The Talmud (Shabbat 113a) tells us that Rabbi Yochanan called his clothing, “The things that honor me.”
Seraphic Secret believes that what we wear tells the world who we are and how we wish to be treated. If you dress like a slob and then get annoyed when people treat you like a slob, well, you only have yourself to blame. To ask people to see beyond clothing to the “real person” is a denial of reality. Clothing, male and female, is a great big sign, a cultural and frequently a religious signifier.
For everyday wear I favor L.L. Bean khakis, crisp button down cotton shirts, and slip-on loafers. It’s a classic Ivy League look that’s both comfortable and appropriate for shlepping around town.
To honor Shabbat, Jews are obligated (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 262:2-3) to wear their finest clothing. Thus, I wear a navy blue or charcoal gray suit, silk tie, pocket square, and a pink Brooks Brothers shirt.
Yup, pink for Shabbat.
Except for the clueless who show up for Shabbat services looking as if they just came from the gym, the majority of men in my Orthodox synagogue favor white shirts. Or, for the more daring, a light blue.
But pink is considered somewhat risqué if not downright meshuga.
As one of my friends in synagogue recently remarked: “Robert, you must be really secure in your masculinity to wear pink.”
When I’m feeling totally wild and crazy—usually on Shabbat afternoon when I attend a Torah class—I wear a blue blazer, tan gabardine trousers, and fasten your seatbelts, pink socks. (See photo above, not taken on Shabbat.)
Normally, pink is for girls, but ever since Brooks Brothers introduced the pink business shirt for men way back in 1900, the pink shirt has become a fashion favorite of the sartorial class.
The May 2 issue of Life magazine declared 1955 as “The Peak Year For Pink,” stating:
The color that women have traditionally appropriated from babyhood has taken a turn in the other direction. Across the U.S. a pink peak in male clothing has been reached as manufacturers have saturated more and more of their output with the pretty pastel. Against the charcoal gray with which it is usually worn, pink is shown here in almost everything short of a trench coat — even in a golf jacket and a dinner jacket. Now more of a staple than a luxury, the color is even acceptable to teen-age boys.
Like most male fashions, including the Ivy League Look, this pink hue and cry has taken some time to develop. Sole responsibility lies with New York’s Brooks Brothers, whose pink shirt, introduced in 1900 but long unnoticed, was publicized for college girls in 1949 and caught on for men too. Already being copied in clothes by such rival bon-bon colors as light green and lavender, pink is heading into home furnishings.
Karen and I wish all our friends and relatives an inspiring and fashionably pink Shabbat.