The rules: What to wear to the unofficial inaugural balls
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: Kimonos like the one shown here, holoku gowns, lava-lava, 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
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
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 &mdash’ on the Left Bank — slippers and maybe even a velvet robe.” — Actress, author and event hostess Carrie Fisher
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
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
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] its just as easy to conjure up a white tie as black tie and its after 6 p.m. so we decided 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