A High WASP Glorious Fourth, From Coast To Coast

One of the things I have learned from this blog is how Northern Californian I have become. I am beginning to suspect we few High WASPs who journeyed West just can’t help but trend Artsy.

I could discourse at length on High WASP geographical variants. A long time ago I posted on High WASPs in the People’s Republic of BerkeleyAnd again. That’s probably enough.

Today we’ll keep it simple. What might High WASPs on both coasts wear for the 4th of July? It is, after all, our Carnival. We celebrate, we approach the fire, we wear bathing suits and feel naked.  Does the Artsy Californian sport red, white and blue? Yes. Yes she does. But what about the Grande Dame? I fear I’ve neglected her and she will not be pleased. She and the Sturdy Gal both embrace the Classic today – although our Dame insists on the extra polish of a long necklace.

Untitled #203


Classic: Tunic: Vitamin Shirts via Halsbrook || Pants: Piazza Sempione via Halsbrook || Necklace: Lele Sadoughi via Halsbrook || Shoes: Bernardo via Bloomingdale’s || Watch: Ebel via The RealReal || Earrings: Bella Pearl

California: Pants: Broken-in boyfriend chino via J.Crew || Tank: Keith Haring tank via UNIQLO || Shoes: Birkenstock Arizona Sandals via Barneys NY || Watch: Fieldcrest Maple via JORD || Hair spike:  PLUIE Coral Hair Wand via Shopbop || Earrings: Bella Pearl

Making the Grande Dame collage, I kept looking from these necklaces to the outfit, and picturing my mother in my mind’s eye. “Nope, too big. Nope, too gold. Ah, yes, white. Informal.” Mom is as careful about inappropriate fancy as she is about unsuitable cute.

The Classic outfit relies heavily on Halsbrook, a Grande Dame favorite. But Grande Dames often have a mind of their own. Halsbrook is having a 4th of July sale. Some items are reduced as much as 70%. You might prefer this red Philosophy tunic, a blue-striped Vitamin shirt, or white dress from Tahari.

I imagine my cousin Grace’s East Coast flagstone patio, one Fourth of July. We sit on cushioned wrought iron furniture, watching the deer and hoping for fireflies. A glass of white wine in hand, of course, or gin and tonic. Crackers on silver platters, little sliced squares of cheese, probably someone familiar hired to help in the kitchen. Later if the mood strikes we’ll venture to a lake for fireworks.

Meanwhile in California, we’ll grill fish, burgers, and vegetables, play soccer on the lawn with cousins, drink wine and water. We might catch fireworks over the bluff, or, in hopes of a better view, crowd into such large vehicles as are to be found and drive down to the Pacific, where we may perch on a hillside together. “Oooooh! Aaaaaaaah! Bang!”

I hasten to add, everyone will have worn their seat belt.

Fellow Americans, do you dress for the Fourth? Fellow global citizens, how do you celebrate national holidays? Do you wear flag colors, down to your shoes?


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  • This post seems to underscore my “East-coast-ness”. I find the Grande Dame and Sturdy with gin and tonic in hand all too familiar. I rarely dress in patriotic colors for the 4th though. I just wear what the weather and invitation call for wearing.

    1:14 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Kerry Steele, I can’t say as I used to dress for it, but these days I look for little moments of style fun wherever I can find them;).

  • We’ll be going to a neighborhood parade on the 4th–taking our dog–and I will be dressing in patriotic colors. Most likely I will wear my navy Eileen Fisher knit sleeveless shift with a red necklace. I don’t know about white yet.

    We’ll be having lunch with my mother in law at her retirement center—BBQ on the menu.

    That night, we’ll go to a friend’s condo for a dinner party with indoor viewing of nearby fireworks afterwards.

    3:21 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Susan, Parades are so wonderful. And one can always make use of white sandals;). I hope you husband and your MIL enjoy the BBQ:).

  • i don’t pay too much attention to how I dress on the 4th (mostly because we don’t do much now that the kids are grown), but occasionally I will throw on a red or white top with jeans (blue) and my red sandals and call it patriotic. For a few decades I avoided anything that had to do with the flag because I was a peacenik back in the day, but that’s no longer in play.

