We're deep into the dreaded dinner season. Night after night, it seems the wife and I are obligated to go and pay our respects at some rubber chicken fiesta. Boring food. Boring speech. Boring video.
So its a bit of a welcome change when the shul or yeshiva tries to mix things up by hosting a barbecue instead of a dinner. I applaud the effort, but the outdoor venue and casual vibe present a problem: What do you wear?
Dressing for a traditional dinner is easy: Dark suit, white shirt, dark tie. But you can't flash your rabbinical garb at a barbecue without looking ridiculous and because our fellow Jews have deeply traditional and close-minded ideas about clothing you can't wear shorts and a T-shirt either. Not if you wish to continue to be taken seriously by the event's hosts and sponsors. So what do you do? I see two possible options
LIGHT COLORED, PREFERABLY LINEN SUIT
- Linen breaths
- Its a suit, which (unfortunately) is what yeshiva types consider proper dress for every situation
- It provides a jacket, which your yiras neighbors requires you to wear for davening
- Linen wrinkles
- Light colors aren't frum and you often have to match them with non-white shirts which also aren't frum
- Do I want to get hot dog grease and mustard on my linen suit? (I don't actually own a linen suit)
Seersucker would be nice, but the only Orthodox Jews I know who are brave enough to wear seersucker have social problems.
POLO AND CHINOS
- Season and event appropriate
- You can get it dirty
- Match it with a jacket. If everyone else is in a jacket or suit, you're safe. If no one is, you can shelve the jacket and get double bonus points with the folks who (lets be honest) are judging you when you whip the jacket out for mincha or maariv.
- A little too casual for a shul or yeshiva event?
- What if everyone else dorks out and wears a dark suit?
Am I missing anything? What say you?
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