We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
If you dressed that way in college today, people would assume that you were as gay as Milo. However, kids in fine private schools still dress in ties for class, and those youths in the photo were probably just wearing something similar to what they had always worn to school. People used to dress for church too. I still do. It shows respect for the occasion. Please do not wear cut-off jeans to church. I am sure God doesn't care, but I do. (And you gals, please do not dress too sexy. It is a terrible distraction for us guys.)
It seems to me that part of the post-war cultural change in the US, and in the West generally, contained a degree of psychological regression, a clinging to childhood or adolescence. I do not know why that happened (decadence from prosperity and comfort?), but there was a time when people aged 18 were adults, viewed themselves as adults, comported themselves as adults, dressed like adults and, in short, aspired to be dignified grown-ups. I know this from my parents, but I grew up after that. Adulthood was difficult for them (military service, war, money, etc) but adulthood is always a deadly serious matter for which children are not equipped.
Dress expectations are superficial for sure, but they still mean something. So do all other cultural expectations. I am most comfortable associating with those who share my cultural expectations. Generally, know what to expect. Birds of a feather...
Interesting how the cultural shift into not aspiring to be an adult aligns with the 60s anti-establishment mindset and the hippies -vs- straights conflict. Why become an adult? Adults have to make decisions and stuff. Decisions require responsibility and accountability. Better to be part of the free love generation where peace will come if only we "Make Love, not War."
Sadly, many of those same people are now part of Academia and the Government, and still reluctant to make decisions and stuff.
The link didn't work for me, so my comments are based only on your post.
It is a very interesting question of cultural regressions. I was born in the 70s and do not feel comfortable wearing suits. I've often wondered if the changes in dress affected our cultural decline or if it's a symptom of the decline.
I converted to the Catholic church this year, and was surprised by how casually people dress at Mass. It's not uncommon at all for men to wear shorts and flip-flops on Sunday morning. Granted, you have to go every week, regardless of your circumstances. You never know what a person is doing immediately before or after mass. So, if you're camping it's reasonable to not have a suit, but I agree that one can always do better than shorts and flip-flops.
I made the decision early on to wear a suit every Sunday. I stick out like a sore thumb. Out of a mass of more than 100 I'm one of a handful of people wearing a tie. Funny enough, it's almost exclusively people under forty that are wearing suits, and it seems like a growing trend.
Based on my knowledge of history and pop culture I'd say the change in appearances happened in the 70s, rather than the 60s. In the 60s even commie agitators were clean cut with their shirts tucked in. Most people still appeared conservatively uniform in appearance.
I confess (yep, it comes naturally!) that my dress has gotten quite a bit more casual for Mass in the last 10 years or so, (meaning I will more often wear slacks and a sweater rather than a dress or skirt set) particularly if I roll out of bed for 8:00 AM rather than having gone the evening before. And with SF weather being so erratic, shorts are out of the question even on the warmest of days. That seems to be mainly limited to kids under 16. I do, however make sure my chapel veil is in the handbag no matter what. I'm hoping it makes up for the well-loved khakis.
That photo might have been typical for Ivy League prisses, but I took my baccalaureate in '53 at a smallish, private, mid-western streetcar college, and I don't recall ever seeing a male student going to class in a tie and/or jacket, or for that matter, a professor at work without a tie and jacket.