Southerners have an affinity for rules, etiquette, and guidelines—and our mothers and grandmothers especially honored the ones regarding fashion and seasonality. Today’s hipsters and fashionistas are far more resistant (and downright rebellious) when it comes to being told what to do, but even the more open-minded of us still get a twitch at the thought of wearing white pants after Labor Day.
While pondering these important end-of-summer wardrobe dilemmas, it occurred to me the seasonal rules go way beyond style. There are quite a few things we Southerners eschew this time of year:
1. Seersucker. It’s the universal symbol of Southern summer. We must respect it and tuck it away at the proper time.
2. Strappy sandals. We wear open toes until the holidays, but the skin-baring, strappy numbers go back in the box early September.
3. Rosé. Time to switch to Chardonnay, girls.
4. Linen. Unless you’re headed to the beach this fall (and all rules are off at the coast), get your linens cleaned, pressed, and put away until Easter.
5. Fruity beers. So long, cucumber-infused saison. Hello, ales and porters.
6. Shimmery pastel lip gloss. Time for those luscious plum and red mattes.
7. Watermelon and peaches. No offense to our down-farther-south friends in Chile, but we really prefer certain summer produce to be fresh and local.
8. Lawn sprinklers. The grass stays green until November, but we get less obsessive about our turf after August.
9. Sundresses. The fashion mags tell us to layer them with cardigans and long-sleeve T-shirts underneath, but the truth is we’ve worn these things to death and we are ready to move ON.
10. White bucks. No explanation needed, fellas. It’s just done.
On the flip side, some summery things never go away in the South—even on the most frigid 50-degree day:
1. Outdoor furniture. Stoke the fire pit—it’s football season!
2. Flipflops. Unfortunately, yes.
3. Gin & Tonic. Our fave cocktail doesn’t hibernate when temps drop, it just moves to the side of the bar to make room for more bourbon.
4. White jeans. I personally struggle with this one (that Southern drawl inside my head), but I do love them on other gals with chunky sweaters and jewel-toned silk blouses. Even with boots (gasp!).
5. Shorts. Runners and other fitness junkies don’t have to pull on the universally unflattering exercise tights until February—thank goodness.
6. Grills. It’s a widely known and accepted cliché that we barbecue all year. And we do.
7. Pedicures. Can’t have unpolished toes in yoga class, or anywhere else.
8. Convertibles. Actually, convertible season begins on Labor Day down here.
9. Garden shears. Those September roses need to be clipped and brought inside to enjoy.
10. The beach. Our coasts are a short drive for most of us, so off-season beach weekends are easy and frequent—and warm.
Coming in April: Year-round wool—Whaa?