Author Topic: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation  (Read 18119 times)

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gellchom

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #105 on: January 17, 2013, 03:34:09 PM »
LOL -- today's mail includes an invitation for "Dinner and Festivities" with the notation, "Dress your best!"  The venue, evidently an event space of some kind, doesn't give me any clue, either; it may be recognizable to the people in their city, but we're across the country. 

That one is really baffling.  My best WHAT?  Can't mean my dressiest -- surely they don't want evening gowns.  Many people's best outfit is a business suit.  I doubt they mean that, either. 

But I may not need to decipher it, because there is a different hitch here: the hostess recently mentioned to me that this is a masquerade party.  (It's a reception for a bat mitzvah on Purim, a carnival-ish holiday.)  But the only clue as to that is a tiny mask glued to the reception card.  Maybe they changed their minds. 

I am going to have to email them to make sure before I pack.  Can you help me think of a way to word the question without it sounding critical of their wording?  The message I need to get across is (1) is it still a costume party, and (2) if not, what am I supposed to wear?  I suppose I could reverse my own suggestion above and say something like, "I've never seen that on an invitation in our city; can you give me an idea of the dressiness range of the party?" although maybe that sounds a bit snarky, too.  Suggestions?

I hope I get a clear answer.  This is another thing that comes up when people give confusing or no notations on invitations as to attire: people ask the hosts what they should wear, and they say, "Oh, just anything" or "Just be comfortable!  We just want you to have fun!!"  That gives me no guidance at all.  I'm not going to wear my comfortable pajamas or sweats.  After that, it's not like my dressier clothes are any scratchier or something than my more casual ones.  What makes guests comfortable is knowing that they are dressed appropriately.  Hosts need to give them guidance so that they do.

Hmmmmm

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #106 on: January 17, 2013, 03:40:28 PM »
LOL -- today's mail includes an invitation for "Dinner and Festivities" with the notation, "Dress your best!"  The venue, evidently an event space of some kind, doesn't give me any clue, either; it may be recognizable to the people in their city, but we're across the country. 

That one is really baffling.  My best WHAT?  Can't mean my dressiest -- surely they don't want evening gowns.  Many people's best outfit is a business suit.  I doubt they mean that, either. 

But I may not need to decipher it, because there is a different hitch here: the hostess recently mentioned to me that this is a masquerade party.  (It's a reception for a bat mitzvah on Purim, a carnival-ish holiday.)  But the only clue as to that is a tiny mask glued to the reception card.  Maybe they changed their minds. 

I am going to have to email them to make sure before I pack.  Can you help me think of a way to word the question without it sounding critical of their wording?  The message I need to get across is (1) is it still a costume party, and (2) if not, what am I supposed to wear?  I suppose I could reverse my own suggestion above and say something like, "I've never seen that on an invitation in our city; can you give me an idea of the dressiness range of the party?" although maybe that sounds a bit snarky, too.  Suggestions?

I hope I get a clear answer.  This is another thing that comes up when people give confusing or no notations on invitations as to attire: people ask the hosts what they should wear, and they say, "Oh, just anything" or "Just be comfortable!  We just want you to have fun!!"  That gives me no guidance at all.  I'm not going to wear my comfortable pajamas or sweats.  After that, it's not like my dressier clothes are any scratchier or something than my more casual ones.  What makes guests comfortable is knowing that they are dressed appropriately.  Hosts need to give them guidance so that they do.

That is just wrong. I think I'd send an email and ask for clarification.  I might say something like.  We can't wait to see you guys, the event sounds like a lot of fun.  I just wanted to clarify dress.  What are YOU planning to wear?"

lowspark

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #107 on: January 17, 2013, 03:42:03 PM »
As far as the costume party question, I don't see anything wrong with a direct question since she mentioned that to you. "You had mentioned it was to be a costume party and I just wanted to verify that before I packed." You don't need to mention her wording on the invitation at all.

If it turns out not to be costume, then I'd probably pick out a particular outfit that you're thinking would fit the bill and describe it to the hostess and then ask if it's ok. Something like:
"I was thinking of wearing a knee length sleeveless red cotton dress with ballet slippers. Would that be ok or do I need to be more dressy?"


