Throughout your little lady’s childhood and teenage years, there will be social events at different ages where she’ll need a beautiful party dress. The names and types of events will vary depending on where you live. But a couple you may be familiar with is the prom and the end of year formal dance.
Other event names such as the cotillion or debutante ball may also sound familiar. But what exactly do they entail? As the tradition of the cotillion ball continues to grow, here’s everything you need to know.
What Is a Cotillion Ball?
Typically a southern American tradition, a cotillion ball is a season of etiquette classes for middle-school aged children (ages 11 — 13). This season ends with a final dinner-dance where proud parents and teachers gather to watch the participants show off their table manners, conversation etiquette, and dance moves.
Today, while still more prevalent in southern states, it’s an event that has spread to the northern states of America, as well as the UK and Australia.
What Is Taught In Cotillion Classes?
For many people who grow up in the south, cotillion classes are a rite of passage. Today, these classes aren’t usually part of the school curriculum. But they’re still popular today as they’re a great opportunity for children to learn polite manners and habits that are highly valued in society.
Cotillion classes are often held once a week in the season leading up to the ball (some even spread out over a few years). Children are taught various dance styles such as the waltz and foxtrot, as well as the correct etiquette for a variety of situations. Whether it’s learning how to give a firm handshake or to eat properly at the table, these practical skills will come in handy throughout your child’s life.
Cotillion classes often include lessons on character education, such as the importance of honesty and being respectful to elders and peers. So it’s a highly regarded tradition
What Is the Difference between a Cotillion and a Debutante Ball?
While both the cotillion and the debutante ball are important southern American traditions and have a lot in common, there are a few key differences.
Cotillions are more focussed on teaching young people how to be respectful members of society. Debutante balls occurs a few years later — usually between the ages of 16 and 21 — to mark young peoples’ official entry into society. Back in the day, a debutante ball was a symbol of letting others know that a girl was ready for marriage. Today, it’s more about appreciating how she has matured into an adult.
What Should Girls Wear to a Cotillion Ball?
There are a few important details to note about cotillion dresses for 12-year-olds. While the cotillion is a little more casual than the debutante ball, a proper dress is still required. There may even be a set dress code in place. If not, it’s safe to rely on the following guidelines.
At this semi-formal ball, young ladies should wear a calf-to-ankle-length party dress that is appropriate for an evening event. A good rule of thumb is hemlines should be longer than the girl’s fingertips when her arm extends by her side (even while dancing). There should be no backless, strapless, spaghetti straps or halter style dresses. This cotillion dress code shouldn’t be confused with a debutante ball, where a white or cream dress is required, so the colour of the dress is open for you to choose. Browse our designer collection of formal dresses for girls.
Shoes should have an enclosed toe and low heel or they can be dressy flats. White gloves are sometimes required to make it easier to dance with different partners.
At David Charles Childrenswear, we offer a beautiful collection of girls party dresses which are suitable for a cotillion ball. View our summer and winter collection, depending on your little lady’s cotillion season.
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