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What to Wear to a Wedding

Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Holidays and Special Events > What to Wear to a Wedding



Must I wear a long gown to a black tie wedding?

April 2008

I'm attending my first black tie wedding on the east coast this summer. Is it necessary to wear a long gown or can I get away with wearing a formal shorter (not too short) dress? And, does it have to be black? I'm petite, so, long gowns normally drown me out completely. Thanks! Black Tie Clueless


Your short fancy dress will be just fine. We went to a very fancy east coast black tie new years eve wedding, shopped for days and days -- and everything worked. Some people wore fancy long dresses, my daughters and I wore knee length fancy dresses (they wanted black, but I insisted on bright and ended up in fuscia); and one cousin wore a gold floppy pants suit. black tie mama
We went to a black tie wedding in Oct. 07 at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. This was a MAJOR wedding!!! I wore a black and grey mid calf length gown, we rented a tux for my then 11 yo, and my husband and teenager bought vintage tux's at Thriftown...Like you, I wrote to BPN to ask what to do. People ''warned'' me that East Coast black tie was serious stuff and if I underdressed I'd feel realy out of place. There were men in tux's, men in suits. There were women in gowns, women in cocktail dresses, women in dressy pant suits. No one stared, everyone looked nice and everyone had a good time. My one suggestion, whatever you do....wear comfortable shoes. I spent $200.00 on fancy shoes that killed my feet as soon as I got out of the store. Have fun, happy in my jeans...
Yes, you can wear a short colorful dress to a black tie event, as along as it is considered a formal dress. You won't be the only one who opts for short; it's very popular these days. Have a great time. anon.
Black tie means that the fellers wear formalwear (tuxedos) with black ties as opposed to ''white tie'' which is even more formal. For women, it means a gown, but doesn't always have to be and doesn't always have to be a long gown. I wore a formal pants suit for a black tie wedding and didn't feel out of place at all. Keep in mind that east coast black tie is more formal than west coast where I find the interpretation to be very loose.

I found this on about.com:


Black tie
for her

    * a formal dress, usually to the floor
    * bring out those beaded purses, fancy wraps and formal
jewelry that's been waiting for an occasion such as this
    * black tie weddings almost always involve dancing, so don't
wear anything too constricting

for him

    * a tuxedo is the only appropriate thing to wear. If it says
creative black tie, he should still wear a tuxedo, perhaps with a
black shirt or collarless white shirt.

DON'T WEAR:

    * White. (This rule has relaxed some, and you can get away
with wearing a printed dress with a white background and some
cream colored clothing. Just be careful not to upstage the bride.)
    * Black to a daytime wedding
    * Jeans
    * Anything too sexy or revealing
    * Anything torn, with holes, stained, too big or too small
for you!
    * Anything sleeveless or strapless to a religious wedding.
Bring a wrap to cover your shoulders.
dressygal
You asked whether you can wear a short dress to a black tie wedding, or does it need to be long, and you also asked whether it needs to be black. First, the "black" in black tie refers to the menswear. The women don't need to wear a black dress (in fact, solid black at a wedding is considered a bit inappropriate, sort of funereal, although people do it and it doesn't raise any eyebrows these days. Nor do the women need to wear ties... From wikipedia: "Black tie is the men's dress code term for formal evening dress composed of a dinner jacket suit comprising a jacket and matching trousers; which is called a tuxedo in Canada and the U.S. [Really, it should be called a dinner jacket. My mom used to complain that only rubes called them tuxedos.] Women's corresponding evening dress ranges from a conservative cocktail dress to the long evening gown determined per current fashion, local custom, and the occasion's time."

A short dress is absolutely fine as long as it is sufficiently "dressy." NOT a skirt and top though - it must be one piece. Personally, I like deeper colors for evening weddings and lighter colors for a daytime wedding (a daytime wedding really shouldn't be black tie, however.) If you are not a dressy person, look for a friend who can loan you something, although I think every woman should own a least ONE nice cocktail dress... Consignment stores often have great formal dresses at low prices, too. Or try Loehman's. I'm from the East Coast - can you tell?


I don't have an answer for you (except I highly doubt you're required to wear black) but recommend this site for fashion questions: http://daily.stylebakery.com/ask_alison_at_stylebakery/ Take a look at the archives; maybe your question has been answered already. anon

Black tie wedding in NY - what do we wear?

