Saturday, June 16, 2018

Etiquette for Ladies’ Hats

Should the ladies pouring at a formal tea wear hats? Common sense seems to be the basis of your etiquette, and in my humble judgment hats at this time do not sound sensible.

Good Taste Today ...
Shall I Wear a Hat With Afternoon Dress in the Evening? When Pouring Afternoon Tea?

Dear Mrs. Post: We seldom wear formal clothes in our simple community, which fact I contend is no reason why the ladies here may not go to evening parties wearing afternoon dresses and no hats. Don’t you agree with me? There are several new residents who have been turning up on such occasions with hats on. 

Answer: The general rule is if you wear an afternoon dress (meaning a dress not suitable for general wear on the street), in the evening, then you should go without a hat, but if you are wearing a street dress, then you should wear a hat But whether the hats you describe are bad form or not, depends entirely upon their type. In other words, if they are an indoor type of hat, they are quite as suitable to wear with afternoon dresses as to go without. In fact, they are decidedly a fashion of the moment.

Dear Mrs. Post: Should the ladies pouring at a formal tea wear hats? Common sense seems to be the basis of your etiquette, and in my humble judgment hats at this time do not sound sensible. 

Answer: This question is best decided by the arbitrary custom of each community. In New York, for example, a deputy hostess always wears a hat unless she is a house visitor, and even in this case she is likely as not to wear one. Neither dress or hat for a deputy hostess should be too tailored. – Emily Post, 1937

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Etiquette of Two Café Societies

Life in Vienna has much of the German phlegmatic trend, plus considerable Parisian elegance, minus the French fussiness in etiquette and manners.

 Parisian “Fussiness” vs Viennese “Calm?” 

The Viennese have for generations been famed for their hospitality and cheerfulness. Stress and strain, agony and pain do not characterize the temperament, natures and states of the Viennese. Life in Vienna has much of the German phlegmatic trend, plus considerable Parisian elegance, minus the French fussiness in etiquette and manners. Like all Europeans, they love the café life. The whole family goes out after the day’s labor. It interests the traveler considerably to study the various types of this European 
café existence. 

In Paris, the keynote seems to be display, style, smart appearance. In Vienna, a good natured, happy sociability after the day’s toll prevails. The family comes much more into view in Vienna than in bright, elegant, wild Paris, the city par excellence of dazzling social events. As the Austrians take things calmly, a certain lovely charm and restfulness mark their public and social life. It is a people that would for its own welfare, need to study somewhat the strenuous life, if the lesson of strenuousness could be learned for good and not to the destruction of that amiable, hearty, easy spirit for which the Austrians are known and the Viennese distinctively.—Vienna Letter in the Omaha Bee, 1910

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

1914 French Mourning Etiquette

French mourning dress for women, teens and children... According to historical fiction author, Evangeline Holland, the elaborate rituals of public mourning were in decline by 1917. This was mainly because WWI had given people too many reasons to mourn. It was also impractical for women to wear mourning clothes and retreat into the full mourning customs of the past, just as they were just beginning to enter the workforce en masse. 

Guide to Mourning is Latest Weekly Paris Publication

PARIS, June 15.—The first number of a weekly publication with the cheerful title of Guide To Mourning, has appeared in Paris. Its editor claims that the paper will appeal to all classes. It will deal with everything relating to funerals and give details as to proper periods of mourning, correct costume and etiquette In the matter of bereavement. Prices of church decoration and other burial rites will be quoted. – Los Angeles Herald, 2014

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia 

Polishing French Politesse

The last 3 days, the French have been reading up a storm on Etiquipedia, so I wanted to send out a special note of thanks to our French readers, and those readers from all of the other countries, who peruse our articles daily. Below are our “audience stats” for the past 7 days. These are the top 10 countries for the week. France has been #1 three days in a row. Without people from all parts of the world reading Etiquipedia, the work I put into this site would not nearly give me such pleasure. Thanks to all of our readers and to all of our contributors!

Country and Pageviews
______________________
France                   1673
United States         1655
United Kingdom       266
Canada                     118
Australia                    89
Italy                           71
Philippines                60
India                          55
Netherlands               48
Indonesia                   28

PARIS - Chic French diners eat asparagus with their fingers and sorbet with their forks.

The words “Bon appétit” should never be uttered at the start of a meal.

The polite passenger always says, “Bonjour” to the driver upon entering the bus.

And, bien sûr, the dinner guest must not leave the table in midmeal to use the powder room, and should she have to go, never, ever use the word “toilette” when asking a host for directions.

Mastering the rules of good manners never has been easy, even for the French.

Despite a centuries-old obsession with behaving well, the French are constantly relearning how to do it, and the last few years have witnessed both the degradation of civility and manners and a revival of interest in them.

