Friday, 11 June 2021

Dressing up to go out

is surely a thing of the past? 

I remember my maternal grandmother putting on a hat, a coat and gloves to walk across the railway line not far from the house my grandparents lived in. She would do this even on a very hot day.  She would dress up like this in order to do the ordinary everyday shopping. She always wore stockings, the heavy 60denier type. Nana, as we called her, boasted that she had never worn trousers and that she was always "properly dressed". That she was not always as clean as she could have been was beside the point. She was, as she saw it, correctly attired.

My paternal grandmother never wore trousers either. My paternal grandfather disapproved of them - but then he was a very upright man of mid-Victorian Presbyterian mindset. "Grandma", as we called our paternal grandmother, however was not as formal.  She would take her shopping trolley and, without hat or gloves, she would go to do the household shopping just around the corner in Jetty Road. Yes, if she went into the city she would add the hat and the gloves to a suit made by her husband. (Grandpa was a tailor.) If the weather demanded it she would wear the tweed coat Grandpa had made for her. She didn't fuss.

My mother wore a hat to church but she had long ago dispensed with the gloves and she wore tights not stockings. If she went shopping yes, she changed her clothes. She might wear slacks around the house but she never wore them out.

I was thinking of all this yesterday because someone mentioned that they had "dressed up" to go out. They commented on how strange it felt. I looked around our local shopping centre yesterday. I visited the chemist. All the staff were wearing trousers. I went  into the supermarket, the greengrocer, the Post Office and the bakery. I saw just one person wearing a skirt - a skirt which almost reached her ankles. Nobody was wearing a dress.  

Most people I saw looked neat and clean and comfortable. It's that sort of middle-class district I suppose.

I thought about weddings and funerals and nights out. At such times I have seen people in jeans and the most casual clothing. 

I have worked from home for many years. I mostly wear jeans and t-shirts.  I don't actually own a dress.  I don't "dress up" to go shopping. I don't know anyone who does.

Perhaps that is why so many of us were smiling at the two small children dancing along yesterday. The little boy was dressed with what seemed to be a "Superman" cape and the little girl was wearing a pink tutu - over the top of her jeans.  

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