In defense of the restaurant dress code
September 21st, 2011
09:30 AM ET
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Gentlemen - dare I say your special lady friend looks just smashing tonight? She went out and got her hair and nails done, tweezed various things, squeezed herself into magical, shape-carving, circulation-repressing undergarments (that she'll discreetly remove before you ever see them), and painted on her date face. She's pretty hot.

But you, sir. Would it truly unman you to put on a tie? Maybe one without a passive-aggressive Looney Toons character or sports logo stitched uponst it? Okay, okay - that was overreaching. Might you consider dress shoes? Perhaps something with a non-rubber sole or without a visible logo? Maybe something that covers the toe area? No?

Okay, one last try: pants. Ones that go all the way down to your ankles and (dare to dream) require a belt to remain attached to your person?

Well, it was worth a shot. And congratulations, sir. Your female companion must be exceptionally enamored of your other attributes because as I mentioned before, she looks like a million bucks and were aware that this dinner date was taking place in public, right? At a restaurant?

This is why dress codes rock. They set up expectations and a calming assurance that you will be neither over nor under dressed. They're egalitarian, not elitist - from "no shirt, no shoes, no service" to "gentlemen are required to wear a jacket in the dining room." If exercised in good faith - which it often is - the policy will relegate a Fortune 500 CEO in deck shoes and an open collar to the restaurant lounge, while the broke student in a borrowed tie and jacket, who saved up for months to take his date out for the meal of a lifetime, gets a "Right this way, sir." He played by the rules.

While some establishments make special exceptions for celebrities and high-rolling regulars, it's certainly not always the case. Culturemap Houston reported just this week that Food Network star Paula Deen was denied entry to a Vic and Anthony's Steakhouse because her husband's pants were of inadequate length, and the couple's assistant hadn't packed any that fit the restaurant's stated, "We do not allow hats, shorts or flip-flops" policy. The couple decamped to a nearby Morton's steakhouse.

Just last week, I sat in the bar of a high-end, award-winning restaurant I'd always been a tad too intimidated to visit, fearing I just wasn't fancy enough. As it turns out, I shouldn't have worried. I'd fussed and fretted and put on what I hoped was a sufficiently swanky ensemble, and watched as a stream of clearly well-to-do gentlemen strolled in with gorgeously decked-out women on their arms and jeans and sneakers on their lower halves. They were inevitably escorted to the equally expensive, but rather less prestigious lounge area. Their dates looked...disappointed.

The restaurant's dress code is clearly stated on their website, and I couldn't help but ask a friend of mine who worked there what was behind the under dressed men's thinking. His take - with a check average of $230 per person, plenty of diners feel entitled to wear what they want; but it's still his job to enforce the rules.

Napa Valley chef and restaurateur Michael Chiarello recently evoked the same sort of scenario in a column for Inside Scoop SF, writing of a customer who'd come into his restaurant Bottega in flip-flops and a torn T-shirt, "The more virtuous side of my brain says, 'They’re paying for the meal; they have the right to wear what they like.' My brain’s snarky side (which seems to expand on hot days) says, 'He is embarrassing every table that chose to dress appropriately for dinner.'"

"Embarrassing" might be a strong word, but I get what he's saying. Perhaps in an ideal world, we should be wholly focused on our own experience and that of our companions, and how other people choose to comport themselves should be the least of our worries.

But restaurants, at their very best, are a grand and invisible theater, and everyone in them plays a part. It's why we leave our homes to eat in the company of others, rather than just gnawing at hunks of cold pizza on the couch while watching Law & Order reruns (though that is a frequent and awesome option). The food (and not having to cook or clean up after it) is a significant part, of course, but so are a thousand other factors - the service, the music, the decor, and yes, the behavior and sartorial stylings of other diners. When all these things are in harmony, magic can happen. When it doesn't, the whole night can hit a sour note.

Give it a shot - flip-flop your policy and knot up a tie before you tie one on next time. If you find you don't like it, there's plenty of room in the lounge.

soundoff (635 Responses)
  1. Prom Dresses

    Nice post and the information given in this blog is really good.

    June 1, 2013 at 6:08 am |
  2. Jennifer

    If you don't agree to it, then don't go to that kind of restaurant. There's something for everybody.

    September 30, 2011 at 2:15 am |
  3. rob

    Went to Morton's in DC and guess what .... the women dressed nicely and properly and many of the men of an Obama persuasion wore shorts or baggy underwear showing jeans and baseball hats. Thank god there are 2 places in the city that still refuse entry without a jacket or tie to prevent riff-raff from dining.

