Author Topic: Miss Manners on strapless wedding dresses  (Read 29705 times)

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Bashful

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Re: Miss Manners on strapless wedding dresses
« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2013, 11:07:37 AM »
I wore a strapless wedding gown too. Given my body shape, straps were simply unflattering and gowns with sleeves made me look like a girl approaching her First Communion.

Are straps the only requirement for being modest? I'm thinking about something like the gorgeus green dress Keira Knightely wore in Atonement: would that be proper? After all it HAS straps!
To me modesty comes from a good match of clothes and body shape.


25wishes

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Re: Miss Manners on strapless wedding dresses
« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2013, 11:10:07 AM »
Just a note, if you are trying to find a NON strapless wedding gown, Google Mormon wedding gowns. They have plenty of coverage.

Bexx27

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Re: Miss Manners on strapless wedding dresses
« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2013, 11:19:55 AM »
Her reasoning is just bizarre. She seems to be confusing her personal fashion/modesty preferences with actual etiquette. Besides, I know from personal experience how hard it is to find a wedding dress that isn't strapless.
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Yvaine

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Re: Miss Manners on strapless wedding dresses
« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2013, 11:23:49 AM »
Her reasoning is just bizarre. She seems to be confusing her personal fashion/modesty preferences with actual etiquette. Besides, I know from personal experience how hard it is to find a wedding dress that isn't strapless.

And in ten years, when the style is poofy sleeves or prairie dresses or white PVC spacesuits or whatever, it'll be hard to find anything besides that;D There are offbeat gown sources that a person can find if they're really into the hunt, but for a lot of people, it's going to be the ease and (relative) affordability of something like David's Bridal, which will mostly have whatever's in style.

And Miss Manners is also ignoring the fact that it's not unusual to have a strapless wedding dress but have an extra piece to put on for the church, like a bolero. I lurk at a wedding forum and there are scads of threads about boleros and shrugs and the like.

Cami

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Re: Miss Manners on strapless wedding dresses
« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2013, 11:27:43 AM »
I think Miss Manners is way off base with this one. Also illogical. By her criteria, anyone who takes any trouble over their appearance for their wedding is failing to take it seriously - if you pick a dress which you look good in you are not taking the ceremony seriously enough? (Also, does that mean that if I wear a dress with straps/sleeves to a party I'm being rude to the host as I'm not seeing the party as the main event?)

It's akin to a comment I saw on another message board recently, started by someone who was bemoaning the sloppy way she believes people dress today, even for formal occasions. Someone countered that when she sees a person who looks good and has taken effort with her appearance, she assumes the person is totally focused on themselves and doesn't care about others because if you are dressed nicely, you can't stop and help someone in need because you  might mess up your clothes!

 :o

Apparently, in her mind we should all always dress as if we might need to run into a burning building to save Mother Teresa and dressing up anything more than that is proof of one's failure to take our responsibilities in life seriously enough.

Yvaine

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Re: Miss Manners on strapless wedding dresses
« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2013, 11:31:13 AM »
I think Miss Manners is way off base with this one. Also illogical. By her criteria, anyone who takes any trouble over their appearance for their wedding is failing to take it seriously - if you pick a dress which you look good in you are not taking the ceremony seriously enough? (Also, does that mean that if I wear a dress with straps/sleeves to a party I'm being rude to the host as I'm not seeing the party as the main event?)

It's akin to a comment I saw on another message board recently, started by someone who was bemoaning the sloppy way she believes people dress today, even for formal occasions. Someone countered that when she sees a person who looks good and has taken effort with her appearance, she assumes the person is totally focused on themselves and doesn't care about others because if you are dressed nicely, you can't stop and help someone in need because you  might mess up your clothes!

 :o

Apparently, in her mind we should all always dress as if we might need to run into a burning building to save Mother Teresa and dressing up anything more than that is proof of one's failure to take our responsibilities in life seriously enough.

