The elegant closet

I’ve become lazy in how I dress since moving to a small town in Arkansas from Lincoln, Nebraska, a city of 250,000.

Part of the laziness is a result of a general trend towards more casual attire. Another reason is the distance between our home and anywhere decent to purchase clothes (about 40 minutes). In Lincoln the mall was always 15 minutes away, and even though we aren’t necessarily mall people the opportunities to peruse the sales were abundant.

Also complicating matters is a daily routine that includes time in a garage studio and an office. I usually end up dressed too well for the studio (where I end up ruining clothes before their time) and too casually for the office.

I miss dressing well. Arkansas, even if it’s Fayetteville, just doesn’t seem to present the need for attention to attire. The first time my wife and I went out to a nice restaurant we dressed up — as would have been expected in Nebraska. It was for our anniversary and we put on our good duds to eat at James at the Mill.

We were significantly over-dressed. We understood this restaurant to be one of the nicest, if not the nicest in Northwest Arkansas, but other patrons wore khakis or even jeans.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

4 Responses to The elegant closet

  1. Rekitect says:

    I’m new to this blog, so please excuse this tardy response to your missive on dress.

    IMHO, we, as a society, have become far too casual in our everyday dress, manners and attitudes. In fact, I believe that in many cases we have gone beyond casual and ended up egregious.

    Jeans and t-shirts simply should not be acceptable in professional settings such as the office or meetings, at church for worship, or in school for study. Your dress set the standard for the attitude you wish to display. One would not dress poorly for a meeting with an important client or for a job interview. One should not dress in beach attire when meeting for corporate worship to the Creator of the Universe. When in an educational setting, one should dress in a manner that shows that they are there to learn, not lounge about in pajamas and fuzzy slippers.

    I don’t mean this to say that we should return to the stuffy, Alcatraz Ascot, although I do like to wear ties occaisionally. Sometimes a tie can be a gentleman’s only fashion statement. Nor do I think that Sunday dress should return to the fashion show competion I remember at some churches from my youth. But it just galls me when visiting an evangelical church to see the “worship team” made up of a bunch of people, young and old alike, dressed like some sort of grunge band when singing about our lovely, beautiful and holy God!

    I could go on at length about manners, attitudes, speech, etc., but I’ll let that go for now and get off my soap box.

    BTW, I live and work in a small town in the northwest, where dressing up means wearing your newer jeans! I’ll just keep on wearing my dockers and dress shirts to work and put on a tie every Sunday. Maybe someday I’ll fit in.

  2. pNielsen says:

    In all likliehood you probably will fit in again some day. From what I’ve been able to gather, just by observation, in my own relatively short life, fashion goes in cycles.

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