    September 28, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • Brian

      Really? You had to bring up Obama? So "Obama persuasion"....they were the duly elected leaders of democratic nations?

      October 5, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
      • LuLu

        RIGHT? Great answer to the (thinly veiled) RACIST comment!
        I work in the biz and fully support dress codes! I live in Hawaii and one of my complaints is that this place it too casual. I know of, and have worked in places that do keep a few jackets in the closet for men who are otherwised "dressed appropriately" but have no jacket.
        If you're on the beach, great, wear your shorts and sandals. If you're going out to dine, put on some proper clothes. I don't want to put time and effort into getting dressed only to have to look at someone who just came from the beach sitting next to me. AND I don't want the "aromas" wafting from under someone's tank-top clad armpits to *%#^ up the taste of my '58 Lafitte either!

        October 16, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  4. Aaron

    A great place for food and drink specials is They have over a million bar and restaurant deals, coupons, discounted specials and venue features. The site even features handy reviews and content from open table so you can find specials, book a reservation and get directions all in the same place. Check it out!

    September 27, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  5. Eric

    I don't own a tie and wouldn't spend my hard earned money on a ridiculously over priced meal at any of these restaurants! For that kind of money you could by groceries for 2 or 3 weeks!! Times are REALLY tough now and snooty people at overpriced eateries are slitting their own throats driving away paying customers....Well when your business is failing (or failed) don't come looking for a hand out or sympathy when your back working 3rd shift at Steak & Shake!!

    September 26, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
  6. jj

    That's what was so nice about the sixties, a la Mad Men and Pan Am style. Everybody dressed up. It showed respect for oneself and others. Now I see half dressed women with tattoos everywhere – fat half-dressed women. And the men aren't any better.

    September 26, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  7. Jamie

    I wouldn't eat at a place that had a dress code for its customers. If I am paying 230$ for a check, I'll wear what I damn well please. Dress codes are for school and work, not for when I'm paying to enjoy a meal.

    September 25, 2011 at 6:27 am |
    • MensaGuy

      You will not be missed. Hooters will appreciate your business.

      September 25, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • 12mchen

      Agreed. If you are dropping that kind of cash, then within reason you should be able to wear whatever. Stupid restaurants lose a lot of money from their snobbery.

      September 25, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
      • Varina

        What about respecting your date with dressing appropriately? Would men like it if we showed up in “whatever”. Maybe our nice comfy sweatpants!

        September 29, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  8. Regular Guy

    "Restaurants should be able to enforce a dress code if they want" is a reasonable-sounding claim repeated many times in other comments. But in actuality, "dress" is a culturally-determined norm. Would we be ok if someone was turned away for not wearing a turban at a traditional middle-eastern restaurant? Or if you *were* wearing shoes at a conservative Japanese establishment?

    The fact is that requiring specific clothes is – beyond hygiene – more of a cultural-exclusion measure. It's ethnocentric and wrong, to not serve someone who does not share your cultural values. In countries which celebrate their unique culture that's acceptable, but in America we support cultural diversity by law.

    Dress-up can be fun, and restaurants should state if they please "Dress Suggestions", but not a Dress Code. Getting turned away from clubs and restaurants because I'm not wearing your shoes or your jacket is insulting and offensive, and you should not support it. The fact is that anyone who doesn't meet the dress code will not "fit in" at these places, and that's everyone's loss, but it's a greater loss when we exclude each other for such trivialities.

    September 23, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
    • Tay

      "The fact is that requiring specific clothes is – beyond hygiene – more of a cultural-exclusion measure."

      Yes, and if one wishes to celebrate the values and traditions of his own culture by upholding them in his own restaurant, that should be applauded. Multiculturalists have been saying that America should be a "salad bowl" not a "melting pot" for decades now–meaning we should expect pockets of differing and unique values and traditions to persist, not to be melted down into colorless PC goo. You should celebrate dress codes for their contributions to diversity and to the preservation of unique cultural traits at risk of disappearing.

      "It's ethnocentric and wrong, to not serve someone who does not share your cultural values."

      No, it is selfish and arrogant for a guest in someone else's establishment to disrespect the host's cultural values by not expecting to abide by clearly posted guidelines. If I go into a Japanese restaurant which asks me to take off my shoes, I will do so. If a Middle Eastern restaurant requires traditional dress and I'm not wearing it, I would expect to be turned away. If I go into a restaurant which requires a collared shirt or a jacket and I don't have one on, I will expect to be turned away. To expect anything else would be as arrogant and selfish as if I were to go into an Indian or a vegetarian restaurant and expect them to serve me beef.

