Society today, is all about illusions. Few people will use that word, but no one would deny it. “You have to act the part; dress the part; look the part”. Doing the part is easy, you just have to appear good enough for it.
Good businesses require those who see past the facade of others, yet put up a fine one of their own. A smart businessman will value the looks and style of employees little, while maintaining their own for those who judge more foolishly.
It is the same in many places; churches, schools, politics. At school, children’s attitudes are judged by uniform quality, although this is probably quite accurate, as obedience to uniform will usually equate to other obedience (not to attitude to learning, however). In politics, image is everything. It’s all about slogans, photos and empty promises, and never about actions until the election’s over and it’s too late.
I’ve not been to a Church where this is too prominent, though I’ve heard of a few incidents, and there does appear to be a dress-code for ministers. I strongly suspect it’s more prominent in churches where there’s an idea of some holiness hierarchy (like in 2Corinthians 10:12), whether official or not. My parents used to make me dress well for church things, which I hated. One time, I asked my mum if Jesus had always worn clean clothes, and wasn’t forced to change.
The Pharisees were all about the image of holiness. Jesus said to them,
‘Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye are like to whitewashed sepulchres, which outwardly indeed do appear beautiful, and within are full of bones of dead men, and of all uncleanness; so also ye outwardly indeed do appear to men righteous, and within ye are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.’
I would say it’s useful to abandon external righteousnesses, so that you never fool anyone (including yourself) into believing you’re one bit better than you truly are.
In other industries, it’s clearly not half as important. The illusions are inefficient, and perpetuate inequalities, but they are less dangerous and more necessary. Still, it would be good for the world to erode this illusion. I advise being slightly less formal when doing a great job, and more formal when (for whatever reason) you’re not doing so great. Also, be careful not to fall for the illusion yourself.
These illusions are born out of judgmental hierarchies, and help to sustain them.
God bless you.