The Barrayaran dress codes are written and unwritten rules with regard to clothing. The dress code has built in rules or signals indicating the message being given by a person's clothing and how it is worn. This message may include indications of the person's gender, income, occupation and social class, political, ethnic and religious affiliation, attitude and attitude towards comfort, fashion, traditions, gender expression, marital status, sexual availability, and sexual orientation, etc.
On Barrayar, certain types of clothing are worn exclusively or predominantly by either men or women. For example, the wearing of a skirt is associated with female dress, while trousers are associated with male dress. Hairdressing also conforms to a dress code, such as long hair for women and short hair for men. Ethnic (i.e. language-based communities) costumes and styles in clothing and ornament declare membership in a certain village, class, social position within a class, etc. In Barrayaran culture, dress codes are highly codified with essentially fixed definitions, while the more casual and the less formal classifications change very quickly, as fashion trends dictate. In practical use, people wear similar clothing in the same situations. Alternatively, at more formal events where a dress code is specified, invitees wear clothes at the specified level; if some variation is permitted, the host will wear the most formal option to save guests the embarrassment of out-dressing him. Appropriate ethnic or District dress is almost always permitted, as well as military uniforms, which are universally accepted, while Vor House uniforms are accepted within the Vor class.
In the dress codes, there are four wearing classes:
- Ceremonial dress and Court dress
- Full dress
- Half dress
- Cocktail dress
Full dress Edit
Full dress is worn typically for events like weddings or state dinners (for those who do not have an uniform to wear). In slight subordination to court dress and mess dress, Night Dress and Daylight Dress are for prestigious and important social occasions.
The male style of full evening dress (known as "Night Dress") is characterized by black garments and white detailing. The required clothing for men, in the evening, is roughly the following: a dress tailcoat with the collar closed up to the top; formal trousers, uncuffed, with stripes on leg seams; white piqué front shirt; cufflinks and shirt studs; black silk stockings and black patent leather court shoe.
Daylight dress is the daytime formal dress code, consisting chiefly for men of a morning coat with the collar closed up to almost the top (one button unleashed) and cashmere stripes (but non-striped trousers are also widely accepted). Black silk stockings and leather shoes and white spats are also required. A top hat (nowadays replaced by a felt-made hat, especially within new generations), grey gloves, the cane, a pocket watch and a a boutonnière are the required accessories. The boutonnière is replaced with the organization-related insignia, especially if it is an award or a honour insignia.
Men at upper and upper-middle class weddings usually wear their own wear, while lower middle/middle-middle class wear formal "suits", which are usually hired and far more uniforms; therefore, men usually dress in identical, hired, outfits. Women use the ball gown, while foreigners who use tie-based dress, are accepted to wear the White tie or classical morning dress attire.
Half dress Edit
The so-called Half dress is a dress class, indicating clothes worn to semi-formal events (henceforth the name). In the daylight time, the Half dress requires for men a black, closed and tail-less coat with formal trousers. Within the English-speaking community this garment is called "Black Sports Dress". The daylight Half dress is mainly worn within the legal profession, especially by judges or senior lawyers, or by politicians during formal meetings or public appearances, although not for daily work.
For evening wear, the corresponding garment is "Black Nightdress": the specification are about the same of the Nightdress, especially for events in one's home or private club, while the Nightdress remains appropriate for public appearance. Women's dress for Half dress occasions consists of evening shoes and tea length sleeveless evening gown, often accompanied by a wrap and gloves. Younger generations may use ankle length gowns or even a knee-length gown, although this is reserved for young people-only occasions.