Friday, December 11, 2009

Out of My Ken

Dear Reader,

I have a sad state of affairs to report. The girl who is ignorant of fashion, clothing names, and ettiquette will be attending a wedding where the dress code is "day formal." Advised by the bride that this should be in the area of "Christmas Sunday Best" and "less formal than evening", she is still very uncertain.

The authority on fashion whom I most respect has interpreted "day formal" to indicate an "afternoon dress", "tea gown", or "dinner dress". Google is not helping me visualize these very well. What I have gleaned of info merely tells me (I think?) that there ought to be a close-fitting bodice with a flowing skirt (and maybe a train?), that there should be gloves worn (?) and some other variable and frighteningly incomprehensible bits about gloves and things.

I'll admit I'm very intimidated. I've never owned a pair of dress gloves in my life, nor am I at all familiar with what fashionable clothing called by it's proper name actually looks like. I know work-wear like Carharts, overalls, steel-toe boots - ya know, functional clothing.

This is a constant problem for me whenever I step outside the borders of hill-billy land and college-student kingdom. I never know what is appropriate wear nor how to fit my current wardrobe to meet expected standards. I consistently find myself (by my own observation and comparison of my attire to those around me) overdressed or underdressed for the occasion - or simply dressed very differently. I'm not terribly concerned about conformity, but I do like to not draw attention to myself in social settings where there is an established expectation.

Therefore, I want to ask some very dumb, very specific questions:

Do I need to obtain gloves? What sort?

Do I need a hat? What material? What style? What color?

Is a particular sort of shoes required? What sort/color/build?

What does the proper dress look like?

Grateful for any light on the topic,


elizabeth said...

wow. never knew of a wedding now days with a dress code.

gloves and hats to my knoweldge are of days past; I guess not but wow.

I would feel out of league too. I guess really you would be, according to the bride, allowed to wear what you will wear for Christmas. Maybe tell her what you usually wear for Christmas and see what she thinks.

do what you can - and then relax I think....

elizabeth said...

oh, and are any other girls you know going? ask them what they are wearing; Moms are often good for this too...

Rachel said...

I would consider "day formal" to mean, essentially, a knee-to-calf length dress in the approximate style of a cocktail dress, but brighter colored.

Black dress shoes (kitten heels or flats) would be appropriate, and gloves unnecessary.

Hats... well, everything I know about hats is about 500 years out of date, so I can't be of much help there.

Something like this, but maybe with a slightly longer skirt?

OFHP said...

When it's a wedding you try very hard not to wear the same color as the wedding party -- has she told you what her colors are??

Is it a church wedding ?? If it is-- is it their church's format to wear hat and gloves??? I aggree that very few do now a days

Other rule of thumb --- you are not the bride so don't dress to upstage her --- not that you would just telling you the rules :-)

Anan said...

The gloves and really formal dress sounds like evening attire to me. And no white dresses or black ones or red ones.

Anan said...

And does it have to be a dress? Because I might, especially at this time of year, wear the most "current" looking skirt I have and a nice solid colored blouse layered with a nice (also solid) cardigan, and add some pearls to solidify the formal aspect, in addition to the pumps, which do not HAVE to have really high scary heels. I am trying to find a suitable picture, but I can't. It's all in my head...

Word ver.: satifing

organistsandra said...

I agree with Elizabeth. wow. I've been to a few "black tie optional" affairs, which were intimidating, but haven't ever worn or owned the type of glove or hat you're describing.

If it were me, I'd wear my black skirt that's made of fancy looking material. It's just polyester, but it's flowy and hangs nicely and has an uneven bottom edge that looks dressy.

Ivory is a good classy color for a blouse. I like Anna's suggestion. A cardigan with fancy buttons gives a dressed-up look.

Another thought: a boat neck and 3/4 length sleeve looks really good on you.

The kind of material makes a big difference. Cotton and corduroy and fleece are examples of casual looks.
Rayon and silk and angora are more expensive looks. Usually are literally more expensive too. :)

The Celebrated Author said...

I think you're probably worrying too much. I'm sure you don't *have* to have gloves and a hat.

I'd like to reinforce what Anna said about not entirely white (or, I should mention, nearly-white), and no red (or anything else bright and eye-catching) and no black (though black has been so popular in the last few years that if black is the best thing you have, you would almost definitely fit in).

Seeing as you tend to dress on the nicer side for Sunday morning church, I'm sure you could wear nice Sunday clothing and look lovely. I can't remember any of your clothing off the top of my head except your gray scarf/shawl keeps coming to mind, because shawls like that are very in and seem formal to me.

It sounds silly, but would you like me to come to your house sometime and look at your dresses/skirts/things with you?

TruthQuestioner said...

Thanks, everyone.

I'm not going to be concerned about either a hat or gloves. If it turns out those were expected, well, I suppose I can sit on my hands and put a dinner napkin on my head. :P (Not really, of course)

Can you wear black shoes with a pink dress? I mean, I do it all the time, but is it actually proper? :P

Margaret: I would love that! Even though, I think I know what I'm going to wear now, that would be really fun to do sometime. Mom went through my dresses with me and recommended two of my nicer (but not antiquated) garments.

The Celebrated Author said...

Oh good.

Yes, black shoes with a pink dress will be fine.