 ::)

And all of that generalizing fails to take into account that huge swaths of people manage to dress in varying levels of formality as it suits the situation: professional clothes to work, casual clothes to hang out on the weekend, formalwear for formal events, beat-up old stuff if you're going to get messy (like painting). (I get the idea some people think we should all be in gloves and a pillbox hat to muck out a barn. LOL) I would say the vast majority of people have enough common sense to vary their dress to suit the event.

White Lotus

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Re: Miss Manners on strapless wedding dresses
« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2013, 11:32:59 AM »
It's been really hard for brides -- or anybody else --  to find anything but strapless in the last ten years or so.  This is a real problem because our Buddhist Temple, like many Jewish Temples and Christian churches, does not allow strapless or even sleeveless attire on anybody (men or women) ever. I also do not want to wear strapless or sleeveless anywhere, anyway, as I don't think they flatter older women.  I couldn't find an evening dress that wasn't sleeveless, and almost all were strapless, anywhere but "modest" clothing websites when I looked recently, and they only had day dresses or bridal gowns, in truth.   I found no useful shawls -- which I dislike -- and no suitable jackets, either.  Not a lot of choices out there, IME.  I ended up in a floor length, long-sleeved ao dai, which is lovely and had the benefit of being relatively cheap, though I was trying to avoid "ethnic." The Indian trousers and tunic (forgetting the name) outfits came in second of available and appropriate choices.
The best dress idea I have seen, though I wasn't nuts about the dress itself, was on American Gypsy Weddings.  It started out with a ginormous skirt, huge train, and a modest, church appropriate (Catholic, I think) neckline and long sleeves in lace.  The lace top came off after the ceremony to reveal a strapless ball gown.  And then -- the whole huge skirt and train deal came off, leaving the bride in what seems to be a standard cocktail dress design -- strapless with a mini-skirt.  Brilliant! 
If your ceremony venue allows it and you want to wear strapless, go for it. But I don't think what is really a ball gown is a good choice for a wedding dress, either. I just want more choices available for us all.  And yes, there are still balls, and still debutantes.  A "Quince" is a kind if debutante party, for example, and so is a "sweet 16."  They introduce the girl to adult society at her first "grown up" party, and announce that she is now considered, for social purposes, an adult.

Sterling

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Re: Miss Manners on strapless wedding dresses
« Reply #22 on: April 02, 2013, 11:35:34 AM »
That was a really judgmental post by Miss Manners.  My dress was strapless and held at a hotel not a church.  I don't think I was "waiting" for the party more that being respectful for the wedding.  I also disliked the way she referred to dresses for debutante and wedding events as "costumes" and said women shouldn't expect their parents to purchase both.

These are 2 separate rites of passage that are important not just to the girls but to the parents as well.  In my circle as a teen the debs were mostly pushed by their parents to even participate and many of us got married later and bought our own dresses.  The whole post was snotty.
93 93/93

artk2002

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Re: Miss Manners on strapless wedding dresses
« Reply #23 on: April 02, 2013, 11:38:35 AM »
That was a very judgmental post. A strapless wedding dress doesn't scream "party" to me nor implies that the bride is thinking of things other than her wedding. Then again, she also recently chided a different bride for noticing that one of her guests wore a baseball cap during her ceremony (http://www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130310/CITYANDREGION03/130319979/1057)

 ::) So basically, any bride who has the super human powers of sight and perception is not taking her wedding ceremony seriously.

I didn't read that particular column, but in etiquette, there's a difference between "seeing" and "noticing." There's also a difference between "smelling" and "noticing." If someone passes gas, in polite company we treat it as if it didn't happen. We may smell it or hear it, but we don't "notice" it. This is referred to as the "polite fiction." Miss Manners is applying the same principal to that bride. Yes, someone did something gauche at the wedding, which everyone "saw." But nobody should have "noticed" it (i.e. commented on it.)

