Appropriate wear for restaurants

Old Jun 13th, 2015, 06:39 AM
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Appropriate wear for restaurants

Hi all,

My wife and I leave soon (8 hours!) for Italy (Tuscany). We're unlikely to eat in high-end (Michelin-starred type-restaurants), but do like "nice" (whatever that means) restaurants.

Will skirts / blouses / capris and dockers / collared shirts suffice? And to make room in our luggage, brown Merrills instead of dress shoes for me?

Thanks,

Mike
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Old Jun 13th, 2015, 06:42 AM
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No one really cares. Clean is always good. Collared shirts are good. Nice skirt and top always great.

Dress shoes not needed. You might need cooler footwear, though.
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Old Jun 13th, 2015, 07:11 AM
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clean and cool will do, no one cares, but flip-flops, shorts on men over 14, T shirts cut off at the shoulder etc might have a problem. Less of a problem during the day, night time, as you suggest.
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Old Jun 13th, 2015, 07:15 AM
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Of course they care. Dons asbestos cardi Nice restaurants don't want a roomful of unmade beds. Smart casual is fine, clean, tidy and well groomed.
Twice now, I've been to nice restaurants in Italy where most tables have reserved signs on them. If a neatly dressed couple approaches, a table will become available. Scruffy types will be told regretfully that there are no free tables. Hurt feelings are avoided
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Old Jun 13th, 2015, 07:51 AM
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Ah good point MissP but they just might not like foreigners and there is little you can do about that
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Old Jun 13th, 2015, 08:20 AM
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I hardly think the OP is arriving with Hard Rock Cafe T-shirt
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Old Jun 13th, 2015, 09:04 AM
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Yes, adult casual is OK for most nice restaurants. Only a few very upscale require business dress for dinner (jacket/tie for men and equivalent for women).

We always bring one more formal outfit, but we ten to do opera and an occasional Michelin restaurant. Most evenings I do a lightweight pants outfit and DH does nice slacks and a collar shirt - for tablecloth restaurants. But definitely not what we have been wearing all day (more casual - gold shirt and khakis for DH, summer slacks and tunic or long tee for me).
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Old Jun 13th, 2015, 09:36 AM
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No restaurant is going to turn away business because they don't like foreigners. But I can understand them turning away people in shorts, tank tops and flipflops. You don't have to dress formally, but you don't go out in the evening dressed for the beach either.

Mike, what you're suggesting is absolutely fine for dinner.
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Old Jun 13th, 2015, 10:11 AM
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The vast majority of restaurants doesn't turn people away if they're neat and clean. Shorts are not a problem. Short shorts are all the rage in Italy this year, even for city wear. Flip flops would not be a problem either.

There are wannabe-elegant restaurants that try to raise the tone a bit, but I've never heard of any restaurant that told people there wasn't a table based on the way they're dressed. What these social climbing restaurants may do is put the more elegantly dressed near the window. My husband and I would have been turned away many times if casual dress were frowned on.

I've told this story before, so if you've already heard it you can proceed to the next post. About five years ago, my husband and I were walking on the beach in Senigallia on our anniversary. We had no firm plans for dinner, and happened to walk past Uliassi (two Michelin stars, and right on the beach). Considering it was October in a beach town, it occurred to us that maybe they wouldn't be fully reserved for dinner, and it was rather early for dinner, anyway. We weren't at all dressed for a fancy dinner, but we asked if they had a table for two. They did and hosted us like old reliable customers. Uliassi himself came out to see if we were enjoying our dinner. (We were!) That's what I consider real class, not a restaurant that requests jacket and tie. My very Italian husband would refuse on principle to eat in such a restaurant.
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Old Jun 13th, 2015, 03:18 PM
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>>>No restaurant is going to turn away business because they don't like foreigners. <<<

That's not true. Many will find a way not to serve even well-dressed foreigners (deny reservations over the phone, etc). But then you don't want to eat there anyway, do you?
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Old Jun 13th, 2015, 08:49 PM
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Why would they not want to serve foreigners?
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Old Jun 13th, 2015, 09:27 PM
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There are restaurants in Italy, especially in popular tourist areas, who treasure not getting a reputation for being tourist favorites. It's definitely has value and cache. How many tourists asking for a restaurant recommendations make a point of saying they want to go "where the locals go" or after dining somewhere boast "we were the only non-Italians in the place". Why are they doing that? There are also Italians who eschew a place once it becomes a tourist "must-eat". It just loses the feel of being their "local" -- and then it becomes difficult for the restaurants when the tourist season is over to win back the neighborhood crowd, and it's not great for the bottom line.

Finally, some restaurants don't have staff that speaks other languages, and non-Italian speaking tourists can create burdens on the restaurant. I've seen waiters spend a huge amount of time at a table in a busy restaurant trying to get the simplest things understood. I've seen tourists order things they obviously didn't understand, and then send it back, and then order something else. I've also watched tourists complain about things out of ignorance like the slow pace of a meal, or the unavailabily of certain famous Eye-talyan dishes, and act like they are armed for every restaurant to be ripping them off -- you can't blame some restaurants for not wishing to be #1 on Tripadvisor.
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Old Jun 13th, 2015, 09:39 PM
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By the way, there is an American writer who got a reputation for being a food critic who persistently poo-poohs one of the very nicest and certainly most reliable trattoria in Rome because it has become very well known by tourists, many who write up on the internet what great meals they ate there. This writer, by her own admission, has not been to this trattoria in YEARS, but she never misses an opportunity to undercut it, telling people she doubts the food is good, because too many people on the internet gush about it. Hats off to the restaurant for welcoming everybody, but there at least half-a-dozen people I can think of without trying hard who get treated as Italian restaurant gurus because they are ladling on the snob appeal and touting places to go where you won't see another tourist. If you are running a small neighborhood restaurant in Rome that serves genuinely great food, why do you want to risk your reputation cultivating the tourist trade if what it means is that the blogger and app "gurus" on the internet are going to say your food isn't good when they haven't even eaten it, but because they read a lot of tourists go there. Pigs.
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Old Jun 13th, 2015, 10:44 PM
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Are you talking about Maureen Fant and Armando al Pantheon?

