Dress It Up, Part 2

by admin on April 13, 2010

Here’s more on the story of the recent shower I went to (as read in Dress it up).

There were 3 hostesses for this wedding shower.  All were sisters, and all seemed to be in their 60’s and early 70’s.  Strangely, all three were dressed in the exact same outfit.  We were never privy as to why they all dressed identically.  The outfits were striped shirts with white capri pants –it looked to me like something twins (or in this case triplets) might wear to a reunion or something like that. If they wanted to stand out as the “hostesses”, they  certainly did, but I guess if they felt they needed to do that, I would have guessed they would all wear matching aprons, or matching corsages rather than a beach picnic outfit?

An even more eerie twist was that at some point their very elderly mother arrived at the shower, probably a woman in her 80’s or early 90’s.  God bless her soul for coming out, it was obvious that it took a lot of effort for her to make it.  But these women came over to her with another exact matching outfit and insisted that she go into the restroom and put it on. She resisted (to the silent cheers of all of us around her) but they did finally manage to wrestle the shirt on over her head (and the dress she was wearing). For the entire shower, these women stood in the back of the room behind the “bar” and just stared at the rest of us. (insert scary music here). Even more troubling….there is still more yet to come to this shower story. 0412-10

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

jan April 13, 2010 at 7:57 am

The poster seems obsessed with clothing!

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Bec April 13, 2010 at 8:01 am

The LW seems pretty intent on being offended and demonstrating some kind of class difference between herself and the hostesses. Ironically, that sort of snobbery always strikes me as tacky.

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Anonymous April 13, 2010 at 8:39 am

I agree with the above posters, and wonder why EhellDame is devoting three days to this woman’s obsession for clothing grievances. Surely this is something more for the fora?

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PinkPenguin April 13, 2010 at 8:50 am

For a shower in someone’s private home, I see nothing wrong with a nice striped top and a nice pair of capri pants. Hostessing is hot work with all the running around and as long as the clothes were clean and neat, I would not be offended.

Badgering a 90 year old woman about her already perfectly acceptable clothes however……..

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Chocobo April 13, 2010 at 9:09 am

I agree, this is a weird story that seems to be making a mountain out of a molehill. I’m a bit disinterested in the pseudo-ominous “yet to come”, unless grandma started making inappropriate political commentary after every present was opened. I still don’t understand the faux pas. I might understand if the invitation said “black tie” or “semi-formal” or something, but a camisole and skirt slip does not a good party make.

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Jenn April 13, 2010 at 9:09 am

Maybe there was some kind of theme going on at this bridal shower and the poster just did not pick up on it.

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Gloria Shiner April 13, 2010 at 9:14 am

Someone seems intent on finding something wrong with this shower. Give it a break, lady! If you have to reach that far, there wasn’t a problem. When you go to a tacky, etiquette-hell shower, you’ll know it.

In the meantime, maybe you’d like to explain exactly why matching outfits are a breach of etiquette?

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Amber April 13, 2010 at 9:18 am

I wasn’t so keen on the OP’s last post. I found it a bit tacky, particularly the focus on the “bouncy bosom.” As the owner of a bouncy bosom myself, I’ve found that shirts will either billow and make me look 20 lbs heavier than I am, or cling and show off my, ah, assets. And there is a fine line between “cling” and “too much.” And what constitutes too much can vary from person to person. I may wear a tank top that shows no cleavage, but the very fact that my chest “pops out” may be too much for some.

Beyond that, the idea that the hostess of a party cannot dictate the dress code of her own event is baffling to me. The hostess and the guest of honor were both dressed casually. What was the problem? This same bafflement continues with this story. It’s rather tacky to comment on the dress code of the hostesses, whether they were dressed alike or dressed casually. As long as the event goes off without a hitch, and the environment is casual (and I consider an afternoon event at someone’s home to be pretty casual), then to focus so heavily on someone’s clothes is fantastically catty.

…That said, the hostesses in this story did trip up when they tried to force someone else to wear a particular outfit, and refused to mingle with the guests. Those two actions are, indeed, poor etiquette. I’d be shocked to see the hostess of a party forcing a shirt over the head of an unwilling guest. And I’d wonder why the hostess even attempted to host a party if her only action was to sit and look sullen during the whole event.

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Ruth April 13, 2010 at 9:18 am

I don’t think you have to be obsessed with clothing to think it’s weird when 3 identically-dressed sisters try to force their resisting mother to dress like them. 3 identically-dressed…whatever. If they actually “wrestled” their mother into a shirt in front of guests at a shower, they definitely belong in eHell. Embarrassing your mom in front of guests, especially when you’re old enough to know better (i.e. over 16) is poor form.

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phoenix April 13, 2010 at 9:51 am

I’m confused…so forcing the elderly mother into an outfit she didn’t want to wear was rude, but how was wearing matching outfits rude to the guests? And the overdramatic *insert scary music* because they…stood behind the bar at a party they were hostessing? Okay, not picture perfect behavior to not mingle with guests they didn’t seem to know, but hardly worthy of gasps of horror.

The most telling thing to me is that the OP ribs them for wearing matching outfits as if they were triplets, then turns around and says it would have been okay as long as it’s wearing matching pieces that *she* approves of. I’m still not even sure how capris pants and a shirt is inappropriate either.