Sept 2006

My cousin's son is getting married in in OCT. in NY. My husband and I and out 2 boys are going (15, and 11yo). It is a black tie affair at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens (I'm told the brides family has $$$$$$...my family is not exactly ''black tie'' material). We're very excited to go to NY, see family and see our cousin married...BUT....what do we wear? We're NOT dress up types. What many people wear to work every day is what I would consider really dressy for me.

I have a very dressy ''prom'' type dress that will work for me. What about my husband and kids? My husband has a dark blue silk/wool suit that was made for him in Hong Kong. It's what he wore to our wedding. Is that OK? What color shirt? Does it have to be a black tie, or can it be blue? printed? What about my kids. I really feel like renting a tux and tails is a bit rediculous. I could check Thrift Town and see what's there...Can I get/borrow nice suits for my boys? What colors are considered appropriate for a formal wedding? Grey? light grey? dark grey? dark blue? black only?

We're spending way more money than we can afford to fly to NY and spend hotel, food, fun money that renting tux's seems like just too much. On the other hand, we're spending all this money to go there, what's a little (or a lot) more for a tux or 2 or 3? We'll be gone a week so renting would be more than just a few days. Any tips on the proper dress etiquete will be very appreciated. Thanks comfy in t-shirts and capris


If the invitation says black tie, the wedding is going to be quite formal (like a ''ball'') and the majority of the men will be in tuxedoes. If your husband decides to wear a dark suit I'd advise a white shirt and dark tie. Perhaps he could lux it up a little with a white silk hankerchief in his pocket or a flower in his lapel, but the fact is he won't be ''black tie.'' Maybe he could rent a tux from a chain where the fitting was done here but the tux was picked up in NY, so you don't have to rent for such a long time? I think it would be fine for your boys to wear suits of any color--as long as children are actually welcome at such a formal affair
Going to a formal black tie wedding in NY is not the same as formal balck tie anywhere else. You will feel horribly uncomfortable if you do not dress accordingly (from people staring to possibly whispering). If you don't care about that, you should wear what you feel comfortable in, but I sense you wouldn't post here if that were the case. At any rate, it's impossible to be overdressed in NY. Your husband and sons should wear tuxes.You should wear an evening dress (not a prom dress). Check out ebay. You's be amazed at the deals you'll find there.

Most importantly, NY IS a place where you can really live it up. If you don't think you'll be back any time soon, I'd go all out if I were you. You won't regret it! However, you might regret showing up dressed casually, by comparison to NY standards. have a great time Lived in NY for 5 years and miss it terribly!


Find out what others are wearing. These days it is not uncommon to have some men wear dark suits and conservative neckties in dark colors at ''black tie'' events. (I'd avoid suits in anything but black, charcoal grey or midnight blue.) And that is even more often the case with kids. On the other hand, if every other male is in a tux, yours might want to go ahead and rent one. I am sure that there are many fine options for renting a tux in Brooklyn, NY, so you only have to pay for one night. If you are staying at a big hotel with a concierge, just call them and they can probably arrange to get rentals delivered to the hotel or at least put you in touch with local tux shops. Have fun! Been to lots of black tie weddings
Black tie means a tuxedo is the most appropriate thing for both your husband and your sons to wear -- a dinner jacket style, not tails. The tie can certainly be black, but it does not have to be; a tartan plaid or other pattern or color is okay.

If a tux is out of reach, financially or practically speaking, then a dark business suit is acceptable. Black or charcoal would be better than navy or light grey, but either navy or light grey would be better than khaki. A white shirt would be better than colored; either a bow tie or a regular long one would be fine, in any non-garish color or pattern. If your sons do not own suits (and you have no particular reason to buy them each one), you can probably rent suits for them at a tux shop! Of course, if you're going to rent anyway you might as well get the tuxes....

If you decide to rent tuxes, it shouldn't be a problem keeping them for a week; that's pretty standard. Or, of course, you could arrange to pick up the tuxes in New York -- most rental shops will take measurements for you locally and send them to an affiliate elsewhere. That's how long-distance groomsmen generally do it!

For you, a ''prom type'' evening gown is fine. You can even wear a black dress to an evening wedding in New York! (But color is fine too.) You can also get away with a cocktail dress or suit (knee length) rather than a long gown, if you wish, especially if your gentlemen wear suits rather than tuxes.

