CRACK THE DRESS CODE

How to nail the art of get­ting changed for din­ner

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - TRAVEL WISDOM CRUISING - HE­LEN HUTCHEON

Ama­jor sell­ing point for sea hol­i­days is that you only have to un­pack once. But what to pack? The dilemma of what to wear to din­ner and, it seems, just as im­por­tantly, what fel­low pas­sen­gers will be wear­ing, faces everyone as they pre­pare to pack for a cruise.

Each day at sea, the dress code is pub­lished in the ship’s news­pa­per, usu­ally de­liv­ered to your cabin the night be­fore, but ob­vi­ously it’s too late then if you have for­got­ten some­thing you need.

When I worked as a jour­nal­ist in the pub­lic re­la­tions depart­ment of what was P&O-Ori­ent Lines in Syd­ney in the early ’60s it was all so easy.

That was the golden age of cruis­ing in Aus­tralia when first class re­ally was first class.

In those days you knew there would be many for­mal nights, when men wore din­ner suits, women long gowns and the Bri­tish of­fi­cers mess jackets with dec­o­ra­tions.

I trav­elled around Aus­tralia, com­per­ing fash­ion shows of ship­board wardrobes in depart­ment stores that are no longer with us, such as Farmer’s in Syd­ney and Boans in Perth.

I also wrote a pam­phlet called A Woman’s World at Sea that said: “Know­ing what to wear when on the high seas, you’re sure to have a won­der­ful trip.”

One of my help­ful hints would up­set an­i­mal lib­bers today: “Don’t for­get a lit­tle fur wrap or woollen stole for af­ter-dance deck-strolling.”

There was lots of fur then and lots of deck-strolling.

A woman from New York who I met on a cruise had se­ri­ous jew­ellery.

“I would prob­a­bly be mugged if I

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