      "In countries which celebrate their unique culture that's acceptable, but in America we support cultural diversity by law."

      We certainly do not. I can discriminate against any cultural norms I dislike and the law in America has nothing to say about this protected act of First Amendment freedom–if I want to turn people with baggy pants or collarless shirts away from my restaurant, I am free to do so. If you want to turn me away from your restaurant for wearing a shirt and tie you are free to do so. And yes, I as a descendant of WASP culture do have my own culture and traditions and proud ethnic heritage and I have every right to celebrate them as much as if I were a Latino or Black American. Shame on you for your discriminatory ethnic and cultural hatemongering.

      September 25, 2011 at 3:31 am |
    • Stickler

      Considering that turbans are a religiously-mandated piece of clothing for Sikh Indians and /not/ for Muslim men, you would be much more likely to have that issue while Not in a Middle Eastern restaurant. However, Sikhs are also unlikely to require someone else to wear turbans. Still,.. barring that bit, you make a good point.

      September 25, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  9. Regular Guy

    I have enjoyed dress codes on occasion, because it adds to the regality of a special night out. But it's especially important to old people who need to replace the playing field in terms of appearance to feel more comfortable, shifting from their decaying bodies' beauty to how expensive their clothes are.

    September 23, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
    • MensaGuy

      Regular bitter, always-excluded because of his personality guy.

      September 25, 2011 at 10:44 am |
  10. Demiricous

    I disagree but who cares just one less jerk off that doesn't over charge me for food. I have gone to a few places of high dinning that want you to fallow a dress code. I have had them refund my money a few times too. Just because they have a dress code doesn't mean there food is good. 60$ for 6 grilled shrimp and a few veggies. When you can go to sizzler and get the same shrimp and a steak for $25 if not less. The places just give people a reason to act fancy and say the next day oh ya I went and ate here.

    September 23, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  11. HumanBeing

    Bottom Line________
    If you want to go to an expensive restaurant dressed like a vacation beach-goer, find one that suits your needs. If you want an expensive restaurant with other people who enjoy being "dressed to the nines", find it and be a patron. If you don't care, eat anywhere that suits and that will allow you, dressed however, through their doors.

    Businesses tailor to customers/clientèle. Find the one that fits your desires and have a blast (or maybe just enjoy yourself).

    September 23, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • 12mchen

      Bottom Line __________

      If a restaurant wants my business or any of my friends or any of my coworkers, they better treat me with respect. If I pay, I get a say.

      September 25, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  12. Mike Wiggins

    A restaurant has the right to set and enforce a dress code policy. Simple as that. It's not discrimination. The restauranteurs build up their businesses as they see fit in locations that will hopefully bring them the most income. If they're smart, they'll know who their clients will be and what they'll expect. If you put up a new restaurant in the Theater District in Manhattan, you have to decide if your clientele will be the dress-up type when they go to the theater or tired tourists who will be going home after dinner. If it's the former, you want to ensure you have a dress code to keep your clientele as comfortable as possible. But if you get more of the latter types of customers, you have to adjust your business strategy....and most likely your dress code.

    There is a restaurant in Newport, RI, that actually has TWO "sides" to it. One is the "tavern" side where you can dress up just about any way you want. And then there's the "Admirals" room where men MUST wear a jacket and tie. So this business has very smartly adjusted to the situation and just about everyone is happy. AND it's still in business after many decades.

    So, if you don't like to dress up, don't expect ALL restaurants to accept you in your torn jeans and tie-dyed t-shirts. Do your research BEFORE you make reservations (you DID make reservations, didn't you?? Hmmm?). Call the restaurant or look them up on their web page. You'll be better off.

    September 23, 2011 at 9:42 am |
  13. bill

    We will never be a civilized society until we stop judging people on appearance. It does not matter if you are black, white, etc...or if you are in an expensive suit. When I go to out to eat, which I do frequently, and occasionally in very expensive locations I dress comfortably and almost always more casually that everyone else in the establishment. My money is green just like yours, and I enjoy the comments and looks when I tip better than the pretentious ass in the suit.

