Wearing a new spring dress or colorful new shirt and tie at Easter is a tradition that many of us can trace to our childhoods. But why exactly did Mom insist on the shiny new shoes and fancy new clothes? The history of wearing new clothes on Easter Sunday can be traced to ancient times when newly baptized Christians wore white clothing on Easter to symbolize that the waters had cleansed them from sin. Other Christians would wear new clothes on Easter in solidarity to symbolize the “new life” bestowed upon all believers of the resurrection. In fact, for many years, not wearing new clothes at Easter was thought to bring about bad luck!
Starting in the mid-1800s, upper-class New Yorkers would exit the churches along Fifth Avenue and parade down the street showing off their Easter Sunday best, leading to the present-day Fifth Avenue Easter Parade. And in 1948, Judy Garland cemented the popularity of Easter bonnets when she sang Irving Berlin’s “Easter Parade” in the film of the same name.
Are you hosting or attending a Passover Seder instead? Sartorial “rules” vary depending on how formal an event it is. If you’re the guest, and your host is on the traditional side, men and women both should opt for a modest, tailored look.