In my congregation, one is required to wear a suit for assignments. The BoE did not give an explanation for their decision. OK! I withdrew from assignments and from contributing financially. I've no regrets. The BoE decision was a good one in retrospect. Whilst I don't wear a suit, nevertheless I'm regarded as sartorial.
I use the example of John the Baptist to expose the arrogance of my local BoE and the ecclesiastical authorities of the WTBTS....
John the Baptizer was a Nazarite, so just like Samson he could not cut his hair. Thus, when seen in the vicinity of the Jordan preaching, his hair would have been quite long – longer than was socially acceptable then – probably reaching all the way down his back. It was likely the same with his beard, reaching all the way down to his abdomen.
His attire consisted of a camel skin caftan type garment (in those days usually used only for tents). He also had a leather belt. To onlookers, his style may have reminded them of Elijah or Elisha who attired themselves similarly. So his style of dress, rather like his grooming, was not within the normal societal parameters of the time. But does that really matter? In reading the Bible, I cannot discern any censure pertaining to his attire at all. It seemed irrelevant as many thousands flocked to him on the basis of his message and got baptized. Others were sent to him by the then ecclesiastical authorities to identify who he might be and his role. They didn’t take issue with his attire and grooming that I can see.
Of course, John was appointed by the Most High from birth. There is no evidence whatever that the Most High nor his son Jesus, the Christ, were disapproving of John on grounds of his style of dress. No indeed, of John the Baptizer Jesus said: “Truly I say to you, among those born of women, there has not been raised up anyone greater than John the Baptist....” (Matthew 11:11) What a really nice testimony. How thoughtful, discerning and kind Jesus was (and still is). Not so the WTBTS!
We can learn from John’s peers about focusing on other than a style of dress.
Was James possibly influenced by John the Baptizer in his counsel about “a poor man in filthy clothing” (“vile raiment” – King James version) and associated “class distinctions”? There is such a lot of focus in the organisation as to what one’s apparel is - especially for brothers with platform assignments. It is so prescriptive. Like a neurosis of sorts. No scriptural justification.
In that John’s life and ministry was acceptable to the Most High and his Son Jesus the Christ, what does this say about those in the organisation who may disdain and marginalise individuals as a result of not meeting the standard of dress defined by the modern day ecclesiastical authorities?
Why should the ecclesiastical authorities in the organisation set standards for dress when the standard is already set in 1 Tim 2:9 (modest and well arranged)?
Are there brothers in congregations who wear beards? Do they have “privileges” in keeping with other brothers who are clean shaven? Seeing brothers with beards participating in speaking/teaching assignments is in my experience is extremely rare. In fact, can’t remember any occasion at all!
My conclusion is that the WTBTS exemplify the characteristics of Nebuvhadnezzar. They think more of themselves than is necessary. A truly repellant disposition!