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Discussion Forums

The Etiquette Queen

Questions of Attire


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Ask your questions of the Etiquette Queen now.
You may even see your question and answer posted in the space below.


silvia asked:

My boyfriend will be graduating from law school this may and I am want to know what would be appropriate attire for his ceremony? >

The Etiquette Queen says:

Think daytime style. A nice daytime dress would be just fine.


Starr asked:

> I am a southern girl that will be attending a wedding in Connecticut this June. The wedding is at 11:00, and I'm curious as to whether linen would be an appropriate choice. Not sure if linen is as widely worn in the north as the south. Would a sheath dress/jacket combo in another fabric be better?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Linen is just fine as long as you are willing to see wrinkles. I just went to a wedding wearing a linen a-line. It was black and didn't show wrinkles. Just dress comfortably.


Lillian asked:

What should I wear to a fund raising political luncheon - for Vice President Gore?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Lucky you, I've been there myself. Wear something that's comfortable for you so you can concentrate on the goings-on. I wold wear a suit or a good sweater with a skirt or pants. Don't overdress. Have fun.


Lisa asked:

When is the latest that velvet should be appropriate for black tie affairs in Texas? Is there a specific cut-off date or season?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Generally, velvet is out sometime in January, no matter the location. It is definitely a winter fabric and usually associated with holiday time.


Brenda asked:

What is the proper attire for both Men and Women when "Jacket Required" is announced. This for dinner at a country club.

The Etiquette Queen says:

Obviously, the man wears a jacket. Check with the host/hostess about the tie and if a sports jacket or a suit is necessary. The woman can wear anything between daytime casual and formal such as a floor length or strapless dress. Check with your other friends who are going and see what they are going to do.


Lost asked:

MY HIGH SCHOOL SADIES DANCE IS IN ABOUT A WEEK. THE THEME IS JAMACIAN AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO WEAR. I UNDERSTAND THAT IT SHOULD BE SOMETHING RED, YELLOW, AND/OR GREEN BUT THAT DOESNT HELP. I DONT KNOW WHAT TO WEAR, NONE-THE-LESS WHAT MY DATES GOING TO WEAR. PLEASE HELP US ON WHAT TO WEAR.

The Etiquette Queen says:

If everyone is dressing Jamacian, why not matching printed shirts (think parrots, Jimmy Buffet, bright colors and both of you wear white pants. Find some paper leis and you might put a flower in your hair.


P.J. asked:

What is the correct protocol for wearing jewelry - what should and shouldn't be worn at what times of day?

The Etiquette Queen says:

I am a great believer in "less is more". If you are married, certainly your wedding and engagement rings are good at all times. Also a favorite small necklace. Remember, when dressing, you wear the clothes and jewelry, not the other way around. Before five, keep it toned down and use "fun stuff". After 5, think one or two "important pieces such as a great pin and bracelet.


Tracy asked:

My husband and I have been invited to a party of cocktails and hors d' but the invitation did not list the required attire. what should he wear?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Either ask others what they are wearing or ask you host/hostess. Unless it is specified, probably a suit and tie. But check. Better that than being either over or under dressed.


Mary asked:

My niece is getting married in Sept. and she has asked my 11 year old to be a junior bridesmaid. When does she walk in and what does she wear? >

The Etiquette Queen says:

Her dress should be selected by the bride to match the bridesmaids. Not the same dress necessarily but something similar in style and color. Whoever is running the rehearsal will tell everyone who walks when. Relax mom, enjoy it. The only thing you have to worry about is your daughter being so cute she steals the attention.


Cathy asked:

I will be attending a wedding in N.C. March 4th at 3 PM. I am the groom's mother and have been told to wear tea length. I selected a suit but not sure about the color. Mother of the bride is wearing mauve. The color of my suit is deep purple with some matching pearls and glass beads near the bottom of jacket. Jacket is long sleeve. Is the color ok and if so, what colored heels and stockings? I was just recently told what mother of bride was wearing or I would not have waited so long in getting suit. What accessories should I use?

The Etiquette Queen says:

The dress sounds lovely. Wear black shoes and a nude color hose. Since the jacket bottom has so much decor, I would wear earrings and maybe a great ring. Have fun!!!!


Kathy asked:

I am attending a daytime February wedding in Boston this weekend. The invitations do not say "formal attire" but they are quite formal themselves (engraved Crane). Should I wear my long-sleeved crushed-velvet short black dress, or my classic black sleeveless sheath dress (street-length) with shawl? What color shawl?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Save the sleeveless dress. It isn't daytime wear. Go with the long-sleeved one. Sounds like it could do the job. Maybe a great piece of jewelry.


