…about when to wear what.
Last week I went with my family to see my 17-year-old brother at his military boarding school and attend their Remembrance Day service. We had been to a similar event in the summer for the school’s AGI (annual general inspection) which involved a large military parade. An appearance was made by Prince Philip along with a medal-adorned ram called Lance Corporal Derby XXIX, whom I recently discovered earns a respectable £3.75 a day (that’s the ram, not Prince Phil).
At the AGI my Mum and I wore a pair of very over the top 50’s dresses and so spent weeks planning our outfits for the school’s Remembrance Service because, of course, every other parent would be looking out for what we were wearing after we set the bar so high in July. They wouldn’t possibly be paying more attention to their little boys and girls all tarted up in uniform, oh no! “What will that glamorous mother and daughter be wearing this time?!”, they’ll have been eagerly asking one another on their drive over.
“Every other parent would be looking out for what we were wearing after we set the bar so high in July”
It did get me thinking about the correct dress for different events. As much as I want to, I haven’t yet modelled one of my 50’s frocks to a lecture because, let’s face it, I would look a bit insane. My mum (a barrister) told me that people always try to wear their Sunday best if they have to attend court and it often ends up being clubbing gear, shiny suits and tiny lacy black dresses everywhere! Surely a 50’s dress to a lecture is more acceptable than that?!
I conducted some research in the field and can’t resist throwing in Oscar Wilde’s take on the matter: “you can never be over-dressed or over-educated”. It seems as long as you are educated on the nature of the event, its hard to go wrong with what you’re wearing. For example, at a funeral, I wouldn’t advise wearing an 80’s style “choose life” sweatshirt. But aside from that I don’t think a host will ever be offended by you trying too hard to look good, they will always have made a much greater effort in planning. I personally don’t think there is any harm in dressing up and hopefully making someone smile, even on the likes of Remembrance Day.
““You can never be over-dressed or over-educated”
During my research phase I talked to a friend who had recently held her mother’s funeral and had dressed her mother (as requested) to be buried in enormous red stilettoes. She was sure no one would be more over dressed at the funeral than her mother; but when she arrived at the hotel they had booked for the obligatory cold ham she stepped out of the car to find an Elvis impersonator at the entrance belting out Hound Dog. It turned out the venue was also booked for a wedding reception.
In short, I don’t think you can ever be over-dressed. And if you are in doubt always remember there could always be someone there in a white leather jumpsuit with rhinestones.
Photo: Floss Binks