TootsNYC

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #108 on: January 18, 2013, 11:08:28 AM »
for "dress your best," I'd email and say, "what do you mean by 'best'?  'Evening gown' best, or 'cocktail dress' best? Or something else?"

then add, "Oh, is it still going to be a masquerade? Do you want full costumes, or simple masks?"

WillyNilly

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #109 on: January 18, 2013, 03:44:37 PM »
I think "dress your best" is perfectly clear.  Your best party dress.  No not necessarily a gown - those can be too formal and heavy and fragile to party in.  I think they are asking for best fun, festive, party dress (or awesome pants outfit if that's your style) - the outfit that makes you feel awesome, your best.  This is when you dress like a model in a fashion magazine spread.  A party dress.  If its on a Saturday night in NYC or Long Island, a fitted, slinky, sparkly gown would be common for this type of event, although just fancy cocktail dress would fit in perfectly.

And the fact, again that its a Bat Mitzvah, and that its on Purim, and that the invite was formal but playful with the mask, its clearly a time when your best LBD & statement accessory (sparkly clutch, huge cocktail ring, bold necklace, whatever) would fit the bill.

blarg314

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #110 on: January 18, 2013, 10:36:11 PM »
I think "dress your best" is perfectly clear.  Your best party dress.  No not necessarily a gown - those can be too formal and heavy and fragile to party in.  I think they are asking for best fun, festive, party dress (or awesome pants outfit if that's your style) - the outfit that makes you feel awesome, your best.  This is when you dress like a model in a fashion magazine spread.  A party dress.  If its on a Saturday night in NYC or Long Island, a fitted, slinky, sparkly gown would be common for this type of event, although just fancy cocktail dress would fit in perfectly.


That's totally different than what I would get from that instruction, though. I would interpret this as nice suit or tuxedos for men, and a nice dress for women of some sort, but I'd have no clue whether that meant a ball-gown, an evening gown, a cocktail dress, or what.

A fitted, slinky gown (or dressing like a model in a fashion magazine spread) would be so far outside of my experience that it wouldn't even occur to me, and if it did, would  be so difficult to actually do that I'd probably have to turn down the invitation to avoid public humiliation.

kareng57

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #111 on: January 18, 2013, 11:59:39 PM »
I think "dress your best" is perfectly clear.  Your best party dress.  No not necessarily a gown - those can be too formal and heavy and fragile to party in.  I think they are asking for best fun, festive, party dress (or awesome pants outfit if that's your style) - the outfit that makes you feel awesome, your best.  This is when you dress like a model in a fashion magazine spread.  A party dress.  If its on a Saturday night in NYC or Long Island, a fitted, slinky, sparkly gown would be common for this type of event, although just fancy cocktail dress would fit in perfectly.


That's totally different than what I would get from that instruction, though. I would interpret this as nice suit or tuxedos for men, and a nice dress for women of some sort, but I'd have no clue whether that meant a ball-gown, an evening gown, a cocktail dress, or what.

A fitted, slinky gown (or dressing like a model in a fashion magazine spread) would be so far outside of my experience that it wouldn't even occur to me, and if it did, would  be so difficult to actually do that I'd probably have to turn down the invitation to avoid public humiliation.


I think that this is one problem with the increased informality in the Western World.  People who've lived in the same location for decades could feel completely perplexed as to the dress-code in any system where they're not completely familiar.

While it might seem to be good advice to "err on the more formal" - I think a lot of people would feel pretty uncomfortable if say, as a couple, he was wearing a tux and she a floor-length gown - and everyone else was wearing chinos/polo shirts and short cocktail-type dresses.

gellchom

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #112 on: January 19, 2013, 12:16:53 AM »
Okay, I'm going to ask. I'll bet anything that she'll say, "just whatever you like!!" I will be very surprised if she says anything as dressy as the last few posters said they would take it to mean.  Yes, if it were in NYC area.  But this party is in Portland, Oregon.  I've never been there, but I think it's a much less dressy groove.  So I'm guessing it's what people would call "dressy casual" here in Ohio.  But it might be one level dressier than that.

