RSS Feed

My Mother Would Have Never Let Me Dress That Way!

Posted on

I am always amazed at what people will sometimes wear to an event even though it is only a high school graduation on a football field. We arrived early for the graduation ceremony – at least three hours early – because Harry had to set up the sound for his band and get the percussion instruments out to the field. As I looked around there were a few people already coming into the stadium. The first couple that strolled by were probably in their mid- 60’s and their attire was jeans, comfortable walking shoes, and  the school’s pride t-shirts. They carried folding chairs in their hands and I could see they intended to be comfortable during the ceremony. The man also had an umbrella under one arm. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, so it had to be to keep the sun off until it went down by the time graduation kicked off at 7:00pm.

There were men in frayed jeans and oversized faded t-shirts, some wearing  their work clothes with their name stitched across the shirt pocket. Women were wearing long skirts with faded T’s or baggy capris with shirts barely covering their mid-sections. Young children were being pulled along behind them in protest or pushed in strollers. There was even a dog with a dress on walking on a leash with her owner. What a sight!

The students were arriving by now to see their classmates graduate and most of them were wearing everyday clothes – baggy shorts, wrinkled t-shirts with obnoxious sayings, and flip flops for the boys. There were tight fitting ripped capris jeans or shorts and snug tops for the girls. There was a sprinkling of class pride shirts throughout.

Now don’t get me wrong here because there were a whole lot of people dressed nicely and appropriately for the event. I watched as the graduates started arriving going through the back door to the auditorium to wait for their big moment to march out on the field.  Most of them were carrying their graduation robe and cap and a few had them on already with the front not zipped up yet. I observed the boys with their dress pants, shirts and ties. Their hair was neatly combed and they were wearing dress shoes. The girls all had on their best dresses and heels, hair fixed to perfection. You could tell this was their day. They walked with pride with smiles on their faces.

I thought that it was sad that the graduates went to so much trouble to look nice and presentable for the audience while some of the audience strolled in looking as if they put no though or effort into what they were wearing. It was just another errand to be run at the end of the day. The seniors had put forth an effort arriving in their “Sunday Best” – so why not give them the respect they had earned and dress accordingly?

We walked back to the bandroom to unlock the door for the band students and as they came in to get their instruments, I noticed the boys had on dress shirts and the girls were in dresses and heels. I didn’t recognize some of them because they never dressed this way at the football games, concerts, and performances I was usually at with them. They sure cleaned up nicely! They usually wore a band uniform with baggy shorts and band shirt underneath when I saw them.

When Harry tells them to dress nicely for something there are a few that try to get around it and slip something by, but this time I think they all came through for him! I was so proud  as we walked into the stadium beside them. I hoped the audience noticed how nice they looked – and also how well they behaved while sitting during the long program, ready to perform with perfection on cue. They came through it with flying colors!

I look back at how things were done when I was growing up. I never would have walked out of the house dressed the way some were today. My mother would not have let me and she would not have dressed that way herself. I remember plenty of times hearing, “You aren’t going out wearing that are you?” Then I would turn around, go back to my room, and change my outfit to suit my mother – but just barely! We knew all the tricks. The waistband of our skirts could be rolled to make them three or four inches shorter than they were when we left the house. Shirts could be un-tucked and belts ripped off. We thought we were so smart putting ourselves back in order before we arrived home after school, our mothers no more to the wiser. (At least we didn’t think they were.) The weekends were a little harder. Our t-shirts were long and so were our shorts, but those could be rolled too. Sometimes our shirts were longer than our shorts. What were we thinking?

At least our hair wasn’t blue, pink, or purple and we didn’t have tattoos scattered up and down out torso with various parts of our bodies pierced.

Anyway, the graduation ceremony was great and now it’s almost the end of another school year for the rest of the students. Summer will be short and it will start over again real soon!






About Elle Knowles

Elle Knowles lives in the Florida Panhandle with her husband and off-at-college-most-of-the-time son. She has four daughters, one son, and eleven beautiful grandchildren. 'Crossing the Line' is her first novel. The sequel 'What Line' is a work in progress. Recently published is Coffee-Drunk Or Blind - a nonfiction story of homesteading in the Alaska wilderness with her parents and four siblings, told through letters by her mother and remembered accounts from the family.

8 responses »

  1. I agree. I am always amazed at people wearing jeans and a t-shirt to nice weddings, or shorts and t-shirts to wakes and funerals. Even if they don’t own formal clothing, they don’t need to dress like they just walked in from doing yard work. Just show some respect for the occassion.


    • Even wearing shorts to church is an ok thing in Florida. My mother would be turning over in her grave! She had a hard time accepting the fact women didn’t have to wear something on their heads to go in to church when that changed. I remember when the older ladies would sometimes come in to Mass with a Kleenex bobby pinned to their head! I Know that was out of respect but what were they thinking?


  2. Sometimes when we are out in public I catch a glimpse of my daughter’s hair (that was neatly fixed before we left the house) and think “my mother would have a fit if she saw her like this!”. 🙂


  3. Great post, Elle! I think a person’s choice in the way they dress shows respect (or a lack of it) for themselves as well as others around them.



I only have one rule - Leave me your thoughts! ;)

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

You are commenting using your 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

%d bloggers like this: