Alva James-Johnson

Alva James-Johnson: Easter's not as fancy as it used to be

Does anyone remember when people got all decked out for Easter? I sure do.

As children, it was the time of year when my sisters and I were certain to get new church dresses with ribbons and patent leather shoes to match.

And when we stepped through the church doors, we knew it was a special occasion because everyone was dressed in their spring best.

There were so many big church hats in the place that you could hardly see the preacher.

Do you remember?

Well, things sure have changed.

For the past few weeks, I've been trying to do a story on Easter fashion.

I was aware that church attire had become much more relaxed over the years, yet I still expected to find women shopping frantically for the perfect Easter ensemble.

But I found a new attitude when I walked into a local dress shop.

Several women stepped in the store to look at the fancy, color-coordinated suit and hat sets.

But some said most women no longer dress like that at the churches they attend.

Lynn Marion, a member of Blessed Assurance Baptist Church, said that's why I was having such difficulty reporting the story.

"People don't dress up for church or Easter; really they don't," she said. "They're just more causal."

Cheryl Ransaw and Sophia Russell were visiting from Alabama.

They're both preacher's wives and said they don't like wearing hats or clothes that draw too much attention.

While they try to dress nice for church services, they also want to be comfortable.

Ransaw said there are many women who still get dressed up for regular and Easter services, especially in big cities.

But the tradition is falling by the wayside, and she doesn't get decked out for Easter like she once did.

"I used to be like the children; I had to have me a new outfit," she said.

"But now I just wear whatever I've got."

Russell said there's no need for all the fuss.

"In the church, anytime you're conservative and you're decent, you're fine," she said.

"As long as you don't have your dress halfway up your thighs and all your stuff hanging out. That's inappropriate for anybody.

"It's not about what you wear, but where your heart is," she added.

After our conversation, the women continued window shopping -- Russell, dressed in a jean pantsuit, and Ransaw, in a white sundress.

And I walked away thinking about how much things have changed since I was a child.

Maybe it's a good thing that fashion is no longer such a big deal for Easter.

The Bible says, "Come as you are." Remember?

Alva James-Johnson, 706-571-8521. Reach her on Facebook at AlvaJamesJohnsonLedger.