Cover Story Sunday Best Attire

Her “Sunday Best”: Meet Mama Gwen Glasco of Little Rock

Gwen Glasco says, “Your first impression is your lasting impression.” Photos: James Freeman.

How we dress correlates to how we relate to the world.

I learned this lesson first-hand from my mother Gwen Glasco. She took pride in her appearance for all occasions.

She always found the most glamorous pieces on a budget or could jump behind a sewing machine and bang out her own creation, as she did as a teen. When I was growing up my mother would say, “Why would you want to look like everybody else? I had a different outfit almost every day because I was sewing my own clothes.”

My mother’s knack for sporting a stylish ensemble is her trademark. As a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. for 47 years, you will often find her sporting crimson and cream. Her devotion to her sisterhood has always been a priority and she was awarded “Delta of The Year” for exceptional service by The Little Rock Alumnae Chapter in 2014. She radiates confidence and grace everywhere she goes. This is most evident when she wears her Sunday Best.

The regalia of Sunday Best isn’t just about bright colors, ribbons, and rhinestones; it’s about tradition. Coming into the Sanctuary is a sacred experience. Giving honor to God in service and in fellowship is the fundamental practice of worship, and for many, dressing in your Sunday Best is the reflection of your divine spirit and purpose. As my mother describes, “Church has been a beacon of light in the community.” It was a place Black people could lay their burdens down, be expressive, and beautiful. Witnessing her mother, Melva Moore, adorned in her Sunday Best—always donning a hat—not only guided her spiritually but professionally.

My mother often quotes Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go…” This became her life’s mission; she taught kindergarten for almost 40 years and was awarded “Teacher of the Year” in the Little Rock, Arkansas School District for her service at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary school in 2016.

My Mother says, “School is supposed to be a connection to home and the community.” She was firm, effective, and always dressed with dignity. My Grandmother told her, “Your first impression is your lasting impression.” She took that to heart saying, “I wore a suit everyday I taught school. I wanted to set a good example for the children.” There was Sunday Best and there was School Best.

My mother didn’t take the opportunity to be an educator lightly. She wanted to be sharp and inspiring in all ways. She reminded me that my grandmother worked at a plant called General Dynamics and then later a Piggly Wiggly. She didn’t have the luxury to wear clothes outside of a uniform, but when it was time to go to church she could show up as her full self.

My mother has carried on the tradition of wearing her Sunday Best to stay connected to her mother who is no longer with us. “I don’t dress in my Sunday best to be different or set a trend, it was bred in me,” she says.

The elaborate clothes are not just for a perfect pew look, but to honor the women who came before her and share in this spiritual practice that has served her in many ways.

Are you sure you can outdo Gwen Glasco? The challenge is on you.

The pandemic hit in 2020 and required Churches to only offer livestream services. My mother still put on her Sunday Best and watched

online. She called it “Table-Side Baptist.” As time went on and the lock-down was showing no signs of stopping, she started taking photos of her Sunday Best outfits and texting them to my sister and I. This became part of her Sunday ritual, I thought she looked so fabulous I started posting them on Facebook. She was a hit. Countless people told me her photos lifted their spirits and made them smile. And rightly so. She has worn some of the most gorgeous and daring garments I have ever seen. I’ve been proud to show her off.

Oddly enough I never asked her why she kept dressing up for Sunday service when she couldn’t physically go to church. I was touched to find that she was taking the pictures to stay connected to my sister and I. It was her way to share her spiritual practice and spread joy in those difficult times and beyond. It certainly became a highlight of my week until this day.

Sunday Best is the physical representation of the love and jubilation we strive to have in our relationship with God and with each other. Presenting ourselves in our best light gives us an opportunity to shine from the inside out and share that warmth with others. I’m so fortunate that my mother has been a radiant example of that.

Note to readers: Send a picture of yourself or your mama, papa, grandmama or grandpapa dressed in their “Sunday Best” to and we will pick a winning photo to be published in magazine and on the website.

Exit mobile version