On one level disrespect for authority is on the rise. Cars are burned and garbage is thrown out of windows in the troubled gritty suburbs. Verbal and physical attacks against teachers in schools are more widespread than they were a few years ago. Commuters are hit, seats are slashed, graffiti is written on Paris Métro cars.

But on another level is a desire to retain, encourage and even venerate what the French call “politesse.” “It sounds bizarre, but with more and more acts of incivility, people are tolerating them much less,” said Frédéric Rouvillois, the author of “Histoire de la Politesse,” a scholarly tome that traces the history of good manners in France over the last three centuries. “There’s more awareness that courtesy and savoir-faire are useful and necessary tools in society.”

As part of the consciousness-raising, private sessions on proper table settings and dining habits are offered to Parisian ladies of leisure. The Paris transit authority is in the midst of a campaign of respect to improve the quality of travel for its passengers. Humorous posters hung last fall prodded travelers to muzzle their pets; use trash cans for their garbage; speak softly on their cellphones; avoid whacking their neighbors with their backpacks; and, of course, say hello and goodbye to conductors and ticket vendors.

In 2005, in response to complaints about interaction between patients and staff, the Hospital Federation of France began its first national advertising drive for politeness in public hospitals and nursing homes, with a list of rules for how to behave and the motto “Stay polite!”

The Ministry of Education has made good citizenship part of the national curriculum in high schools. The Ministry of Transportation designates an annual “day of steering wheel courtesy” to encourage polite behavior on the road.

“In a society more and more brutal, with deafening vulgarity, it is with delight that we are rediscovering the discreet charm of courtesy,” wrote Point de Vue, a weekly magazine that focuses on old families and the remnants of royalty, in an article some months ago on the return of good manners.

In the perfect French world, rules govern even the most mundane subjects: how to answer the telephone, how to greet a guest at the door, how to address a stranger, what to take to a dinner party, how to behave on the Métro.

“It’s like a sport, you have to train hard,” said Marie de Tilly, a rail-thin expert on manners, who teaches a two-hour course in Paris to women who pay $90 to attend. “But once you train and know the rules, it all comes naturally.” All can be lost in that first moment of acquaintance, Ms. de Tilly told a group of French and American women during a session last month in a hotel room adorned in brocade and silk.

“In the first 20 seconds, others will judge your look, in the second 20 seconds your behavior and the third 20 seconds your first words,” she said. “There is a code. If you don’t follow it properly, it will be very, very hard to make a comeback.”

France has had an uneven history of manners. With the French Revolution, the republican passion for equality trumped the rules of gentility, which glorified hierarchy and differences of class and gender. Men had to be called “Citoyen” (Citizen) rather than “Monsieur.” The use of the familiar “tu” form of “you” replaced the formal “vous.”

The rise of the bourgeoisie in the 19th century swept in a new era of politeness, which declined during and after World War I. The brutality of the war made the rules of gentility seem meaningless. Another low point came with the May 1968 rebellion, which swept in an ideology that challenged all forms of authority.

Certainly, polls show an increase of interest in manners. Ninety-five percent of the French believe that being polite is an asset, according to an Ipsos poll last March. A poll in 2003 indicated that 70 percent of French parents place great importance on manners, compared with 53 percent in 1991 and 21 percent in 1981.
Some rituals of politesse die hard. Dueling may have been banned decades ago, but hand kissing has survived. The master has to be President Jacques Chirac.

Mr. Chirac clearly knows how to do it: he raises the woman’s hand to chest level and bends over to meet it halfway. Sometimes, as when he visited Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin last March, he cradles the hand in both of his.

“The French president,” a writer in the Swiss daily Le Matin commented last September after Mr. Chirac kissed Ms. Merkel’s hand once again, “can no longer meet a woman, either a star, a head of state, a first lady or a minister, without doing it.”

The practice, however, the writer added, “has nothing to do with protocol.” – From Elaine Sciolino’s 2007 New York Times article



Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Etiquette and “Society’s Exquisites”

Going to parties hours after the time named— is only indulged in by those who disregard all considerations  except mistaken ideas of what constitutes “fashion;” but this notion is held by so many, that it has become, as the correspondent says, “an evil almost intolerable by those that give parties.” 

Of Interest to Polite Society


A correspondent of the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser calls that paper’s attention to etiquette at parties

He thinks that something ought to be said to correct the false notion that it is polite to go to a party after 10 o’clock, even when invited for 7 o’clock. He mentions an instance of the inconveniences that arise from which occurred at an elegant party given by a prominent Buffalo citizen the other evening. Specified in the cards of invitation for the party to assemble, was 7 o’clock. The more substantial and considerate portion of the guests paid some attention to the time fixed, and arrive there shortly after the hour designated. Others came two hours after, and some of the “extra exquisite” ones did not arrive until than three hours after they were to be present. 


