Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Victorian Royal Ball Dress Etiquette

A gentleman ventured to appear in the regulation Court coat and vest, but with trousers. A functionary beckoned him into a corner, and communicated to him the awful fact that be had been guilty of a breach of breeches, which must never happen again. 

Of Bare Shoulders and Breeches

Low dress is de rigueur at the balls at Buckingham Palace, and a few ladies who have thus far ventured to depart from it have been severely commented on by others of their sex. One great lady took the precaution of writing to the Lord Chamberlain, explaining that her shoulders had recently grown so dreadfully thin during a long illness, that they were not fit to be seen, and should be grateful to be allowed to wear a half high dress. This was graciously permitted. 


At the St. Patrick's Day ball at Dublin, a few years ago, a gentleman ventured to appear in the regulation Court coat and vest, but with trousers. A functionary beckoned him into a corner, and communicated to him the awful fact that be had been guilty of a breach of breeches, which must never happen again. When the culprit faltered out that he had been informed that trousers were now permissible, the functionary replied, severely, “at a levee, sir, but breeches, always breeches at a ball!” – Daly Alta California, 1876

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