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Mary Ann
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My southern paternal grandmother, Lula Belle;

I can see her now, wearing her best cotton house dress and sitting in her favorite wicker rocker with the wide arm rests. That rocker offered an invitation to comfort with pillows dressed in fabric from the quilts and dresses she had created. She was not today’s “ fashionista” but she knew what was right and acceptable. She made sure her family knew what to wear to church, social events and when company came by to visit. Unfortunately, my own mother agreed with her on these points.

Yes, even in the steamy non-air conditioned south of the 50’s and 60’s, there was a dress code.

Men simply wore a suit, dress shirt and tie. A hat was optional.


Women, young and old, were expected to:

Number 1            Wear a dress

Number 2            Wear a girdle

Number 3            Wear stockings (hosiery)

Number 4            Wear a full (not half) slip + net crinolines for a full skirt

Number 5            Wear your best shoes


Necessary :

A hand held fan (no batteries/you supplied the power) I don’t recall anyone with carpal tunnel issues back then; amazing!  Free fans were readily available at church and often at other events – they served as advertising for local merchants.

Optional :

White gloves, minimal jewelry and/or a hat

Thank heaven my mother relented once we were back in Ohio and allowed me to wear shorts unless we were going somewhere.


Oh that’s not all; there were the special rules about white shoes, etc…..


White (also black patent leather) shoes/ purses, white dresses,

skirts, slacks, etc. may be worn on Easter until Labor Day.

Memorial Day:

The colors red, white and blue may be worn together from

Memorial Day until Labor Day.

Labor Day:

Put away your white (also black patent leather) shoes

purses , white dresses, slacks, etc. until Easter.

Once I finally had all that memorized, winter white was introduced and I was totally confused.

Imagine my delight about 6 years ago when corporate dress code was changed to allow skirts and dresses without hosiery (pantyhose, etc.). Going barelegged was a cardinal sin for my grandmother and mother. Now, it was OK in my work setting, and acceptable for church and other occasions. Fantastic!


Please stop by next weekend to read my latest blog post or simply put your email address in the “Subscribe” section on this page (located under my picture) and you’ll automatically be notified when it’s published……………………Mary Ann