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When In Doubt, Inquire About the Dress Code

I’ve always said that spring is the one season I miss most about living north of the Mason Dixon Line.  I grew up in southern Virginia where spring came early and was the most glorious season.  Here in Philly, spring is almost nonexistent.  The winter gloom seems to linger FOR-EV-ER.  We might have a few nice days here and there, but I keep my winter clothes in my closet until the end of April.  In fact, I remember one cool, rainy Memorial Day wearing jeans and boots to a cookout.  I wasn’t the only one either.  We were just dressing for the weather.

The other thing about living in Yankeeland is that people don’t dress up.  For anything.  When I go to my parents’ church back home, everyone is dressed to the nines.  Up here jeans are a common sight at church.  Heck, jeans are a common sight EV-ERY-WHERE.  I have even grown accustomed to dressing casual for events such as bridal showers and the like — which once turned around to bite me in the butt.

A few years ago, I was invited back home to Virginia for a friend’s bridal shower.  I think it was sometime in late March or early April.  It was still cold in Philly.  It had to be before Easter because I usually use that as a benchmark to bring out a few lighter outfits.  It was definitely early in the spring because I don’t think I had made the switch in my wardrobe.

I bundled up and drove home to my mom’s house where I stayed for the weekend.  We got up on Saturday morning and dressed for the bridal shower.  I had brought only winter clothes, as it was chilly still, even in Virginia.  I put on my favorite winter-white corduroys, a heavy sweater, and my clunky brown boots.  I didn’t choose my outfit without care.  It was one of my favorites.  But it definitely was a casual winter outfit.  I even put on a coat out of habit when we left the house.  I have no idea why my mother didn’t mention my choice of attire.

We drove to my friend’s parents’ house, and as we walked up the front walk, I noticed that I was a bit warm in my coat.  But it wasn’t until we were greeted at the front door and someone asked me if I was expecting a blizzard that I realized I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked back into the kitchen in my clunky boots where a group of young ladies sporting light sundresses and summer sandals were standing around sipping glasses of wine and chit-chatting.  I felt like a lumberjack in a tearoom.  I’m pretty sure that’s what I looked like too.  My friends made quite a sport of reminding me all afternoon that I had lost any vestige of my southern roots.

And THAT is why, my friends, I decided to be on the safe side, and ask how to dress for the wedding events this weekend in South Carolina.  After all, when in Rome…

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6 thoughts on “When In Doubt, Inquire About the Dress Code

  1. I’m glad you posted that little fashion skeleton in your closet. 🙂 Too funny. But, I suppose, most of us have a little memory like that.

  2. Oh my! I am sure that you DID look like a lumberjack – NOT 🙂 But you got a blog out of it!

    I did a similar thing once. I was living in St. Louis and in September I went to a wedding in Toronto. I was still wearing shorts in St. Louis, but in Toronto, it was grey, overcast and WINTER. For the rehearsal dinner, I wore a white and navy cotton dress. Duh.

  3. I, too, lament the casual-everywhere-for-everything dress code of the North. I work in an office and if I wanted I could wear jeans and sneakers to work every single day. If I dress in anything nicer than business casual, say a nice skirt and blouse combo, I am hounded all day by questions of ‘planning on leaving?’ or ‘when’s the interview?’

    And don’t get me started on what people wear to church! We could use a small dose of Southern class up here. Just don’t expect me to leave my ski jacket at home if you have a wedding in February. I promise to stash it out of sight once we get in from the car but I REFUSE to catch my death for fashion. (as you can tell by my last post LOL!)

  4. That’s so funny!

    I agree that “spring” can get long and dreary, but we are usually having spring in May and June while the south is already sweltering hot by June, right?

    We just gotta wait longer.

  5. Yes, we do have a certain dress code here in the south. I didn’t realize people aren’t like this everywhere. I guess I’d stick out if I visited you.

  6. Here it is very common to wear jeans everywhere, and I love it. My sister in law had a “Ladies Tea” bridal shower, and people still came in jeans. Just the way it is in the midwest.

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