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June 12, 2008 8:55 AM   Subscribe

Formal attire for a wedding in Baltimore?

I'm going to a wedding in Baltimore, and the invitation specified "Formal Attire." I've noticed that within the United States, the definition of formal varies by region. In New York and Boston, black tie optional means that almost all women wear long dresses (the option being that men can wear a tux or a suit). However, I just went to a black tie optional wedding in Chicago and was suprised to find that almost all of the female guests were wearing cocktail (short) dresses.
I don't know anyone else attending the upcoming wedding in Baltimore, and I'd prefer to blend in rather than stick out.

So, to those familiar with the Baltimore/DC region...what should a woman wear to a formal attire event?
posted by emd3737 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is it for the evening or day?

In any case, as you've found, we hardly have strictly codified and enforced standards of dress any more. Technically, "formal" doesn't even mean much - "white tie", "black tie", "morning dress", whatever, are all categories within "formal".

Baltimore is neither superformal nor supercasual (DC is a world unto itself, and depending on the circles you run in "formal" could mean cocktail dresses or those awful beaded-top full-skirted politician's wife gowns). The main thing to remember is that it's hot in Baltimore, really muggy even into the evening. I'd say go for a cocktail dress in a nice fabric, maybe with a little embellishment, or a simple, unfussy, straight-skirted long dress and great shoes.
posted by peachfuzz at 9:10 AM on June 12, 2008

It's always better to be overdressed than under-. Go with a long dress.
posted by kittyprecious at 9:10 AM on June 12, 2008

Response by poster: Afternoon ceremony, evening reception at the World Trade Center.
posted by emd3737 at 9:53 AM on June 12, 2008

I've been to receptions there before . . . quite nice! I'll second the recommendation for a long dress, dark in color, in a lightweight fabric. Though you'll likely be indoors, Baltimore can get quite hot and humid in the summers, so plan accordingly. You can look forward to some amazing views of the Harbor area from the World Trade Center, especially if the timing coincides with the sunset. Enjoy the wedding!
posted by galimatias at 10:36 AM on June 12, 2008

We're not too formal. A cocktail dress should be appropriate, because no one in their right mind would wear a long dress in Baltimore in the summer.
posted by electroboy at 10:48 AM on June 12, 2008

In terms of everybody warning you about the weather: while it likely won't be too much hotter/more humid than the hottest few Boston summer days, just don't expect it to cool off much at night like it does up here.

(You may also look forward to some amazing smells of the Harbor area, depending on the tide)
posted by Dr.Enormous at 10:52 AM on June 12, 2008

I think you can pretty much count on Baltimore being 10-15 degrees hotter than Boston.
posted by electroboy at 11:24 AM on June 12, 2008

As sondria wisely instructed, 'tis best to ask.
(And budget ample time for parking-- the whole Inner Harbor is a zoo, especially in the summer...
perhaps you should park in Federal Hill and take a 5 minute cab-ride to the venue...?)
posted by Dizzy at 11:36 AM on June 12, 2008

> I think you can pretty much count on Baltimore being 10-15 degrees hotter than Boston.

On average, yes. But the afternoons of the hottest few days up here (it cools off in the evening) are essentially identical to those of Bmore, and a good point of reference for choice of attire for somebody who isn't from the area.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 11:55 AM on June 12, 2008

(...or perhaps I should shut up and let you run your own life...?)
posted by Dizzy at 11:56 AM on June 12, 2008

Well, either way, it's not uncommon for it to reach 100 down here in July and August with the humidity in the 80-90% range. So, generally count on being uncomfortable.
posted by electroboy at 12:13 PM on June 12, 2008

i think a beautiful short dress with dark hose would be perfectly acceptable. you almost never see ballgowns except at the swankiest of affairs (like, inaugural balls).

alternatively, you could do a long, simple dress in matte jersey. with beautiful jewelry, it would fit in well with either ballgowns or cocktail dresses.

(but then, i have a horror of long satin dresses....they always remind me of pageants or proms...)
posted by thinkingwoman at 12:34 PM on June 12, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the tips, everyone! I've never been to Baltimore so all your info is helpful.
I'll probably bring both a long dress and a short one, and if it's over 90 degrees, I'll definitely wear the shorter one.
posted by emd3737 at 1:40 PM on June 12, 2008

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