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Filtering by Tag: advice

Proper Attire Etiquette for Martha Stewart Weddings

Suzanne Pollak

The Dean returned to Martha Stewart Weddings (yet again) for advice on what to wear, and what not to wear, to a wedding. Her advice follows:

To top or not to top? That is the question...

To top or not to top? That is the question...

Most weddings are at four or five PM.  Black tie is sort of tacky for a wedding, and old-fashioned, but hey -- each to his own. White Tie, unless you are royalty, seems a bit vulgar. If the wedding is black tie, the wedding must be after six. No dinner jackets before six!

A Few Hard and Fast Rules

  1. Women should never wear black or white to a wedding. No LBD = little black dress. Black shows disrespect, as if sorry to be in attendance.
  2. No matter what the dress code, ladies don’t have to wear a long dress ever. Traditionally you wouldn’t be in a long dress before the sun went down. Rules have loosened though. Women can wear a cocktail dress even for white tie.
  3. Velvet in the winter, silk in the summer...
  4. No ball gowns (even for white or black tie.) Think about it. You will have to sit in a pew. Evening gown instead.
  5. The purse should be tiny. Certainly never show up with a weekend purse.
  6. Don’t upstage the bride. Don't get sexy at weddings. It’s not appropriate. It’s a religious event.
  7. Men have very few rules so less trouble breaking them. They have an easier uniform. Men’s wardrobe is dinner jacket, suit, blue blazer. (They can travel the world with those three items and always be appropriate.)
  8. If you want to be elegant, you have to be comfortable. Simpler is better.

Decoding the Dress Code

  • Black Tie optional: wear or not.
  • Creative Black tie: God only knows what that means! Just dress up, like when you were a little girl. For a guy it means have fun. Wear a snazzy tie. Choose a tux in a different color, maybe navy. Add a velvet jacket.
  • Semi-formal: fairly dressy. Basically girls can wear the same dress for any occasion but more jewelry at night. Girls can get away with absolutely anything -- your call as to what you would feel comfortable in. Men wear a dark suit.
  • Casual: low heels. A less dressy dress. Depends on where casual is. South Hampton casual is fairly dressy except when it’s on the beach. Then very casual.

And one other thing to think about…

Usually there is dancing at weddings so keep that in mind when choosing your shoes. Nothing more unattractive than a woman hobbling on heels. Hobbling is not sexy.

Read the full article HERE!

"Entertaining the Entertainers"

Suzanne Pollak

Sometimes the most memorable house parties happen under dire circumstance.

Sometimes the most memorable house parties happen under dire circumstance.

The Dean's most recent column in VIE magazine is all about houseguests -- both having them and being one yourself. Her advice covers the gamut, from celebratory house parties to visiting a friend in need, plus how to schedule your time together (and apart, very important!) She offers suggestions for what to do and what to cook, how to behave and how to handle those who don't...

Read the full piece, along with so many other fun articles, HERE on VIE's site!

I Heard You Twice the First Time

Suzanne Pollak

When it comes to managing uncommunicative teenagers, your home is the ideal place to get this surly age group to start talking to you. The second most ideal place is your car, essentially the family home on wheels.

A well-known fact is that everyone feels comfortable in anyone's kitchen, even young adults. So set up an environment that puts teens at ease around a kitchen island or countertop, and organize a project making gnocchi together.  Making and forming gnocchi will be a learning experience, no matter how expert you are already. (If you are frightened by the prospect then get the Academy to do the teaching.)

Here's what happens when you are creating something with your hands and concentration is needed: brains are 75% occupied with task at hand, which makes the other 25% of motor functions relax. Don't ask the Dean why but she knows this is a proven fact after raising four of her own children. Talking subjects can be about the steps to making the gnocchi, a completely non-threatening topic which offers lots of areas for delving into -- food, culture, nutrition, taste. Not to mention that a hands-on experience is always more fun to do with someone else, because you become pals in a project instead of adversaries.

If you can get into a routine (maybe once a month) a one-on-one tradition may start and memories will be made, believe us! Once a skill becomes more familiar and less scary, there is always opportunity for laughing at mistakes which will definitely occur, being proud of the final product, and creating a delicious dinner. With patience, the space will arise for talking about other, more personal subjects...maybe not on the first try but eventually. Number one key: don't ask penetrating questions, which moms can be expert at doing.

Nightly dinners are the time and place to become an active listener. Ask questions that need more than a yes or no response, but remember, not too personal! The big mistake is to do all the talking or give too many opinions. Allow these teenagers of yours time to answer a question so they can formulate what they want to say and how. Let these guys be the smartest ones in the room. Every person needs that. 

No Time for Foolishness

Suzanne Pollak

Recently the Dean heard news she cannot like; in fact, it has her recoiling in horror. Say it ain’t so! That people the Dean knows, and knows of (with children no less) have not turned their stoves on for over six months -- told like a brag, even with pride! This is foolishness beyond belief. These people are missing out on some of life’s greatest pleasures: relaxation, creativity, bonding, feasting at home.

Here’s what else these fools are missing:

  • eating healthier meals,
  • making the kitchen (instead of TV) the heartbeat of the house,
  • teaching children manners, healthy eating habits, patience, focus and concentration by simply sitting at the dining table, 
  • and one of the most joyous daily occurrences, spending time together with people you love eating food you love.

The Academy cannot help these folks. Is there an Academy out there for common sense?