Diplomatic Incidents: Decoding Dress Codes in the Modern Age
in Diplomatic Incidents, How-Tos

Diplomatic Incidents: Dress Codes in the Modern Age

Ah, dress codes. Those vague yet utterly nerve-wracking bits of information at the bottom of every invitation. It also means a little different in certain parts of the world – mostly depending on how laid back a certain country is.

I believe in dressing up well for an event as a sign of good manners. It shows respect towards the host. It also makes sure you don’t embarrass yourself the moment you step into the venue.

In this post, I’d be sharing my cheat sheet on how I pick my clothes. My husband picks his but always asks for my advice so I’d put some of those for the males here as well.


This basically means there’s no dress code. However, if the invitation comes from a colleague of my husband’s (either from the same embassy or a different one), I make sure to dress a little professionally. Nothing too revealing and nothing too sporty – unless the invite is for an activity that requires such clothes.

I would normally take this as ‘Comfortable Clothing’ with the lightest touch of professional.

For him: A polo shirt with jeans that can either be denim or khaki plus loafers.

For her: A simple dress, no shorter than two inches above the knee. Finish it off with some ballet flats.

Business Casual / Smart Casual

In a nutshell: It’s what I’d wear to the office if I had a corporate job.

For him: A dress shirt, a seasonal sport coat, slacks, and either dress shoes or loafers. Tie, optional.

For her: A shift dress paired with some kitten heels and a blazer. You can also opt for dress pants and a trendy top. Sometimes, I’ll also go for a button down shirt or a chiffon top paired with either a skirt (plus points when I use t’nalak) or some skinny slacks.


This is the one people aren’t always sure about and people often find themselves either over or under dressed. I like to do a little bit of research whenever we get an invite that says semi-formal. Things to take into consideration: The country you’re in. Is it laid back? Are they more particular to dress codes? Who’s hosting the event and how do they usually dress?

For him: A dark suit and a tie plus dress shoes.

For her: You will never go wrong with the classic Little Black Dress (LBD). I usually wear it with heels and carry an eye-catching clutch. There are also events when I like to incorporate a little bit of Filipiniana into an outfit as a nod to my heritage. So I’d probably wear a cover up made by our local weavers.

Black Tie Formal

One of my favourites because it means I can bring out some of the big guns that I’ve been saving for such events.

For him: While I dream of a chance for my husband to wear a tuxedo, the black tie events we’ve been to were set in a more laid back country. So, he would usually wear a dark suit. Sometimes, he’ll go for a dressier dinner jacket.

For her: A floor length evening gown or a dressy, embellished cocktail dress. Also with heels, of course. No gloves.

White Tie

And here’s something for (if and) when you get invited to meet the Queen.

For him: A dress coat with a tail coat, a bowtie,  gray or white gloves optional.

For her: Under no circumstance should you wear a short dress. Go for floor length, formal and you also have the option to wear gloves.

There you have it. My quick cheat sheet as promised. 🙂 Hopefully, you’ll find it helpful and if you have anything to add, don’t hesitate to shoot me an email or a comment down below.

More later.



Diplomatic Incidents: Decoding Dress Codes in the Modern Age

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Diplomacy, Protocol, Diplomat, Diplomat's Wife, Making Introductions, Introducing Yourself
in Diplomatic Incidents, Etiquette, How-Tos

Diplomatic Incidents: Making Proper Introductions

**I’m finally starting an Etiquette Series! That took a while – like everything else that I promise, come to think of it. It’s not you guys – I’m sorry! It’s me and my workload. But here it is finally! Hope you enjoy this and find it helpful as well! xx**

So as not to commit a grave faux pas back when I was a diplomatic journalist, I read up on some of these topics. It turns out that proper introductions are sort of an art among certain crowds – I kid you not. Mix it in with protocol and then you get rules.

Back when I was a young(er) and cocky reporter, I scoffed at the thought of having rules for such seemingly minor things. Later on, however, I noticed the importance of it at formal events and made it to a point to remember how to do it properly – especially when I’m doing it for other people. We all want to be respectful, don’t we?

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Cheese-European Cheese-Cheese Master-Fromage 101-Cheese Platter-How To
in Diplomatic Incidents, Home, How-Tos, Recipes

The Anatomy of the Perfect Cheese Platter


Cheese-European Cheese-Cheese Master-Fromage 101-Cheese Platter-How To

I’m a serial cheese eater. Pair a great cheese plate with wine then add great company, and a cosy living room and you have a very happy Carol right there. This is the really Danish bit of my personality, I guess. (Hygge!)

