You wouldn’t think it looking around Nassau today, but there was once a very strict dress code in place, in 1942. It was all in an effort to enforce traditional modesty values instilled by the British, against the onslaught of happy go lucky American tourists. In 1942, you could be ordered off the streets, by a policeman, if your shorts were two inches or more above your knee.

The strange thing about it was, this really only applied to tourists. In 1942, the average Bahamian knew better. Any Bahamian, who had a reputation worth keeping, dressed accordingly when going out in public. Dressing appropriately was even more of a show if one was heading to Bay Street. Bahamians dressed up especially to go on Bay Street, which was the main shopping and business area of Nassau. Men wore hats and women’s hemlines fell well below the knee, unless you were five years old.

(The Wilkes-Barre Record, Thursday, August 13, 1942)

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