    September 23, 2011 at 7:55 am |
    • emma

      So you would rather a world where people are based on their green money than their appearance? Dressing appropriately is a sign of respect for others; there are as many if not more places to dress casually so I suggest you go there to throw your money around and feel important. The others there may actually care.

      September 23, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • Tia

      I don't care how much green money you have if you can't manage to spend some on decent clothing to go out to dinner. Surely you can find comfortable clothes that meet the dress requirement. If you want to go out looking like a slob, please stay at home because the rest of us don't want to look at you and lose our appetites.

      September 24, 2011 at 6:43 am |
  14. place for everything

    there is a place for everything. why am i a 30 yr old man who dresses better than the so called classy folks of our previous generation. i have gone to restaurants with people twice my age wearing blue jeans and t shirts. if i feel like wearing blue jeans ill go to applebees, dress shirt ill go to red lobster, shorts ill go to dennys or perkins and sweatpants should get me into hardees. it is not about class warfare or class plagarism. i dont make much but i dont blow my money on stupid sh*t like liquor, cigarettes, and excessive material needs. your lack of class and lazy attitude towards your own budget is not an excuse.

    September 23, 2011 at 3:56 am |
  15. Mike in SA

    Loved the signs in so establishments in Germany back in the 08s and 90s "Pets welcome, children if behaved" (Obviously in German – Hunde sind willkommen, Kinder, wenn verhielt)

    September 23, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • Mike in SA

      Sorry, the sign was actually "Dogs welcome..."

      September 23, 2011 at 12:05 am |
  16. Kitty

    Sadly, not many people know how to dress properly today. At an annual work event for inner-city high school kids, a human resources officer would discuss proper work attire. It was always hysterical. My favorite quote was, "I wouldn't hire Albert Einstein if he wore baggy pants."

    September 22, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
    • BJG

      And, quite frankly, whose loss would that be? Celarly not Dr Einstein who would find employment elsewhere. Heck, if they didn't lkike baggy pants, they would also probably object to his hair as well.

      And that's the point, everyone can lose when we make the choice of judging a book bits cover, and the occassional Einstein can be passed over. good hiring managers know this and make allowances. But applicants should also realize, rightly or wrongly, that they are going to be judged on appearance and adjust their grooming/dress appropriately–going to an interview at Apple in a suit and tie is probably as inapproriate as showing up at IBM in a sports coat and banded collar (no tie).

      September 23, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  17. ToniLynn

    I haven't 500+ comments, so maybe someone else has already said this: America has become a nation of slobs. It seems that since the 60's (of which I am a product), we have taken the "freedom" thing to mean we can dress as slovenly as we like in every place we might want to. I attended a church service once at which a man came dressed in a wife-beater, torn cut offs, and no shoes. I nearly fainted. Some would say, "At least he was at church, who cares what he wore?" Please, people...have some respect for those around you if not yourself.

    September 22, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
    • bill

      If you would simply mind your own business and realize that that persons' dress has absolutely no impact on your life you would be much happier.

      September 23, 2011 at 7:57 am |
      • BJG

        yep, and especially at a church. Is a church a fashion show, or somewhere to go to worship? Don't worry about other people; worry about yourself.

        September 23, 2011 at 9:15 am |
  18. Russell Jeffords

    One other "code," is needed at high-end restaurants: NO CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 5, and IF YOUR CHILDREN DISTURB OTHERS YOU WILL BE ASKED TO LEAVE.

    September 22, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • a foodie who likes nice restaurants....

      Actually, my favorite restaurant in manhattan has a "no children under 12 in the dining room policy". I have a toddler, and frankly, wholeheatedly agree. If you're paying a lot for a very special dinner, you do not want to have a nuclear war going on at the next table.

      September 22, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • S1N

      I agree completely with the "no children under __ years old" rule. While most people I know, including myself, have raised their children properly, I NEVER fail to encounter a young siblings who decide to run around the dining area. Most times, the parents of these children do absolutely nothing. I understand that kids need to be entertained, but parents should not take their children to restaurants and other public venues (besides parks) until they know how to maintain their composure when appropriate.

      I am paying for a nice dinner, not a reservation to a toddler game of tag.

      September 22, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
  19. Cyn507

    I worked in a hi end restaurant and couldnt believe how many people on mothers day would show up in flip flops, shorts, baseball hats, even the girls w/ stretch pants & scrunchys. Unbelievable, one day a year you cant hose you and your kids down and put some clean decent clothes on for a few hours? Not gonna kill you to class up for 2 hours. I wondered why they didnt stay home & cook hotdogs.

