Sunday, September 06, 2009

Yoo-Hoo, Muumuu, Where Are You?

This may not be factually true, but I remember the New Orleans of my youth as having been populated mainly by Catholic maw-maws in little gold cross necklaces, calf-high hose, orthopedic shoes, and of course, muumuus, the seemingly de rigeur domestic attire for any New Orleans woman of a certain age:

No one wore muumuus back in Virginia or Chicago or England or wherever I was living at the time, so I always thought of it as a New Orleans garment. Only later in life did I learn that they weren't unique to New Orleans and, in fact, originated in the far flung climes of Hawaii, but they still, to my mind, remain emblematic of a certain local type.

But I don't see muumuus as much anymore. Occasionally, yes—on some matron peering out of a front porch door—but fewer and further between.* There are, as I see it, two possible explanations:
  1. My youthful experience of the city was populated with a non-representative maw-maw-centric sample of the broader, less muumuu-fied New Orleans populace. (This is plausible. When I visited, I stayed with my grandparents, and our social circuit was composed largely of various great-aunts and elderly biddy friends.)
  2. The muumuu has in fact fallen out of favor as members of the Muumuu Generation have passed on to the Great Luau in the Sky
Or a combination of the two. Muumuu-ologists, whatchya think?

* Though the other day, I did actually see a whole rack full of the things over at the Carrolton Jewelery Shop (in case anybody was looking for one). You can get your muumuu and your rosary all in one convenient location.


  1. It strikes me that those of the muumuu persuasion are unlikely to be sauntering about so much (perhaps due to their persistent orthopaedic ailments); so in keeping with your first theory, is it possible that your usual itinerary simply does not bring you into the houses of Those of a Certain Age?

    By the way, while I wouldn't have classed them entirely as muumuus, I recall from my California childhood some similarly shapeless gownage worn by several of the neighborhood's more geriatric Juliets. I have always associated the look with varicose veins, though this may be arguably merely a manifestation of my own latent gerontophobia.

  2. Ah, what a lovely future for myself to behold. Thanks!

  3. You should get one for your lady. She can start the trend anew.

  4. I saw that woman at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport in March of 1993, sitting in a wheelchair, facing against the swarm of people making for the escalators. She was wearing that same outfit. Now I know: she came from New Orleans.

  5. iHold on Slim with all your profound musings! I and all my buds wore muumuus in college. Now, I am not going to say for the world wide web to know when that was but you, of course, know.And, I was cool(and did not have varicose veins)or as cool as you can be when one went to an all girls college where you had to double date your first semester as a freshman and could not wear pants unless you were participating in an athletic event.

  6. OMGosh, this cracks me up. I'm writing a post about muumuus. Can I use this cartoon if I give you credit? Click over to my blog and let me know. I'll immediately remove it, if you say so. Hilarious!