Hats off! Or…on?

Never mind the sun-shielding practicality of most hats. Hats can make an outfit. They can dress you up or down, or just hide the fact that you haven’t showered in a while. Whatever the topper you choose, mind these Ps and Qs.

Knowing when and where hats are appropriate is a matter of respect, and there is a bit of history to it! According to Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th Edition, the removal of a hat was not just for better eye contact. It states: “When a man of lesser rank entered the dwelling of a person of higher rank, he removed his hat or helmet. Baring his head was a sign of vulnerability and showed that he posed no threat, essentially acknowledging that the person of higher rank had power over him.” Going up the chain of command, the king would leave his crown on, unless attending Church, acknowledging the spiritual authority.

That’s where we get the saying, “Hats off to you!” It means you are saluting someone or showing admiration.

EP’s 18th also has an awesome chart detailing the whens and the wheres of hat etiquette for men and women, which inspired my super-distilled cheat sheet for happy hat wearing:

There are always exceptions, and as Emily Post explains, women’s “fashion hats” do not apply to all of these situations. Thank goodness, because I’d very much dislike taking off a fancy fascinator every time I met someone new at a friend’s wedding.

The type of hat also comes into play. For instance, it’s a good idea to avoid wearing a baseball cap to the office or on formal occasions – out of respect to the workplace or the hosts/occasion. I must admit I’ve worn a baseball cap into many a casual dining establishment, because the alternative would not have been pretty. It’s always good to know what’s polite…but I will not pretend disguising bedhead doesn’t outweigh proper etiquette sometimes.

On a visit to Charleston, South Carolina, my husband and I stopped into the Goorin Bros. hat shop off King Street. I left with the Lady Eileen hat, which I’ve been able to enjoy on a few sunny and cool days in Florida this season. The Goorin Bros. hats make me want to jump back in time (or onto the set of Downton Abbey). Founded in 1985 in Pittsburgh, Goorin Bros. has a friendly and knowledgeable staff which made the experience more like buying a wedding dress than a hat. Check them out the next time you are near one of their locations!

And now for gratuitous hat photos along with some Charleston beauty shots from our trip!




It’s My Prerogative (Netiquette: Part 2)

Guest blogger Sarah Marie Powell shares more helpful netiquette advice that will have you bopping to Bobby Brown while freshening up Facebook:

While researching for last month’s Courteous Contradictions post, I came across some social-network-life-changing information in the 18th Edition of Etiquette. The good people at the Emily Post Institute reminded me of an important fact: It’s MY page.

As long as it’s done in a tactful manner, there is no reason to feel guilty for unfriending or unfollowing someone. Likewise, if someone unfriends or unfollows you, you shouldn’t take that act personally. The world of social media is growing everyday – every minute. It’s your prerogative to mold your experience to be exactly what you want. Remember those you follow affect your online reputation just as much as the words and images you personally post.

Now I’d like to hear from you, OMGG readers. What issues have you encountered in the unfriending zone? How did you handle them? What other netiquette tips do you have? I look forward to your comments!





Gentlemanly Gestures

This Valentine’s Day and every day, date and opportunity, men are faced with a choice: whether to open doors and hold chairs for ladies or not.  My heart still melts a teeny bit every time my husband makes the gentlemanly effort, and I shouldn’t take it for granted. When running errands the other day, Josh walked around to my side of the car to open the door, and a woman nearby could clearly be seen mouthing “that’s so cute!” We both know I can open my own door, but it’s a charming little throwback I’ll take any day.

Even when romance wasn’t rosy, Don treated Betty like a lady. {Photo credit: Mad Men}

While I welcome the gesture and appreciate it, every modern woman is different. Some find it outdated. To prevent awkwardness in a budding relationship, it’s helpful to communicate that preference clearly and early. Guys, you can clarify by simply asking your date if she’d mind you extending such a courtesy. If she accepts, you’re potentially in for a lifetime of gentlemanly gestures. WWEPD? See below:




A Broken Invisibility Cloak

I am excited to share the latest Courteous Contradictions guest post by Sarah Marie Powell! Her online etiquette advice rings true in our fast-paced, high-tech world. Personally, I fell short of polite in this area this week and totally e-gret it. This is a great reminder to keep words kind, in person and online. ~Allison

Happy 2013, OMGG readers! I hope each of your years is off to a fabulous start that continues throughout its entirety. How many of you made resolutions as the clock struck twelve? How many of you have already broken them…? Eeek! I’m not usually one to make resolutions; however this year, I decided to give it a whirl. In 2013, I want to try to be kinder. I talk about etiquette, manners, etc. all the time, but I often find myself contradicting my courteous rules in my everyday actions. That being said, my first post of the year is about netiquette – online etiquette. Seeing as the Internet is where I spend most of my time (Wait, maybe that is what I should try to change…), I figure that’s a good place to start practicing my resolution!

If I had to guess, I’d say most of you are just like me in that most of your time is spent on one or more of the following: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Linkedin, email, and/or various blogs. Maybe you actually do some work online, too. (*wink!*) With so much time spent online these days, it’s really important to remember to invest in time spent with actual humans, but that’s for another post. (Seriously, though – put your phone/tablet/computer down.) While the Internet can be a beautiful thing, it can also bring out the beast in each and every one of us. See, we all fall into the same trap at one time or another: we believe our screens are an invisibility cloak. Well, friends, that cloak is broken. You are more visible than ever on the World Wide Web. While it is possible to press “delete,” nothing really ever goes away. I have no idea how it’s possible, but just Google “Tara Conner” for proof. This isn’t just about making sure you don’t post racy photos, folks. While that should be common sense, it should also be a given that we should treat others with the same respect we expect them to use when posting about us.

Take it from the Emily Post Institute (Emily Post’s Etiquette – 18th Edition, p.240):

Whether you’re sending an email, commenting on a blog, or writing on a friend’s Facebook page, three key considerations will help you communicate politely and effectively:
1. Human contact still matters.
2. Watch what you say – and how you say it.
3. Be careful when clicking “Send.”

To help all of us remember the importance of netiquette this year and always, I’ve come up with an acrostic (props to Mandy Handley for helping me remember that word!):





My Pleasure

“No problem” was once part of my everyday vocabulary. During a work event a few years ago, someone thanked me for doing something that was part of my job, to which I responded, “no problem!” A polite event attendee came up to me privately not long after and explained something that has forever changed my perception of that phrase.

She pointed out, ever-so-tactfully, that a better response would have been, “my pleasure.” Why would there be any chance it would be a problem? Still getting used to this mental shift (Whoa! She’s right!), my next response was not so smooth. I recall that it came out something like, “No. Uh. No, no…MY PLEASURE!” I’ve improved since then.

It may not always be noticed or appreciated, but a simple, “my pleasure” is a warmer response when someone thanks you for something, whether it’s service-related (Chick-fil-A makes great use of it) or while hosting guests in your own home. A short, sweet and sincere “you’re welcome” is also underrated – sometimes that’s the only thing necessary when you’re thanked for an act of kindness or thoughtfulness. Rather than explaining how little effort it was, accept the thanks. Someone appreciated your actions.

I am not one to tell others never to do or say this or that… Trying to do things by the book all the time can just make you frazzled. If a “no problem” pops out from time to time, it truly is no problem, but it’s good to be aware of better response options. I am glad a polite person shared this tip with me, so I’m passing it right along. Best bet: just be kind, considerate and natural.




‘Tis the Season to be Thankful!

Guest post by Oh My Goodness Gracious friend Sarah Marie Powell!

This is an important post, folks! You’ll thank me in the end! We are now fully submerged in the most beautiful of seasons. If you’re a procrastinator (like me), the beauty may be lost on you at this point, but it will show itself soon enough! During this hectic time of decorating, baking, caroling, gifting, and getting, it’s important to remember how blessed we all are to have these “first world problems.” It’s important to say thanks.

