from The Essential Paradise.
Dress code Edit
As compared with Europe or the Americas, dress standards in the Paradise Islands appear, in the main, extremely lax. The uninitiated visitor may assume that anyone may wear anything for any occasion. This assessment is in error, however, as there is an inherent structure for deportment in the islands.
The following may represent a general guideline to the minimum acceptable standards of dress for ladies and gentlemen past the age of puberty engaging in social conduct in the territory. These standards are by no means definitive for all occasions, not are they rigidly enforced by law; however, Paradisians thrive on their decorum and compliance to established conventions in attire is the marque of social acceptance. Though there will be few activities for which the average visitor will find ‘casual’ or what is known as ‘public’ attire out of place, one should attempt to discern the appropriate dress for the occasion at had and follow custom as closely as is practicable.
Eight classifications of dress are listed below, in descending order of formality, with suggested range of attire for each.
Formal attire Edit
The following are rigidly stipulated for specific occasions, the nature of which permit little departure:
Formal (aka ‘evening wear’) Edit
- Gentlemen: Tuxedo suit (black), bow tie, black stockings and waist-sash, tuxedo shirt (white), tuxedo shoes.
- Ladies: Evening gown, hose, high heels, hair worn up.
There are few occasion for which the tourist shall need ‘formal’ attire. Excepting exclusive functions, the theatres and premier restaurants typically do not request even ‘semiformal’ dress; in fact most which post ‘proper dress required’ will admit gentlemen without neckties and women in open-shoulder or sleeveless dresses. (Most church congregations will frown on gentlemen in short trousers and women in tops or dresses without sleeves or shoulders.)
Occasions for 'white tie' are extremely rare, generally reserved for invited attendance to visits by the royal family.
- Gentlemen: Seasonal suit, dress shirt, necktie, stockings, dress shoes. (Waistcoat, hat optional.)
- Ladies: Cocktail dress, hose, high heels, hair worn up
- Gentlemen: Business suit, white shirt, necktie, stockings, Oxford-type shoes.
- Ladies: Business suit, closed-neck blouse/shirt, hose, sensible heels, hair worn up.
Nonformal attire Edit
The following admit of a variety in suitable solutions and rank in a sort of hierarchy; when in doubt the prudent shall be attired toward the upper end of the list or within the appropriate code
- Gentlemen: dress shirt, necktie, long trousers, coat, stockings, polished leather/leather-substitute shoes
- Ladies: blouse and skirt/closed-shoulder dress with sleeves, brassiere or equivalent, hose, sensible heels
- Gentlemen: collared shirt, long trousers or dress shorts, stockings, soft-soled shoes
- Ladies: collared blouse and skirt/closed-shoulder dress, brassiere, soft-soled shoes
The Paradise Ministry of Education specify ‘casual attire’ for secondary-school students, though there are further regulations regarding the general conditions of articles of clothing and especially the length of girls’ skirts or dresses.
- Gentlemen: pullover or t-shirt, short trousers, footwear.
- Ladies: pullover, tanktop or t-shirt, shorts or skirt, footwear; alternatively off-shoulder or strapless dress or top
Permissible attire Edit
'Private' attire is generally reserved for nonpublic occasions, such as closed parties. However younger people often prefer 'private' attire for active pursuits, generally well away from tourists' eyes.
- Gentlemen: short trousers or swimsuit, footwear
- Ladies: ‘appropriately modest’ lingerie (i.e., briefies and camisole), footwear.
When party announcements suggest ‘private’ attire, this is generally accepted as an open invitation with regard to mode of dress. The attire of respondents to such invitations may be expected to range the full gamut of this list.
The extreme in informal attire is that of the beaches and public-frolic areas.
- Gentlemen: swimsuit, including bikini-style
- Ladies: swimsuit (at least bottom half), including bikini/thong style.
With a wealth of recreational areas in the territory and the locals’ traditional love of outdoor activity, persons are often seen in exceptionally reduced states of dress. Though not expressly addressed here, there are places where full nudity is perfectly acceptable. Visitors are ever welcome and encouraged to participate appropriately according to their inclination but should be aware that an unspoken standard concerning the more informal modes of attire is always observed: the more enclosed the establishment, the more clothed its patrons are expected to be. Nevertheless in practice there are often exceptions, even to this. Paradise is, after all, Paradise.
* * *