GUEST'S ANSWER: Linda Miller, author of Fashion Matters blog: I think either would work. It's about personal preference. A white linen tablecloth adds a formal touch to any table, but I love the look of place mats and all the different styles, including perforated leather, metallic fabric and grass cloth. Depending on the color, print and style, they can be formal or casual and can help create the mood and even play into the theme of the dinner.
Callie Gordon is 20-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is in her 40s, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more 20-40-60 etiquette, go to blog.newsok.com/partiesextra.