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What do you wear to a debutante ball?

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Quick Answer

The debutante should wear a long white gown with gloves to her debutante ball, while other attendees should wear formal attire. Since a debutante ball is considered to be a very formal, black tie affair, anyone attending the event should dress accordingly. This means tuxedos for men and formal ball gowns for women.

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Full Answer

Debutante balls are also referred to as cotillion balls or coming out parties. They are a means to introduce a young lady who has reached the age of maturity to society. They were traditionally thrown by upper-class families and have since moved toward the ball being a charity event with the price of tickets going toward the designated charity.

Steeped in tradition, and popular not only in the United States but over the entire world, the debutante ball is a highly formal affair. Because of this, the dress code for the event is quite strict. Since the debutante herself is the guest of honor, she is the only female permitted to wear white. If her gown is strapless or has a cap sleeve, her gloves must be elbow length. The dress is usually accessorized with simple pearls, white shoes and a crinoline. The debutante's father and escort(s) are expected to wear a white tie and tails tuxedo. Her mother should wear a formal, elegant, floor-length evening gown.

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