Best Behavior: Black and White

Shopping  Assistance

A lot of my friends are getting married, and I get invited to almost all their weddings. I don’t have a lot of fancy clothes in my closet, but I do have a black dress that I wear to everything. It really doesn’t bother me to be seen in the same dress more than once, but one of my friends has come straight out and told me that black won’t do for a wedding. I’ve got education loans to pay off, and I don’t want to go shopping for something in some color or the other that I may never wear again. Am I right? Anonymous, 12South

Take your friend’s advice, or let it lie. Editing your wardrobe can never start too early, but, yes, your friend is right. A little black dress will do well enough at a funeral, but it doesn’t add much fun to a wedding.

But if it’s what you’ve got, wear it. All the other women may well be wearing the same thing; you won’t be alone. You can dress up the dress with a scarf or a bright little jacket. If your dress happens to be strapless, you’ll need a jacket anyhow, especially if the ceremony’s being held in a church or a synagogue. (Anywhere else, I fear, all bets are off.)

Perhaps, if your friend is worried about what’s on your back, she might start an online fundraiser for a new dress — or to pay off your college debt. Your lack of concern about repeating the same dress over and over is admirable, even enviable. But before long you’re going to get tired of seeing your same old self in the mirror.So give yourself a break and think about spring. You can find something that’s going to be around for at least six months. Save up and hit the stores when the sales are on — because you want to, not just to calm a rigid friend. 

Hands Off

I’ve seen pictures lately of men at white-tie parties wearing white gloves. Some of them are with their boyfriend dates. Where does that come from? They look odd to me. Can you explain what’s going on?— Anonymous, Gallatin

They may have come from a rental store, along with the suits. If we’re paying close attention to what’s absolutely correct — as I do — gloves are right when a white-tied gentleman is on a dance floor. If he places his hand lightly against a lady’s back, he wouldn’t want his sweaty palm to spoil her dress. When he’s not ballroom dancing, however, gloves can make finger snapping very difficult.

The days of white gloves, I fear, are gone, unless the gentleman has a debutante on his arm, is part of a flag corps or is a headwaiter. A gentleman’s gloves have to come off when he sits down for dinner. He has to remove them when he’s offering a handshake — but not when kissing a lady’s hand (if he dares!). And he may very well lose them in the men’s room — always a problem when he gets back to the rental store on Monday.