In a recent fascinating article from WAToday where Richard Woods won season tickets to the ISPS HANDA Perth International - for his lack of fashion sense on the links - a man whose wife Rachael (with fashion sense) shakes her head is dismay - as he heads to the golf course.
The article explains this is quite a contest as there is a wide range of out-there looks on golf courses around Perth. Rachael noted that he gets a wide range of looks with his outfits (photographs with article) and it seems that the award was truly appreciated by Richard.
In recent years Australia's non-sacramental Protestant male clergy might well have had a similar contest as the once black suit, white shirt and suitable tie - has long gone.
This real change was initiated by the Pentecostal movement in the '70s but it really didn't take off until the Pentecostal Australian television preachers came on our home television screens without a coat and without a tie.
Today, a visit to any Pentecostal church will demonstrate this. The male preachers wear anything from jeans and loose shirt to casual trousers and shirts – often shirts without collars with the top button done up.
The main line Protestant male clergy on the whole are nowhere near as adventurous in their dress code as their brother Pentecostals. Our local minister when preaching rarely wears a coat of any kind, nor a tie, but dress trousers and a nice fitting shirt, and rarely a white shirt.
This is not the same situation for the large majority of male clergy of sacramental churches such as the Anglican and the variety of Orthodox churches who have colour coded religious seasons where the white or black gowns are worn in Church tradition. We saw this at the recent Royal Wedding.
The same cannot be said for many of Sydney Anglican male clergy today who feel no such restrictions on formal attire.
Having said all this, for weddings and funerals the dress code goes up a notch across the board.
Women clergy is another issue altogether. For Anglican women clergy the norm is the full clergy dress code as much as a statement as anything else.
The Pentecostal women preachers, as opposed to the men preachers, it is make-up at five paces and a very careful selection of attire to attract and appreciate, and rarely is there ever a wardrobe malfunction.
This startling and obvious difference in Pentecostal church life is there for all to see, and whereas men have established their dress code, the women are still governed by what we might refer to a community standards for women in leadership roles. A woman preacher in sexually provocative attire is not that dissimilar to a male preacher with nice fitting trousers and a lovely clean cut shirt bearing the male features.
Now to another category altogether, that of those women in every household who are 'financial members of the fashion police' who extend their policing duties to the male members of their family.
In my family, as the children came along, three girls and a boy, I had no idea that the girls along with their mother, had become senior members of this august body and I found myself subject to intense pressure to their versions of suitable dress codes for each and every occasion.
This included church attire, shopping dress, official duties, formal breakfasts, casual wear, social occasions, walks in the park, sport, holidays and even the beach.
There was a list of unwrittens' that men of my ilk found imposed upon them, a lot of which they had no idea such rules ever existed. It certainly wasn't in the marriage vows (I would have remembered), not was it ever discussed in those courting years, these rules just appeared.
It reminds me of my late friend Ian Carlson who always claimed that women produced immediately after the “I do” at the marriage ceremony the book of “Not allowed's”, a list for which men have no idea and continues to be added too. At our bible study evening when Ian Carlson first raised this mythical book, Sharyn, one of the women, exclaimed, whose husband was a brick layer (and house never finished), that the women should be given the book of “Grin and Bear-its.”
The great divide in fashion and everything else - continues with good humour !
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.