My girlfriend E recently received a wedding invitation that clearly stated where the ceremony would take place, clearly stated at what time the reception would begin and clearly stated to what address all in-lieu-of-one's-presence presents should be shipped.
But then, there at the very bottom were four of the most inane words ever put to raised script:
Attire: Black-tie optional
"Optional?" I asked, "What do they mean, optional?"
"I dunno, but that's what it says."
"What are your friends wearing?"
"I don't have any friends going to this wedding, it's a family thing."
"Optional, as in optional optional?"
"I don't kn..."
"Give the bride a call, ask her what the hell she meant."
"I can't, I don't know her that well -- do you think I have to wear a long dress? I don't really own any long..."
"It's ridiculous! If they want a black-tie wedding, why not just write 'black-tie' on the invitation? If they want a semi-formal wedding, write 'semi-formal.' If they want a free-for-all, don't even bring it up. But why, of all the confusing things they could do to their guests, throw 'optional' on at the end?"
"Yeah, like I said, I don't get it. That's why I'm asking you."
"Well, I think you have to go black-tie. Always better to err on the side of being too dressed up."
"Really? But I don't think I own anything black-tie-ish...actually, I don't even really know what 'black-tie' means, do you?"
The answer to that question coming later today (probably tonight), along with my interpretation of what is most appropriate for a young professional woman to wear in attendance at white-tie, formal, semi-formal, business-casual and informal events.
And for no other reason than to remind the public at large of just how important age-appropriate dress is (not to mention the idiocy of pairing a mini dress with thigh-high boots in mid-December), here's mini-Pringle-can Panettiere and her 47 year old
Madame Mother shopping in New York City last weekend: