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Mimar May 15th, 2011 11:53 AM

Attire for men in nice restaurants
We're just packing for a month-long trip to France. What is appropriate attire for men at a nice-ish restaurant? As far as my husband's concerned, a sports jacket is out of the question. He will bring a thin black rain jacket. On other trips he's brought, for nicer outings, a white linen short-sleeved shirt and a black lightweight v-necked sweater. But now he just want to bring a long-sleeved check cotton shirt. We'll be in Paris, the Dordogne, Brittany and Normandy. Also Bruges. We will eat at a few nice-ish restaurants. Thinking of a splurge at L'Esplanade in Domme, for example.

And will a thin cotton shirt and thin rain jacket be warm enough?

NYCFoodSnob May 15th, 2011 12:25 PM

<i>"On other trips he's brought, for nicer outings, a white linen short-sleeved shirt and a black lightweight v-necked sweater."</i>

Black and white can be a classic combo, suggesting elegance and refined style. But the combo will draw attention because of the stark contrast so if your man doesn't look absolutely chic in the selected shirt/sweater design, he could look silly and stand out at the same time. Shoe choice is crucial when wearing black and white.

I find v-neck sweaters to be tricky. It takes the right body, torso, and neck to pull that look off. A safer bet is a button down cardigan style, preferably cashmere. And a good cotton shirt (preferably long-sleeved) might work better than a flimsy linen. Stylish men over 40 only wear short sleeves on a golf course.

Personally, I can't dine with (or date) a guy who doesn't dress to my liking. If he lets me dress him, we stand a chance. I'm far too fashion conscious to be seen with a fashion don't. Parisian men tend to be thin and narrow-framed. This body type can get away with fashion murder. If your hubby doesn't have a belly to hide, you should do OK.

travelgourmet May 15th, 2011 01:05 PM

I generally wear jeans and a nice button-down, polo, or sweater. This includes nicer places, but not necessarily the dinner-as-show places. In short, unless the restaurant specifically tells me otherwise, I wear jeans.

elberko May 15th, 2011 01:12 PM

"a sports jacket is out of the question"

That's just plain silly. A grownup can certainly pack (and wear on the plane)1 lightweight sport-jacket. Especially for a month-long trip. A simple way to look appropriate in many situations in city travel.


travelgourmet May 15th, 2011 01:40 PM

<i>That's just plain silly. A grownup can certainly pack (and wear on the plane)1 lightweight sport-jacket. Especially for a month-long trip. A simple way to look appropriate in many situations in city travel.</i>

I wear a sport coat maybe 4 times per year. I would not pack one for a month-long trip, unless I were specifically planning on attending a function or locale that required one. Very, very few do.

elberko May 15th, 2011 01:46 PM

OK, travelgourmet, what would YOU wear in an up-scale, big city restaurant?

travelgourmet May 15th, 2011 02:01 PM

<i>OK, travelgourmet, what would YOU wear in an up-scale, big city restaurant?</i>

To noma, "the best restaurant in the world", I recently wore jeans and a sweater. There were other diners in t-shirts.

To Momofuku Ko, I recently wore jeans and a t-shirt.

To Joel Robuchon, in Paris, I recently wore jeans and a sweater.

To Hammersley's in Boston, I (not so recently) wore shorts and a polo.

To Michelin-starred Era Ora, last night, I wore a button down and jeans.

To Maze, in London, I wore jeans and a sweater.

I wore a jacket to Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence as, ostensibly, it is required, only to find several fellow diners in jeans and button downs. I was, frankly, annoyed at having dragged a sport coat from Copenhagen only to find it not necessary. The food, frankly, didn't deserve the effort.

The days of 'jacket required' are pretty much past. Frankly, I find that most of the places that still make a big deal out of the attire should spend more time worrying about their food, and less time worrying about what their guests are wearing.

kerouac May 15th, 2011 02:26 PM

Normal "man clothes" are appropriate. I do not go to any establishment that makes me dress differently from what I feel I need to wear. Restaurants should not be fashion shows, in my opinion.

Ackislander May 15th, 2011 02:51 PM

I think a man can carry off jeans if he substantially meets one of two criteria:

1. he is pencil thin and his belly does not hang over the top; many gay men look good in jeans because they take good care of their bodies.

2. he is a Westerner born and bred. Same thing with cowboy boots. It's like seeing West Africans in New York; they look great in things that would make most of us look like idiots because they are comfortable in what they wear through familiarity.

