Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sips of the South: Southern Etiquette

Well, y'all, I was really, truly about to do my burrito post I've been yammering about for days.

But then I came across an article,
that reminded me of another article,
that just plain makes me roll my eyes,
& shake my head in disgust.

& both of these articles reminded me that I had a Sips of the South post to write that would be just the perfect outlet for expressing my distaste at what has become an all-too-common, serious breach of etiquette & good taste - even here in my beloved South!

So without further adieu...

This week we are discussing a variety of

etiquette tips,
& manners,
specifically "Southern etiquette."

My origins of learning etiquette were sort of like the ones Sweet Tea & Biscuits summarized in her post, about "just growing up knowing." When I was a little girl, the surest way to know I wasn't minding my manners was to hear, "That's not ladylike," from my granny or my mama. This could also sometimes apply to the failure to proper follow etiquette. If it was really rude, I'd hear, "That's ugly," or worse yet, "That's vulgar." Usually, though, those scoldings were reserved for my male cousins.

But, as Sweet Tea & Biscuits also pointed out, etiquette&manners are two different concepts.

Etiquette is a more


way of doing things - there are rules for

& the proper social behaviors at

the table,

An invaluable resource for all things etiquette is the Emily Post Institute, also home to

a blog for parents who want to teach their children good manners;

a blog for the discussion of proper etiquette.

(Note that there are different blogs for etiquette&manners!)

Manners are those rules that you are taught from the time you first start toddling around. You mind them.

You say, "No, ma'am," or "Yes, ma'am."
You say "please" & "thank you."
You share with your friends&siblings.
You don't sass your mama.

You mind your manners to keep from being rude or unkind.

You follow proper etiquette to keep from being

improper, or

Sweet Tea & Biscuits linked us to a fabulous wealth of etiquette information, especially tailored for the Southern crowd, over at Etiquette with Miss Janice.

I was delighted to find, on her great list of important reminders of Southern social graces, this particular gem, which inspired this particular rant post:

"...if you can be ready to leave the house in less than 30 minutes, you probably shouldn’t be leaving the house at all."


Who on earth has declared that it is socially acceptable to appear

at the grocery store,
the nursery school,
or heaven forbid,
the church-house,

in pajamas or sweatpants?

Now, I admit that since having Pretty Little Bare Feet, I have been caught at the grocery store once or twice in a pair of sweatpants or yoga pants. But I promise I'm not exaggerating when I say only once or twice, & I promise you I had at least lipstick&moisturizer on my face.


if it hadn't become such the norm,
& not the exception,
to appear in public dressed this way,

I would have never dreamed of heading out dressed like that at all! I'm fairly certain that, in the South, at least, it is preferable that

you be a few minutes late,
& presentable,
than a few minutes early,
& unkempt.

Right, ladies?

So...I have to say, I can fully support&understand the recent actions of a couple private businesses&schools in England that have said:

NO pajamas!

(source: ParentDish)

Ladies, where do you draw the line?

Is it okay to wear pajamas during the day,
if you don't leave the house?
Or do you get dressed to shoes,
as those of us who follow FlyLady say?
Is it okay to wear

or velour suits...

...but not okay to wear pajamas?

I think a lot of the confusion about what is, & what is not, okay, comes from the apparent confusion over what are, & what are not, pajamas.

I would never dream of wearing pajamas to drop Pretty Little Bare Feet off at school. Wouldn't it be hypocritical to have her get dressed&ready, but to stay rolled-out-of-bed sloppy myself? I think it would.

I usually work out in running shorts or yoga pants. If I stop at the grocery store after going to the gym, & I am still wearing

my running shorts,
or yoga pants,
& a sweatshirt;

I am not going to

go home,
& then return to the store.

However, I'm also not going to do my weekly shopping in my sweaty, workout state - I'm going to grab the one or two things I need for that evening & leave quickly. But if I've been wearing yoga pants at home, while cleaning or "lounging around," I will certainly change into "real clothes" before going to the grocery store (or anyplace else).

