We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Opinions sought: Are the days of dressing for dinner dead?

Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
6,528 posts
24 reviews
Save Topic
Opinions sought: Are the days of dressing for dinner dead?

First let me assure you that this question does not come from any old, stuffy, generational angst. I'm a very modern, progressive 50 something and my wife is in her thirties - and we do get around from time-to-time. BUT...

We had dinner last night at Gothman Bar & Grill (still fantastic after all these years!)and I'm completely aware that their dress code is "smart casual, no jacket or tie required."

I always wear a sports cat, usually black, with an nice shirt and slacks. My wife always dresses really nice, whether slacks/sweater or dress.

But I was really shocked last night that too many people dress down as much as possible short of being turned away at the door. Many men particuarly simply looked liked slobs - crumbled khakis, jeans with rips, bright orange shapeless sweaters (there were three of these -what's that all about?), dirty sneakers, and generally unkempt. This was in contrast to other men in jackets, ties, etc.

The women with the unkempt men were just as badly dressed. And interestingly enough (or maybe not) the badly dressed were also the badly behaved - loud and obnoxious.

I know there is a prevailing attitude that if someone is going to drop $200-300 for diner that they feel they should be able to dress anyway they want. But I think that su*ks and demeans the whole experience.

When the bus boy dresses better than you that should be your first sign that you may have missed soemthing along the way.

Am I the only one who feels this way??

London, United...
Level Contributor
2,743 posts
205 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Opinions sought: Are the days of dressing for dinner dead?

No - you aren't the only one that feels that way. I agree 100% and I am in my mid-30s. I am always shocked when i walk into a really nice restuarant and people are in jeans. It really ruins the atmosphere for me.

Wendi

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Yucatan Peninsula
Level Contributor
19,222 posts
71 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Opinions sought: Are the days of dressing for dinner dead?

I really dont care what other people wear. Excellent food and service are my priority. Loud and obnoxious at the next table is another situation all together...but that directly impacts my meal; what someone may have on under the table does not.

West Palm Beach...
Level Contributor
11,328 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Opinions sought: Are the days of dressing for dinner dead?

I totally agree with you. I'm a fan of casual dress, but only in casual restaurants.

My office is "business casual," and you can't believe how some people stretch the limits. One executive dresses like a pre-teen at a playground, even with multi-colored sneakers and a wrinkled untucked shirt.

Nyc (Upper West...
Level Contributor
6,907 posts
1 review
Save Reply
4. Re: Opinions sought: Are the days of dressing for dinner dead?

"dress-down" has gone way to far down.

Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
2,642 posts
60 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Opinions sought: Are the days of dressing for dinner dead?

It's anything goes out here in L.A. as well (mush more so, I fear, than on the East Coast). I spent many years living in London in the 80's and even now am a living tribute to the Sloane Ranger/Preppy pantheon :-)at 47, pearls and all. In this town of "black clothes are angstly chic" you can imagine how I stand out! Oh well. You should see how some of our illustrious celebrity citizens are attired these days.

But I guess it's true, folks just think anything goes (and it does!). I am planning to dress nicely in khakis (trousers or skirt) and a sweater when I venture out for dinner in NYC, and dressier for a special meal that's being planned one night by colleagues there..and it might be the River Cafe, from what they say! Yahoo!

Eugene, Oregon
Level Contributor
26,790 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Opinions sought: Are the days of dressing for dinner dead?

On our last trip we dined at the Dining Room at The Modern, which has a jacket policy. Since we were on a long road trip, and this was our only "jacket required" stop, I asked about a loaner. They said absolutely. My husband dressed in a very nice dress shirt and tie, when we arrived we were told that SOOO many people had showed up without jackets, that they had thrown the policy out the window for that night and we didn't need one.

Well, as I said, my husband looked very nice, as if he had just taken a jacket off. And while many men were nicely dressed in their own suits, the offenders were not even close to be nicely attired - jeans, grubby shirts, etc. If you know a place has a jacket policy (and it says so both on their recording when you call for a reservation, on Opentable, and on their website), how can you think it's OK to show up looking like you just cleaned out the garage?

West Palm Beach...
Level Contributor
11,328 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: Opinions sought: Are the days of dressing for dinner dead?

I blame the restaurant for allowing them in the dining room. Money talks!

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for New York City
Level Contributor
96,511 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Opinions sought: Are the days of dressing for dinner dead?

I also totally agree with you but am starting to feel like a dinasaur. Friends of mine went to BLT Steak to celebrate a special anniversary. They said the food was mostly terrific, but they had gotten all dressed up and felt like the out of towners (they live midtown). They said everyone there, was dressed very casually. It somehow makes the meal less special.

Sterling, VA
Destination Expert
for Washington DC
Level Contributor
12,140 posts
139 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Opinions sought: Are the days of dressing for dinner dead?

If a restaurant requires people to dress up to dine there, I don't mind. However, it bothers me when a restaurant tells you to dress up and you do but when you get there, you see people wearing shorts and flipflops. This happened to my Dad out in Las Vegas. One night he went to the Prime at the Bellagio. Before going, he called the restaurant and asked about the dress code and was told he had to wear a jacket. When he got there, he noticed people that were wearing shorts. He asked the maitre d' about it and was told that they don't turn away a paying customer. Needless to say, my Dad was not happy. Why bother to have a dress code if you aren't going to enforce it?

BTW, I know what "business casual" dress refers to but what about "dressy casual"? I often see some restaurants that ask for "dressy casual" and I'm not sure what that refers to.

West Palm Beach...
Level Contributor
11,328 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Opinions sought: Are the days of dressing for dinner dead?

A previous office manager decided our dress code would be "smart casual." I guess I'd classify my typical style as "silly casual." I mean, what's the diff?