    September 22, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  20. Whatever

    I find it amusing when people dress themselves up in their little costumes. They put so much effort into putting on a show, always seeking attention and approval from others. This applies to those who dress in suits and ties as equally as it does to goth kids. I find it a bit pathetic really.

    September 22, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Katie

      So what do you wear? What doesn't constitute as a costume?

      September 22, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
      • Whatever

        You clearly don't understand my posts. I won't dumb them down for you so you're on your own.

        September 23, 2011 at 6:01 am |
    • K

      Some of us have been taught that being well dressed is akin to having good manners. A show of respect to those around us. A way to say, I think enough of the company I am in to put some effort into how I present myself.
      But by all means, keep ridiculing everyone better dressed than yourself. It's just about the only way for a guy in sweatpants on his couch to feel superior, I guess.

      September 22, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
      • Whatever

        The worst of the lot are the ones who think their silly little costumes make them superior when they play dress up.

        September 22, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
    • S1N

      @Whatever – I hope for your sake that you are not an adult. If you are, you are doomed to be a failure in life. The point of dressing up isn't to give off an air of superiority. The point is to dress appropriately for your environment and company. This is the same reason you don't wear pajamas to work. Sure, they may be more comfortable, but they are not considered appropriate for your setting.

      Research dramaturgy. It may be helpful to you.

      September 22, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
      • Whatever

        Obviously, for many people it is, as shown by the posts on this page. I'm a failure at life because I don't believe in tying my self-worth to the clothes I wear? Get real.

        September 22, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
    • Vanessaa@Katie, K & SN1

      "Whatever" is a troll who sits in his mother's basement eating Cheetos all day playing World of Warcraft and d!ddling himself. Please don't feed the trolls.

      September 23, 2011 at 7:12 am |
    • Umptysquat

      How's the air way up there on your pedestal?

      September 23, 2011 at 8:51 am |
    • Tia

      I find it funny that there are people like you that judge others based on how they dress. Maybe you should try having a life of your own, I bet then you wouldn't feel that need to reflect your own need for attention onto others.

      September 24, 2011 at 6:47 am |
  21. Jak41

    My husband and I stayed at Galley Bay in Antigua for our honeymoon. The resort's website clearly stated that after 7;30 there was a strict dress code. In the restaurants, shoes are worn and bathing suites are covered. After 6:30 p.m., men wear shirts withcollars and short or long sleeves (no T-shirts or tank tops) and long pants or stylish jeans (no shorts, Capri or 3/4 pants); and women wear dresses, skirts, long pants or stylish jeans, culottes or in the Summer tailored Bermuda-length shorts (no "short shorts" or cutoffs). Despite the defined dress code, there were several nights when men would show up in shorts, flip flops and t-shirts. Thankfully the staff did tactfully request that they go change, but that did not stop mena dn women from showing up each evening bucking the dress code.
    Yes, it was warm for my husband to wear dress slacks in 85 degree weather, but he looked great and I appreciate the added level of class the dress code brought to our nights out.

    September 22, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  22. ST

    My 5 year old knows how to properly dress himself for dinner. He insists on wearing a collared shirt and tie and occasionally a suit jacket. Now granted he also often wears these with some form of cargo pants but he is only 5. I think most of the whiners who complain about having to dress appropriately for dinner can take a lesson from my 5 year old. Of course, there is always Applebee's.

    September 22, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • Frank

      Wow! Pretty impressive. Meaning you...with your 5 yr old...and therefore your own child raising skills. I believe the article was about eating out and factoring into society. Not how formal someone's home should be.

      September 22, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • oubie

      Whipped at 5. Great job!

      September 22, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • mimi_nef

      I'll see your I'll see your five year old in a coat and tie and raise you a three-year-old in formal attire: Tiara, tutu, shoes with sequins and a scepter.

      You're missing the entire point of the story. You cannot compare children's make-believe costumes with grown men who live in sneakers and t-shirts.

      September 22, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
  23. kerak

    I dress up for National Biscuit Day.

    September 22, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • AleeD@Kerak

      Oooo, when is that? Can I bring apple butter?

      September 22, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
      • S1N

        Apple butter? Thanks for mentioning that. I haven't had that stuff in years. It is pure awesomeness!

        September 22, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
  24. oubie

    Unless a man is really in touch with his feminine side, he hates to dress up. The only reason he will do it is if his lady makes it clear he has to (you know what I mean).

    So, ladies, you can make us dress up, but you can't make us like it!