So it was quite amusing how, when my husband and I decided to host one of our first dinners with friends from the diplomatic corps at home, I found myself struggling when it comes to putting together a cheese plate.

The struggles of a diplomat’s wife are quite mundane to some, I know. Failing at this won’t start a world war nor turn into a major diplomatic incident. However, to fail at something so minor may kill the perfectionist in me inside.

In fact, I was having a minor panic attack that day. Surely, I would have retained some knowledge from all the diplomatic events I attended as a journalist and later on as a wife? I knew the most popular cheeses. How they taste and their textures. But choosing was a different story and I have a tendency to overthink then just want everything in there.

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National Day, Philippines, Philippine National Day, Filipiniana, Modern Filipiniana, Affordable Filipiniana, Mix and Match, Modern, Fashion, Tribal, OOTD, T'nalak, T'boli, Ditta Sandico Ong, Wrap, Ditta Sandico Wrap, Mariposa, Filipiniana Wrap,
in Beauty & Fashion, Diplomatic Incidents, Events, Fashion Tips, How-Tos, Video

Beauty + Fashion: Dressing up and getting ready for National Day 2016 (Without Breaking the Bank)

Ah, National Day. Usually the biggest event an Embassy or a Consulate will host for the year. It’s something that a lot of people either enjoy or stress over – depending on your role for that night.

As a diplomatic reporter and later on as a diplomat’s wife, I’ve been attending a whole lot of National Day celebrations and Embassy events from Manila to KL. Too many for me to count at this point – to think I’ve only been in the diplomatic circle for 5 years. (Diplomatic life does mean events left and right)

Such events are usually a good opportunity for a country to share something from home – their food, culture, history, the talent of their people. For us Filipinos, there’s usually a part of the program dedicated to how talented Filipino performers are.

National Day, Philippines, Philippine National Day, Filipiniana, Modern Filipiniana, Affordable Filipiniana, Mix and Match, Modern, Fashion, Tribal, OOTD, T'nalak, T'boli, Ditta Sandico Ong, Wrap, Ditta Sandico Wrap, Mariposa, Filipiniana Wrap,

One thing I love about attending diplomatic events is the dressing up that it comes with. I happen to love wearing Filipiniana – all forms of it. From the well-known Terno and Maria Clara down to the clothes worn by the different tribes all over the Philippines. However, one thing about National Dresses/Outfits is that they can cost quite a bit. I’ve had one too many fellow diplowives telling me that dressing up for National means parting with a hefty amount. The fact that it happens annually means you also have a repetitive (big) expense.

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in Diplomatic Incidents, How-Tos, Recipes

Career Girl Cooking Series: Choco-Cherry Almond Cookies

Career Girl Cooking Series, Baking, Cookies, Cherry, Cherry Season, Cherries Malaysia, Cherries Kuala Lumpur, Cherry Recipe, Chocolate, Almonds, Easy Cookie Recipe, Dessert, Domestic Diva, Domestication, Diplomat's Wife, Cookie, #Foodporn, Food

Yet another super easy recipe coming your way just in time for cherry season, my loves!

Baking is therapeutic. It is also a great way to impress people around you with your ‘domestic diva’ skills and make them think you’re like the best diplomat’s wife ever when in fact, you’ve only exerted a wee bit of effort. Haha! I do admit to them later on that baking is easy-peasy. You just have to get yourself into the kitchen, drop the fear that you might blow up your whole building, and dive right in. It takes a lot of time but it’s definitely fun and worth it. 😉

I haven’t been baking for quite a while since my husband and I have been so busy. I was actually looking for an excuse to bake something just so I can make some desserts and disrupt his dieting. 😛

Career Girl Cooking Series, Baking, Cookies, Cherry, Cherry Season, Cherries Malaysia, Cherries Kuala Lumpur, Cherry Recipe, Chocolate, Almonds, Easy Cookie Recipe, Dessert, Domestic Diva, Domestication, Diplomat's Wife, Cookie, #Foodporn, Food

It’s currently cherry season so that’s a wonderful excuse to bake something sweet and fruity. 😉 I was also recently given a pack of Northwest Cherries to try. Been eating them fresh and adding them to shakes. Naturally, the next step would actually be baking with them. I decided to try a recipe I found on the internet for plain cookies then adding my choice of toppings.

