DEAR MISS MANNERS: When my husband and I attended an inaugural ball for a local official, the invitation specifically stated that the dress code was black tie. Being that the affair was in winter, I went to great lengths to find an evening dress that looked like winter attire.
I was appalled to see the number of woman at the ball with strapless, chiffon, light-material dresses. I always thought that strapless dresses in the winter were acceptable if the material was velvet or some other heavier material. I also thought that light, pastel colors should not be worn in the winter months. Several gowns were light, spring-like colors.
GENTLE READER: Yes, yes, Miss Manners knows all about seasonal rules for colors and materials. But she also knows that most people do not get multiple use out of inaugural ball gowns, and therefore cuts them a bit of (chiffon) slack.