In this topsy-turvy world, we can always count on intuition and common sense to help us stay the course as we round the bend with the pandemic, according to our infallibly sensible Etiquette Guy, Jay Remer.
Dear Etiquette Guy,
Can you please help me take the guesswork out of dressing for a summer black-tie dinner party?
Curiously Dressing Up
Dear Dressing Up,
Whenever dressing for any formal occasion, my best advice is to be comfortable, which begins with ensuring your ensemble and shoes fit correctly. Women are fortunate that they have far more flexibility and can wear colorful dresses–short or long, depending on the occasion. This traditionalist advises resisting wearing slacks or skirts for black-tie affairs, as they are too informal. It’s wonderful to enjoy all the flair you wish. Being colorful, chic, and bejeweled is always a winning combination.
For men, I recommend wearing a basic black tuxedo. In the summer, a white dinner jacket is appropriate and preferred, especially in warmer climates like Texas. A crisp white shirt sets off a black suit beautifully, but soft colors can work nicely with a white jacket, especially if the color highlights your best features. A hand-tied black silk bow tie is traditional–and for a good reason–it’s always perfect. Black silk or cotton socks match your patent leather or polished black shoes. If you feel the need to add some flair to your sartorial look, limit it to one item only–a colorful tie with or without matching bright cummerbund, etc. Keeping things simple eliminates the guesswork and achieves a smashing look.
Dear Etiquette Guy,
Now that COVID-19 has rounded the corner, what is the appropriate attire at summer weddings, daytime, and evening events?
Dear Wonderful Wedding Goer,
As we emerge from the confines of this cruel pandemic, weddings are once again possible. Daytime celebrations are usually less formal than evening affairs. Women have more latitude at afternoon weddings with extravagant hats and flowing chiffon dresses, setting a high style. Slacks and skirts are also appropriate. Remember that comfort is key. Wearing sensible shoes is, well, sensible. Avoid wearing serious jewelry during the day, but please do bring out the bling at night. Sparkle, dazzle and shine as much as you wish. In the afternoon, men may wear casual suits or a snazzy trouser/blazer combo. Traditionally, neckties are standard, but as a more relaxed, comfortable style evolves, ties are becoming optional. For an evening event, ties still create a formal tone, especially if black-tie is not requested.
Dear Etiquette Guy,
As pandemic protocol loosens up a bit, can you lend some insight on summer travel etiquette when it comes to interacting with resort staff?
Off To The Islands
Dear Island Hopper,
Traveling this summer will be different than pre-COVID times. Frankly, I’d be less concerned with the staff than with other guests. All hotels, resorts, or other tourism venues should have strict protocols in place. The staff must follow these to the letter. Guests, unfortunately, can be less attentive. In any case, I advise keeping a safe distance, wash your hands appropriately, and wear a mask in close quarters. Avoid physical contact with anyone as a precaution. Use common sense because our safety is everyone’s safety.
Dear Etiquette Guy
With school starting back in August, any advice for parents on encouraging our children into a routine again?
Dear Parental Guidance Suggested,
Raising children during COVID has been the most difficult challenge parents have ever faced in generations. Children thrive on routine and reassurance. They also can understand the reasons why there have been changes and that everyone is struggling–some even suffering. My best advice is for parents to set the pace for establishing their own routine first. Children will naturally follow your lead, especially with encouragement, which is not to be confused with commandments.
Above all, have consideration for your children when they are out of sorts and confused. Also, remember to have self-compassion. These times are not easy for any of us, and we must realize that no matter what, we are doing our best. We all deserve grace from time to time. Of course, with any situations that are beyond our ability to handle, professional guidance is available.