Thursday, August 20, 2009

Etiquette Challenge Workshop: Gentle Reminders to Dress Appropriately

A recent Blushing letter from a member of the clergy reads in part:

Thinking back on the episode of the wedding photographer in shorts and flip-flops, he did have some sense of protocol because we had a conversation before the ceremony about when, where, and what the appropriate times were for taking pictures during the ceremony. Tapping into that sense of protocol might lead me to say something like, "Do you need a room where you can change clothes before the ceremony begins?" Now of course that wouldn't have been the case but it might be a reminder that what's appropriate for a wedding includes more than taking pictures with flash during the ceremony.

Perhaps what I could use from you, or your blog readers, or anyone with a sense of style as well as a sense of humor and persuasion would be gentle reminders that can be brought up in a conversation either pre- or post-ceremony that might lead one to think twice about what they are going wear to a wedding or funeral the next time around. Having a couple suggestions up my sleeve would probably serve me a lot better than succumbing to the temptation of pointing at hairy white knees and saying, "What the hell?!" Or worse.


Well, beloved Readers? What might you say?

Reminder: Send your Blushing Etiquette Challenge Workshop questions for future weeks to All queries are welcome!


Arabella said...

After seeing what people wore to the funeral of a friend last week, I was too mad too even think of anything to say -- let alone to a good 7 people.

I kid you not, someone even wore denim on denim!

My friend worked for a slew of fashion houses on top of it. I'm sure he would have thought it was funny, but still.

little augury said...

This is hard- because technically a photog. is behind the camera, for Me,if I were in the situation-like this or similar -I would let it go, too much stress otherwise. If this is a situation that is church related,and ongoing problem-get a list or email address and handle it with a simple "dress code" list in advance. Brides by the way should make sure everyone involved knows what is expected. If the person is a guest-there is little to be done, clothes not being the specific reason for being there-besides some people are going from place to place especially funeral in the middle of the day.I am still amazed at what people wear to any event- but in the spirit of... little to be done. la

Kristin said...

I agree including a dress code in an email with other details regarding his or her services would be appropriate.

Pigtown-Design said...

When I did catering and worked with wedding photographers, we asked them to wear something to blend in with the guests.

We went to a wedding in Arizona about 15 years ago, and the two of us from the East Coast wore a suit (him) and a silk dress (me). The rest of the guests wore shorts, polo shirts, flip flops, etc. We were horrified!

Reggie said...

I regularly entertain using hired staff (caterer/bartender, etc.) and always review ahead of time what I consider to be the expected dress. If they were to show up inappropriately dressed, I would either send them home or give them something to wear. To that end I have 18 waiter's jackets in different sizes for staff to wear where I am assured of the uniformity of appearance that I like.

If that isn't an option, perhaps I may suggest saying something as subtle as:

"And next time, would you please wear an outfit that is appropriate for an occasion such as this?"

If met with blank, open-mouthed stare, I suggest:

"What I mean is please have the respect to dress like a grown up with proper clothes when I engage your services, and not like a slacker teenager at a backyard keg party."

Julia @ Hooked on Houses said...

Getting a kick out of reading these comments. I guess we just expect people to have more sense than they do sometimes.

Blushing hostess said...

Arabella - Indeed, a similarly hideous thing occured at the funeral of a friend, it caused me to wonder when we stopped training people that dressing neatly for a funeral was a final sign of respect. Speaking from his same industry, I hope you all will weed out the offenders before they enter the service when my maker calls me home.

LA - you are a gentle and understanding spirit. So, you think they should not be made to wear brown letter P on their tattered flannels for PIGPEN, I gather :)

Kristin, me too. Only, after I read Mark's letter I am more likely to begin using the phrase "and you will wear a coat and tie" as a comma in my conversations with vendors.

Pigtown - Blending in, that seems perfect. Flip flops - hold on, would you, while I pick my jaw up from the floor?

Reggie - do you want my password? Were we separated at birth? Did my invitation get lost in the mail somehow (several dozen times?)?

Julia - your statement is really the only reason I can drag myself from bed each morning: My foolish impression I will not see someone wearing my same pajama's at a wedding or funeral. I am groggy in the morning, each day I forget, each day I drive past the megamart and remember...

little augury said...

Blushing- I would like to think & would like others to think.

You are the best at this, and the wittiest yet- What say You? G

parkaveprincess said...

unfortunately I just got that picture off another blog, but you are so lucky to have had that view where you work!

thepreppyprincess said...

Such a great topic Miss Blushing, and unfortunately it is all too timely because of everyone's recent experiences.

Back in the TV career this was a real issue for photographers when covering trials, funerals, etc. Most "got it" but a couple of times a year we had to have "the meeting" and it was always challenging.

We opt for the up-front statement of understanding (as we called it) along the lines of, "And we know you understand the need to be appropriately dressed in _____" and then fill in the blank.

We're with Little Augury. wondering what sort of verbiage you might use?

Enjoy your weekend!

mise @ pretty far west said...

"How sweet it was of you not to stand on ceremony..." with a very doubtful look. These etiquette workshops are good fun!