I think my "best" outfit lately (other than the very dressy gown I wore to my son's wedding) is a leather skirt, top, and cardigan.  I feel marvelous in it, but it's not appropriate for any type of evening event except maybe "business attire."

I'll let you all know what she says.

Redsoil

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #113 on: January 19, 2013, 03:07:21 AM »
"Casual attire" absolutely, 100%, every single time, includes jeans.  Without any room for doubt or question.

So no, they could not have written "casual attire" and had any expectation that well over 50% of their guests would not show up in jeans.

What they seem to be asking for is "business casual" mixed with "party wear".  While I agree "no ties, no jeans" is awkward, I think its pretty clear what they are looking for - casual party dresses not gowns, men in khaki's or chinos and polo shirts or a button up shirt with the first 2 buttons undone.

As for trusting guests... well it was about 10-15 years ago and London, but I stayed in a hotel once that did not allow jeans, period.  As in guests could not even check in and go up to their room and change, no jeans whatsoever.  My friend and I were there for business, and we watched as 3 co-workers were not allowed to check in because they wore jeans for the flight over.  They literally were turned away despite pre-paid reservations. So this might be a hotel dress code.

If I were in this situation, I would be extremely tempted to take my jeans off rght there, and check in.
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gellchom

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #114 on: January 19, 2013, 10:18:08 AM »
I got an answer --

I'd written:

******

We got the invitation!  It's beautiful. I can't wait.

I need some guidance for packing when you have a minute.  Did I misunderstand about it being a costume party?  Does "dress your best" mean "evening gown" best, "cocktail dress'" best, "casual best," or something else?  Sorry to be so dense!  

Have fun with the rest of the preparations.  See you soon!

Love,
[gellchom]

******

She replied:

******

Portland is,indeed, the stereotypical cold and wet NW.
Since Purim is the weekend of the Bat Mitzvah, we decided to go for a "masquerade" theme .So it lends itself to dressing fancy, and bringing a mask to wear if you are into it?( not a costume party per say).I will have fun masks at some of the tables.
Hope that helps?

******

She is nice, isn't she? 
I like that she seems to have thought I was asking about weather, too -- so less focus on the wording of the invitation.  Now I have my answer: a party outfit of some kind, not casual.  I suppose "dressing fancy" would mean evening gown to some, but I am not getting that vibe.  Even if that's what they're envisioning, I can't see people wearing that unless the invitation said black tie or "ball" or something.  But I'm going to keep it at the less dressy end of the range, as I'm sure that others will be confused by the invitation, too, and some will guess, as I did, less dressy than that.

Thank you all for your help.  Toots, you always know what to do!

Shoo

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #115 on: January 19, 2013, 12:38:08 PM »
I got an answer --

I'd written:

******

We got the invitation!  It's beautiful. I can't wait.

I need some guidance for packing when you have a minute.  Did I misunderstand about it being a costume party?  Does "dress your best" mean "evening gown" best, "cocktail dress'" best, "casual best," or something else?  Sorry to be so dense! 

Have fun with the rest of the preparations.  See you soon!

Love,
[gellchom]

******

She replied:

******

Portland is,indeed, the stereotypical cold and wet NW.
Since Purim is the weekend of the Bat Mitzvah, we decided to go for a "masquerade" theme .So it lends itself to dressing fancy, and bringing a mask to wear if you are into it?( not a costume party per say).I will have fun masks at some of the tables.
Hope that helps?

******

She is nice, isn't she? 
I like that she seems to have thought I was asking about weather, too -- so less focus on the wording of the invitation.  Now I have my answer: a party outfit of some kind, not casual.  I suppose "dressing fancy" would mean evening gown to some, but I am not getting that vibe.  Even if that's what they're envisioning, I can't see people wearing that unless the invitation said black tie or "ball" or something.  But I'm going to keep it at the less dressy end of the range, as I'm sure that others will be confused by the invitation, too, and some will guess, as I did, less dressy than that.

Thank you all for your help.  Toots, you always know what to do!

I lived in Portland for about 10 years.  I'd say that "dressing fancy" means cocktail attire.