Katie asked:

What kind of dress would be good for my high school spring fling?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Is there a theme? Are people dressing for this theme? What do the students traditionally wear? Is it formal, semi-formal, casual, etc? You have to ask these questions. Also, when is it? Time of the year has a lot to do with this, also where you live.


Rhoanne asked:

Is it acceptable for women to wear more than one earring on the same ear lobe?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Yes, it looks good if they are small and tasteful. If someone goes to too many earrings at a fairly young age, they may regret it when they get older. Employers tend to frown upon that look. If you want to wear multiple earrings, use the clip kind.


Marybeth asked:

I'm planning an event for a grade school and wonder how to properly state on the invitation that all students should wear a shirt and tie or dress ? I don't think everyone will understand "business casual". Any thoughts?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Is this event for the parents or kids? The term business casual has basically lost it's meaning as far as I can tell. Some places it means khakis and shirt. Just write what you want and don't worry about an all-compassing term.


Lisa asked:

I want to know is it proper for a gentleman to leave the bottom button of his vest unbuttoned? My fiancce insists this is the case

The Etiquette Queen says:

It is not only proper but probably more comfortable.


Mara asked:

My brother-in-law is getting married this summer. As far as I heard, it will be an evening wedding and fairly traditional. The mothers are definitely wearing floor-length dresses. My husband will be wearing a black tux (he's one of the groomsmen). I have two black floor-length velvet evening dresses, one with thin straps, the other totally strapless with a matching black taffeta bolero jacket. Can I wear either one? Also, I know you're not big on long gloves, but I am fairly pale and my complexion on my lower arms is far from perfect. It would make me feel a lot more comfortable if I could wear the gloves. So, gloves okay?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Either dress sounds good, pick the one you think looks best on you. Again, gloves are your choice but I think that unless everyone is wearing them, you will stick out. Pale arms are not a problem. You could look at those self tanners (experiment in a small, non showing area first) or get a great bracelet that will capture interest.


Emma asked:

I am getting married this year and the  wedding will be black tie. How should  I word this on the invitations?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Simply put Attire: Black Tie


Peter asked:

What does "festive dress" mean?

The Etiquette Queen says:

It could mean dressy, it could mean colorful, it could mean ethnic. Ask the host/hostess what they have in mind.


ArmyWife asked:

I will be attending an Army Ball on Feb 17. There will be  cocktails, then a receiving line, and then dinner. All it says for  civilian is formal attire. I've talked to other wives and I've already  picked a dress. It's kind of a silvery white/platinum color, floor length  ball gown, double spaghetti straps that cross down the back. I plan on  wearing gloves but they may not match exactly, how well do they need to  match? Also what is the etiquette regarding gloves, in the receiving line  and during dinner? Do I just put them on my lap while I eat? What shoes  should I wear, I can't find any that match perfectly. Will it be right to  wear my hair up? What would be a good idea for jewelry? I was thinking a  simple rhinestone necklace and earrings. Should I get a bracelet for after  I remove the gloves? Sorry this is so long.

The Etiquette Queen says:

First of all, I am not a fan of gloves. They are ackward, come off early, are too much to fit in a purse, get in the way. Forget the gloves. Wear your hair in the most flattering style for your face, not dressy just for it's own sake. Too many people let their hair, makeup and clothes wear them. Don't fall into that trap. As for jewelry, remember that "Less is More" and one great piece is worth 10 little nothings. Either a great necklace, pin or earrings but not all three. Find an "important" bracelet, one that means something or don't wear one. Maybe a great ring. As for shoes, if you can't find an exact match, go away from the color of the dress entirely. If the jewelry you are wearing picks up a color such as green, red, silver, gold, etc. use that for shoe color.


Rachel asked:

I have some friends getting married in August. The church  ceremony is at 5:00 with a reception/dance at a Fair Grounds type building  immediately following. My husband is going to be a Groomsman. Is it  appropriate for me to wear a black dress for a summer evening wedding? The  one I have, which I've never worn, is almost ankle length with a straight  skirt and short sleeves. The wedding party will be in formal attire (The  Bride's Maids will be in purple, Groomsmen in black).

The Etiquette Queen says:

I don't see why not as long as you accessorize it with possibly a colorful shawl, or a great pin or necklace. You are talking to a woman who truly believes in black all the time. Wear very strappy shoes.


