8 Things Only Southern Debutantes Understand

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It's party time for Daddy and his little girl.

Steeped in tradition, with an emphasis on gracious manners and beloved rituals, it’s no wonder debutante balls are so often associated with the South, despite originating in Europe and taking place in cities across America today. There is something distinctly Southern about debutante balls—and especially the debutante herself. We Southerners love to celebrate our women, not simply for their beauty and grace, but more importantly for their smarts, wit, and strength (the moniker steel magnolia didn’t originate here for nothing). And for those Southern women who have been through this honored rite of passage, there are certain truths they know are simply undeniable.

  1. Traditions are important and worth honoring, even as the times change.
  2. Dad will always be your No. 1 guy. In a debutante processional, the young woman will walk out on her father’s arm, followed by one or two younger escorts. Consider it a metaphor for life.
  3. Hometown roots are special and deserve to be honored.
  4. A trial run at wearing a wedding dress isn’t a bad idea. Whether a deb plans to wear her dress again at her wedding, or realizes a strapless A-line gown really doesn’t fit her personality, there is definitely some practicality to the white-gown tradition.
  5. Good dancing is a skill that never goes out of style.
  6. Reconnecting with old friends—and meeting new ones—makes all the exhausting formalities more than worth it.

7. A good cause is always good cause for a party—or three. Debutante balls are often sponsored by philanthropic groups and benefit charities or local institutions. A party you can feel good about attending.

8. It’s a blessing crinolines aren’t everyday wear anymore. They’re fun once. An exhausting hassle after that.

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