Dress Up Or Dress Down?

easter finery“Innnn your Ea-ea-easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it…” Remember that song from a million years ago? Remember when we all dressed up smartly come spring, the little boys in  blazers and the little girls in sherbet-colored dresses with matching ankle socks and hats? Oh and we wore little Mary Janes too!  My sister and I would bring our new Mary Janes to our grandfather reading in the wingchair of his bedroom and he would take out his pocket knife and scratch up the soles a bit, making it harder for us to slip and go down in all our ruffled finery.

I’ll admit I miss those days, living as we do in an era air when people saunter onto airplanes wearing their pajama bottoms and clutching their bed pillows. I miss the days when we sat up straight while traveling on public conveyances. I miss the time when gloves covered the hands of many ladies, sometimes even the hands of the flight attendant. I know I wore white gloves to a job interview at age 19, just because it was spring and the dress I wore seemed to cry out for those them.

Now of course all has changed and women rarely even wear dresses – well, besides the poor young meteorologists who are made to stand in profile in skin-tight sheaths against the weather systems they’re gesturing at on the swirling screens behind them.

For the last 30 I’ve been walking around in workout wear much of the time. Get up, pull on the gym clothes and get at that workout: that was the idea. Nike built a whole logo around it.

But then, just today on Facebook, I saw a picture of a high school friend’s wife. She is slim. She is attractive. But when I clicked on the photo to make it bigger and saw the look of those under-carriage-clinging yoga pants I had my own Road to Damascus moment. I came to realize something and that something is this: The only person who go every got away with wearing such tight pants was Mary Tyler Moore as Laura Petrie in the old Dick Van Dyke show.

Something for me to keep in mind as I sally forth in the months and years ahead.

So yesterday was Easter and for Easter I wore a crisp silk shirt, a long swingy skirt, a favorite pair of outback-looking boots and a kind of Indiana Jones fedora. I felt pretty good setting our for our relatives’ house. I felt I had risen to the occasion.

Of course it was hot yesterday.

Way hot. So hot the cheeses all puddled – AND we were out in the bright hot sun for most of the day.

Almost immediately, I tossed the hat under a table lost the boots 30 minutes later and 30 minutes after that slithered out of the pantyhose by ducking behind a tree and working fast. THEN I could really enjoy the day!

Let’s watch these two stars showing off their finery while singing that old chestnut of a song. ‘He’, Fred,  has always been an icon of male elegance and I think we can all agree that ‘her’ hat is fabulous. It’s true that when I first saw her arms I thought I’d wandered into a commercial for eczema cream, or maybe a relief-from-psoriasis one, but no. That’s no skin affliction but a pair of long pink gloves.  My expectations are that altered in the distinctly less formal world we inhabit these days. Over to you now, Judy and Fred!

6 thoughts on “Dress Up Or Dress Down?

  1. I wish time could drop me back to Easter Sunday 1952, Terry, holding my five years younger brother’s hand as we stepped out in those slippery shoes with the Easter outfits you described, me gloved and hated, he with dress jacket, bow tie and peaked beanie. How I would talk to him about his feelings instead of treating him like my child, not knowing I would lose him 20 years later.

  2. My dad used to scratch the soles of new shoes too. I remember Easters past, when we went off to church all dressed up in new outfits, including straw hats and patent leather Mary Janes. We felt so grown up wearing corsages, my sister and I, along with our mother. Easter Sunday we often went to the Mission Church, for my dad liked the organ music there; afterwards, we would find a place on Commonwealth Avenue to watch the Easter Parade. The most outstanding paraders were later pictured in the Globe or Herald. Each year the same large family of parents and their daughters, all dressed to the nines, were special features in the rotogravure section. Now — how different! I wore jeans and a blazer to the 10:30 Mass, where there was SRO, as is expected for Christmas and Easter. Better go early to get a parking space!

  3. wow this does span many years! And yes, I was forgetting about the corsages, which arrived from the day before in their miniature ‘caskets’, with the oh-so-soft tissue paper linings. I think I just remember that family of girls – I was little – but we lived then in Boston and Commonwealth Ave and the Common seemed like our yard too. Our grandfather had an office at 24 School Street and later 37 Tremont, overlooking the Granary Burying ground. Thanks for rekindling these memories Joan 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s