The Countess of West Essex, an authority on Twitter of decorum and spunk, graciously offers us these tips on dressing for fun and frivolity...
"A dead bird will brighten up the dullest of hats, but a live one will carry it off."
We are posed with the question of what to wear when attending balls and other such functions. I myself don’t have balls but the Count has two, one in the summer and the other in Autumn (I believe you call it Fall).
Hats and headwear The first thing to take into consideration is the time of year and location. If the ball is taking place out of doors, then one would be foolish to wear a hat adorned with real fruit. Lady Dartmouth made this mistake last summer and not only lost her headwear to a family of Rooks but was also left with hair resembling a badger's lair. I would also recommend you avoid stoles, hats, etc., adorned with various animal parts the reason being highlighted by the near fatal shooting incident in 2001 when The Countess Bridgewater almost copped one in the muff.
Undergarments Foundation garments should be both sensible and functional. Normally I would also suggest ‘and easily removed’ but one is hardly likely to ‘get lucky’ at such a social gathering (although, in my case, Lord Smythson's Summer Ball of ’98 proved the exception).
The dress The dress itself should be carefree with the ability to sway when treading the Polka and the shoes both light and comfortable. I would not recommend very high heels for fear of picking up the odd pork pie or such.
One final word of advice, especially applicable if the invitation states Fancy Dress. Do, if possible, avoid changing into your costume prior to your arrival. Lord and Lady Finscatle-Biggs recently attended such a function and decided to appear dressed as a Pantomime cow with her Ladyship providing the rear quarters and his Lordship up front. They decided to park away from the venue, change into their costume, and walk up the driveway suitably attired for maximum effect. Unfortunately, they had to cross a small field which contained a very large bull with obvious signs of interest which made for our clad figures post haste. When asked what they should do, his lordship replied that he would chew grass and her Ladyship should brace herself.
I do hope you find these tips of some use and I would like to thank Josie for giving me the opportunity to pass them on. I am sure more will follow if the interest is there.
The Countess of WEssex
A few more fashion tips from The Countess
"A swan's foot makes an excellent brooch, but to make it more socially acceptable wrap it in foil (it will also last longer)."