Way back when, handwritten thank-you notes were borderline required upon receiving a gift. Certainly, they were expected. Nowadays, our selfish generation (okay, my selfish generation) has completely forgotten how cherished these simple notes can be. This holiday season, I charge you to take the time to write a note or two. I promise it isn’t so hard to do. To make the painstaking process easier, I’ve written a formula. Feel free to use and share it. I’m sure I’ll be famous for it one day….

Make it special…

  • If someone gives you stationery as a gift, write your note on a piece of it.
  • Include a photo, if appropriate. Example: My boyfriend’s aunt and uncle always let the two of us use their home as a hotel when we travel to Tampa. When I send their note, I like to include pictures of our trip.
  • Fit your stationery to the gift received. Example: If someone gave you tickets to an athletic event, use team-specific notes!

There are also situations that probably don’t require a full thank-you note but still beg for some sort of thanks. Find creative ways to say thank you, like (but not limited to!) these:

  • Scenario 1:A co-worker surprised you this morning with a treat from Starbucks.
    • When you finish the drink, write a quick note on the cardboard sleeve, and put it on his/her desk!
  • Scenario 2: A friend/family member sends you a Christmas/holiday card
    • Shoot them an email, IM them, tweet about it, or post a note on their Facebook wall!
  • Scenario 3: A friend whisks you away from your overflowing to-do list for drinks/dinner.
    • Tweet, Instagram, or “mupload” a photo to Facebook, publicly proclaiming how thankful you are for him/her!

Finally, I can’t do an OMGG blog post without referencing my beloved Emily Post. Here are some thank-you tips from the 18th edition of Etiquette:

Oh My Goodness Goodies: Superb Stationery Sources

  • Kate Spade: Her “All Occasion” note set (available via Papyrus) is a great staple to ensure you’re never at a loss for words.
  • Traylor Papers is a treasure for personalization addicts. Be sure to check out the Kids section for fantastic fill-in-the-blank options!
  • Snapfish is a one-stop-shop for incorporating photos into your stationery library. This extra step of personalization is a great addition to notes sent from the entire family!
  • May Designs is my new favorite. My dear friends, Helen and Charlie, recently surprised me with a pack of notes, and I simply can’t get enough!
  • Be sure to check out local paper/gift shops for fun ideas, too!





Happy Note-giving!

It’s officially November, and giving thanks is a reason to feast later this month. But giving thanks should always remain high on the to-do list, including showing gratitude through handwritten thank you notes.

I have quite a few thank you notes to write, and am grateful to have so many reasons to write them. I hope you enjoy these two quotes as much as I did – one a reminder, and the other a sweet sentiment. Happy Note-giving!




From Afar at the Bar

Great Question from Angela C.:
What do you do when you walk into a bar with a friend and see another group of friends you did not intend to meet up with and who do not know the friend you are with? How do you acknowledge the group appropriately without joining them? Can you even do that? This has happened to me a couple of times, and I always find it awkward either for me or the friend who doesn’t know the larger group.

Oh My Goodness Gracious Advice:
It is most polite to acknowledge the group, but how and when you do this depends on how crowded the bar is and how far away the group is from your location. If the group is so far away that it would be awkward to immediately head over to them, a friendly wave and smile would be polite until there is a comfortable opportunity to quickly say hello (like on your way to or from the restroom or to the bartender).

Try walking up briefly to the larger group, saying how great it is to see them and that you are there catching up with so and so. If they ask you to join them, thank them but explain you are spending some quality time with someone and look forward to getting together again soon – they should respect that.

If you introduce your one friend to the larger group, it would be polite to chat for a few minutes, then, explain, “It was great seeing all of you, and I am glad you got to meet so and so. We’re going to head back to our table/booth/wherever and catch up, but let’s get together soon…” If your friend seems comfortable hanging with the larger group, stay a while! But continue to be considerate of his or her comfort level.

Keep them coming! Questions can be submitted through the contact form.