Could we request an end to this trickled in story? It does not deserve multiple installments and “teaser” endings.

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Dani April 13, 2010 at 10:08 am

More yet to come? Must we? :-(

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Christine April 13, 2010 at 10:58 am

This has nothing to do with etiquette anymore, and she’s not even pretending it does! It’s just plain judgment and snobbery.

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AS April 13, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Like others, I am totally confused with what’s going on here. There are a few faux passes, but the OP seems to be offended by the one that’s least of it.

The major faux pass that I see is that it seems that the SIL of MTB is hosting the shower – if that is a faux pas.
Secondly, slipping a shirt over the head of their elderly grandmother sounds a bit rude; but that could be because she was shy and not because she would be humiliated. (We sometimes do some things to our grandmother that they don’t mind, but just are too shy to do).

Coming back to OP’s complains – is she sure the shower wasn’t a “themed party”? Maybe the MTB likes a particular theme, and her SILs decided to throw her a party with that theme, which is actually very sweet.
The hostess has a large bosom – now that’s not her fault. In case you have noticed, most T-shirts have things written on the bosom; so she cannot help that much either.
Standing behind the bars – well sometimes they’ll have to do that because they are serving. If they didn’t have caterers with catering staff (which not many people have for showers), the hosts have to take the responsibility of serving the guests. Probably they did not mean to “stare” at the guests, but rather were just looking if anyone needed something.
OP hasn’t mentioned anything wrong with the actual party, or any tacky comments, or something like that. She seems to be obsessed with the dress, which might be because she wants to find fault with the hosts. Maybe it was a themed party, and she just missed noticing that.

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mmaire April 13, 2010 at 1:41 pm

This coupled with yesterday’s post, (and presumably tomorrow’s) just stops being an etiquette faux pas on the part of those being described and becomes one on the part of the writer. The shower didn’t have the formality the OP expected, so she’s criticizing every tiny little thing she doesn’t approve of, whether or not it’s a legitimate complaint (the legitimate complaints in both posts are thin on the ground). It just makes her look petty, and the sort who probably won’t be welcome at any further gatherings. Three posts on this same, petty topic are supremely unnecessary.

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KimberlyRose April 13, 2010 at 3:25 pm

To the letter writer:

You really need to stop. Seriously, you’re just embarrassing yourself now.

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SouthernSugar April 13, 2010 at 3:48 pm

I’m with Dani: Do we really have to read Part III? There were bits of both Parts I and II that I was willing to see as faux pas-y, but most of it is just obsessive on the LW’s part. Hostesses are indeed, last time I checked, allowed to set the level of formality for an event — it seems to me as though the LW misjudged that by quite a bit and is using these letters to vent about it and cast the hostesses in the worst possible light. :(

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PrincessSimmi April 13, 2010 at 4:05 pm

My question is, did the op send three emails on this or has Miss Jeanne split it up? I think she sent three emails, look at the dates!

I despise all parties, but to judge someone on their clothing is pretty crass. If you had said “she looked at the gift, then screamed at her elderly father that the name on the card was spelt incorrectly and threw the gift at him” (has happened in my family) or something along those lines I could understand. Just accept that people will dress differently, and there’s not really anything you can do about it…

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Louise April 13, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Considering how determined the letter writer is to find faux pas about this event, I’m skeptical about whether the hostesses “wrestled” a matching shirt over grandma’s dress. Now, if the hostesses really did bully grandma into wearing the shirt, that’s horrible; however, perhaps grandma declined at first but then agreed to wear the shirt in good fun and let the hostesses help her put it on. How does the letter writer know the rest were silently cheering grandma’s resistance? I think she sees what she wants to see.

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Annie April 13, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Let it go now. It’s boring now. There was no screamingly obvious faux pas on the part of the guests at any party and as far as I’m concerned the only scary music that needs to be inserted is at the way the LW’s mind fixates on clothes………

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Hanna April 14, 2010 at 9:52 am

Oh, please. You ladies all seem seriously offended. If any of you wrote in about a wedding shower, and then someone broke it up into three parts, those three parts separate may not seem Etiquette Hell-worthy. Seriously, lay off.

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Skoffin April 14, 2010 at 11:21 am

I see no reason as to why these are being separated, buh?

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James April 19, 2010 at 5:57 pm

So, no one else agrees with the poster that it is odd for three adult women (who are not the Supremes) to dress in the same outfit? Really? Like, “Aren’t these sweaters and capris darling? Let’s all wear them!” Is that a thing? I think it just weirded her out and I think had I been there, I would have been a little freaked as well.

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Glen April 20, 2010 at 2:59 pm

1. It is rude to force someone to wear something they do not want to. To literally wrestle it upon them is appalling, especially when it is someone who may be too frail to resist.
2. If I were at a party where three hostesses wearing exactly the same outfit stood behind a bar and stared at the guests the whole time, I would be simultaneously scared and offended.

“Considering how determined the letter writer is to find faux pas about this event, I’m skeptical about whether the hostesses “wrestled” a matching shirt over grandma’s dress. … I think she sees what she wants to see.”

Is there any reason to not give the writer the courtesy of assuming she is telling the truth? Apart from the pleasure of abusing her, that is.

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