Thursday, June 21, 2018

Time for Gents’ Etiquette

Etiquette 101 for the Fashionable Modern Man
“One may think that the concept of etiquette has been in existence since the dawn of modern society, when people began with their efforts to harmoniously co-exist with one another. However, as it turns out, the history of etiquette is traced back to what could be considered to be trivial matters of everyday life.”


By 1965, Bob Dylan had already taken notice of how the times were “a-changin.” Those times were not as technologically advanced as they are today, but culture and society were moving at warp speed, nonetheless.

With that being said, the sense of etiquette has rightfully gone through evolution and progress as time passed. The rules of decorum nowadays would definitely differ greatly compared to Dylan’s time, from social norms to fashion sense. In this article, we will be focusing more on etiquette for men, and what is expected for the male species in terms of how to act and dress appropriately in order to gain a high level of respect from their peers.




Time for a Brief History of Etiquette

One may think that the concept of etiquette has been in existence since the dawn of modern society, when people began their efforts to harmoniously co-exist with one another. However, as it turns out, the history of etiquette is traced back to what could be considered to be trivial matters of everyday life.

According to historical accounts, it all began in the 16th century in Versailles, France when the gardener of King Louis XIV noticed that some noblemen walked through the gardens and ended up crushing their planted flowers. Out of frustration, gardener of King Louis decided to put up his own “Keep of the Grass” sign, which was called “etiquets.”Apparently, the sign did not have much of an effect, as people continued to trample on the flowers, crushing every single one of them to death. This had urged the king himself to take action and he essentially forbade anyone to step beyond the boundaries that were set by his gardener. 


Eventually, the concept of etiquette transcended beyond King Louis XIV’s garden and was applied across the board. Nowadays, the term “etiquette” is used to denote expected manners and how to act accordingly in public.
A Look at the Modern Concept of Gent’s Etiquette

What was known as the modern society in the 1950’s is vastly different from the same concept when applied in 2018. In the past few years alone, the vehement and almost rabid calls for gender equality have been the forefront in many of the “causes” that people have engaged in.

Take the concept of holding the door open for a woman as an example. Back in the day, it was considered to be one of the ultimate “​gentlemanly moves​” that is widely practiced. In today’s society, however, it can be deemed as a form of sexism, which can turn into an instant matter of dispute. The same goes for pulling a woman’s chair out for her at the dining table. Once appreciated by those who lived by the belief that “chivalry is not dead,” it is now a practice that has become almost passé.

Nowadays, gentlemanly etiquette is more about acting with the utmost respect towards another person, rather than following “the norm.” So in terms of applying both concepts in today’s society, it would be safest to be that which defines a “gentleman,” to every individual you encounter, may it be a man, woman, young or old.

It could be quite a challenge to live within the bounds of the rules of current society, but the 2018 gentleman should basically act with utmost respect and consideration toward all his fellow humans. This is the overall encompassing concept that should be followed in order to propagate a more harmonious relationship with other people.



Time for Men’s Fashion Etiquette 101

Now let’s talk about something that most people would be able to relate with: fashion. No matter how much effort you choose to put in with what you wear, it is ultimately important to put a premium on how a man carries himself. A man's appearance will create a strong (or weak) first impression of himself to others and it will determine if he will be a person that will command respect or otherwise.

There are basics to a man’s fashion etiquette, with the most apparent one being the ability to clearly distinguish his clothing choices for each occasion. Each and every man should know the difference between semi-formal and business attire, to business casual clothing. The same thing applies to creative black tie wardrobes and full-on black tie suits.


A vital part of a man’s wardrobe is the timepiece that is strapped to his wrist. With that being said, there are certain rules when it comes to wristwatch etiquette, and they are pretty simple guidelines to remember.
  1. First off, it is key to take note of which type of watch would be worn with a particular attire. It goes without saying that a sport or diver’s watch will never go well with a coat and tie, no matter how deep of a favorite this brand is for you. 
  2. At the same time, your beloved Timex dress watch would most certainly be a wrong fit if you decide to go on your daily afternoon hike with the dog.
  3. Watch size is another important factor to consider. You would not want it to be too small and look like a woman’s watch, and too big that it comes off as being boastful. Choose something that is proportionate to the fit of your wrist.
  4. It would also be ideal to own more than one watch that would match every occasion and attire. Of course, you would want to go within budget and not spend beyond your means, try to compile a small collection of affordable brands that you can cycle through your daily use.
  5. Aside from fashion etiquette, never repeatedly check the time with your watch. Obviously checking the time can denote impatience. It can also make others around you uncomfortable, can rush others you are with, or make those you are with feel as if you have someplace you would rather be. 



