Before it’s all over, a few lessons from a weekend of inaugural ball hopping

January 21, 2013

The oath of office has been administered, the parade is underway and we've reached the denouement of another presidential inauguration weekend. But a few big galas remain tonight, including the Commander in Chief's Ball and the Inaugural Ball, so for some, it's too early to return the tux.


Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post

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Whether you're donning the formalwear one more time or heading somewhere more casual -- the Every Man's Inauguration Ball at Penn Social, BYT's Inauguration Spectacular at Bohemian Caverns, the Brewers Ball at ChurchKey -- heed these lessons from the past two nights of ball hopping:

• It's okay if you don't know how to tie a bowtie. Try this video first, and if you still can't get it to look right, hands-on help is available at Pentagon City and Tysons Corner from 5 to 8:30 p.m.

• Men are probably more likely to procrastinate on wardrobe than women, so if you're still not sure what to wear, a) Sir, get your act together and b) read this fast. Tl;dr: Don’t be the guy in the wacky “colorful” cummerbund-and-tie combo.

• Perhaps the official inaugural balls will buck this trend, but the general mood at functions around town feels more like New Year's Eve than the 2009 inauguration. Bonus: You don't even have to stay up until midnight if you don't want to!

• Small bills are your friend. We're talking about denominations smaller than $20 here. You'll be less likely to get scolded by surly cab drivers.

• Another good reason to carry small bills? Tips! Tip. Your. Bartenders. Especially at an open bar. Cannot stress this enough.

• If for some reason your party host has provided an inaugural ice luge, avoid it at all costs. There's a flu going around.

• Why yes, that is Soundgarden.

• Finally, remember to hydrate. Tomorrow's a work day, people.

Alex Baldinger is editor of the Going Out Guide blog, which covers food, drink, arts, music, events and other curiosities in the D.C. area. He is forever in search of a great sandwich.
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Alex Baldinger · January 21, 2013