Debutante  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A debutante (from the French débutante, "female beginner") is a young lady from an aristocratic or upper class family who has reached the age of maturity, and as a new adult, is introduced to society at a formal "debut" presentation. It should not be confused with a Debs. Originally, it meant the young woman was eligible to marry, and part of the purpose was to display her to eligible bachelors and their families with a view to marriage within a select upper class circle. Debutantes may be recommended by a distinguished committee or sponsored by an established member of elite society.

Debut presentations vary by regional culture and are also frequently referenced as "debutante balls," "cotillion balls" or "coming-out" parties. The male equivalent is often referred to as "beautillion ball". A lone debutante might have her own debut, or she might share it with a sister or other close relative. Modern debutante balls are often charity events: the parents of the debutante donate a certain amount of money to the designated cause, and the invited guests pay for their tickets. These balls may be elaborate formal affairs and involve not only "debs" but junior debutantes, escorts and ushers, flower girls and pages as well.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Debutante" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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