Thanks to Ambassador Watches for the great photos and the contribution to Etiquipedia
This modern-day brand has been one of the go-to products of watch aficionados for its style, durability, and affordability. Ambassador Watches offers a selection of​ ​elegant designs​ from its Heritage collection, where one can choose from either the Heritage 1863, the Heritage 1921, and the Heritage 1959. Each of these variations has interchangeable straps, allowing one to go from leather to mesh, depending on how one feels that particular day.
To ensure that your timepieces will last more than a lifetime and eventually become valuable heirlooms to the next generation, Ambassador Watches are made with 40mm polished silver and 316-L Stainless Steel casings. Built using traditional watchmaking methods wherein real steel molds are used, its crown, lugs, and case are also color-coated multiple times to prevent instant color loss and maintain its polished and glossy exterior. Ambassador Watches come with a full three-year warranty. All of these pluses should be more than enough to fulfill your watch needs. (To know more about Ambassador Watches and all of its products, check out its official website).


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

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Etiquette for Hors d'oeuvres

Performing an Etiquette
Balancing Act

Hors d'oeuvres
I recently attended a reception at which hors d'oeuvres were offered.  When the server approached us with her tray, my companion took one, and it looked so delicious that I did the same.  It was a generous two-bite size.

I took the first bite and placed it back on my napkin in my left hand while simultaneously holding my drink glass in that hand.  Before I could stop it, the second half of my appetizer (by then an inside-gooey bite) fell to the floor.  My companion exclaimed, “Oh, don't pick it up! Just leave it!”  But there was no server nearby, so I very quickly picked it up as I whispered to my friend, “I need to be more careful. I don't want anyone to slip.”

Accidents can’t be avoided.  But they can be anticipated.  Enjoying the first bite of that appetizer, and being mindful to eat the second bite as soon as the first was finished, could have helped me escape an awkward moment.

Below are other tidbits to help get us through the cocktail hour or reception event unscathed.

The Food Table

Appetizer food tables are fun to explore.  You never know what you may pick up to eat - or what new ideas you will hear when you visit with others mingling at a stand-up event.  
All conversations will be navigated more easily when you first have a few guidelines for the food table: 
 
  • DON’T decide just to skip the food, as others will be nibbling and everyone likes company with hors d'oeuvres.  DO choose something that meets with the minimum and that you can enjoy — or that it appears as if it's waiting on your plate to be enjoyed.
  • DON’T load up your plate.  Your glass will be balanced on the plate as well (as explained below).  DO choose 1-3 easy to eat small appetizers to begin.  (If you have the additional challenge of eating something with a small fork, very very small helpings are best.)
  • DON’T forget to pick up a cocktail napkin, as you will need to wipe your fingers and dab your lips.  DO use the napkin if your right hand gets wet from holding a glass that may have water on the outside of it.  People you meet and shake hands with will appreciate your dry handshake.
  • DON’T use your hands to pick up nuts, chips, or popcorn.  DO use the spoons or tongs provided for the common bowls to scoop the morsels onto your appetizer plate.
  • DON’T leave shrimp ends, skewer sticks, toothpicks or any trash on the serving table.  DO find an appropriate receptacle! 
  • If you are moving immediately to dinner, be sure to leave behind your glass, appetizer plates, etc. on a table most likely provided. 

Guidelines for Passed Hors d'oeuvres

When servers whisk around the room to offer goodies from their trays, feel free to indulge.  But when your only prop is a napkin, the balancing act can become a little trickier.
  • DO feel free to pass on an appetizer if it looks difficult to handle (greasy, cheesy, or slimy). DON’T accept more than one served hors d'oeuvres at a time. 
  • DO eat the bite soon after taking it from the tray.  If it is a two-biter, eat the second bite soon after the first. DON’T wait until if falls from your napkin to realize it’s still there.  (No, I won't forget my hors d'oeuvre incident anytime soon!)
  • DO show your interest in the conversation you're involved in. DON’T waive your appetizer around when talking.  
  • DO enjoy and appreciate the items served.  DON’T appear hungry or wolf your food down ravenously.  Even if you are almost finished with your appetizer, pass on accepting another until you’ve finished it.  
  • DO think about what you would do if you were hosting.  Have you noticed that the crumbly, sauce-laden, skewered tasty treats are best served from an appetizer table?