Here’s the recipe! Enjoy! 😉

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in Diplomatic Incidents, How-Tos

Career Girl Cooking Series: ‘Malaysianised’ Pasta Dishes!

San Remo, San Remo Pasta, Pasta Dish, Malaysian Food, Malaysian Dish, Malaysian Pasta, Malaysian Noodle Dish, Hari Raya, Recipes, Cooking, Diplomat's Wife

This weekend, our Muslim brothers and sisters will be celebrating Eid al-Fitr (Hari Raya) or the end of the Ramadan season. It’s going to be a huge celebration among families here in Malaysia. Being ‘that’ kind of foreigner who tries to immerse herself in different cultures to the point of either looking silly or too eager, I found myself quite excited for this year’s Hari Raya.

Last year – only a few weeks after our arrival here in KL – we were invited to a couple of open house celebrations which were the cause of major weight gain for us. Food in Malaysia is just too good and hard to pass up so I’ve been working out to get ready for this year’s celebrations! 😉 (But really, eating more should not be your motivation in working out! Don’t be like me! Haha!)

(Read more about the Career Girl Cooking Series here: Career Girl Cooking Series – Ham, Bacon, and Mushroom Alfredo)

I even found myself thinking as to what should I be cooking for Alvin and I this long weekend. I think it’s a great excuse for me to get myself back in the kitchen and enhance my cooking skills. 😉 While I am not confident that I can make Nasi Lemak from scratch yet, I can truly say that I can impress my husband by making pasta – my field of expertise. But for Raya, I shall be Malaysianizing (is that a word?) my usual pasta dishes!

Thanks to San Remo for teaching me some new recipes btw. They invited me to an event a while back where there was a cooking demo and some tips on how to make pasta that’s perfect for the Asian tastebuds. We even had a cooking challenge wherein the people who attended the event were divided into groups and were tasked to create their own, Asian pasta dish. That was a lot of fun!

Never in my life did I ever think that I'd end up in a cooking challenge. Lol! 🎉 @miriam_hk @elanakhong

A post shared by Carol Ramoran Hamilton-Malasig (@carolific) on

I will be sharing with you two recipes! One that was shown to us during the event and another which is in the cook book they gave us and have already tried myself a couple of weeks back. They are super easy and they take very little time to prepare!

San Remo Angel Hair Pasta in Curry Gravy

San Remo, San Remo Pasta, Pasta Dish, Malaysian Food, Malaysian Dish, Malaysian Pasta, Malaysian Noodle Dish, Hari Raya, Recipes, Cooking, Diplomat's Wife


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in Diplomatic Incidents, How-Tos, Recipes

Food: Career Girl Cooking Series – Cheesy Bacon Potato Boats

Recipe, Potatoes, Comfort Food, Cheesy Bacon Potato Boats, Cheese, Bacon, Baked, Foodie, Food Porn, Diplomat's Wife, Easy Recipe, Quick Meals

A cooking event I attended earlier today reminded me that I haven’t been posting much about my cooking. So I decided to just share with you guys this quickie post on one of my favourite types of comfort food. Almost effortless to make and so yummy!

(RELATED POST: Food: Career Girl Cooking Series – Ham, Bacon, and Mushroom Alfredo)

But be warned! This is very fattening! So try not to eat everything on your own. Sharing is caring after all! 😉

I made this for my husband back when we first got our electric oven. So yes, this post should have gone up months and months ago but it ended up in the bowels of my file folders. 😛 Some of the photos even got lost that’s why I only have two to share. Here I go again, justifying the lateness of this post. Sorry. 🙁

(RELATED POST: Food: Career Girl Cooking Series – Baked Chicken Pesto Pockets)

I actually saw this recipe while watching a cooking show back when I was in college. I think this is a really easy dish to make and can even be served to your guests if you plan to entertain at home. So, without further ado, (and so I can go to bed since I have a long day tomorrow) here’s the recipe which I’ve continuously modified through the years:


  • 2 large potatoes
  • 2 tbs butter
  • A dash of salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced (or if you have garlic powder, use 2 tsp)
  • 1 tbs sour cream / creme fraiche
  • 1/4 C parmesan cheese
  • 1 C Irish cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 C milk
  • 1/4 tsp pepper (for the mixture, not for rubbing the skin prior to baking)
  • 4 strips of streaky bacon, diced into bits and fried to a crisp

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