“Did you see what she was wearing?”
That may have been the thought I had most often when I first moved to Florida.
Everything around me was new—the ocean, the palm trees, the heat! But what amazed me most were the booty shorts and tube tops that everyone was wearing! I was only 22 years old, transferring to a new university, overjoyed to be learning to fly an airplane, and excited about the new life ahead of me.
It was true; the heat was almost unbearable, and I could see why you might want to wear as little clothing as possible. However, certain skin should not be shown in public. In my opinion—then and still today—the only reason to wear so little clothing is if you are sporting a swim suit at the pool or the beach. Maybe that was the point I was missing. If you wore booty shorts and a tube top, you were always ready to dive into the pool or the ocean. And that would explain the footwear.
As far as the eye could see—flip flops. More than 50 pairs of shoes had made the move with me from Indiana to Florida. In Indiana, we called flip flops House Shoes. The shoes you put on when you came in from outside. Off with the boots, on with the house shoes. The other use for flip flops was to avoid public bathroom germs. Shower shoes were a must whenever you were showering at the gym or public pool, so you didn’t pick up an uncurable foot fungus. I just couldn’t understand why anyone would wear flip flops as everyday shoes!
And forget panty hose. As far as I could tell, panty hose was not a part of the business wardrobe in Florida. I’d always been proud of my sense of fashion, and now I felt so uncertain. And not just for myself, but for my husband, too. I’m not sure how or why this happens, but wives often become the fashion police for their husbands. I did. He may not be able to see what he is wearing, but I sure can!
He bought into the laid-back Florida style in no time and wore khaki shorts, golf shirts, and flip flops every day. You could call it a uniform. One year, we got into a heated discussion about what to wear to go out to dinner. I pointed out that we didn’t look like we were going to the same place! I had put in some effort—new dress, fancy shoes, matching handbag. He was in his usual uniform. So I suggested he should at least wear pants. He wasn’t happy about it, but he did put on a pair of pants . . . with flip flops.
Not long after, my dad came to visit, and we were all going out to dinner. Dad emerged from his room in the uniform! Khaki shorts, golf shirt, and flip flops. Apparently, the style is de rigueur in California. That was it, I was outnumbered. I vowed to prove myself right—at dinner, I would point
out all the other couples who were well dressed. However, that plan backfired. All the men were dressed the same.
How did they know about the uniform?? I’ve gotten used to it over the years. Now, I rarely make any suggestions about my husband’s wardrobe—or lack thereof. One Christmas, I did wear panty hose and a fantastic pair of boots with stiletto heels. It was heaven.
I’ll never wear booty shorts and a tube top.
You see, I’ve adopted my own Florida style.
Thank you! I need that.
Sit next to me, Stephanie. We'll be our own fashion police!