Our correspondent gives the names of some of our most prominent citizens, who in the spirit of true politeness, arrived a very short time after the hour named by their hosts. He truly asks that when the hour is fixed in the invitation, it is to be presumed that it expresses the wish of the giver of the party, und it is etiquette, therefore, for the invited party to pay some attention to that wish, they propone to avail themselves of the hospitality. The contrary practice— that of going to parties hours after the time named— is only indulged in by those who disregard all considerations  except mistaken ideas of what constitutes “fashion;” but this notion is held by so many, that it has become, as the correspondent says, “an evil almost intolerable by those that give parties.” – “Ladies’ Gossip” in the Daly Alta, 1867

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

The Emperor’s Audience Etiquette

“The Chamberlain tells him when to advance and when to retreat, and the Emperor is so gracious that, expecting to be frightened out of his senses, he is most happy to find that good manners are the same everywhere, in palace and in cottage, with the prince and the peasant.” – French Hussars in Napoleonic Uniforms, from Pinterest


The Emperor holds what is called an “audience” every Sunday morning, when he is in Paris. This is a fashion of receiving which was abolished by the Revolution and restored by Napoleon I. In 1830 it again fell, and was re-established in 1852 by Napoleon III. With the “audience” fell and rose the offices of Chamberlains — persons especially charged with all that concerns the interior household of the Sovereign. There are eleven Chamberlains, and seventeen who have the titles and honors without performing any particular duty. In the olden times, it was the first officers with this title who handed to the King the first article of toilet on rising in the morning, as it was the first Lady of Honor who performed the same service for the Queen, and we presume this is one of the fashions which does not change!

In order to obtain an audience it is necessary first to obtain permission by letter. When one possesses the proper credentials, he appears at the door of the Palace of the Tuileries, and hands his letter to a hussar, who is clothed in black, with a silver chain around his neck. When he has examined it and is satisfied that it is authentic, he ushers the bearer into a grand hall, in the center of which is a miniature column, in bronze, of the one which towers upon the Place Vendôme. Here they wait a little, and are then introduced into the reception room, where they are received by the Chamberlains, clothed in red, with gold keys embroidered upon their breasts. If there are many persons, they are placed in a row to wait till the Emperor enters, preceded by hussars and followed by his État Major. 

He passes along the line, bowing to each, till he arrives at the head, when he stops and converses with the person, who has some favor to ask or someone to propose, and is so situated that no other one present can hear what is said, though not far off. He wears on these occasions, the military costume of General of Division, with the grand cross of the Legion of Honor, and is said to listen very patiently to all who come, and to promise uniformly to think of them afterwards. The costume of gentlemen who seek this favor must be invariably in black, with white cravat and white gloves. The Chamberlain tells him when to advance and when to retreat, and the Emperor is so gracious that, expecting to be frightened out of his senses, he is most happy to find that good manners are the same everywhere, in palace and in cottage, with the prince and the peasant. – Letter from Paris, 1866


Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Etiquette of Evolving Royal Courts

But everyone knew the family patriarch was a hostler! – Joachim-Napoléon Murat was a Marshal of France and Admiral of France under the reign of Napoleon. He was also the 1st Prince Murat, Grand Duke of Berg from 1806 to 1808, and King of Naples from 1808 to 1815. Murat was Napoleon’s brother-in-law (through marriage to his younger sister, Caroline Bonaparte). He was noted as a daring, brave, and charismatic cavalry officer as well as a flamboyant dresser, for which he was known as “the Dandy King.”

Of Other Matters, Other Courts and That of France

The King of Portugal has gone home enlightened and follows the example of Italy and Belgium. He has removed tbe trammels from the press, and proposed a system of public instruction by which education may be universally diffused. In Sweden, the uniform worn upon state occasions is red. The other day a Minister attended some important ceremony in an ordinary suit of black, saying to the King, “As the nobility have been deprived of their last privileges it is not worth while to appear in court dress.” “NO,” replied the King, “it is of no consequence whatever, and if you choose to come in white it is all the same to me.” In Sweden and Denmark the pomp and parade of State ceremonies are not considered of much more importance than in republican Switzerland. In Italy and Belgium it is nearly the same. 

The Emperor of France is very rigid about some points of etiquette, but his regime is by no means so formidable as that of Louis XIV ; but there are a few in France and every country of Europe whose ancestors fluttered at the court of this haughty Monarch, who regret more than anything else the hauteur and exclusiveness which they believe his lineal descendants would have retained in the circles of the Tuileries. At a mask ball, not long ago, the famous Marquis de Boissy wore a coat in which his grandfather had appeared at the Court of Louis XV. The Prince Murat remarked to him that it was very funny at the present day. The Marquis replied that if all who were there had worn the coats of their grandfathers, some would nave been more funny than his. The grandfather of the Prince, as every one knows, was a hostler. – Letter from Paris, 1866


Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia