There is an obscure song which talks about a “big man’s hat”. I always thought of the phrase as a off handed reference to a pimp. As I see the link between clothes and people of power, I find myself susceptible to the game.
I don’t find clothes making the man or woman. Having said that, clothes can take an individual’s attitude and amplify it in a way that dramatically changes how we see and understand the message. It isn’t just politicians or those in business. Musicians can change or amplify perceptions to their music by how they appear. Surreal music often demands unusual attire. Music filled with lament often brings with threadbare, slightly out of style, and even marginally fitting clothes.
Clothing amplifying perceptions, trying to change how we see things, isn’t new. People have been playing with power for a long time. The facts were not always respected. It was and is often simply a contest for power. When “Rabshekah stood up and called out loudly in Hebrew, the common language, ‘Listen to the message of the great king, the king of Assyria! Don't listen to Hezekiah's lies. He can't save you. And don't pay any attention to Hezekiah's pious sermons telling you to lean on God, telling you ‘God will save us, depend on it. God won't let this city fall to the king of Assyria.’’” (Isaiah 36.13-15) His concern wasn’t about truth, enlightenment, or safety. It was all about power and control.
Occasionally I witness something counterintuitive. Individuals with power, authority, and knowledge dress totally contrary to expectations. The contrast is often startling. A musician in uptown dress plays the blues. A scruffy surfer like kid represents traditional big band jazz. A savvy astute business man is as casual as a kid in junior high school.
I don’t recommend bucking dress trends. Yet I have come to realize the strongest positions of power, more powerful power, and the best power comes from a heart filled with integrity, truth, and experiential knowledge. God offers this heart to you and to me.
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