok with that.
Besides, a suit restricts me. The fact that this ensemble requires one to wear a jacket inside of a building should indicate its unnatural existence.
And knots belong on sailing vessels, not around one’s neck.
So there you have it. Chew on it for awhile.