Have fun! Holly


Rent tuxes there. It's pretty cheap, actually. Probably $30 or so for the kids and maybe $50 for hub. As for you, go to Rockridge Rags, or some other higher-end consignment store for a dress. Buy something that can be dressed up or down, so you can get some use out of it after the wedding. Also, Dress Barn has some lovely, fancy dresses. They are all over (downtown Oakland, Rockridge, etc.) Good luck. Have Fun!
I'm no Emily Post, but my understanding is that if the invitation specified ''black tie,'' at least the adult males should be in tuxes. You can rent one in NY - you don't have to get it here and bring it with you - so that would save you a little bit. I'd start by talking to your local Mens Wearhouse, since they have outlets in NY as well, and can provide advice on what to wear. (And just to clarify, ''black tie'' doesn't mean a black business-style tie with a regular suit, but specifically a tux/bow tie. ''Black tie optional'' would mean a dark suit with standard tie would be okay.) The boys would probably be fine in nice (dark) suits, or even slacks and blazers, but I think they'd look out of place w/out jackets of some kind Also like tees, but dressing up can be fun
Black tie is black tie. Sorry to say, you'll have to buy or rent. That said, Sears has kids tuxes for pretty cheep (for the 11 y.o.) Not sure about the teenager. And, your husband can rent here and pick it up there - if you use a national chain. Check it out - no carrying, no wrinkling, no buying, only renting - and shoes come with it. -Have fun!!!
My husband and I recently moved to Oakland from Brooklyn and had our wedding reception at the Brooklyn Botantical Gardens (in November 2000). New York weddings are definitely more formal than East Bay weddings. If the wedding is truly black tie, then it really does mean that your husband should wear a tux (no tails, though). I think you should talk to other family memebers to find out if their male children will also be in tuxes. It shouldn't be a problem for you to find a place in Manhattan to rent the tuxedo for your husband (and your son's for that matter). If you decide against renting tuxes for the boys, choose dark suits for them. You can probably get away being less dressy (or go with the ''prom'' dress you mentioned).

It's probably safe to say that most women will be in black. I hope this helps. I hope you have a wonderful trip - you're going to NYC at a beautiful time of year!! Shauna


I feel your pain. Going east for a wedding is very expensive and Black tie makes it that much more of an expense.Black tie does not refer to the color of the tie. It means a tux for gentlemen and gowns for ladies. Your husband could wear a rented tux (not tails, tails are for formal morning weddings), but he could get away with a dark suit worn with a dress shirt and a tie of pretty much any color. Your husband's suit sounds beautiful, I think he should wear that with whatever shirt and tie he originally intended to use with it. Currently many women wear coctail dresses to these types of weddings, often women wear black coctail dresses to NY weddings. Your sons, because of their ages, are exempt from such formalities. They can wear khakis with a long sleve button down white shirt. If they own a dark blazer and a tie have them add that to the mix, other wise I wouldn't bother w/ the added expense of a jacket for the boys.

Maybe you could borrow navy or black blazers for them from a friend. Your boys will get a pass, they are not adults. If you end up felling like your husband needs to be in a tux he can be be measured for his tux here and then order it in NY over the phone. Of course only if you will have time to pick it up on the other end. Or you could have a friend or relative pick it up. We did this last summer when we went east for a black tie wedding.

All that said, I hope you have a good time and that at least the food and booze are good -Black tie gal from the east coast


Last year I bought a used tuxedo at Selix's for a little over $100 for my 16 year old and it is really good looking. As I remember, I called ahead with my request, then didn't like the style of the one I was offered. I asked to wait for another and got one within a few days. It did have a broken zipper which cost a few dollars at my dry cleaners to be repaired, but boy does it look great! This is my budget-minded suggestion, because black tie, to my understanding, does mean tuxedo (though not necessarily tails, thank god). And I'm afraid the blue suit doesn't meet the the criteria, sigh. I like capris too.
I'm from the south and lived on the east coast for a few years and went to a few formal weddings and bar mitzvahs. I always felt that black tie means formal wear. I don't think your husband needs to wear ''tails'' but I think a tuxedo is proper.

Recently, we were invited to a black tie wedding in L.A. and my husband rented a basic tux from Men's Warehouse. I seem to remember it costing about $100 which is way less than a suit would cost and way less than what I spent on my outfit. It looked nice and he blended in with the other penguins.