What we are comfortable wearing depends on our economic and social status and where we are from. As long as we are comfortable in what we wear and others are comfortable with what we wear, no problem. But I still wouldn't suggest jeans or no jacket at the kind of place where other men are wearing bespoke suits.

travelgourmet May 15th, 2011 02:55 PM

<i>But I still wouldn't suggest jeans or no jacket at the kind of place where other men are wearing bespoke suits.</i>

Where are these restaurants where men wear bespoke suits? I ask this as someone that actually owns bespoke suits. I am looking for a good place to wear them.

Underhill May 15th, 2011 05:00 PM

Any three-star restaurant in Paris should work well for you.

AnthonyGA May 15th, 2011 05:07 PM

Very few restaurants in Paris impose a dress code. Casual wear is acceptable. If a restaurant is worried enough about appearance to impose a dress code, it may be compensating for substandard or overpriced cuisine.

gh21 May 15th, 2011 05:16 PM

Is the a NYC clothes snob on the forum?

mamcalice May 15th, 2011 05:43 PM

I think it really depends on what you mean by a "nice-ish" restaurant. Unless you are going to very upscale restaurant, slacks and a nice sweater will be fine.

nytraveler May 15th, 2011 06:01 PM

Jacket may not be required but in an upscael restaurant it is preferable, IMHO its' better to be presentable rather than sloppy. Not accusing any specific person of anything - but it becomes the thin edge of the wedge.

The guys in tattered levis and sneakers with their beer gut hanging out don't get that this isn't the same as tailored jeans and a cashmere sweater. As for shorts - I'm damned if I'll spend all that money for a lovely dinner and then have to spend the evening staring at some stranger's fat hairy legs. Ick! If they can't wear grown up pants they shouldn;t be allowed.

nytraveler May 15th, 2011 06:02 PM

Sorry - my beau has a job that often requies actual adult business dress. He wouldnever thing about heading to europe without at least a blazer and nice slacks - but probably a suit as well (definitely if on business).

StCirq May 15th, 2011 07:26 PM

My beau has a typical Parisian physique -incredibly thin and sculpted, no fat anywhere. I don't want to be seen with him in a restaurant in Paris unless he is looking chic, and he's the same with me. I won't eat with a man in Europe who is wearing jeans unless we are at a local bistro or brasserie or café. When we go out to eat at a RESTAURANT in Paris, he normally puts on a cashmere jumper or a jacket, and I wear a dress and heels. Sometimes he'll do a blazer and nice slacks.

What is wrong with people these days that they can't get dressed up properly for nice events and look good for them? When I go out to dinner even a block from here where I live I dress up, look nice, put on makeup, and make the most of it. Wouldn't any normal person want to do that in Paris?

Mimar May 15th, 2011 07:38 PM

Looks like a promising thread. ;-)

What about the second part of my question? For the Dordogne, Brittany, and Normandy, in the end of May/beginning of June will a thin rain jacket and thin shirt be warm enough?

travelerjan May 15th, 2011 07:44 PM

For me, even the title is wrong. Instead of Attire for Men in Nice Restaurants .... It should be Attire for Nice Men, in Restaurants.

I holiday in Greece, which is very informal in most places. In Manhattan, where I worked and lived for 35 years, we dressed appropriately for the places we went. The same applied, when we visited in London and Paris.

There are many restaurants in all 3 places that I would forego, if my escort insisted on a windbreaker and T-Shirt (or rather I would forego Him, and go alone).

CYESQ May 15th, 2011 09:56 PM

A friend of mine was an antiques dealer in Paris for several years. His typical dress was well fitted jeans or cords with a white dress shirt and navy blazer. I've never seen him in anything more casual than this outside of his own home.

Personally I don't think it's too much to ask a man to carry a blazer or sports coat when traveling, in fact I would expect it. And while I agree with those of you who prefer the philosophy of wearing whatever you want and suggesting that the restaurant pay more attention to the food than the manner in which its guests dress (which is not the issue here), I also think it's appropriate to dress properly for the occasion. I don't think that a rain jacket is appropriate for dinner unless you're out on the beach, say at a clam bake. When VP Cheney wore a ski jacket to the Auchwitz ceremony, it was considered disrespectful. Being mindful of your surroundings is just good manners.

There are ways to be properly dressed while still allowing you to feel casual and comfortable. Just takes a little forethought and effort and I think that's what Mimar's question is all about.

As for the second issue, will he be warm enough with a light rain jacket, yes he will most likely be warm enough.

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