9 Steps to Breaking Bread with Ease and Grace

If you have ever been unsure of which bread plate is yours; or whether you are supposed to butter the whole slice of bread. You are not alone. As an etiquette expert many of my clients and friends ask about the etiquette of eating bread and rolls. Here are the steps to take next time you are faced with the challenge of breaking bread.

  1. Your bread plate is the one to the left of your place setting.
  2. Don’t reach; Ask the person closest to the bread basket to pass it to you.
  3. Take the bread or roll and place it on your bread plate.
  4. Ask the person closest to the butter dish to pass it to you.
  5. Using the butter serving utensil (if there is one) or your butter knife (if there is no serving utensil), place some butter on your bread plate.
  6. Rip off a small piece of bread / roll, the appropriate size for one or two bites.
  7. Butter that piece of bread / roll holding it on the plate while spreading the butter.
  8. Eat it with your mouth closed and enjoy!
  9. Repeat…

Use this etiquette for Holiday Dining and Everyday Dining…Happy Holidays!

Hat Etiquette

It’s not just baseball caps anymore… This season hats are hot. They are everywhere and they come in every style for both men and women. Recently clients have asked questions about hat etiquette. So here are a few tips:

In the past when hats were popular there was a distinction between men’s and women’s hats. And each had its own rules of etiquette.

Traditionally men would tip their hats to say hello and they would always be taken off indoors and / or before sitting down at the table to eat.

Women’s hats were considered part of their outfit. They were pinned into their hair so they would stay in place during the day. When socializing inside they would keep their hat on as an accessory, even at the dining table.

These days, hats are worn for function and fashion. As women have adopted men’s hat styles as their own, the line for gender specific hats and etiquette has become grey.

For men the rule remains the same. Please remove your hat or cap when coming inside and always before sitting down at the dining table.

Women should remove their hat if it is for function or if it is a traditional men’s style hat or cap. If the hat has feminine details and forms part of an outfit it may be worn as an inside accessory.

This Hanukah, Christmas and New Year show respect to your family and friends with Hat Etiquette…

Holiday Dressing on a Budget!

For those of us on a budget, holiday dressing can add to the stress of the season. However, there is no need to spend a fortune on holiday clothing. Here are three ways to stick to your budget and still look great!

Choose Versatile Clothing – When you are buying a new holiday outfit, avoid making it too holiday specific. A dress or tie with an embroidered Santa can only be worn during Christmas, and chances are you won’t want to wear it to every party, so it would get very little use.

Look at What You Already Own – Use items that are already in your closet and add inexpensive, current accessories to make them look new. If you have a nice red or green blouse or shirt, for example, you might add some sparkle with a pair of earrings or festive necklace from the current season. For men, it can be as simple as wearing a new tie or a shirt with cuff-links. Pair this with a nice black skirt or pair of slacks to complete the look.

Christmas, Hanukah, New Years… Holidays in general are A Great Time for the Classics – Do not be tempted by trendy holiday outfits, as they can cost a fortune and you will not be able to wear them next season. Save money and get more wear out of your clothing by dressing classically for the holidays. It is the perfect time for the classic little black dress. Use trendy accessories to add interest or glamour.

Follow these strategies look great and to make your holiday dressing just a little easier.

Happy Holidays…

Festive Frocks ~ Select Your Most Flattering Party Dress

Holiday party time is coming fast. As it approaches women everywhere are panicking and asking the same question “How do I choose my most flattering dress this holiday season?” The answer, “choose dress styles with embellishments or volume on the areas you wish to draw attention to or make larger. The rest of the dress should skim the body without adding additional bulk or additional details. Here are four ways to use this information to flatter your figure!

Look slimmer around the middle with a simple, smooth and elongated silhouette that does not emphasize the waistline. Draw attention to other areas of the body or face with details such as beading, ruffles, shirring or seams well above or well below your midsection. V-necks, wrap and off shoulder necklines draw the eye outward at the shoulder making you look slimmer in the middle.

Feel too thin? Add curves to your figure by adding volume to areas you want to look curvier. On the top this can be done with details like puff sleeves, shirring, or ruffles. Avoid necklines that draw attention to your thinnest areas. Dresses with a full gathered skirt will show off a slim waistline and add volume to the hips making them look fuller.

Balance the bottom by adding width to the top. Wide v-necks, plunging necklines, bateau necklines, off shoulder designs and puff sleeves all draw the eye outward at the shoulder. Add volume on top with shirring, gathers and ruffles. Skirts look best when they skim over the hips, not cling.

If shoulders are wide or bust is full keep it simple at the top. Sleeveless styles with narrow V-necks, scoop necks, wrap and asymmetrical necklines work well. Keep this area smooth by avoiding embellishments. Add curve to the bottom half with flared and A-line styles. If the waist is slim, a full gathered skirt will balance the body and accentuate an hourglass shape.

Luckily this season, there is an option for everyone. By analysing your shape and focusing on your assets you can find the perfect dress and flatter your figure this party season.