I do find that women push the limits on what ''black tie'' means and I felt that many women at the aforementioned wedding were very underdressed--some in flimsy jersey dresses even. I wore a silk pants suit that was very formal, tho not prom-like at all. I had some fab shoes. It was very neat and tailored. You can always go to Nordstrom and tell the sales person you need something for a black tie wedding in New York and they can show you some stuff, then you can get an idea and go somewhere cheaper to buy something. Just remember, black tie in New York is probably more formal than black tie here or in L.A. If you are going all that way to this really nice wedding, i'd recommend doing it right. Instead of stressing about it, think of it as a fun once-in-a-lifetime opportunty to be all chi-chi.

I know casual is the big thing, but sometimes, it is nice to get all gussied up and it's unfortunate that we've loss that sense in our generation.

Have fun wish I could go to the black tie wedding


I lived in New York for 7 years, and attended many weddings with my husband--both in and out of Tuxedo. We lived your experience the first time as youngsters (23 &24) and were very embarrased to be the only couple who did not meet the level of the affair. My husband's words were, ''I am a schmuck''. There are a few key points in your message that you need to consider:

1) In New York, Black Tie means Tuxedo. Tails are optional and not the same. I am sure you'll get lots of notes here about the difference and when the others are required. But Tuxedo is all that is required. And Black Tie means black tie, pants and jacket. The invitation would say White Tie or other information if it was different.

2) A dark suit is not the same as Tuxedo. And even in a dark room, it is noticable. But, whether it matters depends entirely on your husband and kids. If your husband is a clothes horse or aware of etiquette he will feel embarrased to be in a dark suit, not tuxedo. But, he may not be the kind of person who cares.

3) Children (like your sons) do not have to wear tuxedos, dark suits/jackets and ties are fine.

4) You do not have to rent these items. You can, in fact, get very nice tuxedo jacket and pants (and no, you dont have to wear a ruffled shirt) at second hand clothing stores. We have purchased them (as my husband's size changed) many times and found it to be much less expensive even for a one-time use than rentals. For the shirt, you are better off going to a men's department store to purchase one, they are not the same. You can get cufflinks and studs (buttons on the shirt) for the french-cuffs very inexpensively at someplace like Ross or sometimes even at Mervyns.

It sounds excessive for people out here but consider that a black tie wedding in New York typically costs upwards of $200 or much much more per plate (Average NYC wedding is $40,000). From the etiquette side, you would do well to respect the affair. But, since Californians don't really do that out here and you may not care. You have to decide what matters most to you.
- previously embarrased at Black Tie Affair


Hello, Black tie is a very specific request. Generally, it means that the men should be wearing a tuxedo (i.e. dinner jacket) and a black bow tie. The women should be wearing an evening dress.

However, the simplest way to know exactly what you should wear is to simply ask the wedding couple, probably the bride. She can tell you whether or not a suit would be acceptable or whether she would prefer you to rent a tux. My wedding was formal and all the men were required to wear tails (not a tux). However, for all of the out of town guests, I got their sizes and rented the tails for them so that it would be more convenient for them.

Many people asked me to clarify what the dress should be, and I was not offended to be asked. Go to the source: ask the bride. Have a great time! Also had a formal wedding


First of all, THANK YOU for respecting the bride and groom's wishes and not ''deciding'' how their day should be. Your etiquette is well intact. Black Tie is not interpretive, in my opinion: It means what it says. Tails are not necessary, but ''Black Tie'' does refer to a tuxedo. While modernly, the tuxedo may be worn with a tie-less shirt, and some people will wear dark suits, when hosts tell you it's black tie, it is the polite way of letting you know that this is a formal event.

Children are not generally required to wear a tuxedo. Small children can get by with a blue suit, especially since black is considered traditionally inappropriate for young kids. Older kids should rent. Have a great time, and don't forget to be Berkeley- fabulous -- TA


You asked the question from an etiquette perspective and the answer is that black tie means dinner jackets, a/k/a tuxedos for men, and formal dresses for women. Wearing a dark blue suit is not dressy enough, and your husband will feel out of place. It's New York, and you will feel and look like a rube unless you dress properly. Maybe someone could give you the name of a good rental place near where you'll be staying so you don't have to schlep three suits across the country? Stickler for etiquette
You may find that NYC is more formal than you're expecting. In most of the country a black-tie wedding requires a specific combination of tuxedo and necktie... you probably need to talk to the groom, or his parents, or the bride and hers to get a reading on what is appropriate. With the sacrifices you are willing to make to go to this wedding, you might just want to bite the bullet and dress your family to the nines for once, and make a memory the four of you will have forever.

