Attire for men in nice restaurants

Old May 15th, 2011, 10:35 PM
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What is wrong with people these days that they can't get dressed up properly for nice events and look good for them?

Perhaps the issue is whether you consider going to a 'nice' restaurant an event? I call it Tuesday.

Sorry - my beau has a job that often requies actual adult business dress.

I work at a large public company in a management role. I wear jeans to work. Secretaries at my wife's company, however, wear suits. The attire in a workplace is a reflection of the culture of that company. I don't find it says much, if anything, about the importance of the job of any individual.

When VP Cheney wore a ski jacket to the Auchwitz ceremony, it was considered disrespectful.

Were we talking about a solemn ceremony at Auschwitz, then I would encourage the OP to pack a dark suit and to dress conservatively. Dining out, even in Paris, isn't the same as such a ceremony.

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.

I am not saying that folks should dress slovenly, but that packing a sport coat is overkill for most, if not all, moderate to nice restaurants in the destinations the OP is going to. Absolutely, the OP's husband should pack his nicest pair of jeans (or slacks) and iron his shirt, but he does not need to schlep a sport coat around Europe for a month.

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.

I actually have very nice legs, thank you very much. Regardless, I would think that the larger concern would by why you are spending an entire evening craning your neck to look under the tables of your fellow diners. Seems uncomfortable. Myself, I find that I spend most of my meal looking at the food, the server describing the dish or wine, or at my dining companion. I don't spend much time looking at my fellow diners.


Honestly, a few years back, when I was still a wet behind the ears kid from a small town, I called a (pretty nice, but not 3-star) restaurant in Paris, asking if they had a dress code. The guy answering the phone pretty much laughed at me. When I asked what the standard attire was, he answered, literally, "umm, clothes".
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Old May 15th, 2011, 10:55 PM
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That's because he thought it would be rude to tell you, an adult, what to wear. What's the problem with a light jacket? It's not a beach holiday.

Where do these coatless men put their wallets, cameras, sunglasses etc? A Manbag ??
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Old May 15th, 2011, 11:14 PM
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Mimar:

The simple answer to your first question is: the appropriate clothing for man in a decemt French restaurant is what Frenchmen want to wear.

You didn't ask for what Americans think men ought to wear.

The only conclusion you can draw from these American girlies giving you lectures is that they're not even capable of understanding a simple question in plain English.

Only AnthonyGA has had the courtesy to answer your question. He's also given you the correct answer. Kerouac answered a different question - but he's given you the answer any Frenchman would give you.

The rest are just vacuous outpourings from the deaf. Not worth the hot air used to construct them.

In Britanny and Normandy the weather is ALWAYS unpredictable. They're London seaside suburbs, culturally and climatically. Cold evenings are possible even in midsummer and if the risk of being chilly concerns you, you need - though may not necessarily use - something more substantial than a light rainjacket. A decent pullover or cardie is 99.9% of the time is fine.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 12:45 AM
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That's because he thought it would be rude to tell you, an adult, what to wear.

I don't find it rude for a restaurant to inform diners about the dress code, if there is one. Per Se, for example, lists the following on their website:

"Please note that jackets are required for both lunch and dinner service. Ties are optional. No jeans, t-shirts, shorts, or tennis shoes please."

Now, the restaurant I called wasn't at the level of Per Se, and I was certainly a naive country boy to ask about the dress code there, but I don't find it rude to be informed of the dress code, when there is one. Heck, with fewer and fewer hard and fast 'rules' about what to wear and when, I think restaurants with dress codes should make them clear whenever someone makes a reservation, to save everyone the potential for embarrassment.

What's the problem with a light jacket?

There is no problem, per se, I just find a sport coat superfluous in most situations.

Where do these coatless men put their wallets,

Most men I know put their wallets in their right, back pocket.

cameras,

Aside from food bloggers, who brings a camera to a restaurant? If I am out photographing things, I will carry the camera in a bag, as an SLR won't fit in a jacket.

sunglasses

Real men squint.

A Manbag ??

It's called a satchel. Indiana Jones wears one.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 01:48 AM
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Well, I think that covers all my questions.

Except, aren't men constantly being told on this site not to put their wallets in their back pockets?
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Old May 16th, 2011, 03:32 AM
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travelgourmet is pulling everyone's legs. In decades of travel in Europe I've never seen anyone wearing a t-shirt to dinner, and jeans are rare. In fact I have seen people wearing jeans being refused entry to normal restaurants. Does travelgourmet wear flip flops also? A sport coat and slacks may not be required but they do get more respect from the wait staff no matter what city you are in.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 04:06 AM
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travelgourmet is pulling everyone's legs. In decades of travel in Europe I've never seen anyone wearing a t-shirt to dinner, and jeans are rare.