    3:21 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Cathy, Works for me:). And I used to avoid flags too, but after 9-11 felt that I would reclaim it, that it belonged to all of us, liberals and conservatives alike.

  • Great simple, classic, quietly patriotic outfit! The necklace & versatile pearl earrings are just enough & the red sandals very cute. I’m helping at Stockdog trials this weekend & wasn’t planning on wearing red, white & blue but now I think I’ll pack my red print shirt & a blue cap & maybe a blue bandana for my straw hat. Happy 4th, Everybody!

    4:47 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Megan, I bet you’ll get some smiles:). Have fun at the trials!

  • You’ve inspired me to put together a red, white and blue outfit when we go out this weekend! Thanks.

    8:18 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Jane, My distinct pleasure!

  • Up until a few years ago we always spent the 4th of July on Martha’s Vineyard, where surprisingly, the 4th wasn’t a huge holiday. Last year in Connecticut and it was all out – country club and patriotic colors. We’ll be in Montana on a dude ranch this 4th and I’m sure I’ll wear something like blue jeans, white tee and red bandana. Very few occasions to dress special for anything these days, so I sort of enjoy it.

    8:19 pm
    Lisa said...

    @kathy, Best 4th I ever spent was watching fireworks at the bandstand at Oak Bluffs:). Low key, but great show.

    12:11 pm
    Patsy said...

    @kathy, I’ve seen the fireworks on the 4th from that bandstand, agreed!

  • I have 3 pairs of THOSE Bernardo sandals! I don’t have red though.

    I do try to wear red white and blue for the 4th, but it is so very very hot and uncharacteristically muggy this week that I don’t know if I can manage it this year.

    8:16 am
    Lisa said...

    @AK, I love those sandals. We had muggy weather yesterday, which is just so wrong for California…

  • I am going to the re-dedication of the oldest monument to George Washington. 200 years ago on the 4th… Because of that, I am going full-on patriotic. Red swirly skirt in a nice cotton, blue & white French sailor’s shirt, red, white & blue Sperry flats and as the topper, a Brooks Bros. straw boater, decorated in RW&B ribbon. A bit much, and surely a bit cliche, but how often does one celebrate 200 years?

    8:16 am
    Lisa said...

    @pigtown*design, That is a brilliant outfit. Also quite brand-appropriate, Brooks Brothers, Sperry, etc. Have fun.

  • I don’t look very good in either white or blue and I don’t know that I even have a true red top, but I do try to come close to the traditional colors. (Maybe a close-to-red t-shirt and white jeans for the fireworks, so that I don’t get mosquito bites.) We’ll be out in the park by our house watching the fireworks – wouldn’t miss them.

    8:17 am
    Lisa said...

    @MJ, Close-to-red totally counts:). I’m using burnt umber as my red…

  • Well, we in Croatia don’t have such a tradition. We only have flags on our Windows. But it sounds very patriotic ,so I think I’m going to follow you this year! I like red,white and blue ,these are colors of our flag too,so I’m going to play. I’ll see if anybody notice
    Happy Fourth of July!

    8:18 am
    Lisa said...

    @dottoressa, Thank you! When is Croatia’s day? The idea of global national celebrations, where we all know when everyone else’s date falls, appeals to me a lot.

  • I’ve always liked red, white and blue for the 4th, and casual, outdoor celebrations: picnics, cook outs, G&T or wine on the patio. I was hoping for a day on the lake and a cookout, but it looks like we may be in for a deluge, so I won’t hope to much. The 4th and my birthday fall on a weekend this year. I’ve always been thrilled about the closeness of the dates, and therefore feel doubly festive, in a low key informal kind of way. Fireworks never hurt.

    9:45 am
    Lisa said...

    @Mardel, Happy birthday in advance – I hope the fireworks prevail!

  • As we are young country we have 3 days :-)
    25.6. State Day
    5.8. Homeland Victory and Thanksgiving Day ( 1995.has been finished war in our country)
    8.10. Independance Day

    10:15 am
    Lisa said...