It is possible to buy a kids tuxedo off of eBay... but it it also possible to have a rental tuxedo fitted locally for pick up in NYC, if you deal with one of the big chains. That would limit your rental time and the inconvenience of traveling with formal ware.

Good luck, whatever you decide to do. I have had the least formally dressed bunch at an important family event, and it was character building, but not fun Heather Jacobsen


Sorry, but black tie means black tie--tuxes for the men, formal or very dressy cocktail dress for you. Especially in NYC, especially at the Botanical Garden. My brother attended a wedding there recently and it was very formal. Have fun and get some great pictures! hengel
I'm from the east coast, so I know how these things can be. If it is Black Tie OPTIONAL than a nice blue suit is fine. So is a brown suit or a black suit or even a sportscoat with nice pants for the kids. A tie (color doesn't actually matter) is a must as is a nice belt and nice shoes. If it is truly a Black Tie affair (''optional'' not written on the invitation), that means everyone will be wearing a tuxedo and all your boys should too. You'll probably want to wear some kind of evening gown, but you won't stand out like a soar thumb like the guys will if they're not in a penguin suit. Enjoy the affair and try not to be too shocked at all the glitz. You'd be amazed what people will spend on smaller affairs like Bar Mitzvahs and Sweet Sixteens. The wedding always tops the rest of all these affairs. I'm sure you will eat and drink well! Diana
Ah, this will be an opulent affair. So, your dress depends on the invite - does it say ''Black Tie'' or ''Black Tie Optional?''

If it's optional, a dark suit is fine. I think a white shirt would be best with a muted tie. Dark suits for the boys too. If it's not Optional, then you will be expected to be in Tuxedos. Tails are no no.

You can always rent your suits in NYC. Just ask a relative for a recommendation. They can take measurements, etc. over the phone. Word of warning though - keep in contact with them as you get closer to ensure they have what you need when you get there.

Have fun! What a terrific and beautiful venue for a wedding! Transplanted New Yorker


what about seeing if you could ''rent'' a tux for your hubby via craigslist? maybe someone who's had to buy one would be into lending it for a low fee?

you might also check jeremy's at college/ashby or 2nd/southpark in the city for outfits for both of you. they have lots of pricey things but the occasional phenomenal bargain. you might ask one of the salespeople (they are all young, most seem sweet but some are less so) to help you out, they might really enjoy the challenge of turning a laidback berkeley mom into a ny diva. if you could go during a weekday they'd be less busy... what size are you? i might have a dress you could borrow. susan


What is "festive dress"?

June 2002

Hello, we are invited to a wedding of a friend from college in New York in a couple of months. The invitation says: ''festive dress''. What does that mean? The friend comes from a very wealthy family, and I know nothing of those circles, and quite frankly feel a little intimidated, so I want to dress properly. I would appreciate links to web sites showing this kind of clothes. thank you, Anne


I think ''festive dress'' is just their way of saying something like ''a party dress & mary janes''. It means the wedding isn't black tie or black tie optional. You didn't say what time the wedding is called for or where the ceremony will be, but that should probably be your guide of what to wear. If it is a daytime wedding, I'd say wear a light-colored dress or suit (no bare legs). If the wedding is at night, I'd vote for a long dress (probably a darker color) or a dressy pantsuit. If the ceremony is in a church or synagogue, your shoulders should probably be covered. A man should probably wear a suit regardless. Good luck! Jen
I first faced this issue many years ago for a wedding of some wealthy old money people at an East Coast country club. I was in graduate school and shopped at Ross Dress for Less, and felt totally out of my league. My evil sister-in-law told me that I should wear a ''bimbo dress with cleavage'', which I foolishly did. (At least then I could fit into a bimbo dress and had cleavage!)

The ''festive attire'' label means that they don't want men showing up in black or white tie, and that women need not wear a gown, or a fancy dress with glam accessories. Find a dress which makes you feel pretty - whether it's a cocktail dress (but not too sexy) for evening wedding or an interesting dress in summer colors (not black or white) for daytime. The word ''festive'' also means you can wear something with a bit of pizzaz or humor - happy clothes! East Coast style is different from West, and Berkeley is of course it's own world, so whatever you wear may be somewhat different from what they choose, but that will give you that certain ''je ne sais quoi'' Try Molly B (on Vine, but especially 4th Street) for some great choices! If that's too expensive, you might get lucky at some of the resale places.

