Author Topic: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation  (Read 16290 times)

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Docslady21

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #45 on: January 14, 2013, 01:30:43 AM »
We just received an invitation to a b'nei mitzvah party that will be dinner and dancing at a nice downtown hotel.  The invitation says, "No ties, no jeans."

I don't like that.  I believe that the correct way to do it is to write "casual attire."

I get it; they want it to be casual but not sloppy.  But wording it this way implies that their guests don't understand how to dress appropriately and will look like slobs if not given itemized instructions.  "Casual attire" plus the type of event and its setting -- a dinner dance at a downtown hotel ballroom, not a backyard BBQ or beach party -- makes it clear that cutoffs and T shirts aren't appropriate, and that neckties aren't required.  There really is no need to specifically forbid jeans and ties. Many of today's jeans are sufficiently dressy and nice enough to wear as part of an outfit for a nice restaurant; that's appropriate for a casual party.  And some people feel more comfortable in ties, and some ties are pretty casual anyway.

Hosts need to give their guests credit for a little intelligence, common sense, and class.  If a few of their guests lack these and don't dress exactly right, then so be it (there are always a few people who simply insist on ignoring dress codes no matter what you write anyway).  It's not going to ruin your party.  You're entertaining your guests, not costuming them for a show.  Setting a dress code is fine; micromanaging it is bossy and insulting.

This seems like a hostile reaction to people who seem to be trying to be kind and clear. Wouldn't it be nicer to assume they were not "micromanaging" or "costuming" you, but trying to give two spectrums of clothing style? I would guess quite a few young kids are coming to this. This helps them to be properly attired--kids get embarrassed when they are dressed wrong. And maybe people who are not of the faith and would have no idea what business casual means for a religious event have been invited. My office corporate casual includes jeans. So I would have shown up and been embarrassed if they used that sort of wording.

This is succinct: No ties (not too fancy), no jeans (not too casual either). I'm a fan.

bopper

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #46 on: January 14, 2013, 09:57:46 AM »
Would a " b'nei mitzvah party" be like a bar mitzvah party? (this may be obvious, so pardon me)  If so, would one expect a bunch of 12 and 13 year olds there without their parents? This statement very well may be targeted to them.   Trying to tell the boys to not wear jeans but not to wear a tie.

Roe

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #47 on: January 14, 2013, 01:07:07 PM »
The wording is confusing to me.  If they don't want jeans nor ties, maybe a bowtie?  Is it formal?   I can see the point about it being a "top to bottom" sorta thing but it would still confuse me if I received an invitation with that wording. 

No Jean. Business Casual would be better for me.  (but then, you might get men in ties) 

lowspark

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #48 on: January 14, 2013, 01:14:28 PM »
I think this is a case of "damned if you do, damned if you don't". And I agree with PP who said something about how it's so hard to figure out what the actual appropriate dress is these days, where it used to be quite simple in bygone days. It seems to me that no matter how you end up stating the dress code, there are going to be some people who don't get it, and some who are put off by it. I can only think of a few very specific phrases that are not likely to be misinterpretted (black tie, cocktail attire, for example) but none of them cover this kind of scenario.

To me, the "No Ties, No Jeans" notation reads like the hosts were trying to be a little bit cute and a little bit different while still being specific on what they hoped for. I see it as a sort of upper and lower boundary. And honesly, I can't see that any of the above mentioned, more vague references are crystal clear enough to communicate that range. And I also agree that it's quite likely that the hosts were specifically targeting the ~13 year old kids who will be attending.

bopper, yes, b'nei mitzvah party is just a sort of plural -- my guess is that it's a combination party for more than one kid whose Bar/Bat Mitzvah occurs that weekend.

Oh Joy

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #49 on: January 14, 2013, 01:43:17 PM »
It's the ties bit that irks me.

The way I see it, a host can require/request (not ready to split hairs here) a minimum formality in their guests' attire, but not a maximum formality.  If guest prefers to wear a tuxedo to a beach party, they may.  But not the other way around.

AylaM

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #50 on: January 14, 2013, 02:05:10 PM »
It's the ties bit that irks me.

The way I see it, a host can require/request (not ready to split hairs here) a minimum formality in their guests' attire, but not a maximum formality.  If guest prefers to wear a tuxedo to a beach party, they may.  But not the other way around.