The Balancing Act

Cocktail Networking

This is where things get interesting.  You have a drink, you have hors d'oeuvres, and you have someone to talk to.  I learned this savvy solution from my first etiquette teacher...

Now, how do you manage it all at once?  

Let's take it step by step - and hand by hand:

What to do with your Left Hand:
  • Napkin: place a tip between your ring finger and middle finger.
  • Plate: hold between the middle finger and index finger.
  • Glass: your thumb and index finger will securely hold the wine glass at the base (some people prefer to secure the glass with the thumb alone).
What to do with your Right Hand:
  • Move the glass from your left hand to your mouth and drink; replace the glass in your left hand as instructed above.
  • Pick up the tasty tidbits from your plate and eat.
  • Wipe your fingers on your napkin. 
  • Extend for a handshake while smiling and greeting other people.

Additional Tips

  • Keep your plate close to your waist, elbow close to your body.  Your right hand will take the food from your waist to your face.
  • Observe your bite site.  No one wants to see you chewing and talking at the same time.  You’ll feel less awkward if your bites are reasonably sized.
  • If food drops from your plate, though you might not be the one who picks it up, make sure you take care of it so that no one slips or gets food on his shoe.  Everyone appreciates a clean floor.
  • Be sure to avoid smacking and picking your teeth with fingers, appetizer toothpick or skewer!  (Wait to deal with it until you can slip away to the rest room.)  
  • Always remain courteous to other guests, as anyone can make a faux pas.  Sometimes a little dash of kind humor will lighten things up.   
  • Mix and mingle!  The goal of any pre-dinner cocktail party or reception is to move about and meet and greet people whom you haven’t met as well as to say hello to people you know. 
  • Thank the host and offer a kind remark about the food.  Hosting is not always an easy task and deserves recognition.



Contributor, Candace Smith is retired, national award-winning secondary school educator, Candace Smith teaches university students and professionals the soft skills of etiquette and protocol. She found these skills necessary in her own life after her husband received international recognition in 2002. Plunged into a new “normal” of travel and formal social gatherings with global leaders, she discovered how uncomfortable she was in many important social situations. After extensive training in etiquette and protocol, Candace realized a markedly increased confidence level in meeting and greeting and dining skills and was inspired to share these skills that will help others gain comfort and confidence in dining and networking situations. Learn more at http://www.candacesmithetiquette.com/


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

Summer Attire Etiquette

On Summer Dressing: 

Don’t do that. Do this instead...

This article is part of Polished Professioals, “Don’t do that. Do this instead” series.
“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy…”Summer dressing: Don't do that. Do this instead.
The rest of this lyric is “Fish are jumpin’, and the cotton is high”**.  And no where is cotton (rayon, spandex, denim…you name it) higher than in summertime.
Before I begin, I would like to make a few things clear:
This is NOT a post about: how you dress for a picnic or a night out.
This IS a post about: our work lives and the perception of professionalism.
Strip down to the ‘bare’ essentials: DON’T DO THAT
When the temperatures and humidity start to soar the temptation to rid ourselves of all (or almost all) our clothes is understandable. The mere idea of being constrained in long sleeves, closed shoes or trousers is enough to make us hot and bothered.  However tempting it is to don your shorts and flip-flops and head to the office, don’t.
DO THIS INSTEAD: Find a balance
I know it can be tricky to find a balance between keeping cool and looking professional but trust me, it’s worth it.
Comfort vs. Credibility
I notice, every year, that many people use the excuse of summer, and hot weather, not just to wear fewer and/or cooler clothes but to abandon dress-sense entirely.   I know it’s hot, and I know that much of our more professional clothing can be restrictive. However, are you prepared to gain comfort at the risk of losing credibility?
The impact that our clothing has, both on those around us and ourselves, is something I find fascinating. What I find even more fascinating is that some people think it’s inconsequential; either that it doesn’t really matter or that they should just be allowed to ‘be who they are/wear what they want’, no matter what. It’s a fair point in some ways, we should be allowed to be who we are, but there’s a but. There’s always a but. In this case the but is that what we wear matters, and does have an impact on how others see us.
How we dress affects not just how others see us but how we view ourselves. When we dress down we not only project a lack of professionalism outwardly but we also suffer from it internally.
Even your subconscious notices the difference between your shorts/flip-flops combo and your best suit: have you ever noticed that you stand up a little straighter, behave a little better, and try harder not to spill on yourself when you’re wearing your ‘good’ clothes?  …and if your subconscious is paying attention then you better believe the person (boss, colleague, client) standing in front of you is.
Given that it always pays to look professional – even in hot, summer months – think about using some of these tips:
  • Choose lighter weight, breathable fabrics such as linen or cotton
  • Have a few pieces with a slightly looser fit; this helps in humid weather particularly
  • Opt to keep your jacket and tie off until you need to wear them
  • Pair a sleeveless dress or top with a light jacket or cardigan
  • Keep your ‘work’ shoes at the office and change when you get there (this goes for both men and women)
Trust me when I say it’s worth making the effort. Sure, you might have to suffer a little along the way but the payoff – being the person who gets noticed for staying polished and professional at all times – will be worth it.
If you’d like to read more about the psychology behind dressing and appearance, take a look these articles:
Hilary Robinson is the Senior Trainer and Owner of Polished Professionals in Toronto, Canada. With her background, spent running events for Prime Ministers, CEOs and academics (in the UK and Canada), one might think that she’s all about following the rules. However, she prefers to train people to understand their parameters, what it means to follow them, what advantages there are in knowing how and when to bend them, and the value in using good manners to put others at ease. With 20 years working worldwide in events and communications, Hilary believes manners and courtesy are not only powerful communication tools but the foundations on which self-confidence and success grow.