And don't worry about the ''wealthy people'' issue. There may be some snobs who will notice whether you use the salad fork properly, but just be yourself, and when all else fails, imply that you know some shocking anecdotes about the bride and groom and suddenly everyone will want to be your friend... Natasha Beery


Here is advise from:

http://www.modernbride.com/servlet/ com.accumedia.web.Dispatcher?next=guest-article_view&forceid=302

Cocktail Attire (or Festive Dress ). If either of these phrases appear onyour invite, dress as you would for a fancy cocktail party or dinner, with anemphasis on sophisticated style. For men, that means a dark suit. Forwomen, the buzzwords are chic and sleek, as opposed to pretty and sweet.

Just remember, people don't care what you're wearing because they are too busy worrying about how THEY look! Helena


from a fashion business veteran (and victim): festive dress is a pretty 'cocktail' dress, preferably in a printed woven fabric like silk, rayon or cotton (not knit--too casual). If you don't like prints, there are pretty solid dresses with details like a ruffled hem or neckline, or embroidery to add interest. If you don't feel comfortable in a dress, you can probably find a pant outfit, like a cropped patterned silk jacket with matching pants- -nothing that looks like you'd wear it to an office! Try a department store (Macy's, Saks), or a great boutique like Dish on College. p.s. warning--if the event is at the end of the summer, don't wait to buy--by August the stores will be full of fall clothing! anonymous
I was sympathetic to your plight about what to wear when the invitation calls for ''festive dress.'' I certainly don't think that it is a ''Miss Manners approved'' term. I grew up going to parties given by socially prominent/wealthy people (debutante parties and the like -- disclaimer: I am by no means wealthy!) and since college have been to many of the same types of things on the East Coast. The only reason all of this is relevant is that despite all of my experience, I have seen the term ''festive dress'' used only when referring to Christmas cocktail parties.

You don't mention time of day, place, weather, etc., but my advice would be to call your friend. I don't think that you should feel intimidated, and I think that calling or e-mailing and asking is the best thing to do. Ask whether men should wear jacket and ties, suits, tuxedos, etc. (Perhaps ''festive dress'' is their way of saying black tie without forcing people to wear black tie?) Ask her whether women should wear dresses that are long, short, daytime, evening, etc. When you have your answer, go to a place like Saks and ask for advice. You don't have to buy anything, but at least you will know what is out there. (I say Saks, or somewhere in the City, because the East Bay does tend to be more casual than the East Coast.)

It sounds as if you are like me, and want to do things the ''right'' way. I have found, at used books stores and library sales, old etiquette books for a few dollars. They aren't helpful for tips on dressing (they would probably suggest a hat and gloves) but I have found them helpful for everything else. Even if I decide that the etiquette rule is too formal, or not appropriate, at least I know what it is. Many of my friends, who know that I have this collection of books, call me for advice when they are stumped by a question.

Have a great time, and don't worry. Anon


Contact the family and get the time of day and venue for the wedding and reception. That will give you hints. New York is MUCH more formal than Berkeley, but wealthy people may ''dress down'' if, say, the wedding is an afternoon affair in their garden. A couple examples: Night time in church, reception at hotel: men = tux or dark suit. women = long dress, light to medium color (not black or white), limit the beads, sequins. Simple, solid color is elegant - taffeta, chiffon, satin, simple lines. Day time garden wedding: Men= light colored suit with jacket and tie you could remove if others do. Ladies = low or no heel, but nice shoes. Cute hat to keep off sun. Light colored chiffon, linen or dressy, but not fussy, dress. Florals would be appropriate. I relate a goof I made my first year in Boston. Invited by Santa Barbara friend to an afternoon party with dancing. I showed up in jeans and a flannel shirt (appropriate to UCSB). The young men were in chinos, button down shirts and ties. The girls were in chiffon flowered tea dresses. The only thing that saved me was that I was a good dancer and had just moved from California. I learned my lesson. You also might be able to check a web site for Elle, Vogue or Miss Manners, Amy Vanderbilt, etc. Good luck!! Kathryn
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