I don’t make it a practice to play the part of the paparazzi, but I did once find myself at a black tie affair with the mission to get a photograph of a notable. Said notable was in the midst of an adoring crowd, and the only way to get a shot would be to clamber up on a chair and take an aerial.
I looked around at the tuxedos and evening wear and said, “Uh uh. No way.” It just wasn’t the time or place. My companion and friend misunderstood the cause of my hesitation and snatched the camera out of my hand. “I’ll do it,” she said. “I’ve got the ring already.”
Once, I naively thought that Touro students dress up because they have full-time jobs during the day and need to look presentable. Then I began noticing how differently they appear after engagement.
One friend got engaged and suddenly she was, well, dressing down a bit. Not very much, but she began wearing long skirts – nice ones, of course, but still unusual – and being less fussy about her hair. Then another friend – one who blew her hair every morning, rain, shine, and no matter her mood – began wearing ponytails! Then I caught the first friend running out to do errands in… (sit down folks) denim. I had thought she swore that material off after seminary, but hey, you think you know someone and then they get engaged.
Of course, this interesting trend reverses itself temporarily after marriage. No woman ever dresses better than she does a few weeks after her wedding.
The chart below is based on an entirely scientific study of the amount of care orthodox females put into their appearance. As you can see, it remains fairly steady during the shidduch dating period, takes a bit of a tumble during engagement, but spikes shortly after the chupah, before slowly subsiding again to pre-dating levels.