Author Topic: Let Uncle & Cousin know they might want to dress up?  (Read 2546 times)

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PennyandPleased

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Let Uncle & Cousin know they might want to dress up?
« on: March 03, 2014, 03:21:47 PM »
My partner and I are going to host Easter this year as a favor to his Aunt who normally hosts. (She's sick.) Down the road we may also host other holidays so this is more than just a one time deal.

We are hosting my partner's Dad's side of the family as well as my parents, 2 uncles and cousin.

My Mom hosts every holiday for her side of the family, but it's small, 6 people total. My uncle and cousin (father and son) always attend. Cousin and Uncle show up to every holiday looking pretty scrubby. They both always look like they just rolled out of bed. Dirty jeans, wrinkled shirts, dirty sneakers, worn out sweatshirts, messy hair, generally messy and tired looking.

Since it's always the 6 of us, honestly no one cares what they look like, although the rest of us usually wear nice jeans, nice sweaters or blouses, dressier type shoes, hair done nice, etc.

*However* I will point out that the few times we had additional people at a holiday Uncle and Cousin made it very clear that they felt self conscious about their attire. Making comments like "I'd have worn a better shirt/my new shoes/new jeans if I had known Sally and Sam were going to be here". Also one Christmas Eve (we always attend a late night party on Christmas Eve) the host of the party told us to invite Uncle and Cousin. They planned to attend until they saw how dressed up my parents and I were and then decided not to come because "we don't want to go there under-dressed".

My point of this all being that they are clearly aware that their holiday attire is less than polished.

Partner's family gets dressed up for EVERYTHING. So I guarantee that at Easter they will be in nice dresses, full suits, clean shaven, etc. At minimum dress khakis, collared shirts, shined shoes.

While we will let Uncle and Cousin know that partner's family will be at Easter - should we warn them about Partner's family being dressed up? If so, what should we say to them?

My Mom will be sending them an email with the details about the Easter holiday, times, food, etc. Should we add in something about attire? I don't want to hurt their feelings but I'll feel bad if they show up and then feel out of place.


** I want to stress that I don't give a flying monkey what anyone wears to the holiday party. Come naked for all I care. But I KNOW my Uncle and Cousin, and they will feel weird if they show up looking their usual way and walk in to a room of strangers dressed to the 9's.  I will also add that money and having actual nice clothes is NOT the issue here either.**






« Last Edit: March 03, 2014, 03:25:27 PM by PennyandPleased »

Margo

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Re: Let Uncle & Cousin know they might want to dress up?
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2014, 03:35:36 PM »
I think I'd be inclined to say something when you confirm the arrangements - maybe to make some comment on what you / Partner plan to wear . . have they met Partner's family at a similar event before?
Possibly a comment such as "I'm using it as an excuse to dress up a little. Partner's family like to dress up for anything like this, so it'll be a good excuse for me to wear my new [whatever]2

Or even just "partner's family will be there. I can't remember, have you met them before?" OR "Do you remember Partner's Mum / Sister - she wore that gorgeous red dress that time we all went to mum and dad's for dinner" 

Or you could simply say "Just to give you a head's up. Partner's family will be coming. They tend to be a bit more dressy than our side of the family for this type of thing. I thought I'd mention it so it doesn't come as a surprise."

Do Uncle and Cousin *actually* dress differently if they have been given warning, or do they just say they would have done so?

Zizi-K

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Re: Let Uncle & Cousin know they might want to dress up?
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2014, 03:36:14 PM »
It seems like you could tell them who's coming very easily when you invite them (or call to confirm). "Oh, it's so great that you'll be able to join us this year! It'll be a nice big party - husband's side is coming this year too. Sally and Sam, you remember them right? Anyway, they're looking forward to seeing you, and so are we!"

This gives them the information, and so the decision of whether to dress up or not is solidly in their court. This way you don't have to instruct them how to dress, which would be pretty rude, but you let them know that the people they might want to dress up for will be in attendance.

Arila

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Re: Let Uncle & Cousin know they might want to dress up?
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2014, 03:44:53 PM »
*However* I will point out that the few times we had additional people at a holiday Uncle and Cousin made it very clear that they felt self conscious about their attire. Making comments like "I'd have worn a better shirt/my new shoes/new jeans if I had known Sally and Sam were going to be here". Also one Christmas Eve (we always attend a late night party on Christmas Eve) the host of the party told us to invite Uncle and Cousin. They planned to attend until they saw how dressed up my parents and I were and then decided not to come because "we don't want to go there under-dressed".

Given this, I think they might take a more direct hint that this will be a dressier affair better than some people might. "I know in the past you have expressed discomfort at feeling like you hadn't been warned, and were underdressed, so consider this fair warning that this dinner will be larger than usual and also on the fancier side. :)"

lowspark

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Re: Let Uncle & Cousin know they might want to dress up?
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2014, 03:50:52 PM »
I think I'd be inclined to say something when you confirm the arrangements - maybe to make some comment on what you / Partner plan to wear . . have they met Partner's family at a similar event before?
Possibly a comment such as "I'm using it as an excuse to dress up a little. Partner's family like to dress up for anything like this, so it'll be a good excuse for me to wear my new [whatever]2

Or even just "partner's family will be there. I can't remember, have you met them before?" OR "Do you remember Partner's Mum / Sister - she wore that gorgeous red dress that time we all went to mum and dad's for dinner" 

Or you could simply say "Just to give you a head's up. Partner's family will be coming. They tend to be a bit more dressy than our side of the family for this type of thing. I thought I'd mention it so it doesn't come as a surprise."

