Monday, September 13, 2010

Southern Etiquette Rules and More ...

A little history ...
Some of you know my mother died right after I was borne, my dad decided he did not want me so he gave me to his sister. Her name was Sally - she was "my mama". (1st rule of the South - your mother is called Mama)  Sally was 60 when she took me to raise as her own. She had already raised six children of her own who were by then grown. We lived in remote west Texas and she raised me as an only child. I loved her and she love me. She taught me things I never dreamed I would be traveling the country teaching to others as my career. The values she taught me we're never referred to as "The Rules of Etiquette", it was just the way things were done - common sense.
Here are some examples:
  • Treat others the way you want to be treated. (later to find out, that one is in the Bible - Luke 6:31)
  • Always be nice to those who aren't nice to you. This one has paid off big time! (hey, that one is in the Bible too - read Matt: 5:44)
  • Do your best! (now I know why I stay confused whether my mama said it or if it comes from The Bible - See Col:3:23)
  • People will let you down - God won't. (come to think of it, she was teaching me Scripture all along, I just didn't know it - Matt:28:20)
At an early age, she taught me to set a table properly, write a thank-you note immediately, and put away white after Labor Day (always my birthday weekend). We brought out our linen clothes and patent leather after Easter each year. The reason was never discussed and I never asked why - it was just the way we did it.

Here's a question asked on my "Just Ask Joy" email regarding dress after Labor Day.
Dear Joy,
I read your "Socially Savvy" book, follow your blog, and your Tweets too. Here's my question: With so many people claiming to be fashion experts, there are no firm rules to follow. Can you tell me traditional fashion rules since you are a Texas/Southern girl.
Thank you,

Hello RT, Thank you for your question.
Let me give you some valuable traditional information below, then we will ask our audience what traditional values and rules of etiquette their Mama taught them!
Traditional Rules for dressing after Labor Day:
  • No linen
  • No white clothing (not to be confused with winter white, champagne, or cream - of course you can wear white shirts, but not linen)
  • No white handbags
  • No white shoes
  • No white watches
  • No flipflops
  • No patent leather - shoes or handbags
  • No straw bags or hats
  • No seersucker
  • No madra shorts or tank tops
This was switch-out weekend. I switched out summer to fall clothing. 
Here's a glimpse of my shoe closet before the switch-a-roo.
Before the switch-a roo
Spring and summer shoes from closet waiting to be packed for annual trip to storage

Summer suits and dresses

Bright white and linen clothing - off to storage

I could not resist showing you this picture of Scooter (my snoopy cat) sticking his head out of part of the wall closet mirror during the switch. Do you see his head? (middle right - he is black and white)

Okay - now it is your time! Please advise RT and me about your traditional values and rules of etiquette that you were taught.

Love and hugs to you,xoJoy


Tammy B said...

I was taught the same thing, plus corduroy can be worn after October 1 and wool can be worn after the first frost. Velvet can be worn between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day.

Britney Pedraza said...

My question is about the weather. We live in the South, where after Labor Day the hottest parts of the day are still between 90 and 100 degress. What are we to wear then?

Thank you so much for your advice and tips. It's refreshing to have set guidelines on how to act and how to dress. I think it makes life easier and more enjoyable.

Kellie Collis said...

Can I just say that I love your shoe closet? It really keeps everything organized. Kellie xx

Beverly Dillow said...

Can you come organize my closet now? :) When you store you shoes for the next season, how do you store them? Purses, too, how do you store them?

Beth Dunn said...

Taught very much the same as you. But patent leather? I have patent black and wear that after labor day--am I off?

...All Things Refined said...

Hi Beverly - Of course, I would love to visit you in Midland Texas in your gorgeous home and help you organize your closet. I'm sure we would end up shopping for shoes and bags instead!
My summer shoes and bags are now placed in storage until spring.
Hope you had fun in Dallas last weekend - so sorry to have missed you.

...All Things Refined said...

Hi Beth - If there is one "old" traditional southern rule that I end up breaking - the patent leather one is it .... My favorite pair of black boots and jacket are patent leather and it is certainly to hot in Texas to wear them after Easter or before Labor Day. What a dilemma!
The really old school manners mavens of the south would be mortified to speak to someone wearing patent leather after Labor Day - believe me ... I go to Church with a few of them.:) Another old rule I thought of after I posted the Southern Etiquette Rules is never mixing silver and gold jewelry - can you imagine? Not me! xoJoy

...All Things Refined said...

Hi Britney, I live in Dallas and I feel your pain. Just stay clear of linen and white clothes, bags and shoes and try to follow the traditional rules as best you can. Of course, just because tomorrow is the beginning of fall - does not mean I'm going to start wearing suede and wool. It's just to hot! In a few months - the weather will change and southern ladies will enjoy our winter clothes.

...All Things Refined said...

Hi Tammy B - Excellent Advice! Thank you~Joy

Anonymous said...

I always motivated by you, your views and attitude, again, thanks for this nice post.

- Norman

Kitchen Belleicious said...

Love it! So many great things I did NOT know!

hey- I thought of you today when I posted by giveaway. It is southern and preppy and thought you would like it. Come by if you get a chance and check it out! Love

Jacqueline said...

Can I just say that I want your shoe closet?!!! My mother taught me you were never too old to wear high heels and that wearing them made your calves toned, she was right.