    @dottoressa, This comment gave my goosebumps. “( 1995.has been finished war in our country)” These kinds of moments are why, in the end, I write this blog. Thank you very, very, much.

  • The east coast outfit appeals to me – simple and classic. It isn’t a celebration on the 4th without inviting a token Brit so you an imagine how fun it is to have me around on the day!
    Happy 4th to you.

    10:16 am
    Lisa said...

    @Chronica Domus, Hahahaha! I am sure you are fun to have around on any day:). Hope you enjoy the festivities too.

  • A lady in my lobby made my morning by complimenting me on my patriotic attire. I hadn’t planned on it though, I just happened to wear a navy & white tunic, white jeans and red Toms. I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy on the wrong day. I’ll have to up my game on Saturday!

    Marblehead goes all out – Horribles Parade, Arts Festival, Ocean Race Regatta, Pond Race Regatta, church lobster rolls, fireworks, friends, family, food, beer & boats! And, I’m sure, lots of G&Ts.

    4:46 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Patsy, You’re a natural:).

  • Waitangi Day (February 6) is recognised as New Zealand’s national day – it marks the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, where representatives of the British Crown and over 500 Maori chiefs signed what is often considered to be New Zealand’s founding document.
    Sadly, there are long-standing tensions associated with the Treaty and there are inevitably protests and controversy on that day.

    Nobody I know “celebrates” Waitangi Day. Generally we just use the day off work to head out on an adventure (on foot, by bike, in a boat).

    I think, for many NZers, ANZAC day (April 25) feels more like a “national” day – broadly, it commemorates all Australian and New Zealand military servicepeople (originally it honoured the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire during World War I). We have dawn services all around the country and more and more people seem to attend them each year, along with proudly wearing the symbol of the ANZAC’s, the poppy :-)

    1:24 pm
    Michelle... said...

    @Michelle…, Thinking about it a bit more, I think expats celebrate it more than they would at home (thinking of London’s Circle Line pub crawl)

  • My family tree is DAR 6 ways till Saturday (Not that I care about this, although it must show because recently a man in the post officel line used “Say, I bet you belong to the DAR” as pickup line…dreadful on so many levels!). However, I look on patriotic clothing the same way I do Christmas sweaters. Sometimes it happens by mistake…after all, I frequently wear red sneakers, and we all own jeans, but I make an extra effort not to over the Fourth of July weekend.

    We will be celebrating the Holiday as true Minnesotans do: “up at the lake”, which can mean anything from posh to rustic (ours will be rustic), with another couple. The other wife is a Mayflower descendent…I’ll have to ask. We’ll both be wearing jeans and T-shirts, probably not red.

    5:35 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Ellen, I used to feel as you do. I am not quite sure what has changed, but I find myself throwing off many of the old strictures. I won’t speculate here as to why, but, it’s kind of fun.

  • This year we have the good fortune to be at our house on Cape Cod. The kids just left after dinner to set up our beach chairs on Main St for tomorrow morning’s parade. It will be a small town parade, complete with lobster floats and a flatbed with elderly men playing tubas. I will wear a Uniqlo blue and white tunic with pink trim and linen pant. The beach will be too crowded, so we will hang out in the backyard and do lobsters. Fireworks here are on Sunday night at the harbor and we will brave the crowds and walk down. A great time!

  • Does anyone really wear a wristwatch? they seem so old.

  • Changed it up a bit this year since they no longer do fireworks at the lake where we used to watch from canoes. Attended terrific outdoor performance of King Lear on the 4th. Next night we saw Broadway production of Pippin Revival at an outdoor theater which was utterly amazing and enjoyable—I highly recommend if you get the chance.. The week prior we saw an excellent performance of West Side Story at Theater in the Park. So from Bernstein and Robbins and Sondheim to Fosse and Schwartz to a company of KC repertory actors doing Shakespeare, I feel like I covered the American base somehow, especially if you include all of the baseball I watched… Royals, of course. ;)

  • We celebrated on the deck overlooking the ocean, while the fireworks were shot off the beach down the road. We learned the hard way that people are very fond of their beach bonfires which,in the Montauk humidity leads to “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”!

    No red, white, and blue for me…not intentionally, anyway.

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