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

An Afternoon Tea Primer

“High Tea” has nothing to do with “high society”, “upper class”, or “royalty”. It was actually a more hearty “supper style” meal that included meat between the bread (introduced by the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, thus the High Tea Sandwich), and happened to include tea, that was served in the early evening to the “working men” coming home very hungry from a hard day’s work. 

A Brief History of Afternoon Tea

“Afternoon Tea” was started in the mid-1800s by Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford.  At that time in history, only two meals were common; a mid-morning breakfast and a somewhat late evening dinner.  The Duchess found herself with a “sinking feeling” in the late afternoon, with the unacceptably prolonged period of time between lunch and dinner. The Duchess decided to have some friends over for assorted snacks and tea – and the idea of an “afternoon tea” gathering became very popular among the elite, as well as a favorite pastime for “ladies of leisure”. The Duchess ordered a few delicacies and some tea to be brought to her boudoir.  The assortment was placed on her low bedside table, and this became known as “Low Tea”.  As time went on, the Duchess wished to enjoy these delights with friends in a more social setting – and so the parlor became the venue for “Afternoon Tea”.

“High Tea” – an often misused term for Afternoon Tea/Formal Tea/Royal Tea could not be more different from these specific tea formalities. “High Tea” has nothing to do with “high society”, “upper class”, or “royalty”. It was actually a more hearty “supper style” meal that included meat between the bread (introduced by the Fourth Earl of Sandwich and thus the High Tea Sandwich), and happened to include tea, that was served in the early evening to the “working men” coming home VERY hungry from a hard day’s work.  This meal, like “Low Tea”, is so named, due to the height of the table on which it was served – to accommodate the height of the men who typically stood at the table or sat on high stools to feast. This meal gradually became more important on the social calendars of Ladies and Gentlemen and was enjoyed prior to social events like attending the theater or playing cards. 

On a quick note, “Royal Tea” or “Champagne Tea” simply mean a delightful addition of the bubbly to the occasion. 



Meet our newest contributor, Jonnie Fox Flanagan. Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana she enjoyed exquisite dining at famous and fabulous restaurants such as Brennans, Arnauds, Commander’s Palace, Emeril’s, before moving to southern California. Ms. Flanagan, busy as the lead singer of Jonnie Fox and the Satinettes, also founded The Magnolia School of Etiquette and Protocol, offering classes in the art of fine dining, good manners, and the social civilities that enhance our society with kindness and graciousness. Workshops include private consultation to brides, business professionals, individuals, university etiquette dinners, corporate conferences, and group workshops for children ages 5+.


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

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Handshake Etiquette and Gender

If she does not hold her hand out to him, then he behaves as he was taught in dancing school when a small boy.

Hands in Greeting 

Dear Mrs. Post: Etiquette suggests that a man wait for a woman to extend her hand in greeting first. But what is a man to do when a hostess receiving at a party for her daughter, fails to put out her hand, in spite of the fact that etiquette also says that a guest should shake hands with a hostess and her daughter in the receiving line at such a party? 

Answer: If she does not hold her hand out to him, then he behaves as he was taught in dancing school when a small boy. In other words, he takes one step, cracks his heels and bows from the waist and says, “How do you do, Mrs. Brown.” – Mill Valley Record, 1937

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

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