#TBTMemory 53: It’s A Formal Affair

Lauren is our hostess for this edition of Throwback Thursday, and here’s the instructions I got…

What were your special clothes like?  Did you get your hair done for the occasions? Was a mani-pedi part of the process? Were you instructed on how to behave? Did you have any input on the formal attire? Did you feel comfortable in your special outfit?

Please feel free to write about as many of the occasions you’d like to share. Pictures would be an awesome addition.

* A wedding – either as a member of the wedding party or as a guest
* A Baptism, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, or Some Other Religious Ceremony
* A funeral
* A formal dinner party
* A Night at the Theater, the Ballet, or the Opera
* High School Prom and/or Formal School Dance

First, let me get this out of the way: my getting dressed up never involved a trip to the beauty parlor or a mani-pedi.

By now, everyone’s seen The Three Franks…

L-R: brother Kip, great-aunt Cash, Yours Truly, Fabulous Auntie Jill, brother Jim

We were children of the Sixties, and as such dressed up whenever Mom told us to get dressed up. This usually entailed scraping together whatever good clothes we had and trying not to look like we got dressed in the dark.

I had two older cousins (one is my mother’s cousin, thus technically my first cousin once removed, the other my grandfather’s stepson, so technically my uncle, but I think of them as cousins) who had rather extensive wardrobes, and once or twice a year we would receive a bundle of hand-me-downs, including at least three sportcoats or blazers. I was usually the beneficiary of these garments, at which point I’d pass on the previous jackets to Jim and Kip. These were jackets that we would wear to school, primarily, because the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus included a sportcoat or blazer with the light blue short-sleeved shirt, dark blue tie, and dark blue pants we wore as a uniform. These were also the clothes we wore to church on Sunday, the clothes we wore to weddings, on Christmas and Easter, and when meeting Grandma and Florence at the Town & Country or The Brown Bear (two restaurants we went to fairly regularly).

When I graduated grammar school, Mom took me to Winsberg’s (a local department store, back in the days when there was such a thing) and bought me clothes for the occasion, including a blue double-breasted blazer. That became my go-to jacket whenever I needed one for the next four years or so. You can see it in my high school graduation picture, which I showed a couple of weeks ago, but I’ll put it here because Lauren likes pictures…

“N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestle’s makes the very best, chocolate.” See the commercial in yesterday’s One-Liner Wednesday post if you don’t get the reference.

Senior year of high school gave me two reasons to wear a dinner jacket and appropriate accoutrements. One time was with the daughter of one of Mom’s friends to her prom, where I was instructed to get a dinner jacket that matched her dress, which was, of course, pink. The second was for graduation, where me and the boys wore blue dinner jackets and the girls wore white dresses. Our prom was the night of graduation. I talk about it here, briefly toward the end, if you want to read or re-read it.

Oh yes… most of these occasions required I get a haircut, which I talk about here.

12 thoughts on “#TBTMemory 53: It’s A Formal Affair

  1. Thanks for joining in John. Are you sure you didn’t get a mani-pedi? You are correct, I do love pictures. The one in your post is awesome. I need to follow your links and read the other stories.
    It’s nice that you were able to wear the blazers for multiple occasions. I was always growing so fast that it’s no wonder I wasn’t able to wear thing for long.


    1. Which picture, the Three Franks or my graduation picture? The Three Franks was from Sinatra’s “fedora and trench coat” days. That graduation picture is just Godawful: I look pasty and my hair is terrible. It looks better in black and white.

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  2. I do love nice dresses and sparkly gowns but my first thought was when I was a bridesmaid at my brother’s first wedding. His wife, tried to convince us she was not a shrew, wanted us to be in white. She chose a pattern that called for very think fabric but she chose cotton eyelet. The dressmaker did her best with it but I added some extra eyelet parts to the neck and shoulders. You would have thought I told the Pope to screw off. That bridal twit took such umbrage that i got a talking to by my brother. I just said, ok, I won’t be in the party then. She then told me I over-reacted! I did get a man-pedi and my makeup done and we each had a different coloured sash…mine was lavender.
    15 yrs later my brother’s 2nd wife was helping my mom and I out cleaning out her linen closet. She pulled out a yellowy pillowcase and wondered why that pillowcase was made in such a weird way. I laughed…it was my bridesmaid dress!

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    1. That’s one of those stories that just makes you scratch your head. She was the one who pitched a fit over the dress being different, then you’re the one who overreacted?


    1. Liz brought it big time. Writing that made me wonder what she’s up to. I was able to find her brother, his wife and mother, and a fourth person with a different last name who might be her child. I suppose I could drop him a note, but that might be weird…

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      1. Contacting people from the past is always a little weird. I have connected to people through Facebook and also through Classmates although they make it difficult.

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