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Mama Deb
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Mama Deb [userpic]
Question of Orthodox Jewish etiquette

I've been invited to a sheva brachos.*

I've been to sheva brachos in the past, but they've all been fannish/casual to one degree or another, so work-level clothing worked fine (or was even more than required.) Or were on Shabbat, so, you know, Shabbat clothes worked fine.

But this is on a weekday night.

What do I wear? Especially since I'll probably be leaving for it right after work?

It's taking place in someone's home. They're not terribly formal people, so that's probably a clue.

I can wear

1. Slightly nicer than usual work-clothes (skirt and sweater)
2. Shabbos type clothing (wool skirt, sweater set, necklace)
3. Slightly casual suit (for which I need to find the skirt. :))
4. Fancier suit that I would need to bring and change into at work.

All would be worn with a matching/coordinating headscarf.

I'm leaning towards number 2 given everything.

* Sheva brachos are a week of dinner parties held after a wedding in honor of the bride and groom. The same seven blessings (sheva brachot) that are said under the wedding canopy are said during the grace after the meal. It's a way of spreading the celebration throughout the community. Each dinner party must have a minyan and each minyan must have at least one man who has not been to either the wedding or previous sheva brachot. It is only after this week that a couple will go on honeymoon, and they may well postpone it even further.


I have absolutely no experience on this and am only taking a stab in the dark, but I would say #2 too. It's unlikely to be "overdressed" but shows that you've made an effort.

Am starting to think that perhaps it's a pity dress code is no longer a given on invitations...

I'd also go with #2. (As a less-observant person, I tend to go for more-formal when attending Orthodox events anyway, erring on the side of caution.)

Most of the sheva brachot I've been to have been far from formal, even though the people weren't fannish :-). I'd think 2 would be good no matter what; nice enough even if others are more formal, not so elaborate that if others are very casual you'll feel out of place. Though you'd likely be able to do 1 as well.

I suppose it depends on the type of people hosting it and attending. For example - I'm clothing shopping for my own sheva brachot. At the one held by my friends, I'll be wearing much more casual clothes than the ones held by N's parents friends - because that's what everyone else will be wearing, too.

I'd go for number 2.

I would do #1. (Because of what you said about them not being terribly formal people.) But everyone else seems to think #2, so maybe that is better.

That's pretty much what I was thinking. It also depends on how formal (style-wise) the couple themselves tend to be.

It's better to be overdressed than underdressed. But I think a tiara would be a bit overdoing it.

When is it - tonight? Because if so, then this is a little late :)
If not, I would say in between 1 and 2. There is no need for suits, especially fancy suits, as it is in their home. I wore suits for my own sheva brachot, but for my sister's, I wore sweaters and skirts.
You can get away with a blouse/sweater/sweater set on top, and a nice skirt on the bottom.
Things tend to me looser and more casual when it is in someone's house, rather than a restaurant (or a hall - my cousin had one of her sheva brachot in a hall in Boro Park - that required a suit). It's more personal and intimate. It also tends to be more crowded so if you have something you wouldn't want to get splashed with something off a serving tray as it passes, I wouldn't wear it.
I wouldn't wear a sweatshirt with a jean skirt, but otherwise, anything goes really. I hope this long winded answer helps.
Mazal tov!

3. Slightly casual suit (for which I need to find the skirt. :))

Depending on why it's casual, I'd go for this one. In my community, the standard was to wear a Rosh Chodesh outfit, but I know you said that people in your community don't dress up for Rosh Chodesh.