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Pardon me?

When did Southerners stop dressing up for the grocery store? We didn't. (Or, most of us didn’t.) We may not put on our best suits and frocks every time we have to run out to buy milk, but we’ll certainly make sure we’re presentable. That means properly pressed and put-together. Why?

Because in the South, especially in our small towns, you’re sure to run into at least one person you know in the grocery store. (Running into one person you know is actually pretty rare. It’s usually seven or eight.) You’ll see Karen from church in the freezer aisle. You’ll say hello to Jim from work in produce. And you’ll wheel up to the meats counter about the same time as Sallyanne, your best friend from high school. When you’re expecting to see everyone and their sister, you want to look nice enough. In small towns, this is a given, but it’s not unheard of in our Southern cities either.

Our grocery stores are integral parts of our Southern communities—they provide us with sustenance, socializing, and all the ingredients we need for our favorite recipes. So why wouldn’t we dress up a little?

You may be thinking, “Nonsense. No one dresses up for the grocery store anymore.” And it’s true, not everyone feels the same way about appropriate attire on a grocery store run. Some of us are far too busy to consider what we’re wearing to Publix. If you’re on a mission and just planning to duck in and out (with no conversations and no lingering involved), you may not give a second thought to dressing up for the supermarket. However, if you’re expecting to see everyone you know while picking out your apples and avocados—like so many of us are—dressing up a little may already be a habit.

We Southerners like to put our best feet forward everywhere—including the local Publix, Piggly Wiggly, Trader Joe’s, and Food Lion. Does this describe you? If so, you probably always check that you’re looking put-together and presentable before you grab your buggy and roam the aisles, running into friends, family, and neighbors along the way.

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Do you dress up for the grocery store or is attire the last thing on your mind when you grab your grocery list? Are you a dressed-up devotee or a casual operator?