When I see the phrase "no ties, no jeans"  I took it as shorthand for "Ties are not required, but jeans are not acceptable".  Like they were trying to be cute.  So if Uncle Joe wants to wear a tie, he certainly can, but it is not expected that people do so.

That is mostly because I accept that if I want to I can dress more formally if I want to.  It never occurred to me that anyone would read it as "do not wear a tie!".

Which I guess is the problem with this approach.  But I think you'll run into problems with any way of specifying a dress code.

Hmmmmm

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #51 on: January 14, 2013, 02:12:00 PM »
It's the ties bit that irks me.

The way I see it, a host can require/request (not ready to split hairs here) a minimum formality in their guests' attire, but not a maximum formality.  If guest prefers to wear a tuxedo to a beach party, they may.  But not the other way around.

When I see the phrase "no ties, no jeans"  I took it as shorthand for "Ties are not required, but jeans are not acceptable".  Like they were trying to be cute.  So if Uncle Joe wants to wear a tie, he certainly can, but it is not expected that people do so.

That is mostly because I accept that if I want to I can dress more formally if I want to.  It never occurred to me that anyone would read it as "do not wear a tie!".

Which I guess is the problem with this approach.  But I think you'll run into problems with any way of specifying a dress code.

I completely agree that the no ties meant, ties not require. But I don't take things literal and I'm likely to interprete wordings the way I think they meant them.  It would never occur to me that someone would be upset because Uncle Jim wore his customary bow tie but I could is a host upset if have the 7th grade girls in attendance were in jeans, making the event a lot less formal than their intention.

Venus193

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #52 on: January 14, 2013, 02:45:00 PM »
I will agree that most phrases describing dress codes are very confusing today.  Since we've read many horror stories in the blog and on this forum about people showing up in jeans and flip flops to occasions designated as semi-formal and more, I don't see how this designation is insulting.  To me the specificity is meant to remove any doubt about what is and isn't appropriate.

gellchom

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #53 on: January 14, 2013, 03:12:23 PM »
Bopper, lowspark is correct: "b'nei mitzvah" is the plural of bar/bat mitzvah.  This happens to be a party for twins.

You might have thought it harsh - but I think the message is pretty clear.  If a host/ess doesn't want guests wearing jeans to an event, he/she has to find a way to communicate it.  "Smart casual" doesn't necessarily do it - many people might figure chinos to be on the same level as denim.

I do agree that I don't like the "no ties" since there are indeed men who feel that they have to wear a tie almost anywhere other than a trip to the hardware store, and it's really not going to detract from the event if there are a couple of guys wearing ties.  Jeans are different, however.  There's no denying that there is increased informality in our culture these days, and sometimes it's necessary to spell-out what is and is not acceptable.

I'm sorry, I guess I wasn't clear -- I didn't mean that I found the invitation wording harsh.  I thought that "Dandy Andy's Daddy's Love's" (say that 5 times fast) post was harsh. 

This is one of the rare occasions where I disagree with you, Karen!  Regarding the bolded part, I mean. 

See, I can certainly understand hosts not wanting people to wear jeans.  I can also understand them not wanting them to wear lots of other things, to be late, to refuse to dance, to drink too much, and a lot of other faux pas.  Where I differ from you and several other posters is the extent to which they can go to prevent guests' mistakes.  I just don't think you can take it upon yourself to try to educate your guests about what is appropriate to wear when the invitation states "casual."  The relative formality and nature of the type of event, the invitation, and the venue give them more clues.  If that's not enough, then go with "dressy casual" or "business casual" and hope for the best.  That's why -  to me -- the question isn't "how do you politely specify that you don't want people to wear jeans or ties?" but "is it polite to specify that people not wear jeans or ties?"  Not how, but whether at all.

Peaches made such a good point about negative versus positive wording.  Take the analogy of timeliness.  Of course guests are rude if they are late for, say, a wedding, and the hosts aren't being silly wanting everyone to be on time for the ceremony.  But not everyone knows that, and, more important (and less insulting to the guests' manners), in some cultures, the wedding doesn't start until WELL after the invitation time.  (My parents once showed up promptly for a Cuban-Jewish wedding in Miami.  The family and attendants were still in bathrobes and curlers, and none of the other guests showed up for well over an hour!)  But in our community, the wedding ceremony starts EXACTLY on time.  So let's say it's a situation like that -- the ceremony is going to start on time, but you have several guests who come from communities where that's uncommon.  In such a case, I would think that a notation "ceremony at 7:00 promptly," not "no latecomers" or "be on time."  I can't really think of a positive way to phrase "no jeans or ties" -- to me, "casual" would have done it for jeans at a party in this venue, but I can't think of how for ties.  Maybe "ties not required" (I'm assuming that's what they meant; "no ties allowed" would not, in my opinion, be okay to specify in the first place.)

