Goodbye white shoes, I hardly wore you

September, Labor Day weekend, and my Southern upbringing has kicked in. I wouldn’t be caught dead from now until next Memorial Day in white shoes. Just.not.done. At least for my generation. (Maybe this is more about my age than where I was raised…or both? I’ll have to get back to you on that.)

Mind you, I have no idea where this fashion dictum came from, or how it became so firmly impressed on my young self. All I know is that to violate this rule was taboo in my youth, and whether or not it matters to the fashion police now (if it ever did), I’m obligated to live with this for the rest of my life. You’d think it was important or something. But if it is, I don’t know why.

But not knowing didn’t stop me from passing the white shoes rule on to my daughter. Really I expand this to summer clothes in general…the only possible exception being a tropical location where it’s always acceptable to wear white, whatever the season. (And who decided that? Another fashion mystery!)

Perhaps it’s fortunate for me that I live in a climate that actually encourages me to return to my September-to-May uniform of turtlenecks and heeled pumps. The summer slides are put away. They didn’t get too much wear-time this year anyway. Miserable summer season here. But the weather, at this point, is not the point: I couldn’t violate the calendar. Just can’t do it. My roots are showing!

There are things you leave behind when you move from one side of the country to another: regional produce, local customs, favorite eateries. Without any effort on my part, my Southern accent has mostly faded away from long years of disuse (although it revives a bit when I go back for a visit). But some things…the white shoes rule, for instance…follow me about from place to place, a passenger in my head, mostly forgotten, but somehow silently monitoring the calendar, and then, ca-ching, like my oven timer, a bell goes off internally to remind me of The Rule. The same thing will happen Memorial Day…my Southern self will wake up, reminding me, nudging me. Change of seasons, change of shoes.


  • September 2, 2011, 4:03 am  Reply

    Funny how we are who we are, and even though we may not know the reasons, we have no interest in changing! I liked your post: well-written and thought-provoking…

    • September 12, 2011, 7:27 pm

      Thank you Amy! I apologize for being so slow to respond, it’s been one of those months so far!
      Yes, change is hard! I’m attempting several major changes in my life in the next few months…changing my work life, attempting to be more mobile to travel with my very mobile husband. It does rattle me a bit! But as long as I don’t have to wear white shoes post summer, I’ll make it work!

      Thanks for visiting!


      • September 13, 2011, 9:57 am

        That’s okay! I know how you feel – I’m too busy all the time! Anyway, good luck with your changes. We are hoping to move out-of-state in the next year ourselves. We’ve never done such a thing, but hopefully it will be exciting instead of stressful. Traveling with your husband sounds like it would be quite interesting. Have fun!

  • September 2, 2011, 10:48 am  Reply

    I don’t know where that rule comes from, either, but I do know this: I do not own one single pair of white shoes.

    Cheers to fall 🙂 MJ

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