Vintage Milo and Molly: Party Etiquette

Last year I published this post after an embarrassing and disastrous event.  Total humiliation for which my face still burns red.  It is forever imprinted in my brain.  We have been invited to the same party this year, happening tonight, but have been make aware of the dress code, so my fancy black party dress is waiting and hubs and I are going together this year thanks to the grandparents, but I thought we could re-live this one together and you can have a good cringe with me.  Enjoy!


On Saturday we were invited to three separate get-togethers: a lunch visit with friends we hadn't seen in a very long time, even though they don't live too far from us; a dinner at my cousins' house because they will be away on Cape Cod for Christmas; and an evening get-together at our neighbors' house, who dropped the invitation on us just a few days before it happened, which is typical of them, but we try and make an effort to show up.  Since the last of the three was going to start at 8pm and it was stated that all the other kids were going to one of the other neighbor's houses with a baby-sitter (poor girl), we opted to put Gus to bed and take shifts at the party, which was right around the corner.  We did the same thing on New Year's Eve last year and it worked out fine.

Cue me, taking the first shift, slightly after 8:00 because we had just gotten home from visit #2, but no one is ever on time to parties at this house anyway, and I brought Greta with me figuring everyone wanted to see her and the husband said it was ok to bring her along.  I walk in (because this is one of those just-walk-in houses) and I'm greeted by a sea of faces looking at who's interrupting their party, or so it seemed because everyone was already there in their COCKTAIL DRESSES and suits and ties.  Pardon my shouting, but I've never been so embarrassed in my whole life.

Again, there's me: out all day with two kids, jeans and a sweater (nice but not cocktail attire), hair in a disaster bun, had a baby 6 weeks ago (not that I'm out of shape- I'm surprisingly in shape, but my pants still don't quite fit).  In a sea of black and red and heels and makeup and jewelry.  I managed to get out of there in under an hour, citing Greta's fussing/need to be fed (because oh, yea, I brought a baby with me), promising to send the hubs back for his shift.  The hubs refused to go.  First, he didn't want to put on a suit and tie and second, he was in disbelief and a little bit angry.  He said, "You should have said something like, 'I didn't realize it was a dressy party,'" but when you are deer in the headlights, your brain doesn't always work properly.

So please, do me a favor this holiday season: if you have a party, please inform the guests of the proper attire before they make an ass out of themselves in front of people whom they don't necessarily know well, and if you go to a party, make sure you look just a little extra nice just in case.


  1. I love it! We had a similar situation last year when we were invited to a party at the neighbors. As we were walking over, we noticed that the host was wearing a tux, and his wife was in an evening gown. We immediately turned around and tried to dress up the best we could before returning to the party still mildly under-dressed.

  2. I believe I remember reading this from last year. Very funny despite the humiliation.

  3. Glad that you can have a laugh about it a year later. But man...why can't people just share these important details upfront? Happy holidays!

  4. Oh man, I remember this from last year! Seriously, why would they not share that on the invite? Especially if they're just handing out invites a few days before, that makes it seem pretty casual. :-)

    We had something along the same line but not as intense. We went to a wedding in a barn last year, and the invite said to "dress for a farm wedding" or something vague and weird like that. So we both wore jeans and nice shirts with sweaters over them... and everybody else was in dress pants. Ugh.

  5. oh, amen! whenever i issue an invitation i always ensure to stress how formal or informal the event will be. as a guest, i try to err on the side of caution and go by "it's better to be overdressed than underdressed" - but c'mon! cocktail dresses? i would never show up in a cocktail dress to anywhere unless the invite specifically stated. i feel for you.