Al asked:

I'm taking my wife to a fine French restaurant (jacket and tie), then to Studio 54 (where people go to be seen) for cocktails... How should we dress? We are a fashion challenged couple!

The Etiquette Queen says:

You should wear a suit and tie and your wife something that would be considered "after 5" which would be a good dress (not cocktail), or great pants and top.


Becky asked:

If the dress code on the invitation says "Lounge Suit", what does that mean for women?

The Etiquette Queen says:

It could mean lots of things. I'd check with the host/hostess for details.


Diana asked:

Hey! This Saturday (Feb. 12) my high school is having the annual Sadie Hawkins Valentines Dance. We only have 1 Homecoming Dance a year, so this one is semi-formal. I procrastinated and still have not bought my dress or shoes. What would be the appropriate dress for a 15 year old in Florida going to a semi-formal? And what about hair and jewelry? I am tall (5'7'') with long dark brown hair and average weight. Thanks!

The Etiquette Queen says:

Why not some great black pants or a long black skirt (silky type material) with a red camisole and either a little black jacket or cardigan sweater with a great red pin such as a rose or a heart. Wear your hair in the ost flattering way, not just dressy. Wear strappy shoes and maybe a bracelet in either black or red or a combo.


Marilyn asked:

What is the proper way for a woman to wear a corsage?

The Etiquette Queen says:

There are a few variables. I assume you don't mean a wrist corsage although it is the easiest. Depending upon your dress, it goes on the left. If you have sleeves and shoulders on the dress, put it just below the shoulder. If your dress is strapless, you have no choice but to put it on your waist. I solved the entire problem by pinning it to my evening bag.


Deb asked:

What type and color of pumps should a woman wear to an evening winter black tie awards banquet to complement a formal with a top, floor length shawl, and sarong skirt all made of red lace/eyelet?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Black shoes are always fashionable. Either great silk pumps or strappy heels.


Rachel asked:

What does a lady do with her purse during a formal dinner?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Set it underneath your chair and be sure it doesn't stick out so that you or someone else doesn't trip.


bubbles asked:

I have been invited to a "Winter Bash" (semi formal) I have a hunter green velvet dress, it's long sleeve and goes above the knee. Is it ok? and what shoes should I wear?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Sounds like a winner to me. Black is always best for winter. Maybe a closed toe and clip a pretty bobble on the top. Or something strappy if it is comfortable.


Lindsey asked:

I have decided to go with a prom theme for my Sweet Sixteen party, and since I am a trendsetter, would it be alright if I wore an "interesting" dress, instead of the traditional prom wear. I don't want to upset anyone but I do want to make a statement. The party is going to be held at a hall and will start at about 7pm.

The Etiquette Queen says:

I would need to know what an "interesting" dress really is. If it is like Courtney Love at the Golden Globes, no! Remember, tasteful is always best.


Beth asked:

I'm invited to a wedding in Michigan...it's January and freezing. I went to the store for a dress and all of them are sleeveless and streetlength. I bought a gray one with embroidery and made of 100 percent wool, but it's still sleeveless. I also picked up a cashmere sweater to wear with it. Is this appropriate for a 5pm wedding with reception to follow? My other question is what kind of shoes? I can't imagine that my black strappy ones would bode well in the snow. Please help!

The Etiquette Queen says:

Instead of the sweater, how about a great shawl. It doesn't have to be a Pashmina but look like one or a great color. Secondly, if the weather is bad, carry your shoes and wear boots to the ceremony and change later. Strappy are as good as any in lots of snow and ice.


Kathy asked:

Name = Kathy Is it proper to wear velveteen to an afternoon cocktail party?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Usually velveteen is for after 5 but check with the hostess and your friends who are going and see what they are wearing to give yourself a better idea of a "comfort" zone.


Lauren asked:

I am attending a 7 p.m. wedding in March at a very fancy Cleveland hall with a reception afterward. What do I wear? short or long dress, light or dark colors? I am only 17 so I need something to fit my age.

The Etiquette Queen says:

I would wear short. At your age, unless it is black tie, you have an option and I like that length at your age. As for the color, wear what suits you best. No pastels or summer white but you don't have to wear black. I would stick with basically solid with one or two good pieces of jewelry. Be sure the shoes are comfortable.


Peter asked:

Hi! Me and my girlfriend will attend at a ball this weekend and we have a question for you about women's clothing. Why is it so that women must not wear black or white dresses?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Who told you that? They're wrong. Black is always proper and white usually goes for the summer months. There are even balls that are strictly black and white.

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