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George Washington on Fashion

Charlie Wingard

Charlie Wingard

Associate Professor of Practical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary Jackson and Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Yazoo City, Mississippi

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George Washington dressed well. His clothing, he believed, should reflect the dignity of a military and political leader. Slovenly dress demeans both the man and the nation he represents.

But Washington was neither a fashion trendsetter nor a follower. He wrote: “A person who is anxious to be a leader of the fashion, or one of the first to follow it, will certainly appear in the eyes of judicious men to have nothing better than a frequent change of dress to recommend him to notice.” Washington’s concern was propriety – what’s appropriate – not fashion.

How a Christian leader dresses when performing his duties probably concerns very few. For several decades our society has tracked toward the informal. But if the question of a Christian leader’s clothing merits any consideration (itself a debatable point), perhaps the best place to begin is with the question: does it reflect the dignity of the church office he holds and of the One he represents?

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