laplumeDear L. A. Plume,

One of the joys here in the SC Lowcountry is that required dress for most occasions is generally on the casual side. Unfortunately, that’s also one of the tricky things, only because some of us were raised by mothers whose fashion mantra was: “But what would people think?” and the favorite question prior to any event was: “Surely you’re not wearing that, are you?” That bomb was usually dropped about 5 minutes prior to your walking out the door. Now that I’m of a certain age, I like to think that my fashion sense leads me to dress appropriately most of the time. However, last weekend, I attended a party at which the attire ranged from shorts, polos and flip flops to long, flowered, garden-party skirts and heavy jewelry. Yes, the latter was yours truly. Bourbon definitely eased my concern. Is there a rule of thumb for Lowcountry dressing, or is it truly “Anything goes”?


Leftover Lilly P.

Dear Leftover Lilly P.,

Well, dear, let me assure you that “anything goes” is only for those who don’t know any better, or don’t care. And we all know that the fashion icon in this town only wears Lilly P – everywhere. How we dress is a statement about ourselves, but should be in some accordance with the occasion. Yes, flip flops and shorts are considered perfectly fine attire for beach and casual outdoor events, mostly because of the fickle nature of the weather here.  I, myself, also favor garden party skirts, and pearls; but then again I wear pearls with bathing suits, so who knows if I am qualified to be a fashion consultant as well as an etiquette columnist? The list of fashion faux pas is too long to reiterate, so just go with your own good taste; your mother inevitably knew better than most. The mirror may be your best guide – just remember to turn around to catch the rear view.


Dear Ms. Plume,

When will houseguests EVER learn? I invited two of my high school girlfriends for a ‘girls weekend’ at my cottage in Maine. When they arrived, several hours late, it turned out that one of their husbands had decided to drive them up here. They were half a day late because he wanted to lunch in a nice restaurant off the highway. When they arrived at 9 pm, long after dinner had gone cold and I was in my pajamas, it turned out they had also brought their dog. Okay, stay tuned: it was a big dog, and hubby had no intention of leaving his wife here. So they stayed up after I went to bed and he made himself a bed in my study, where I discovered him, au naturel, in the morning, sans covers! I had chosen this weekend because my own husband was out of town and it was a perfect time for the girls to catch up. What would you have done?

Mad in Maine


Dear Mad in Maine,

You seriously don’t want to know what I would have done if I had found her hubby, uninvited, missing dinner (which I know was lobster!), and naked in my study. Seriously.


L. A. Plume