News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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August 21, 2012

RONN MOTT: How we dress

A few days ago, I ran into Herm Rassel … he of the men’s store of the same name in downtown Terre Haute. He said he enjoyed reading my stuff in the newspaper. He also said he doesn’t miss the business he retired from, but he misses the people who worked for him and the ones he did business with.

I remember a story Herm told me about a man who came to the store to rent formal wear. It was for his daughter’s wedding. Herm asked him the usual questions. For instance, what size jacket do you wear? The man did not know. And then, what size shirt do you wear? Again, the man did not know. He told Herm he only wore blue jeans and T-shirts. Obviously, there are not winter T-shirts and summer T-shirts, only T-shirts.

At lunch the other day, old radio chum, B.T., was talking about seeing film clips of an old ballgame (circa the 1940s), and all the men were wearing jackets, ties, and hats. I remember a picture that appeared in this newspaper of a 1920s Turkey Day football game between Garfield and Wiley. Old Memorial Stadium was packed and all the men were wearing top coats, hats, suits and ties.

We now see people at church, at funerals, and weddings wearing flip-flops (articles of footwear that came out of the Asian states in the East and were meant to wear in a bath.) Now, they’re seen everywhere. We see shorts on people who have no business baring that much skin. We see both men and women stuffed into blue jeans that make them appear as blue sausages wobbling down the street.

Once, the way you dressed told much about you … where you worked, how you worked, sometimes what financial situation you were in. Now, I’m afraid, all that is shown is we’re a nation of slobs. Don’t get angry at me when you read this. After all, I’m only writing what I see. If the flip-flop fits …

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.


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