Debutante balls may require prior instruction in social etiquette and appropriate morals. The dress code is evening dress: white tie and tails for men; strictly floor-length gowns for women. White opera gloves are still mandatory for female debutantes at the Vienna Opera Ball. Over the centuries, styles and fashion have changed. But, the one constant which ties the early debutante in England to the modern-day American debutante, is the wearing of white kidskin above-the-elbow(=opera) length long debutante gloves. The Debutante Glove has been recognized for over a century as one of the foremost symbols of upper-class femininity. A debutante without gloves is not a debutante at all.
In the United Kingdom, the tradition with debutantes ceremoniously presented at the British royal court during Queen Charlotte's Ball was discontinued by Queen Elizabeth II in 1958. The ball was revived in the 2000s under the patronage of the Duke of Somerset.
In contemporary United States, they are sometimes known as debutante cotillion balls in American English. Most are for middle schoolers as a chance to teach manners; and they also are a time to socialize with friends at after-parties. The after-parties at a cotillion usually feature food, drinks, and music.
In Australia, the practice has mostly disappeared in cities, but in rural areas it remains a strong tradition and has become something unique. Girls dress up in flowing white dresses, boys don sharp black suits, and for weeks beforehand they come together to learn ballroom dancing in the lead-up to the event.
In Brazil, this practice has disappeared in almost every city with an exception of Porto Alegre (capital of Rio Grande do Sul, the most southern state of Brazil). In Porto Alegre 40 to 90 girls from the richest families participate in a debutante ball per year with some girls participating in more than one debutante ball. The most expensive one's been from Ntx House, Association Leopoldina Juvenil and Porto Alegre Country Club.
- "Make Your Debut At The Vienna Opera Ball-Dresscode". upstream.wiener-staatsoper.at. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
- History of Debutante Gloves
- Curtseys over cursing: 'Debutante' examines old-fashioned ceremony and its attendant good manners
- "NATIONAL LEAGUE OF JUNIOR COTILLIONS". Archived from the original on 23 August 2011. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
- "Gollatz Cotillion & Social Programs". Archived from the original on 16 August 2010. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
- "JDW Cotillions & Social Education Programs". Archived from the original on 11 February 2011. Retrieved 4 April 2011.