So is it snobbish* to want people to truly understand and wear correct black tie? They don’t do it because it costs too much? It’s too much trouble? They just don’t know, partly because the salesmen don’t know diddly squat … Continue reading
Now that we were at the ball, mostly smashed together like sardines, I decided to watch people and take note of what they were wearing as far as “black tie” was concerned, just for fun.
I kind of expected that a lot of people, the men anyway, would take the route my husband wanted to take – just wear a suit. And some did. But others chose to take the “middle road” in some way, with quite strange results. Here is a partial list of what I saw:
- White tie. Even the pres actually wore white tie. This is not wrong; it’s just a little higher on the “elegance” scale to wear white tie properly done. Bonus points.
- Tuxedo jacket with notched collar and center back vent (my husband for one), with a straight black tie. No, that just looks like a suit. Might as well just wear a suit. Hubby did the self-tie bowtie, suspenders, and cummerbund. I guess that made up for the notched lapel and center back vent. Maybe.
- Tuxedo jacket with peaked lapel and straight tie. No, no, no. Sigh.
- Tuxedo jacket with whatever lapel, bowtie, pleated shirt, and no studs! Were the studs too much to worry about? Too expensive? What? White plastic buttons just don’t make it.
- Tuxedo jacket, bowtie, no studs, AND no cummerbund, AND the jacket open to show the world the workings of the pants and belt. The cummerbund (or waistcoat) is supposed to cover that up for that streamlined look. At the very least, button the coat.
- Black tuxedo jacket with a grey/black/white striped straight tie. How did “black tie” translate to grey striped?
- Black tux with bright pink straight tie and high bright pink vest a la wedding attire. Sigh. Pink does not equal black.
- Saw way too many five- and six-button high vests that cover up that expensive pleated shirt.
- Regular business shirts, plain front, white and self-striped shirt (that is within the weave or maybe a different thread), sometimes with a bowtie, most often with a straight tie. Might as well have just worn the suit.
- National costumes of some European country, I don’t know which one. It was very interesting to see. I really should have struck up a conversation to find out more. Although it was rather impossible to have any kind of conversation in there without shouting.
- Sikh turban with what appeared to be a tux, but I didn’t investigate to find out.
Most dresses were floor length; a few were not. Most women wore high heels, including six-inch spike heels on one- or two-inch platforms. I’d never be able to do that. I gave up and didn’t wear the fancy shoes. My husband says that he’ll stay a little annoyed with me for all the trouble I gave him about the tux since I didn’t bother to wear my shoes.
One more. Link to Part Six: https://coreconnexxions.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/getting-it-right-inaugural-ball-pt-six/
The Walter E. Washington Convention Center is very large. It has three stories and six rooms. The two balls, the Commander in Chief Ball and the Inaugural Ball were both in the same building at roughly the same time. The … Continue reading
To get to the ball, we hired a driver whom we’ve hired in the past. He would drive us down, wait around for us, and take us home. We weren’t sure about how bad the traffic might be caused by … Continue reading
In the meantime, I started researching black tie and what that actually meant. I had an inkling, but no real facts. I found this site: http://www.blacktieguide.com. Thus began my detailed education on “black tie”. For instance, black tie is often … Continue reading
These will be my impressions and thoughts about attending the Presidential Inaugural Ball, January 21, 2013. They will not necessarily be in any kind of order, but more like rambling thoughts. Although I have done it chronologically because that makes it easier for me.
To start with, I’m still learning some details of the two Inaugural Balls, such as who the entertainers all were, where the President and First Lady actually were during the balls, and other things.
To try to be chronological somewhat, I’ll start with how we ended up deciding to even go. Initially, we decided not to go – knowing D.C. a little (we worked on Capitol Hill for eight years some time ago) and its inherent traffic problems, what the weather would be like and the temperatures, the hassle of getting appropriate clothing together, logistics of getting there, costs, etc.
Then my husband got an email saying that tickets would be going on sale that day at 4 p.m. This was January 13, a week out from the Inauguration. He didn’t actually see that email until about 7:30 p.m. but went ahead and put in a request with no guarantees that he would get tickets. He did. We paid $500 each for them, although they were listed at $60 each. This isn’t to brag. It’s just the facts.
The tickets said “Black Tie”. That made me gulp. I had visions in my head of what that should/would probably mean in terms of elegance and dress required. Then my husband asked me if I expected him to wear a tuxedo as he was just planning to wear a suit. I almost started spluttering. “Yes, of course! Black Tie means a tux! What are you thinking?” It seemed almost instinctive that one dresses up more than “just wearing a suit”.
I knew I needed a “gown” or, at least, a floor-length dress – something that was not in my closet unless you counted my wedding dress and I wasn’t going to wear that, even if I could still get into it. So I called a friend to see if she could come shopping with me. I felt that I needed “reinforcements” of sorts for this job.
This is only Part 1. There is much more to follow.