Just a guess.
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Old Jun 14th, 2015, 03:06 AM
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Well-dressed "foreigners?" What IS that xenophobic comment all about?

To the OP: you won't have any problem and even at the opera (which only my very favorite poster and I both attend, but I get better seats) the so-called "dress code" has been relaxed somewhat, even amongst the die-hard claque members in Milan.

If luggage space is an issue, then WEAR your biggest shoes on the plane. I do it with my size 12's all the time.
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Old Jun 14th, 2015, 03:31 AM
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Dukey1--You nailed it. Dress codes almost everywhere HAVE relaxed. And I have very mixed feelings. As a person who has been a docent with ballet company, I feel so bad that there are so few occasions where young couples don't get to feel glitzy for one night and where little kids are not expected to wear "special" dresses anymore.

Moreover, I may still be, but I was once far more, a BIG believer that if I want a nice table somewhere, I should look as though I SHOULD be sitting at a nice table.

It's actually very easy to dress appropriately for a nice atmosphere, and money is not the issue. For example, for years, I always found in Paris that black slacks or skirt plus nice top with silk scarf or cute costume jewelry was totally appropriate. My husband has rarely taken a suit, but sure, he has usually worn a jacket, nice pants, and a tie.

Heck, even my little daughters, as "tweeners", were required to have a stock black dress shift and black slacks to make the wardrobe go a bit more formal.

But as time has gone on, I recognized that we have almost started to look overdressed. Three years ago, I almost choked on my escargot to realize that in a Michilen 1-Star restaurant, my husband was the only one NOT wearing jeans with his jacket.

Granted, the other men were wearing designer jeans (my husband would NEVER own a pair of designer jeans) and those jeans had--gasp!--ironed creases down the middle. My goodness, one or two men were wearing--another gasp!--athletic shoes. Pricey ones, but still...

So what I'm saying is that I can no longer make those hard dress rules anymore, and I certainly cannot make those per country. Well, I HAVE observed that jackets for men now seem to make sense in winter and shoulder seasons in more upscale restaurants; nevertheless, those rules are certainly relaxed in summer.

And all I can say, luckily, few women on this board want to show up for dinner in the Hard Rock T-Shirt and Daisy Dukes--unless they are GOING to the Hard Rock cafe.
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Old Jun 14th, 2015, 05:18 AM
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There are plenty of people who can't afford that "nice top and silk scarf" and don't have any "cute costume jewelry", but who love opera or ballet. I'm glad they no longer have to feel shabby when they go to the opera. I've been in that position myself when I was young and broke.

My academic department used to have one dressy party every year. The entire department was invited, but a lot of graduate students and foreign visitors just didn't go, because they didn't own anything "appropriate" to wear. However, it did allow a lot of Ivy League denizens to be glitzy for an evening.
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Old Jun 14th, 2015, 07:39 AM
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OMG, I TOTALLY disagree, bvlenci. Your definition of "nice" and mine must be way off. LOL. Even now, I don't think I own a "restaurant-ready" top, the ones I have worn to Michelin-starred places, that cost me more than $20. Even those have been in my closet for 5 years or more.

Dressing <b>decently</b> does not dictate a certain price tag. Like other posters on this forum who would rather spend their money on airfare, not on transient fashion, shelling out money for things that are not on a clearance rack has rarely made sense to me.

My current "restaurant" earrings and necklace probably cost me $2.99 each, because now I buy earrings only at Kohl's when they have a 50%-75% off sale when I have a 30% coupon to go with it.

One CAN look nice for less. And one can pay big bucks and look terrible.

We often laugh here that when my husband and his rather snobby roommate met me 40 years ago, the roommate said to him, "I think by the way she's dressed, she must be rich."

I had just finished college. I had worked my way through college by working the line in a hanger factory (no air conditioning, I might add) and by waitressing.

My outfit when they met me was from Goodwill.

PS: But I'm glad the roommate thought I believed in the $$$$ price tag. He's the one who bought me the silk scarf I use
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Old Jun 14th, 2015, 07:53 AM
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I rarely dress up when I travel even if eating g at top not h restaurants. As long as your clothes ate clean and conservative I feel no one will even notice. And to be honest, the last thing I notice at a restaurant is what people are wearing.

I generally wear a nice shirt and slacks or a nice black cotton dress. When I travel I take Tom's espedrill type shoes because they are light and easy to carry in a suitcase.
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Old Jun 14th, 2015, 08:04 AM
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Several years ago we went to an upscale restaurant outside central Barcelona.
No tourists, no menu in English...A few older patrons were dressed rather formally
but most clients were wearing jeans ( or slacks)
and a shirt ( or top).
It seems to be the trend almost everywhere.
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