    September 22, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Mystic American

      I'm looking forward to seeing you kids in your first job interview after college, when you come shuffling in wearing your flip flops and your silly visors worn upside down on your head. Don't feel too bad when you don't get the job dressed like a hobo. The world needs ditch diggers, too.

      September 22, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
      • oubie

        You'll see me as soon as you apply to my company for a job.

        September 22, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
    • Vanessaa@oubie wahn

      While I respect your hatred for dressing up, you do not speak for all men in touch with their masculine side. My husband is very much a man in every sense of the word and he likes dressing up WAY more than I do.

      September 22, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • BJG

      As a man I've never minded dressing up, and often will over, rather than under, dress. but i don't think that every one else has to dress up just because I chose to, nor do I fell out of place when people around me aren't as dressed as I am. As a musician I have many times been the only person in a tux in a restaurant before or after a concert, and it never bothered me. Wear what you want, it won't make me enjoy the meal any more or less. Now if you sell bad, it will bother me even if you are in a white tie and tails.

      September 22, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
      • Vanessaa@BJG


        September 22, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  25. Tim Knecht

    It's ever so much easier to go downhill than to go up. So many people are so very determined to be non-conformist, and not only in dress. Take these comments, for example:

    You damn Skippy on that one!

    eat in your underwares!lol!

    Apparently, knowing how to talk and spell correctly is also proudly non-conformist. Qwerty and timmy should be proud that they are non-conformingly functionally illiterate.

    September 22, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Sally Mander@TimK

      Hoep yew dont git cawt inna rane storm. Yore knows is so terned upp, you'd drowneded.

      September 22, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  26. humtake

    I only wear a tie to interviews and weddings. I dress very nice and have nice, expensive clothes that stay clean and ironed, but if you are expecting a tie then you can go date a Blues Brother or one of the 3 stooges.

    September 22, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  27. John

    Some of you lowlifes act like wearing a nice pair of Dockers with a Polo shirt to a nice restaurant, along with shoes that don't look like they came straight out of the city garbage dump, is high fashion. LOL.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  28. wendy

    YAY! now if they could just apply the dress code to operas, ballets, and musicals. i'm so tired to seeing attendees in flip flops and shorts at 8pm on a saturday nite at the Music Hall.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • BJG

      Again, most musical theaters (at least on Broadway) have taken away any sense of elegance, forcing peple to line up in the streets in front of the theater rather than admitting them to the lobby like they used to years ago, serving them drinks in cheap plastic cups (rather than glassware like they used to years ago), and having tuxedo-clad ushers who escorted you to your seats rather than just grunting "5 rows down, 6th seat in). If there's no real elegance or special event feeling attached to attending a play(and those producing the play don't even try to make it seem different), why should we pretend like there is?

      September 22, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
  29. rethsrhd54rh6sr5hy6s45y

    nothing worse than walking into a nice restaurant and having to see a bunch of apes dressed up like its still the 1800s.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • stan

      Inaccurate. It is much worse walking into a restaurant and seeing a bunch of apes dressed like they need their dirty, ripped jeans, exposed boxers, and gauge earrings to show how non-conformist they are

      September 22, 2011 at 11:46 am |
      • J

        Ironic isn't it that in order to display their non-conformity they must adhere to the code of the non-conformists and in doing so become just another band of uptight snobs (albeit, poorly dressed) who disdain others that don't conform to their views of non-conformity.
        Here's a hint for all of you non-conformists; if you weren't first to do it you are simply conforming to a different code, but a code nonetheless.

        September 22, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Relictus

      There is nothing worse than paying for an expensive meal only to sit next to a character straight out of "People of Walmart". If I wanted the ambience of McDonalds, I would have eaten there.

      September 22, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
      • otto

        Rectumus, there is one thing worse. Sitting next to a fashion snob more interested in judging other people than enjoying their dinner

        September 22, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  30. Gilbert Moore

    Have we really gone so far down hill as a society that appearance matters more than character? I wonder why the author of this article didn't get into the history of this practice, and how it was originally used to separate the haves from having to be near the have-nots. Classism at play in our society.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • Kevin

      Having the decency to dress appropriately IS a measure of character.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • Bob Brown

      Kevin has it right!

      September 22, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
      • Mik

        Totally agree with Kevin and Bob... Not every restraunt is McDonalds you know!

        September 22, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
      • Mark

        So If I wear the same outfit to Mcdonalds will I be escorted to my table for me Big Mac ala Supersized?

