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Easter traditions bring new outfits and old memories
A mannequin is dressed for Easter in the display window at J.R. Crider’s in Gainesville. J.R. Crider’s has a variety of handmade bow ties. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Easter is a time for new beginnings and new life full of color. For some locals, it means new clothes.

“It’s always been tradition, back years and years ago,” said Katherine Filchak, director of women’s clothing at J.R. Crider’s Clothing & Apparel in Gainesville. “Really, Easter was the only time you got new outfits.”

Living in a world where we no longer wait on Easter to buy new clothes, it is still exciting to purchase new clothes for the Sunday morning Easter service at church.

“Women come in for new dresses, and guys come in for a new button-down shirts and bow ties,” Filchak said.

J.R. Crider’s originated in Dahlonega and opened its Gainesville location on the downtown square in August.

“This year florals are really big,” Filchak said, regarding the pattern women are choosing for outfits.

J.R. Crider’s Assistant Manager Joy Saunders has noticed the trend of teenage girls looking for flowy shorts and cute tops this season.

For the guys, ties are the must-have item for Sunday best. A variety of ties and bow ties are on display across the store. Some men pick out a new one, even if they don’t wear them on a regular basis, Filchak said.

Easter not only brings out the pastel colors, but traditions that have yet to fade.

“People still come in and ask for white dresses,” Filchak said. “Fashions have changed since a long time ago, but the colors are pretty similar.”

Shane Hatcher, owner of the clothing exchange store Switch It Up, said he has seen some customers come in looking for Easter or spring dresses.

“We help people find the pink ones and the summer-style dresses,” he said.

Switch It Up accepts gently used apparel and offers cash or store credit in exchange.

Hatcher explained his store experiences an uptick around specific holidays when shoppers are searching for something specific.

“Any holiday we have all kinds of people come in,” Hatcher said, pointing out customers seek apparel to wear to a 1970s or ’80s party. “And even Halloween, we have a lot of people.”

Easter seems to have some tradition around it. Hatcher said mothers sometimes seek Easter outfits for their babies.

Of course, Easter has other family traditions.

“Me and my mom used to match when I was younger,” Saunders, 19, said. “My dad and brother would match colors, too.”

Even though Saunders has not participated in the tradition with her family for several years, she hopes to pass on the tradition to her own family one day.

But as styles change, Filchak believes the traditional Easter Sunday dress or hat is slowly slipping away.

“A lot of churches don’t put emphasis on dressing up because they want everyone to feel accepted,” she said.

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