By Adam Tschorn
January 18, 2009
But the first inauguration since the rules of black tie went a la carte has brought some creative twists among the dozens of official and unofficial inaugural balls on tap. Among the more noteworthy dress codes for a handful of the unofficial parties in and around D.C.:
Black Tie & Boots Inaugural Ball
Host: Texas State Society of Washington, D.C.
Venue: Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center
Crowd: The outgoing administration and friends get together on the last full day of the George W. Bush presidency (the ball will be held Monday).
Dress code: "Texas black tie"
Which means: Nicely pressed Western jeans, cowboy boots and a tuxedo jacket for guys, formal gowns or cocktail dresses -- with boots -- for women
Quote of note: "A lot of times you'll see men with tuxedos where the vest is a Texas flag. I've seen women in sequined dresses that are the Texas flag. Sometimes there can be some pretty hideous fashion too -- lots of feathers and fur and hot pink, because the people in Texas like to do it up right." -- Jenifer Sarver, Texas State Society historian
Hawaii State Society Inaugural Ball
Host: Hawaii State Society of Washington, D.C.
Venue: Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Crowd: Officials, supporters and home-state ohana(family) hoping for a presidential pop-in
Dress code: Black tie or "formal ethnic attire"
Which means: Holoku gowns, lava-lava, kimonos or accenting that tuxedo with an aloha-print bow tie and matching cummerbund. Guests can accessorize with the floral leis provided.
Quote of note: "We came to the conclusion black tie would be the most appropriate so it's not perceived as a party or a luau but as a very formal, elegant affair to honor the president." -- Ball chairman Micah Kohono Mossman
Lincoln 2.0 Inaugural Ball
Host: Destination DC
Venue: Smithsonian American Art Museum
Crowd: Professional period re-enactors, history buffs, steampunk aficionados
Dress code: "Black tie preferred, Victorian attire welcome"
Which means: Bust out the beaver toppers, spats, corsets, hoop skirts and assorted laces.
Quote of note: "There are a bunch of professional Abraham Lincoln re-enactors out there, and we expect that a handful of them will show up in the full outfit with the beard and the top hat and everything." -- Carla Barry-Austin, media relations manager for Destination DC
Obama Pajama Party
Host: Carrie Fisher and friends
Venue: Ronald Reagan Building
Crowd: Supporters of a nonprofit group that gives sleep togs to needy kids
Dress code: "Pajamas or black tie / nightgown or ball gown"
Which means: Pinstriped pj's, bunny slippers under ball gowns, adult-sized footed jammies, and for the more fashion forward, may we suggest Dolce & Gabbana's spring 2009 pajama-party collection?
Quote of note: "Absolutely I'm wearing pajamas [to the party]! I wish I could wear pajamas everywhere. I spend a lot of my life in bed, which sounds a lot more sensual than it is. . . . I'll probably wear this sort of pale green nightgown that I got from a store in Paris called Sabbia Rosa -- on the Left Bank -- slippers and maybe even a velvet robe." -- Actress, author and event host Carrie Fisher
State Society of Arizona Inaugural Ball
Host: State Society of Arizona
Venue: The Historical Society of Washington, D.C.
Crowd: Expatriates of the Grand Canyon State and a handful of unhappy John McCain supporters
Dress code: Black tie or bolo tie
Which means: Feel free to swap out a traditional bow tie for the Western-style shoelace tie that's been the state's official neckwear since 1971.
Quote of note: "A suit is OK if you don't have a tux. We really don't want people to show up in jeans and khakis, but at this point, unless you show up nude, we'll probably let you in." -- Katie Vlietstra, inaugural ball chairwoman
Host: Chris "Ludacris" Bridges
Venue: Thurgood Marshall Ballroom, Marriott Wardman Hotel
Crowd: Millennials, first-time voters and hip-hop music fans
Dress code: "Dress to impress; but no jeans, no hoodies, no sneakers or ball caps will be allowed."
Which means: Dressy wear from Sean John to Juicy Couture, four-button suits, diamond ear studs.
Quote of note: "This is definitely a formal ball. I think Ludacris will be wearing a tuxedo, for example, but the young kids who voted for the first time take more risks in their attire. We expect they'll come out wearing their finest in their own way." -- Komeka Freeman, associate producer, American Music Inaugural Balls
Second Life Capitol Hill Inaugural Ball
Host: Clear Ink
Venue: Your computer
Crowd: Silicon Valley poli-sci wonks, RPG programmers and former D&D gamers
Dress code: "White tie"
Which means: White vest, white bow tie and black tailcoat for men, floor-length evening gowns for women.
Quote of note: "In Second Life [an on-line virtual community] it's just as easy to conjure up a white tie as black tie and it's after 6 p.m. so we de- cided to go fancy.. .. .. . If we really have a problem with someone [dressed inappropriately] on the dance floor, we can always click on their avatar and reject them." -- Steve Nelson, co-founder and sponsor of Capitol Hill Second Life.
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