I am 100% serious.

Does travelgourmet wear flip flops also?

No.

A sport coat and slacks may not be required but they do get more respect from the wait staff no matter what city you are in.

I have no complaints about the amount of respect I receive in restaurants.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 04:13 AM
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If my husband wants to wear a t-shirt and jeans in a fine restaurant, he can go have dinner with someone else. Even my kids dress better than that when going out in the evening, unless it's McDonalds.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 04:24 AM
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Flanneruk: "vacuous outpourings"

Are you always this charming? We listen to the question and try to give a decent answer. There's nothing wrong with that even if there is a difference of opinion which there always is on the topic of what to wear in Europe. It's obvious that you feel your opinions are superior but you needn't chime in in such a nasty manner. I think that most of us respect the others even when we don't agree.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 05:16 AM
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What would he wear to a restaurant of similar caliber in NYC--or in your town where you would see and be seen?
I always wonder about this type of question, particularly when you are travelling for a long time--and might happen upon a place you'd LIKE to look like you knew what proper dress is. Wear the blazer on the plane--and for sightseeing. We do every trip.
DH and DS were on a Super Bowl trip (hence no jackets) and were able to get into a super restaurant at the last minute. What to do. Visit the Thrift shop and buy a Ralph Lauren coat--and donate it back the next day.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 06:59 AM
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If you fare la bella figura, you get more respect in Europe, which is more conservative than Australia or the US.

And it's so easy for men, who need only a few decent items of clothing plus a good pair of shoes, the ESSENTIAL element.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 07:09 AM
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If you fare la bella figura, you get more respect in Europe, which is more conservative than Australia or the US.

Only parts of Europe. Casual clothing is the rule in Denmark. One would look like a tourist (or Maersk employee) if they were to wear a suit or tie to dinner. Sport coats, when worn, are usually paired with jeans, and often over a t-shirt. Rarely do you see the slacks and sport coat combination you see elsewhere.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 07:25 AM
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Whilst it's rare for restaurants to have a dress code, the majority of people still get dressed up to go to 'nice' eateries in the UK, and other parts of Europe. It won't be red carpet attire, but neither will it be jeans and a t-shirt.

Smart casual, which for men would mean trousers and a shirt (not necessarily a tie, unless coming straight from work or at lunchtime), and decent shoes.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 07:50 AM
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"What is wrong with people these days that they can't get dressed up properly for nice events and look good for them?"

I think it's a byproduct of a narcissistic culture that has gotten very lazy. Today's prevailing attitude is "I do what the hell I want, especially if I'm paying for a service, and too bad if you don't like it."

A lazy culture (fewer and fewer people are cooking these days) no longer views dining as any kind of event, even dining out on special travel days in another country or culture. Some people eat simply to fill their tummy. For many, eating out is a way of life (especially in NYC), just another meal on a Tuesday, and almost no thought is given to clothing (especially if you're male). It's as if all mothers suddenly OK'd going from one's bed to the dinner table.

Since I fully appreciate style, and men and women who possess it, I'm grateful I live in New York City. Here, you have never-ending choices and millions of people who still care about their public appearance.

I think it's really juvenile to call a restaurant to ask about a dress code. If your mother didn't teach you how to dress and how to define appropriate, find one who will.

It's fairly easy to figure out which restaurants appreciate a well-dressed customer and which restaurants don't care. If price, decor, and ambiance don't provide enough clue, you can always look to see if the host/hostess/owner is wearing jeans. Are the servers wearing jeans? Is the bartender wearing jeans? Are the busboys wearing jeans? Is anyone employed by the restaurant, in the front of the house, wearing sneakers?

I don't recall ever seeing jeans/sneakers in any of the following places I frequent most often for dinner:

Union Square Cafe
Cafe Boulud
Daniel
Gramercy Tavern
Eleven Madison Park
Jean Georges
La Grenouille
Gotham Bar & Grill
Cafe Boulud
Le Bernardin
Per Se

I'm sure jeans have appeared on some customers in these places, I simply haven't noticed any. In fact, male hosts wear suits (mostly black), usually with a smashing tie. Female hostesses wear dresses, and the wait staff is dressed professionally, often leaning towards formal. La Grenouille continues to be black-tie friendly. With a single glass of wine, you can eat at several of these places for as little as $60 per person. These days, it's very difficult to find a great dinner in Italy or France for less than $60.

