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…