We get dressed every day, the exceptions being

when one of us is sick,
or if Pretty Little Bare Feet has had a (rare) bad night,
which means I'm planning on taking a nap when she does in the afternoon.

"Please Remove Your Shoes" Damask Sign from Girlfriends Children's Decor

We don't get dressed down to shoes if we don't leave the house, as we don't wear our shoes inside the house. However,

we leave the house most days,
& we put on our shoes before we go,
& we take them off,
& put them up first thing,
when we get back.

As I said before, I am a big fan of "throwing on a dress," because it looks so much more put-together than "throwing on jeans." In the colder months, however, my general "go-to" outfit is more like

a sweater,
over a button-up,
with cords,
or slacks,
or a skirt&tights.

My tee shirts are pretty much for

& working out.

Growing up, I played outside a lot. When I played outside with my male cousins, or helped my pawpaw out in the garden, I wore "play clothes." These were usually little mix&match outfits, consisting of little

& tops.

But I have never worn anything but a dress or skirt to church - ever. It's just not how I was raised. I don't judge anybody else who does, as I know Jesus loves me, even in my bathrobe...but I do personally feel that it's inappropriate to wear "casual" clothing like jeans to church. Not wrong - just inappropriate. & that's because I was raised to believe that the proper etiquette for church was to wear a nice dress, & "act like a lady," in God's house. I was not allowed to play with toys during church, & we did not have "children's church" when I was little. I sat in the pew, quietly, & once I reached a certain age (maybe six or so?), I was no longer allowed to "nod off" to take a nap in church either.

(I was allowed to draw&write on the bulletins, thank God, as I was a bit of an A.D.D. kid, & needed something to keep me occupied once the singing was over - I might grasp the general gist of the sermon, but I surely did not pay attention to it for very long.)

You may have seen in one of my Post It Note Tuesdays that one of my favorite quotes is,

I pretty much believe that...

...but please share...

what are your thoughts on "getting ready to go out?"
How much time does it take?
Do you have a weekday routine that gets you out of the house quickly,
but presentably,
& an evening,
or weekend,
that gives you more time for yourself?
Do you do some things the night before?

& do you agree that...

"...if you can be ready to leave the house in less than 30 minutes, you probably shouldn’t be leaving the house at all..."?


  1. Wow! That was quite a post! I disagree and agree... I disagree with the 30 minute rule, as it often only takes me 30 minutes to throw on a little makeup, throw my hair into a ponytail and be presentable for the day. However I agree that PJ's aren't really all day wear... if I am cleaning or just lounging, yes I will stay in sweats, but if I go out, I at least put on a pair of jeans. So there it is, a little of this and a little of that! :)


  2. Girl, I think you hit the nail on the head! Especially for mamas, it is sometimes all too alluring to stay in the comfy schlumpy clothes because we're not going anywhere special, or the baby will just get them dirty, but the reality is that our babies are going to get us dirty for at least the next 18 years so we might as well look fashionably dirty!

  3. Thanks for posting with SOTS ! Love the FLYlady- she is my hero :0)Dressing to shoes is a must at our house too even for my 19 month old. I literally saw a lady at walmart one day in full pj's with slippers - no joke :)

  4. This is such a great post! We're definitely more casual here in Montana than you are, but I would never ever go out in public in pajamas.

  5. Great post! When I left for college, my mother told me that every morning, no matter how late I may wake up for class, I was NEVER allowed to go to class in pajamas. I know she'd never be able to know if I actually did, but after four years, I've always been dressed "right" for class. Pajamas in public are definitely not ladylike. :)

  6. Yes, & that was one thing I loved about my sorority. There was a designated day each week for "pinwear," so even our (still cute, but clearly not raised in Southern etiquette) sisters that generally wore sweats to class had to dress up for class. & of course every Sunday for the meeting! I LOVED seeing all my classy sisters all dressed up, even for 8am labs. =)

  7. All I can say is ..AMEN! I agree with every word. If I ever show up wear pajamas or with my lingerie showing - shoot me, it means I've completely lost it. I say, get-up, get-dressed up and get-ready for something great big and wonderful to happen.