Yes, some places, especially trendy places in Downtown Manhattan, won't care if you're wearing jeans to dinner. After all, trendy typically means young, noisy, and casual, albeit with an edge. Since some jeans cost as much as $600, why wouldn't you grade that garment as high style? Personally, I don't love denim. I don't view denim as an elegant fabric. And no matter what you pay for denim, no matter how well pressed it is, the fabric always looks like denim. Not elegant. Not dressy. Always casual. IMO, denim is only appropriate in a particular casual atmosphere.

Let's be frank, most American men have no style. And most us know very few men who wear $600 jeans, if we know one. Most American male tourists wear some form of Levi, Lee, Land's End, or Wrangler style jeans, and they're too overweight to wear them well. IMO, no style of jean is appropriate at a European or an American RESTAURANT. Casual is casual, no matter what justifications you spout. If you decide to go casual in a dining establishment that does not present itself as casual, you are disrespecting the owners and the professional environment that they've worked hard to create.

Sure, very few restaurants will ask you to leave if you arrive with jeans on. But one thing is sure, people will judge you poorly if you display public disrespect. You may not hear or feel their judgement but you will be judged anyway. This is human nature. IMO, it is always best to ere on the side of respect. You can never go wrong taking a little extra time to consider someone else's thoughts and feelings. You will never go wrong trying to look better on vacation than you ordinarily look. You will never be criticized for treating every dinner out as a special occasion.

It's no secret, beautiful people receive the best treatment. People respond positively to attractive people. If you're not physically beautiful, all you need is a little style to make a smashing presentation. Anyone who says presentation doesn't matter is a fool.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 09:00 AM
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I don't recall ever seeing jeans/sneakers in any of the following places I frequent most often for dinner:

I've eaten at both Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Cafe in jeans, and I was not the only one. Heck, there is a photo on the Gramercy Tavern website that has at least 3 people in jeans. Were they so terribly offended by jeans, why would they put a photo like that on their website?

I think it's a byproduct of a narcissistic culture that has gotten very lazy. Today's prevailing attitude is "I do what the hell I want, especially if I'm paying for a service, and too bad if you don't like it."

I don't think that is the case at all. I think a great many people simply don't care for getting dressed up, and that this includes both chefs and diners.

But one thing is sure, people will judge you poorly if you display public disrespect.

I don't think most restaurants view wearing jeans as a sign of public disrespect. Certainly, if the restaurant makes a point of requesting no jeans or jacket required, as Per Se does, then one should respect that. But if the restaurant consciously makes clear that they have no dress code, as a great many do, then one should feel free to wear what is comfortable.

Casual is casual, no matter what justifications you spout.

I don't think anyone is justifying anything. I certainly don't think how much one spends on jeans makes them more or less casual. Jeans are certainly casual, which is pretty much in keeping with the style of many, many restaurants today.

It's fairly easy to figure out which restaurants appreciate a well-dressed customer and which restaurants don't care.

I'd disagree.

If price, decor, and ambiance don't provide enough clue, you can always look to see if the host/hostess/owner is wearing jeans.

Price is not a very good indicator of dress code. Indeed, I'd say it is a pretty bad one. Masa, which is arguably the most expensive restaurant in the US has a casual dress code. Nor is decor a great indicator, except if it is some manner of dated and showy decor with lots of gold leaf.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 09:20 AM
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Old May 16th, 2011, 12:06 PM
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"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."

Do we sign up somewhere to be dressed by NYCSnob? I assume we show up naked with a selection of our finest clothes?

CanadaSlob
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Old May 16th, 2011, 12:11 PM
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I totally agree with travelgourmet on this one (and, if I am not mistaken, we often disagree).

One of the main things things that I would like to point out is that top class places give the same service to everybody, no matter how they are dressed (in this day and age, many billionaires dress like slobs, because they were not billionaires 2 years ago). A place that gives different service depending on what the clientele is wearing is completely unprofessional.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 12:16 PM
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A place that gives different service depending on what the clientele is wearing is completely unprofessional.

I would agree with that. I would also point out that a few years ago a friend and I were eating at Jean-Luc Rabanat's beautiful and well-known restaurant in the Camargue (since closed, and he's opened l'Atelier in Arles), when a middle-aged man and his young son came in wearing jeans, t-shirts, and flip-flops. I can't speak to what kind of service they got, but after lunch when we were sitting at the bar with Jean-Luc, he went into an absolute tirade about the man and his son. He was simply furious that anyone would show up at his restaurant looking so sloppy. I guess many people don't care about impressions they make or whether they will be the object of ridicule after the fact. Personally, I do.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 12:18 PM
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But the Op's question wasn't whether you think attire affects level of service......
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