As far as the original post, more and more I think that Miss Manners is substituting her personal taste for etiquette. That's a common failing among experts in any topic. She's attributing something overtly sexual to bare shoulders. A few decades ago, that might have been true, but it's far less true today. What she attributes to bare shoulders, we might attribute to side-slit-to-the-armpit or a micro-mini skirt with lucite platforms. A couple of generations before Miss Manners and we'd be saying the same thing about an exposed ankle.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Spring Water on Sundays

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Re: Miss Manners on strapless wedding dresses
« Reply #24 on: April 02, 2013, 11:42:02 AM »
And answers like this is why when people quote Miss Manners as the Final Word!!!, I think about the answer and real life before accepting it blindly.

Yep. I can also see Miss Manners' rationale against choosing a fashionable style of gown being used to argue against the totally normal traditions of getting your hair and make-up professionally done instead of going natural, or choosing an elaborate bouquet from a florist when you could have just picked wild flowers at the park. What is her point, exactly?

violinp

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Re: Miss Manners on strapless wedding dresses
« Reply #25 on: April 02, 2013, 11:47:34 AM »
POD to all the posters who said that this is about personal taste, not true etiquette. I would never wear something that didn't have sleeves (or wear a sweater over a sleeveless/strapless dress), because my...ahem...upper undergarments would be so obviously showing that it would be indecent. However, that does not mean that strapless dresses are themselves indecent.
"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends" - Harry Potter


cattlekid

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Re: Miss Manners on strapless wedding dresses
« Reply #26 on: April 02, 2013, 12:01:43 PM »
Our church has very strict requirements on women's dress in church.  All shoulders must be covered (universal requirement) and some churches also require that women have their heads covered (at the discretion of the priest).  Also, our church required that bridesmaids dresses not be black. 

It was a project finding a wedding dress that covered my shoulders but didn't have long sleeves (we got married Labor Day weekend and I didn't want to melt into a lace puddle).  I finally found my dress at a bridal second-hand store.  The bonus was that the price was very reasonable, even accounting for the required alterations.

Carotte

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Re: Miss Manners on strapless wedding dresses
« Reply #27 on: April 02, 2013, 12:05:02 PM »
It's been long gone the day in which showing an ankle was bad taste, and showing your arms as not been banned as far as I know.

I have somewhere a picture of a lovely strapless wedding dress (that I think was posted by someone here), that does not show any cleavage. So the only difference between this one and the same model with straps would be something like one or two inch² of fabric. I fail to see how that would make such a difference.
Not all strapless dresses are revealing, unless you consider shoulders and arms to be vulgar..*

*baring your religion or wedding place if they have restrictions.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2013, 12:06:55 PM by Carotte »

RebeccainGA

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Re: Miss Manners on strapless wedding dresses
« Reply #28 on: April 02, 2013, 12:14:03 PM »
I think the point was, in a *religious* wedding ceremony, at a church, in many (I'd venture most) cultures and denominations, showing that much skin isn't appropriate. Now if you're having a wedding elsewhere (outdoors, at home, at a hall or other space) then the issue isn't the point. The issue of strapless is *in church*. I wouldn't wear a strapless dress by choice anywhere, but the absolute last place I'd wear one would be at a house of worship - mine, or someone else's. Just like I wouldn't wear flip flops, or ratty cutoffs, or anything else that would be inappropriate (uncovered hair in some places, pants in others).

I don't think she's looking at fashion. I think she's looking at respect, which is the heart of manners.

Sophia

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Re: Miss Manners on strapless wedding dresses
« Reply #29 on: April 02, 2013, 12:14:12 PM »
I think the real reason for strapless gowns is that they are easier on the manufacturer and have zero to do with what women want or what they look good in.  They require less altering because if you have a strapless gown with corset ties, you just to have to get approximately the right size.

That is why I think I disagree with the column, although I agree with her grumpiness on the topic.  But, if that is all that is available, then no motives can be applied to choosing the one option. 

When i first started the wedding planning I went to the Dallas Bridal show.  They had an area in the middle that was boxed in on three sides with racks of bridal dresses.  Each side was at least 40 feet long.  I asked, "Do you have a dress that isn't strapless or halter?"  Answer, "No".