Back in the 50s when I was growing up in a little town down the road—namely Hazlehurst, ladies dressed up to go to the Piggly Wiggly on Friday afternoons. I remember seeing Mrs. J.J. Miley in her navy blue polka-dotted dress with the white collar, her white gloves, and her navy blue straw hat with the white silk rose on the side. Her blue pumps and her navy patent leather purse finished the outfit, making the final statement that she was indeed a lady. She could have left the grocery store and gone straight to church, if any church had been open on Friday afternoon. I didn’t know Mrs. Miley well at that time, but I admired her taste, even as I resisted acquiring it for myself. After I did get to know Mrs. Miley, we spent a lot of time laughing about changing styles.
Ladies dressed appropriately back then and Mama did her best to make me a lady. Yes, Mama did her best, but I was born without the lady gene. Even as a child I could not understand why I had to put on my good clothes to go to town. School clothes maybe, but church clothes? To go buy bread, green beans, and milk? It made no sense to me even back when every one did it.
We’ve come a long way, baby, to get where we’ve got to now. We’ve come so far in the opposite direction that this old lady is frequently embarrassed today by scantily clad shoppers in the grocery store. Body parts are hanging out that in my opinion should not be, but this is not a sermon on how to dress for grocery shopping. You’ll have to wait for my book on etiquette for that. No, this is simply a few observations on clothing and how we allow them to affect our lives.
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