"The President of the United States and his wife, are, by courtesy, the first lady and gentlemen in the land; and this courteous designation is given them irrespective of personal party or feeling, and is in every consonance with the republican idea that it is the office, and not the incumbent, to which obeisance is offered. … To day receptions, ladies wear visiting toilettes, and gentlemen morning dress. At an evening reception, evening dress only is good form.”
Good Manners (Butterick Publishing Company: New York, 1888)
This post was inspired by today's news bit, which refers to the enforcement of a dress code for White House visitors. Odd as it may seem, I applaud this effort! Of course, there will always be "bigger fish to fry" in Washington, but can't we all just insist on a basic level of respect, and an acknowledgement that it isn't just another trip to the beach? Is it too much to ask that people simply put a little thought into what they wear when they plant themselves in such impressive, historic surroundings?
Clearly, this was on the minds of at least one author in 1888. I'm glad to see that this is a discussion worth having in 2007.
See this video for some "man on the street" comments. What do you think?