Today’s dress code nothing like mother’s


Once again it is the time for the big question. Do I have to wait until Memorial Day to wear those comfortable white slacks I bought at the end of the season last summer or can I wear them now?

My friend claims white is good anytime after Easter, but I grew up with the queen mother of all dress codes: No white until Memorial Day and patent leather shoes were for summer only.

Mom, whose favorite question was “what is this world coming to?” would never understand today’s generation, which appears to have no dress code. Anything goes, plaids with stripes, pink with orange, skirts shorter than the most of the belts I wore in the 50s, piercing, tattooing and a whole lot of cleavage. We didn’t have cleavage in the middle of the last century. Necklines tended to end just a few inches below the chin.

Matilda, my best friend, said her granddaughter and her boyfriend stopped by the other day. “He was wearing a gold hoop earring that I’d gladly trade my hair color formula for,” she said.

Fashion certainly was more defined when I was young. Whatever happened to the neat look of the 50s when guys wore their hair shaved at the sides and crew cuts or long enough to be slicked back into a duck tail, a look that I liked but was not part of my mom’s dress code. Hair came in brown, blond, black or red, never blue, orange or mauve or all of the above.

Girls looked like ladies in full skirts and yards and yards of itchy crinoline that made sitting down a major undertaking. It felt good to get out of those prickly slips, seamed hose, perky hats and fancy white gloves and put on a pair of comfortable, faded blue jeans rolled up to mid-calf and dad’s big old white shirt with the tails hanging down to the knees, which weren’t in mom’s dress code, either but occasionally she let me get by with a couple of things.

Maybe mom’s dress code wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. If those white slacks still fit, I’ll wear them tomorrow, unless it snows.


Joyce Ore

Joyce Ore writes delightful stories about life with a dose of humor and sprinkle of nostalgia. Her column appears Saturday in the Tribune.

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