Slap Some Paint on That Barn

March 13, 2015


iu-2If you’re planning on traveling in Australia this coming year, be prepared to step-it-up a notch when it comes to your wardrobe. Beginning April 1 (April Fool’s Day – but I don’t think they’re joking), business class travelers on Qantas Airlines will be required to wear what they refer to as, “smart casual dress” on all flights. Those flying in the hoi polloi seats are free to dress as they please.

The dress code stems from the complaints of passengers who have obviously paid top dollar for their comfy, cushy, champagne-included seat, only to find themselves traveling next to someone who looks and smells like they’ve just wrestled a dingo in the outback.

While some are unhappy about this new rule, I’m all in favor of anything that makes the world a prettier place. Like many of you, I’ve been raised in the South where “slapping some paint on the barn” is taught, practiced, appreciated and even expected. 88f96690a1ca6764e1187ce8a2000dc5

Celia Rivenbark wrote a book about Southerners entitled, “We’re Just Like You Only Prettier.” While I understand her point, I don’t think it’s very polite nor correct to come right out and say we’re prettier. Truth be told, we don’t always posses natural beauty, but instead, our secret Southern weapon is “effort.”


TLCSouthern ladies (which are different than Southern women – i.e. those who name their daughters things like  . . .“Honey Boo-Boo”) seem to think the extra effort required to look a bit more polished is well worth the time. Even the homeliest sister in the house who can eat corn on the cob through a picket fence can boost her appeal by taking time to primp and pamper, bless her heart.


We know the value of coordinating, accessorizing and emphasizing our assets while detracting from . . . well OK, who are we kidding? We don’t like to detract from anything, but we have been known to use certain tricks of the trade to camouflage and enhance troublesome areas. When I was 15 years old, Mama bought me an emerald green swim suit with a triple row of ruffles around the top which added curves where I had an otherwise slender silhouette. An excellent use of effort on her part.


Over time, our grooming efforts become habit, and we feel odd without them. I was completely out of sorts the one and only time I ever left home without applying effort. Hurricane Ivan changed paths in the middle of the night and within 30 minutes, we awoke in a panic, grabbed Granny’s silver, the children’s portraits (and the children), the envelope which held the season football tickets and hit the road. It was traumatic taking off without having been “done,” but of course I had all my provisions with me in a monogramed case, and by the time we reached the county line, I was fully put together. (The pearls were already on my neck because at the first threat of a storm, I wear them 24 hours a day so as to always know their whereabouts, and in case of the worst, I’d be ready for the funeral).


I’m not surprised an airline is clamping down on sloppiness, since the last flight I took looked more like a pajama party than a mode of modern transportation. Flannel pants with duck patterns, baggy T-shirts and slipper-like shoes were the norm as one-by-one passengers with headphones dangling from their ears, were only missing teddy bears as they shuffled down the aisle. I’m not suggesting we wear hats and gloves, although I would be thrilled if we did, but would a tucked-in shirt be too much to ask?


And a final note to those who wear their stretchy work-out clothes 24/7 – we’re on to you. We know you’re not really working out that much. And even if you are, it’s OK to change clothes before you go elsewhere. We’ll even hold the plane for you. G’day mate.



Leave a Reply

  1. Oh, my dear! Thank you for explaining the difference between ladies and women in the South. To me it is obvious, but then I was born here.
    Hooray for Qantas Airlines. Now if our airlines would require their flight attendants to dress and act decently, we might begin to address the favored apparel and behavior of the passengers.

  2. I would be thrilled to see nicely dressed passengers but my biggest request is no one allowed to fly unless they’ve showered first! OMG, to have to sit next to someone who hasn’t! Excuse me, I don’t mean to offend, just saying……………

  3. I’m old enough to remember when we, “dressed,” for travel via all modes of transportation…wish that were still the case, except for the high heels! AND! When we kids referred to an adult female (one we did not know) as a, “lady,” Mother would say, “We know she is a woman, but we do not know whether she is a lady.” 😉

  4. Oh, thank you! I am a “pearl of a girl” who wears my pearls with jeans. But I am so tired of “constant work-out wear.” Have we become slobs? I wear dresses most of the year! Put them on when the work-out clothes go in the hamper!

  5. Love this column. I’d never go out without my “face!” You only get one chance to make a good first impression!!!!

  6. Yes! Yes! Yes! As a former Southern lady (still a lady, just don’t live in the south any more), I couldn’t agree with you more. I fly a lot and hate to see the sloppy way that people dress for flights. You are absolutely right – all it takes is a tiny bit of effort. I’m not looking for tuxes and ball gowns but “smart casual dress” sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

  7. I’m hoping other airlines adopt similar dress code requirements. Unfortunately, it seems as though most compnaies are overly worried about ofending people. So much so, even restaurants that used to have a dress code have eliminated it.
    Show some self respect already! Here in the PNW it’s basically a free-for-all with bare mid-riffs on people who should be camoflauging their bodies not just letting it all hang out, ill-fitting clothes of every description and far too many spending their days in yoga pants. I support their right to freedom of expression but I don’t necessarily want to see it.

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