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Modern Manners + Etiquette: White Before Memorial Day + More

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Does Memorial Day matter when it comes to white any more? Skinny white jeans put tradition to the test.

Shifting etiquette questions came into NewportManners.com this week - and with the wedding season upon us, guests asked about the etiquette of waiting more than a year to send presents because they want to make sure the marriage works. A suitor asked for the truth about false eyelashes. How Global Warming affects fashion with skinny white jeans seems to be on many women's minds. Finally, what to say when a friend miscarries.

Dear Didi,
What's the skinny on wearing white jeans before Memorial Day? Can we or can't we? We were taught not to wear white shoes or clothing before the last weekend in May or after the first weekend in September. As we experience warmer weather earlier and earlier, and into the fall, is that no longer a dress code rule?  Aggie G., Narragansett

Dear Aggie,
Lately Katie Holmes and the editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris Emmanuelle Alt have been seen taking the plunge in virginal white jeans. Katie wore her skinnies with nude colored suede boots tucked into her white jeans, Emmanuelle has been seen wearing her white skinnies cropped with both pointy black pumps and ruched black boots. The media dictates fashion. We have only to look back at how it made 'winter whites' all the rage to see the shifting etiquette. If you have the figure, go for it. The vogue in dress codes shifts with the dictates of the media and perhaps even with the weather. Who says we don't have Global Warming! We're a planet on steroids!  ~Didi

Dear Didi,
We have a slew of weddings coming up, not all are first or even second marriages. That means sending them presents from their bridal registries. In the past year we know of two couples who divorced within a year. Can we wait 13 months before sending a wedding present to insure that our gift is appreciated?  B.B., Taunton, MA

Dear B.B.,
You can get back the cost of a present should the wedding couple divorce within 36 months when you have wedding gift insurance. But before you go to the trouble, take into account that it cost the wedding couple money to host you at the reception. For the invitation, the caterer, the champagne, the cake, the music, the flowers and favors on your table—it all adds up to costing the hosts anywhere between $50 to $300 per person. If that fact doesn't resonate, then after buying the wedding present go online to WeddingGiftRefund.com to register your purchase. After uploading an image of your receipt (or mailing them a photocopy), you pay a fee of eight percent of the purchase price to cover risk insurance. If a couple gives a gift that cost $150, the fee would be $12. Then if the couple divorces within 36 months the purchase price is refunded. You have up to a week after the wedding to take out the insurance. If the wedding present was hugely expensive, you can only get back up to $500, but some would say that's better than nothing. You will have to produce a copy of the city, county, and state of divorce filing so it can be verified through court records. So, there is no need to be rude by waiting over a year to send a wedding present. By the way, you can even get a refund for a gay couple's wedding present as long a the wedding took place in a state where same sex marriage has been legalized. ~Didi

Dear Didi,
Lately I've been seeing a really sweet woman who is very well put together. It's not just her appearance and the way she dresses, but the fact that she has a career with a future. It's hard to find all that in a woman —or a man.  I'm not sure how to handle this, but she does something that grosses me out. The first time we were getting into bed she took off her fake eyelashes and I pretended not to notice, even though she was very upfront about it and said, "I hope this doesn't freak you out, but I can't sleep with these on," as she placed them on the night table. What was I to say? I'm still trying to tell her that it's not attractive. It looks like a sleeping tarantula.  L.S., Bristol

Dear L.S.,
There's not much hope for a lasting relationship with this woman if you can't tell her you don't like seeing her false eyelashes lying around. Think of her false eyelashes as a metaphor for all the things you might find out you don't like about her; such as using your razor to shave her legs, clogging the toilet with paper products, leaving used tissues around when her allergies kick up, and snoring in her sleep after too many glasses of wine. You can say, "You are so beautiful just the way you are, that I'd rather not have to be reminded of any beauty secrets." Then hand her a little box for her to house the false eyelashes in at night.  ~Didi

Dear Didi,
My best friend miscarried and lost her baby. I am at a loss as to what to say and more importantly, what not to say. I don't want to upset her more than she already is.  V.M., Coventry

Dear V.M.,
Sometimes it is best not to say anything. Saying, "I know how you feel," is ridiculous because you never really know how another person feels. And don't ever say "There must have been something wrong, nature took care of the mistake," or worse, "It's for the best."  Listen, let her cry and talk, or just cry, but don't comfort her with meaningless words. Also, never say, "You can always try again," because maybe that may not be possible. Saying, "You'll feel better before you know it," disrespects the person's feelings—which you know nothing about. What to say instead? Just say it directly from the heart, "I'm so very sorry for your loss."  ~Didi

Didi Lorillard researches shifting etiquette at NewportManners.com or you can find her on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest, after reading earlier GoLocalprov columns, some of which are listed below.


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