        September 22, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  31. J

    How is a restaurant having a minimum level of dress snobbery? Is it the only place to eat in a hundred miles? In other words, if you choose to come to a restaurant that doesn't have a drive thru or a canoe on the ceiling and serves a finely crafted menu created by dedicated professionals you CHOSE to do this. It may just be Wednesday to you, but for the guy at the next table who is trying to create a memory with the woman he loves it's much more.
    Bottom Line: If you are opposed to the rules of the establishment don't go. Let others who aren't enjoy their meal.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • John

      I agree with you. The only ones offended by restaurant dress codes are dirtbags. Let them gorge themselves at Carl's Jr., where they belong.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:29 am |
      • Mark

        If you have to dress uncomfortablly to enjoy a meal, take your money elsewhere and have a better time!

        September 22, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  32. .

    you clowns supporting dress codes wouldn't be so smug if you were eating rats in the death camps where you belong.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • ...

      my screen name is 3 times longer than yo-o-o-o-ors :P

      September 22, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  33. LIz

    I"d rather see a 'baby' code. now that restaurants no longer have no-smoking sections, they should have no-child sections so folks can eat the meal they paid good money for in peace instead of having to put up with other people's screaming brats! if your kids can't sit quietly and eat without disturbing folks at neighboring tables, LEAVE THEM HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!! just because you can tolerate their carrying on, NOBODY ELSE THINKS IT'S CUTE!!!!!!!!!

    September 22, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • KM

      I have kids and I couldn't agree more!

      September 22, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • Kevin

      +1, if you can afford to dress up and go out to a nice dinner, you can afford another $20 for a sitter for the evening.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:41 am |
      • BeenThere

        As I said before, my wife and I considered these evenings as training sessions for our children... We would NOT tolerate their "acting up" and disturbing other guests and we definitely would NOT entrust them to a sitter. The worst thing I can remember happening with them was my oldest son falling asleep in his mashed potatoes (he was 4) No fuss, he just fell asleep. We always received compliments on their behavior.

        September 22, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • a parent

      Llz, I agree with you to a point. I have children and while they're not perfect, they know what is expected from them when we are in public, whether it's a fancy dinner, ballet, symphony, church or fast food. Huh, these are actually the same expectations I have for them at home: be polite, respectful, show grace and courtesy and feel free to engage in the conversations. However, I know that not all parents expect anything of their child and so they receive nothing in return. People don't magically become productive citizens who know how to treat themselves and others with respect. It needs to be taught and that starts in the home with the parents. So please don't lump my kids in with a lot of brats because they aren't.

      September 22, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • Marissa

      Amen to that! I just went through the same thing at a restaurant/bar the other night. Children LITERALLY running up and down benches, knocking down plants in the garden area, and another toddler screaming at the top of her lungs (whose parents had the approach of – "If you ignore her, she'll stop." which wasn't really working). I understand that it was a German bar... but WHY are you taking your young children to a rowdy bar? Yes, it was a "casual" place... but there was no PlayLand in site... and that doesn't imply your kids can or should turn the whole patio into one.

      When I was a kid, my parents took me to fine dining establishments all the time (we're talking age 4). I threw a tantrum one time. I remember being picked up and carried out. My parents then hired the meanest most un-fun babysitter ever specifically on nights they went out to dinner. They let me know why I had the crappy babysitter on dinner nights... it was because of my crappy behavior. I learned my lesson and soon enjoyed lots of quiet, wonderful meals with my parents where I learned to eat tons of crazy, weird, fantastic food. And, I remember really enjoying the dress code!!! Teaching your kids that dressing up for some places is a special, fun activity helps them to appreciate its importance as an adult.

      September 22, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
  34. Average Jane@Avg Joe

    I'm taller than you! :-P

    September 22, 2011 at 10:35 am |
  35. Average Joe

    Get over yourselves, you freakin' snobs!

    September 22, 2011 at 10:27 am |
  36. Tom

    If people demonstrated a bit more concern for others instead of "doing their own thing", this wouldn't be an issue. If a restaurant establishes a dress code, then it stands to reason that most customers will observe it. Therefore, what does it say about someone who thinks they deserve a special exception, especially when other patrons chose to show consideration for their fellow diners? Like dogs learning to walk on a leash, selfish, arrogant, clods who have been coddled way too much need to be jerked up short once in a while.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • Qwerty

      You damn Skippy on that one!

