I broke out my white pants last week, and not a moment before the dawn of Memorial Day. Then I laughed at myself, because, I suspect, I am the only person for several states around even aware of that passé, old-money dress code.
I don’t actually remember my mother ever saying “You simply may not be seen in white shoes before Memorial Day,” but it is as deeply ingrained as any habit from childhood I can think of.
I absolutely don’t judge if other people wear white all year long. But to this day, somehow, deep down, it just feels wrong.
I have amused even my loveliest of friends with my rather boring wardrobe, and I laugh right along with them. I am ridiculous. This is not only Southern California, but it is Southern California 2015.
If my feet didn’t get cold, I like to think I could sport sandals year-round. They wouldn’t be white, of course.
Don’t tell me it’s just my generation, because my husband brazenly flaunts most dress codes. His first suit of choice is a sweat suit. He is, however, among those men who will don a coat and tie, if the event is formal. And yes, I do realize how lucky I am to have a spouse who will make himself presentable without a fight.
But the fact that I still call a coat and tie “looking presentable” rather puts me back to square one.
I really must get over it. Around here, you are going to see a vast majority of T-shirts and cargo pants where a dress shirt and pants used to be.
With 100-degree Santa Ana’s in December, we don’t even wear much wool in the winter. I rather marvel that the suit warehouse guys stay in business.
Apparently, somebody out there, other than me, still clings to “business attire” expectations. I hope to run into them one day. But he or she will very probably be wearing white pants — after Labor Day.
Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who just realized, to her dismay, that her summer linens all have to be ironed. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.