Linger Longer & appropriate dinner dress in SA

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Jan 12th, 2005, 08:32 AM
  #1
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Linger Longer & appropriate dinner dress in SA

I believe someone on this board suggested the Linger Longer restaurant in Johannesburg. My husband and I looked at their web page last night and my mouth is still watering over the menu selections. It looks AMAZING and we will eat there our one and only night in Johannesburg (unless someone has a better suggestion).

What is appropriate dinner dress for a place like that? I plan to take a couple of nice sun dresses and sandals that I would wear to a fairly nice restaurant during the summer here, is that OK? Should my husband wear slacks or would jeans and a nice shirt be OK? I assume that shorts would not be appropriate, no matter how "dressed up" they may be.

I keep reading how casual SA is, but I figure there are times when you do need to dress nice but I don't want to over dress.

Thank you,
Kelly
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Jan 12th, 2005, 09:50 AM
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Hello Kelly,

I don't know who it is that keeps saying that South Africa is a casual country. Yes, it has a warm climate and is oriented towards outdoor activities, so naturally people spend a lot of time in sporty clothes.

However, SA's large cities are sophisticated and, if a restaurant is listed as a fine dining establishment with an upmarket ambience, as Linger Longer's website says it is, I would wear smart casual dress. My personal definition of smart casual does not include jeans or shorts.

As far as your own dress is concerned, a sundress on its own wouldn't work. At a minimum you would need to combine it with a shawl. Johannesburg is located on an interior plateau that is 6,000 feet above sea level. Consequently its temperatures are cooler than you might expect at that latitude.

Johannesburg's average daily high in February is 77 deg F. The highest high ever recorded for that month was 84 deg F, and the lowest high was 72 deg F.

The city's average daily low in February is 57 deg F. The highest low ever recorded in the city during that month was 62 deg F, and the lowest low was 53 deg F.

Here is the same data for Cape Town.

Average high : 80 deg F
Highest high : 84 deg F
Average low : 60 deg F
Lowest low : 56 deg F

Here is the data for Skukuza, a camp in the Kruger National Park. Most safari areas of South Africa would be somewhat comparable to this.

Average high : 90 deg F
Highest high : 109 deg F
Average low : 68 deg F
Lowest low : 50 deg F

It is fine to wear casual dress, including jeans, for dinner in the safari areas and at casual restaurants in the cities.

If you want to take a couple of smart casual outfits for the couple of slightly dressier occasions you plan on having in SA, I have found that pants are more versatile. For travel I have a pair of silky-looking, synthetic slacks. (At home I like real silk, but for travel I like synthetic fabric, because it resists wrinkles.) I pack a couple of short-sleeved or sleeveless blouses in the same silky-looking, synthetic fabric (one in the same colour as the pants, another in a contrasting colour). Then I take a long-sleeved blouse, in the same synthetic fabric and the same colour as the pants. While the long-sleeved blouse can be worn on its own, I usually wear it open, as an unstructured jacket over one of the short-sleeved blouses. The pants, the long-sleeved blouse, and one of the short-sleeved blouses is in a dark,neutral colour, either black or navy.

This ensemble of silky-looking slacks with short- and long-sleeved blouses allows me to respond to varied temperatures. It doesn't work in horrendously hot, humid daytime conditions, but it works in most places in the evenings, as temperatures typically have cooled off a little by then.

Since Johannesburg's average low is 57 deg F, and Cape Town's average low is 60 deg F, I wouldn't take a pair of dressy sandals with thin straps for smart casual evenings. I would take a pair of pumps.

If I were you, I would take the following shoes : 1 pr of sensible, lace-up, walking shoes, 1 pr of sturdy sandals that are comfortable for walking (Teva or similar), and 1 pr of pumps.

My two cents' worth.
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Jan 12th, 2005, 10:06 AM
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Thanks, Judy. You're always a wealth of information.

I do plan on talking a wrap to wear with the dresses I have in mind to wear. I am usually more comfortable in dresses and skirts than pants for evening wear, though I may take one pant outfit per your suggestion.

So you would suggest that my husband wear a nice pair of slacks, right?

The weather there it's fairly similar to where I live (Houston). I'm just hoping it's not as humid, though I'm sure it will be.
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Jan 12th, 2005, 10:52 AM
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Hi Kelly,

>>>>>>So you would suggest that my husband wear a nice pair of slacks, right?<<<<<<

Yes.

>>>>>>The weather there it's fairly similar to where I live (Houston).<<<<<<

Well, that's true of the bushveld region where most of the wildlife reserves are located.

Johannesburg is more like Santa Fe, NM. Interestingly, Santa Fe is at 7,000 ft above sea level, and Johannesburg is at 6,000 ft, give or take. Santa Fe's average high in August (like February in the southern hemisphere) is 80 deg F, and its average low is 56 deg F. Really quite similar to Johannesburg.

Cape Town is like Los Angeles. LA's average high in August is 77 deg F, and its average low is 64 deg F. Again, pretty similar to CT in February.

In my experience, summers in the Kruger National Park area (including humidity level) are fairly similar to those in Houston.
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Jan 12th, 2005, 11:14 AM
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Well, at least I'll have one good hair day My family lives in Santa Fe and I always have good hair when I visit. It doesn't pouf out there like it does here and when I am in Southern California.
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Jan 13th, 2005, 07:43 AM
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Judy, I'm glad to hear someone say that SA isn't as casual in dress as all that! In the cities, I've always found South Africans to be dressier than Americans, and more style conscious. That isn't to say that the fashion police will get ya, but you don't generally see people in tee shirts, and when they go out to dinner, they dress up a bit.

Kelly, my husband and I LOVED Linger Longer when we were there last May. I wore black knit pants, a silky top, and a dressy black sweater and pumps. Jim wore a sports jacket, no tie. It was winter, of course. Most of the diners were pretty dressed up. I remember that a woman at a nearby table was wearing elegant pants and a short black leather jacket. Very chic. I think her male companion was wearing a suit. It was a weekday, and it was probably what he'd had on at work. Definitely not a jeans place.

Don't worry about overdressing. As an American, you're more likely to under- than over-dress by SA standards.

Bon appetit!
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