From the beginning of the grand golf event, women and men have walked the grounds at Augusta National Golf Club in fashionable attire.
Through the 1950s, “Sunday best” attire was expected. Men wore suits and women dresses and skirts that were deemed appropriate. Early photographs showed men with knickers and newsboy caps.
An Augusta Chronicle report in 1956 said full-skirted silhouettes, two-piece suits and a dress with jacket were popular looks for women.
“The well-dressed woman will attend in her most fetching spring costumes,” the story said.
In the 1960s, sundresses designed by Lilly Pulitzer exploded onto the fashion scene. Novelty prints were also popular.
Gradually, fashion at the Masters evolved into more relaxed and comfortable attire. Downtown department stores such as Cullum’s and J.B. White advertised sportswear outfits that were appropriate for course wear.
The 1970s ushered in women’s pantsuits, largely replacing dresses and skirts. Daring wardrobe choices reflecting the era, such as vinyl and leather boots and mini skirts, were also spotted at the course.
Augusta resident Val Hastings noted the transition to more practical clothing in an April 6, 1975, Chronicle report.
“Time was when a lady went to the Masters, she wore her Sunday best,” Hastings said. “Her wardrobe was planned for weeks in advance for the many festivities surrounding the big event.”
Sundresses and shorts were welcomed to the fashion scene in the 1980s. Patrons also wore culottes, billowing blouses and skorts.
Some things, however, never changed, said Gail Mercer, former co-owner of Alltogether, an Augusta clothing boutique.
Comfortable shoes, a sweater or jacket for the sudden changes in weather and hats were always fashion necessities, she said. Clothing was always brightly colored and often sported fun patterns or stripes.
“Being in the sun and at a special place, it’s spring and the flowers are blooming, you want to have something new to wear,” Mercer said.