      September 22, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • BJG

      And what does it say about a restaurant that makes those exceptions? It's their business and management can do what it wants, but IMHO if a restaurant has a dress code the least they can do is enforce it; if they don't, they why should I observe it (or of it's unevenly enforced, why should I go there)?

      September 22, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Chuck

      "If people demonstrated a bit more concern for others instead of "doing their own thing", this wouldn't be an issue."


      September 22, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  37. timmy

    eat in your underwares!lol!

    September 22, 2011 at 9:18 am |
  38. Jorge

    "...But restaurants, at their very best, are a grand and invisible theater, and everyone in them plays a part. It's why we leave our homes to eat in the company of others, rather than just gnawing at hunks of cold pizza on the couch while watching Law & Order reruns (though that is a frequent and awesome option)." -Are you kidding me?? Your life must be reeeeally pedestrian, American & dreary. The best dine out in company I ever had was seafood paella and sangria, on a beach house porch overlooking the Caribbean at 2:00am, buck naked with my date in Curazao.

    September 22, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • mark

      Now that is what I'm talkin' about! Good food, great beverage and "dessert" afterward!

      September 22, 2011 at 9:21 am |
  39. Frank line mint

    Man, now that Oprah is gone I am so bored. What should I do?

    September 22, 2011 at 9:02 am |
  40. Lady Propriety

    I agree with a previous poster that during the 50's, people dressed as if they had a purpose in life. Men in chinos, a button down, wing tips, and a sport coat. Maybe even a fedora. Women in skirts and sweaters or a sensible shift. Can you imagine walking down a street and seeing people with pants that actually fit around their waist? Or not having to see anyone's undergarments? If that is Pleasantville mentality, I'll take it.

    It is possible to be comfortable and well-dressed. This whole sports-jersey,flip-flop,rumpled clothing casual bit is an eyesore. Especially in a restaurant.

    If you look good, you feel good...

    September 22, 2011 at 8:55 am |
    • Kaye Wyee

      "If you look good, you feel good.."
      Balderdash. I've never felt comfortable in hose & heels, but I rooked mah-ve-lus.

      September 22, 2011 at 9:33 am |
      • Lady Propriety

        Then Kaye Wyee, I suggest you shop around for a pair of heels that fit properly. You will know the correct fit when you feel it. I can (and have!) spend 16-18 hour days in mine. Pantyhose? Again, they should be snug but not constricting. Amazing how a little time spent on yourself pays off in terms of clothing that fits. Quite frankly, I see a good many women who would benefit from wearing a girdle.

        The feeling of knowing your attire is well put together does wonders. Style is a mindset, and you cannot buy it. When I dine out at a certain price point, I would like to be surrounded by others with this mindset. It has nothing to do with socioeconomic factors.

        Good manners and respect for others are free of cost.

        September 22, 2011 at 10:56 am |
      • Kaye Wyee

        *snap, snap* Pay attention. One last time, you said, "If you look good, you feel good..." I disagree with that statement – which is why I copied it into my comment to you. I didn't say they didn't fit, I said I didn't feel comfortable in them. Wearing stuff like that isn't who I am. Dressing up for special occasions is fine, but I'm glad I don't have to wear the FMP's women wear today. Now run along and play. Thaaaaat's a good girl.

        September 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
      • Lady Propriety

        @ Kaye don't appear to have any manners, even in cyberspace. Tisk, tisk. Take your comfortable sweats and flip flops or whatever getup makes you "who you are." Personally, I like being pretty and dressing up.

        I imagine your biting wit and sarcastic tongue make you a lovely dinner companion. You sound like a femme hater–the type who never could get it right, and just gave up.

        September 22, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
      • Kaye Wyee

        Darlin', you derailed yourself and took the low road. Congratulations on your inability to stay on topic. Now I understand that you are among the trolling populous. Don't let the door hit you on your way out and have a nice day.

        September 22, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Mark

      Now let us also bring back smoking inside everywhere, and then slapping our wives!

      September 22, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  41. The_Mick

    I agree with "no shirt, no shoes, no service," but I find the requirement of a sports jacket to be a pain in the dining rooms of cruise ships, where a dress shirt/pants/shoes and tie should be enough to set the same tone take up much less space in the suitcase.

    September 22, 2011 at 7:48 am |
    • jamie

      "no shirt, no shoes, no service," The fact that businesses have to post such signs is another indication of the decline of western civilization. USA=Greece.

      September 22, 2011 at 7:53 am |
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