This section of the book is from the "Household Companion: The Home Book Of Etiquette" book.
Ladies may wear as handsome dresses as they wish, and make their fullest display of jewelry. As everything about a ball-room should be light and attractive, it is in order for elderly ladies, who do not dance, to wear dresses more youthful in style and color than would be suitable for dinner, concert, or opera. For those who dance, silk dresses are, as a rule, objectionable.
Flowers are the proper ornaments for the head and dress. French ladies select them with reference to the season; but this is not insisted on in this country, and summer flowers may be worn at Christmas.
Indies in deep mourning should not dance, even if they permit themselves to attend a ball. Should they do so, black and scarlet or violet is the proper wear. Where the mourning is sufficiently slight for dancing to be seemly, white, with mauve, violet or black trimmings, flounces, etc., is proper.
White gloves befit the ball-room; in mourning they may be sewn with black. They should be faultless as to fit, and never be removed from the hands in the ballroom.
The attire in which a gentleman can present himself in a ball-room is so rigorously defined, and admits of so little variety, that it can be described in a few words.
He must wear a black dress coat, black trousers, and a black waistcoat; a white necktie, white kid gloves, and patent leather boots. The waistcoat should be low, so as to disclose an ample shirt-front, fine and delicately plaited; it is better not embroidered, but small gold studs may be used with effect. Excess of jewelry is to be avoided. The necktie should be of a washing texture, not silk, and not set off with embroidery.