Thursday, 7 April 2011

When to wear what, part 2

Here is the second part on how to dress right for a special occasion. I think the rules for black tie and formal wear are pretty much the same today, but I have never been to an engagement party in my life. Perhaps that is typically Swedish, but none of my friends, nor I had one and I’m not even sure if banns of marriage happen nowadays. However, I don’t think wearing mourning is such a bad idea. Perhaps not full mourning, but a black band. One can be in a very fragile state after the loss of a loved one, and an indication of mourning could be quite handy.

A simple dinner with friends. Long dress with long sleeves or a short one in silk, lame or lace. You might see both kinds on the same occasion, but ask the hostess on her preference.
Black tie Similar to the simple dinner above, but usually demands a long dress. The dress, whatever length, should be more elegant, though and in a bright colour. If you feel the need to economize, then a black dress can be worn for several years, but if you can afford, then buy one in colour too- you don’t need to buy a new one every year.
Formal wear In Sweden and the Anglo-Saxon countries this means a low-cut long gown in colour. In France, however, the gown is often long-sleeved, and the material sumptuous. Very few see the need for an evening coat, but really, is it so nice to wear your usual old coat? If you don’t wear fur, why not buy some velvet and make a simple evening coat. As it will not be worn much, you can have it for years and years.
Baptism A happy occasion so wear bright colour, and preferably not black. If it is at home, then wear a short dress and a hat. The young mother should wear pastel-coloured dress with long sleeves. If there will be a dinner after, then wear a long dress, but with long sleeves and hat. If it is at church, then wear a good, short dress and remove your coat.
The rite of confirmation The girl should wear a short, white dress with white shoes with low or middle-height heels. A simple coat and hat in a discreet colour, like blue. Her relatives should wear black with long sleeves and a black hat, at least if they will take communion.

Engagement party A happy occasion with clothes in light colours. The future bride should wear pastels, long or short (depending on the decided dress code) low-cut dress with short sleeves. Female guests wear similar clothes, but make sure that the bride-to-be I the most elegant.
Banns of marriage A reception after in the bride-to be's home. Guests should wear suits or frocks with a hat, the bride-to-be a light-coloured frock and her mother a simple light-coloured long-sleeved dress.
A small wedding The bride can wear a short or a long dress, in colour. If the wedding is outside the home she should wear a small, elegant, hat in the same colour as the dress. Female guests dress similarly, but preferably a short dress with a matching hat, wherever the wedding is held.
A big wedding The bride should wear a traditional long white gown with long sleeves and a low neckline. White mitts or gloves and a crown made of myrtus and orange flowers for luck. A tulle veil that shouldn’t be longer than the gown. The mother of the bride and close relatives wears light coloured evening gowns with long sleeves or, if short-sleeved, with a long sleeved evening jacket. White and black should not be worn. White is rude to the bride and a wedding breaks mourning.
Silver wedding Not much celebrated anymore, but it is a beautiful old custom. The silver bride is given a small branch of myrtus in silver to put in her hair by her husband and should wear a gown in silvery grey.
Mourning Black clothes, no jewelry, except perhaps pearls or anthracite and no flowers, not even white. Simple black coat or fur and dress in wool or matte silk with simple white trim and collar. Long sleeves and a high collar is a must. For very deep morning there should be a white pleat down the front and with a hat with a peaked front a veil in georgette that hangs down the back and a small tulle veil over the face ( as you can see on the black-and-white picture). Mourning is worn for 6-12 months for a close relative, for other family only up to three months. The veil is usually only worn for the first few weeks. If you don’t have the economy to wear full mourning, then it is perfectly acceptable to just wear a black ribbon around your arm, but never on red or green or any colour that is bright.


Rowenna said...

I love reading these...I think that engagement parties are an older custom. People occasionally have them here, but it seems to be only in geographical pockets that it's still popular. I agree about mourning! I wish we still held some customs like this today.

Isis said...

I'm so glad you enjoy them, Rowenna. I think it's interesting too, so it's nice to hear that I'm not the only one. :) Genreally speaking I think that we dress up too little today. It's a pity.

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