You know what?  Maybe it's not so much a question of positive versus negative as language describing what the hosts are doing (hosting a casual party, starting on time) as opposed to trying to tell the guests to do (dressing appropriately for a casual party, showing up on time)?  I think that might be a good guideline to keep in mind.

Kind of reminds me of the strings about bridal registries and the way they are communicated.  You know, the continuum that ranges from an attitude of "Since you have asked, here are the patterns we have chosen and a few other items we like" to one of "here is our registry info; you owe us a gift, and only cash or an item we have selected for ourselves will be acceptable"!  It's not just the crassness and greediness that's wrong with the latter -- it's the trying to exert too much control over the guests' performance of their duty to send a gift, when in fact gifts are always the choice of the giver, registry or no registry.

thedudeabides

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #54 on: January 14, 2013, 04:01:22 PM »
I think they laid it out in a way that the younger guests can easily understand.

baglady

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #55 on: January 14, 2013, 04:14:28 PM »
How about something like "Smart casual (ties optional, jeans discouraged)"? That feels to me more like a neutral bit of information and less "nannyish" than "No ties, no jeans."
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onyonryngs

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #56 on: January 14, 2013, 04:20:29 PM »
I think they laid it out in a way that the younger guests can easily understand.

POD.  I think sometimes people can see insult when none was intended and I think that's what happened here.  It's a party for younger guests and "business casual" doesn't apply, and "casual" can have a very broad interpretation for kids that age.

lowspark

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #57 on: January 14, 2013, 04:37:16 PM »
Quote
That's why -  to me -- the question isn't "how do you politely specify that you don't want people to wear jeans or ties?" but "is it polite to specify that people not wear jeans or ties?"  Not how, but whether at all.


It seems like you think the answer is no. But isn't that exactly what a dress code is?
If you say "black tie', well then you're specifically telling people not to wear a regular suit, not to wear casual clothes, and certainly not to wear jeans.
So, in that case, it really is a matter of how it is being said that you object to.

If they'd said "casual" and you inferred that meant no jeans, how is that different than saying "no jeans"? The only difference is the wording.

And the more I think about it, the more I think that the "no jeans" was probably specifically aimed at the kids. Even when my own kids were doing the Bar Mitzvah circuit, 12 & 9 years ago, respectively, kids were wearing jeans and very casual clothes to some of the parties. Sometimes it was appropriate, sometimes not. But I think if you're inviting a slew of 13 year olds to a party these days, it pays to be fairly specific. If one of my boys had received an invitation stating "casual" as the dress code, I would have had no problem sending them in jeans and a nice shirt. So if the hosts want no jeans, in today's kidspeak, I'd say they probably need to say so.

And honestly, had it been a wedding, I could really see where you're coming from. But a b'nei mitzvah party, yeah, I'd go ahead and say what I mean.

Back to the "no ties" part, as I said above, I attribute that to the hosts trying to be cute and different. If they're going to say "no jeans" but don't really want it to be too formal either, "no ties" is a good way to designate that.

Sterling

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #58 on: January 14, 2013, 05:44:36 PM »
To be honest if someone sent me an invite that said "casual" I would wear nice jeans because that is "casual."  "No Jeans" indicates that this is a step up from casual.  Also 13/13 year old kids most likely would not know the difference.
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LifeOnPluto

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #59 on: January 14, 2013, 09:40:48 PM »
I think they laid it out in a way that the younger guests can easily understand.

POD.  I think sometimes people can see insult when none was intended and I think that's what happened here.  It's a party for younger guests and "business casual" doesn't apply, and "casual" can have a very broad interpretation for kids that age.

I'm not so sure. Simply saying "no jeans" and "no ties" doesn't necessarily mean that everyone (especially kids) will understand the lower and upper boundaries of dress that the hosts are aiming for.

I can easily picture a 13 year old boy thinking "Well, they said 'no jeans', so I'll just wear my nicest pair of shorts", etc.