In college, if you had asked me where I thought I would want to live, I can guarantee the South wouldn’t have been one of my answers. However, military life has given me the ability to adapt easily to new places. After two southern assignments, one to Alabama and now Louisiana, I have come to love the South. Living in the Southeast has been no less enjoyable than being stationed in California, Guam or Italy.
My husband, a Louisiana native, likes to joke that I’m a displaced Southerner.
New Orleans has its own unique identity, and I love it. But really, the South, in general, holds immense appeal. I adore the beautiful spring and mild winters, the warm and friendly people, and the ability to be outdoors almost all year round. There are the warm summer nights and long pool season, gorgeous year-round green foliage and vibrant flowers, rich fertile earth for gardening. And the best part, the FOOD.
However, there were definitely some things that were a learning curve once I crossed the Mason-Dixon Line.
There is a distinct southern custom and style to most things down here, from how they drink their tea (sweeeeeeet), to their fashion sense. It even extends to how they greet their parents. At first, some things seemed a bit odd; everything, and I mean everything, seems to be monogrammed. Little girls are decked out in oversized gingham dresses and enormous floppy bows while little boys wear Sperry Topsiders, pastel Polos and khaki shorts. Words like “oil” are pronounced with a distinct rrrr sound and everyone seems to be “fixing to do something” or go somewhere.
But in general, I have been able to navigate life in the sweet South without too much trouble. Some traditions we’ve adapted or incorporated into our lives with ease. I don’t drink sweet tea, but I’ll gladly have an Arnold Palmer (that’s a half lemonade, half unsweet tea). My 4-year-old wants to know when it’s parade season again (Mardi Gras IS family friendly!) and loves to shout “Throw me something, mister!” I’ve even tossed out a y’all a time or two.
Yet, there is one Southern custom has left me utterly baffled … I’m talking about the ruffle folks.
More specifically, the apparent love they have for ruffled pants and sleeves. Now I know that the ruffle trend is big right now, so this may be the look of the moment. However, like many things in the South, it’s been taken a little too far.
The prevalence of big, dangly ruffled sleeves that hang down in a fluffy ocean wave of fabric is a big NO in my book. How a person can function in such an outfit is beyond me. Ruffle sleeves are a giant dirt and food magnet, just begging to be trailed through a plate of ketchup or caught in a door.
Like trying to straighten my curly hair on a humid day, the excessive ruffle sleeve seems more like a nuisance than a pretty outfit. And then there is the popularity of a certain clothing brand targeted at young girls that combines crazy patterns with an extra helping of ruffles. You know who I’m talking about (cough, cough, Matilda Jane). Sure, the brand might have some cute pieces but why, why, would you want your child to resemble a clown?
If you’re a ruffle lover, please don’t be offended. This is really all meant in good fun. Ruffle on with the best of them. You do you girl!
I’m just a Yankee girl lost in a sea of seersucker.
Have you ever been totally opposed to a fashion trend? Sometimes I feel as if I’m the only woman down here holding fast to my ruffle resistance. Between the seersucker and the gingham, big floppy bows and ruffled sleeves, perhaps I should have been issued a Southern gear pack upon arrival.
After two boys, we have a brand new little girl and I have been shopping with utter delight, much to my husband’s dismay. However, I can guarantee there will not be a ruffle butt or pant leg in sight. I’m not going to lie though … there will probably be some monogramming in our future.