Do Uncle and Cousin *actually* dress differently if they have been given warning, or do they just say they would have done so?


The bolded is exactly what I was going to say (although I like all of Margo's ideas. I would just come right out and tell them who's going to be there and that they will most likely be dressed up in case they want to take that into consideration. I think, since you feel that way, that I'd also just say something like, Uncle, I don't have a preference as to what you wear, I'm just mentioning it because you've commented in the past.

And yeah, if they do have advance notice, do they take advantage of it by dressing up? Or do they just bow out because everyone there will be too dressed up for their tastes?

VorFemme

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Re: Let Uncle & Cousin know they might want to dress up?
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2014, 03:57:16 PM »
"I don't know if you've met Partner's family members - there will be X number of them there and they tend to dress up a little bit more for parties than our side of the family does - not that I'm planning on wearing a pink linen sheath dress & lightweight coat with pearls like Jackie (Kennedy Onassis) did during Camelot!  But I'm thinking I'd warn our side of the family about the party being a little less casual than in the past!  I've also let (other family members) know (just so Uncle & Cousin don't feel singled out)!"

Or something that kind of mentions that things will be a little different location on the Bell Curve from casual to formal than they were a year or three ago - without banging them up side the head with too big of a brick...

I don't know how big of a brick your family needs - the hard headed Germans on one side and Scotts on the other take a medium sized brick or larger.  VorGuy wanted to go to our DD's wedding in a polo shirt & jeans - instead of a suit with a vest in her wedding colors...we compromised on the suit without the wedding colored vest, as I recall.  But it took a brick from me AND a brick from her to get his attention.  (There are some really hard headed Scotts on that side of the family tree...)
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PennyandPleased

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Re: Let Uncle & Cousin know they might want to dress up?
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2014, 04:01:26 PM »
And yeah, if they do have advance notice, do they take advantage of it by dressing up? Or do they just bow out because everyone there will be too dressed up for their tastes?

Yes - for events that typically require it, Uncle and Cousin dress up. When we hosted a big birthday bash for a relative at our house they came in nice shorts, Polo's, new sandals and looking clean cut (and it was just a simple BBQ).

However they knew they were invited to that Christmas Eve party that was after the Christmas Eve dinner and still showed up looking rough. They seemed to have planned on going but when they saw how we were dressed they changed their minds. Hence why I am wondering if/how to mention attire.

Thank you so far everyone.

ETA: They are the only people in the family that do this at holidays. My parents always get a bit dressed up and my other Uncle will wear dress pants, nice sweater, tie, etc.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2014, 04:05:19 PM by PennyandPleased »

Hmmmmm

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Re: Let Uncle & Cousin know they might want to dress up?
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2014, 04:25:43 PM »
How will you and your DH dress?  You say you normally wear nice jeans and blouses. Will your DH instead wear khakis or a suit to dress more like his family since they are also in attendance? The reason I'm asking is that just knowing that your DH's family will be there might be enough to make them dress up a little more. 

Do you believe they own nicer clothing? If your not sure, I'd just make sure they know others will be there. And then I'd straddle the attire styles in my own clothing. Maybe your DH wears jeans but with a sports jacket or wears khakis but with a polo type shirt.

Thipu1

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Re: Let Uncle & Cousin know they might want to dress up?
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2014, 04:42:38 PM »
I would let Uncle and Cousin know.

They did express discomfort at at a prior party and the OP says that they do have appropriate clothing. 

Oh Joy

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Re: Let Uncle & Cousin know they might want to dress up?
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2014, 04:48:11 PM »
Could you serve it up indirectly, as a heads-up that since everyone's going to be dressed in their Easter best, you'd like to take a few pictures of the families that day?

TootsNYC

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Re: Let Uncle & Cousin know they might want to dress up?
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2014, 04:59:40 PM »
I'd just add to the bottom of the email:

FYI--we're inviting Partner's family this year, so it will be a little more formal.

Deetee

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Re: Let Uncle & Cousin know they might want to dress up?
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2014, 05:11:20 PM »
*However* I will point out that the few times we had additional people at a holiday Uncle and Cousin made it very clear that they felt self conscious about their attire. Making comments like "I'd have worn a better shirt/my new shoes/new jeans if I had known Sally and Sam were going to be here". Also one Christmas Eve (we always attend a late night party on Christmas Eve) the host of the party told us to invite Uncle and Cousin. They planned to attend until they saw how dressed up my parents and I were and then decided not to come because "we don't want to go there under-dressed".

Given this, I think they might take a more direct hint that this will be a dressier affair better than some people might. "I know in the past you have expressed discomfort at feeling like you hadn't been warned, and were underdressed, so consider this fair warning that this dinner will be larger than usual and also on the fancier side. :)"

I like this wording.

The Wild One, Forever

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Re: Let Uncle & Cousin know they might want to dress up?
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2014, 12:13:15 PM »
I'd just add to the bottom of the email:

FYI--we're inviting Partner's family this year, so it will be a little more formal.

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m2kbug

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Re: Let Uncle & Cousin know they might want to dress up?
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2014, 07:41:04 PM »
I'm going to agree with the above and just pass on a warning.  "Partner's family tend to be dressy, so you might want to dress up a little more than we normally do at family dinners."  If you need to coach them or give examples, "Me and partner plan on wearing...." If they're already self-aware, it's more a head's up, and no matter what, a head's up is always nice.  :)