So I want to try something different here and open a discussion on dining/food related topics. When you have three bloggers might as well take advantage of it and create some dialogue. Readers feel free to chime in too!
Dress codes may not be so prevalent on the left coast West Coast but elsewhere in the world many restaurants and events strongly suggest certain attire be worn to fit with the theme or ambience of the establishment. What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a dress code? And how strictly should it be enforced? Are they becoming a thing of the past?
I do feel that dress codes aren’t as prevalent as they used to be or at least not as strictly enforced. Perhaps, in regard to fashion, it’s due to the popularity of designer casual/comfort clothes. Showing class and wealth these days has less to do with the article of clothing but more to do with the brand you’re wearing. The elite and upper class are now dressing up for a nice dinner out by donning their $300 Victoria Bekham jeans and a Channel tee. Comfort is in and perhaps dress codes have to account for that.
I personally totally support the idea of dress codes and think they should be taken not just as a recommendation but as a stipulation. Restaurants, particularly fine-dining restaurants, put in a lot of money and consideration into creating a certain ambience in their establishment so that their diners can go there not only to dine, but to have an experience. I think that if you’re going to a restaurant to enjoy their food and their experience then it’s only right to partake in that experience and respect that experience by dressing according to their dress code.
Of course, it may not always be convenient to dine at a restaurant with a dress code, especially if coming straight from work etc; but maybe it’s time we start putting in a little more effort and thought into what we wear for certain occasions. I’ve been to some of the top restaurants in the world and I will admit there’s just something not quite ‘fitting’ when a customer is dining at the table next to your wearing an Ed Hardy shirt and shorts while being served by a waiter in a well-tailored suit.
I’m of two minds on this topic – on the one hand, I love nothing more than going out for a special meal at a nice restaurant, dressing up, and being surrounded by others who have also made the effort to dress well. It makes the whole evening feel like more of an occasion, and elevates the experience just that much more. There’s also nothing that irks me more than going out somewhere that clearly warrants a nicer outfit, and sitting next to a table of people wearing jeans or lululemons. I don’t care what anyone says, yoga wear isn’t appropriate anywhere outside of the yoga studio or your own home. It almost cheapens the whole experience of a fancy night out to have to sit next to someone who obviously cares a lot less about the admittedly superficial notion of wearing clothes that fit the setting.
That being said, it seems like bad business to put a dress code in effect and enforce it. Dress codes can serve to turn people off of a restaurant for being too uptight, and ultimately, if you’re a paying customer you should wear whatever you please (except yoga wear, because…I mean really). Plus, where is the line drawn? Who’s to say that what I think is an appropriate outfit for a particular restaurant might not make the cut by their standards? Maybe those $300 designer jeans/pants that look almost like jeans will make me feel fancy if I wear them, and yet someone else may judge them as too casual.
Overall, I absolutely think people should be making more of an effort to look their best when going out to eat anywhere nicer than, I don’t know, a Red Lobster or Olive Garden. Eating out, enjoying a meal you didn’t have to prepare should be an occasion shared by all the diners in a restaurant; it shouldn’t always be treated as a casual stop before going to the gym (or not).
My liberal self-indulgent individualistic holier-than-thou realist side of me says that there’s nothing there’s anything advantageous of having a dress code except being elitist. Why should I, who is willing to pay money for your services have to conform to your discriminating standards? Obviously you don’t want my business and don’t deserve my money. I’ll wear ripped jeans, runners and a graphic tshirt with a stained hoodie whenever I damned well please!
My romantic, traditional conformist don’t-rock-the-boat upbringing says that’s fine. No big deal, I’ll wear a suit. I’ll actually prefer it. I have this expensive outfit that almost sees no action and I still haven’t been to a place where I’m required to wear a suit. If anything, I’m constantly trying to dress down and not look overdressed.
And thinking about it more… you know what, I think they should be enforced. I’d rather go to a place where it is enforced because people in there ‘get it’. They get the experience, and yearn for that nostalgia of when people gave a shit about their appearances and respecting the occasion. The friends and company that I will be going with will also be people who want the same elevated ambiance. Those who choose to go to these kind of places are the people that understand the finer things in life and will most likely appreciate the food or ambiance. Why have somebody there that doesn’t care enough to ruin the atmosphere?
Buttoning up a shirt, tying a tie, putting on a sports jacket, wearing some dress trousers, wearing something other than white socks and lacing up your leather shoes to eat some food has never killed anybody before. So just show up, enjoy the dinner, your company, the ambiance and recognize it’s something special – you don’t get to do this everyday. It’s not just another sports night out at the bar ordering hot wings drinking cheap beer with the boys.