WillyNilly

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #116 on: January 19, 2013, 10:14:01 PM »
Honestly, I think you're just spoiling for disagreement. Ok it's not NYC so not a gown, but  it still clearly sounds like a LBD appropriate event. Or your best party dress. Or even your favorite leather skirt, paired with something like a sparkly sweater, great heels and a fab accessory. It's really not as unclear as you're making it. Even if its all regional, Portland is famous enough for it's culture, it's not so hard to  figure out it's style, heck even just Google image"Portland Oregon bat mitzvah" or "Portland oregon party outfit", there are plenty of examples.

And really, who are some of posters friends with that "humiliation" and such extremes are being brought up? I''ve been to formal parties where a few folks wore mismatched suits, or more casual party dresses - so long as they look well groomed, and behave graciously, their outfits really aren't a big deal. It's just a party after all.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2013, 10:15:42 PM by WillyNilly »

gellchom

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #117 on: January 19, 2013, 11:47:37 PM »
WillyNilly, I was agreeing with you!  I think her explanation was fine.  LBD it is!

bopper

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #118 on: February 05, 2013, 08:41:24 AM »
  Every time I mail something I have to look up the current stamp price on the internet.  I think it has reached the same point with dress codes.  They need to be more explicit than in the past.

Maybe it has been a long time, Sophia!  They have these nifty new "Forever stamps" that are good for first class mailing, well, forever so you don't have to worry about current prices.  ;) :) :D ;D

Xandraea

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Re: "No Ties, No Jeans" notation on invitation
« Reply #119 on: February 05, 2013, 10:55:54 AM »
Small stories related to dress codes:

In my limited experience with dressy occasions, I assume a wedding is an occasion where one is expected to put a bit of effort into one's appearance.  The weddings I had been to until that point were evening occasions where a nice LBD, a pants suit, suits and ties were the norm.  Enter my short-notice invite to an afternoon wedding in the early spring, when it was still chilly outside.  I don't recall any dress code being specified, but my brain went immediately to "It's a wedding, dress up", and I ended up in a simple black sheath-dress, hose and heels with a large scarf worn as a shawl to keep my shoulders warm. 

Queue my surprise when I showed up to the church for the ceremony, entered the sanctuary to find probably 80% of those in attendance were in old jeans, baggy sweatshirts and sneakers.  I felt entirely overdressed and out of place, along with being appalled that anyone would think sweats and sneakers were appropriate in any way for a wedding.  The bridal party was dressed up nicely. The simple ceremony was followed by a buffet-style dinner at a local prom hall, then it was over. No dancing, nothing.

***
I grew up and live in a large metropolitan area, moved to the outskirts of a town of 1200, and was called for jury duty in the small town I had lived in for about 1 year.  The summons said something about it being a courtroom so to dress/behave respectfully.  Thinking courtroom = business casual, I hunted through my casual wardrobe for something appropriate.  My local friend assured me things weren't as fancy as they'd be in the big city, and I chose black jeans, nice plain long-sleeved tshirt, and simple black lace-up shoes.  I was the most dressed-up person there until the lawyers showed up in suits.  Some ppl were in jeans, some in pajama pants, some wearing John Deere hats looking like they'd rolled through the dirt on their way to court.

***
I took part in a flash-mob at a black-tie affair.  We were instructed to wear "business casual" as to blend in better.  It broke my brain, as I was under the impression that "black tie" and "business casual" are very different things.  As it turned out, my DD and I in our LBDs with simple cardigans and accessories were the best-dressed of the mob.  One family actually turned up in ripped jeans, baggy graphic tshirts and baseball caps.  :o   As it turned out we spent more time getting dressed up than participating in the mob, so my DD and I went out for dinner afterwards.

***
On topic:  As we've discovered throughout this thread, regional/cultural differences and/or inexperience, as well as times changing and traditional assumptions for appropriateness possibly not fitting anymore, make dressing appropriately for an occasion a little more challenging.  I feel if an occasion calls for a certain type of dress, it should be clearly stated so as to be understood.  There will likely be someone who doesn't care and will wear whatever they want anyway, but for those who would rather "blend", being clear what is expected is a great help.  That said, rather than "no ties, no jeans",  I'd perhaps have said, "Ties aren't necessary, but please, no jeans."