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Friday, March 25, 2022

Reader Question: Formal Dining Attire

May I ask a question of the community.

When dining in a formal restaurant, either lunch or dinner, should males wear jackets and ties?

From a personal point of view, I always have and always will!

Kind regards.

 

40 comments:

  1. Could you imagine walking in to La Grenouille without a jacket and tie!

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  2. I suppose we need to define "formal," but unless the establishment is very casual, I feel underdressed without a jacket, especially at dinner.

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  3. Yes, always! And the equivalent for women.

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  4. And what would that equivalent be?

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  5. It’s a tautology. A formal restaurant is one where you are expected to wear a jacket and tie.

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  6. Yes, I think it's appropriate and it certainly looks better. (Of course, I can remember when there was a dress code for flying.)

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    1. Susan, I too can recall when everyone dressed for a flight. Lots of people still did so as recently (?) as the 1980s. I still do, and it definitely improves how one is met and treated by ticketing and gate agents as well as cabin crew. Other passengers tend to leave you alone, I have noticed, which is another pleasant side effect of dressing presentably for air travel. Everything around this particular mode of transport has become so arduous has become so unpleasant the last 20 years or so, that I simply want to reach my destination relatively unruffled and in once piece. The skies are no longer as friendly as once was the case. Parenthetically, I still miss TWA and Pan Am. Flying used to be a glamorous occasion. No more.

      Kind Regards,

      Heinz-Ulrich

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    2. Of course you are right as rain, sir. Have always worn a coat & tie on a plane as a means of silent protest. Sometimes it will gain you a bit of notoriety. Case in point, was coming back to USA from Tunis via Frankfort. Spent layover in Lufthansa Business Lounge & recognized a fellow Houstonian dressed in white tennis shoes, pressed Levi's, white OCBD, & blue blazer. Sat 4 rows behind him. Met up with him at baggage claim & introduced myself. He commented " I wanted to know who was the guy wearing the coat & tie." Turns out he was coming back from Turkmenistan where I had spent some time. He was GHWB's son.

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    3. It goes to show you always are better treated when dressed above, not below. We stay in Venice at a friend’s home. We wander the alongside the canals for hours. And we get tired.
      An easy chair is always welcome. Once I entered a Grand Canal side hotel lobby dressed typically in a sport jacket, ocbd (likely), and leather shoes or boots. The staff smiled at me, “buon Giorno” and turned their attention elsewhere. I sat down, picked up a newspaper and took a breather. Minutes later a couple clad in jeans, sneakers and windbreakers walked in. The staff looked up and said, “can we help you?”

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    4. In 2003, I returned to the US after two years in the UK and one in the Middle East. I got an unsought upgrade to first class in Paris on the way home, probably because my wife and I were among the few people presentably dressed. A few days after arriving Stateside, I flew to a national teachers' conference at a fairly prominent boarding school, wearing my usual travel uniform: navy blazer, dress shirt, well-kept jeans, and plain black Reeboks. The other teachers arriving at the airport were agog; they wondered who I thought I was. Throughout the conference, I was considered exotic because I wore my shirttail in and parted my hair. The decline in our educational system at all levels is no mystery.

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    5. My daughter was interning one summer at a law firm. She went straight to the airport from work wearing a skirt suit, heels, etc. She was offered a free upgrade to first class. Although it has been ten years and lightning has not sruck twice, she still dresses well for flights.

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  7. For the love of everything civilized, yes indeed.

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  8. If anybody else is, you should too.

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  9. During my childhood, teenage, and younger adult years (1970s-early 2000s), yes indeed. That was the example set and the quiet expectation. While "formal" restaurants here in Michigan are very few and far between, I have worn a jacket and tie to dinner when my wife and I could find a reliable sitter. Getting away for a few hours together is a special occasion after all. Likewise for those occasional work-related evening functions. A little bit of formality is a nice thing now and again.

    Kind Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich

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    1. On further thought, a little bit of formality at the table is also welcome. And I refer merely to napkins in laps, elbows off the table during mealtimes, mouths closed when chewing, and avoidance of 'the boarding house reach' across the table for a fourth or fifth heaping helping. Yet that bare modicum of polite table manners will draw unwanted attention in many quarters in 2022. It boggles the mind.

      H-U

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    2. I don't think good manners ever draw unwanted attention. Bad manners do.

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    3. I have to agree with Heinz-Ulrich on this one. I mind my manners, speak correctly, and am careful about my appearance, and people treat me as if I were a freak. I also really notice people who comport themselves as I do, because they stand out nearly anywhere.

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  10. A jacket and tie always looks great and very put together. Like some others, I miss the old dress code standards. I also feel appearance most certainly matters as does first impressions.

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  11. I've heard of venues where the dress code for gentlemen is they MUST wear a suit, dress shirt, tie and dress shoes and people have been turned away for wearing a turtleneck or mock turtleneck.

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  12. I do enjoy getting dressed for dinner at a nice restaurant - mainly because I have an extensive collection of suits, and sports jackets that still fit me after decades. I look forward to every chance I can get to slip into them.

    Talk about getting dressed for dinner, I read that the elegant Duke of Windsor always without fail wore black tie to every evening meal throughout his entire adult life. Don't know what Wally wore.

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  13. Part of the pleasure of dining out was always dressing properly for the occasion. Now, we rarely dine out, partly because it is truly painful to look at how badly dressed those around us are.

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    1. I fully agree with the word "painful". This applies not only to the feeling I get when I look at the way way most people dress at restaurants, but everywhere else.

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  14. How refreshing the majority of the above comments are. The decline in dress standards and good manners is an anathema to me

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  15. As my mother always said, better to be over dressed than under dressed.

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  16. Wearing a tie at the dinner table? No thanks. I'd rather be turned away at the door.

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    1. Ted Williams refused to wear one even for his Hall of Fame induction. He said they got in his soup.

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    2. My grandfather was an architect. His ties got in his way while working at the drafting table. He switched to wearing bow ties. It is an equally good solution if you have trouble with your tie getting in your soup.

      JRC

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    3. At any formal event, where smart attire is expected and food is involved, I wear a bow tie. There's nothing worse than having a tie dangling precariously over your dinner while you raise a toast to the occassion!

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    4. I found bow ties very useful when teaching, as the type of paperwork I did, plus all the writing on whiteboards and chalkboards, made a dangling tie highly undesirable.

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    5. My late father-in-law, an engineer, always wore a bow tie. And as I recall, the Director of Admissions at the university I attended did also. It was unusual enough to warrant an article in the student newspaper.

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  17. I would read the room before going out--go to the restaurant's website and see how the guests are dressed, then add a touch more flair, something boho.

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  18. I really enjoy putting on a tie for a restaurant dinner. I mix it up a bit, navy blazer, tweed jacket or even a suit. Lately though I have been choosing a shawl neck cardigan. I keep it buttoned up and the tie remains clear of the Bolognese.

    David J Cooper

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  19. I tend not to wear a tie for dinner unless I'm already wearing one from work, but I'll often choose to wear a jacket. I do miss having more dress-code situations, to help bring up the general standard. We used to belong to a country club whose code was only modestly restrictive (collared shirts, no jeans) but led to an aesthetically pleasing experience. And we haven't been to church regularly for many years, between time in Europe and the pandemic, but our former church in Westchester tended toward jackets and ties for men. I appreciated it.

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