Dress for the Occasion, Please!

how to dress nice dinner

I’ve been here in Texas for about a week and a half and am really enjoying my time out here! The people are wonderful, the Mexican food is to die for, and I’m starting to like the cowboy boots. However, there’s one thing that I’ve noticed here, and other places around the U.S., that really needs to change- dressing appropriately for dinner!

The other night, my boyfriend and I went out to dinner at a pretty nice Italian restaurant in the “nice” part of town. I wore heels, a little black dress, and red lipstick. My boyfriend wore a button up, slacks, and dress shoes. I called ahead to make reservations for 6:30 to ensure we got a table. Luckily, it was a week night so not many people were out. When we walked into the restaurant, I looked around and took in the ambiance, enjoyed the smell coming from the kitchen, and smiled at the waiter who took our drink order.

Upon getting settled at our table I began to notice more details of the restaurant and the little things that made it charming. However, there were some not so charming people that, how do I put it, took away from the restaurant’s overall feeling. Seated at the bar, was a middle-aged man wearing a t-shirt with a line of sweat down the back. He also wore running shorts, white socks, and Reeboks. I hope he enjoyed his Pinot Grigio.

Waiting for a table outside was a family of three. Dad wore a tight v-neck t-shirt with a backwards hat. The son (whom I’ll forgive because he was young) wore athletic shorts and a sports jersey. Mom wore flare leg jeans and a wife beater. I get it, you’re a busy family and Italian food means comfort food, but maybe the more appropriate restaurant based on your attire would have been Olive Garden.

Finally, seated with her husband a few tables down from us was a young woman wearing flare leg jeans, a t-shirt with a cartoon on it, a messy bun, and some sort of a canvas bag as her purse. Her hubby, while not the fashion expert himself, was wearing jeans and a polo, which, in my opinion, was more appropriate for the restaurant.

My point in this blog post is not to rip people to shreds and make fun of those who don’t have a sense of fashion, the purpose is to bring light to an etiquette conundrum I’m seeing more and more everyday. As a society, we should try our best to look our best. It’s polite. When I’m at Taco Bell, sweatpants and oversized tees are perfectly acceptable! When I’m at a 5-star restaurant, dress shirts and nice skirts are expected.

I’ll step off my high-horse now and let you form your own opinion, this is just my two cents!

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11 thoughts on “Dress for the Occasion, Please!

  1. It is a JOY for me to put on a skirt and special blouse when I go out for dinner with my family. We love to dress in coordinated colors… not too much, but just so it might look coordinated if I happen to ask the waitress to snap a photo of us. We RARELY eat out, so this is probably why I tend to insist that we “dress” more thoughtfully. I usually do snap a photo, too, since it is an “occasion” for our Family. We almost always order some new and different appetizer to share. Going out is a time to savor, to sit and talk, to soak in the ambiance, and to delight in each other! I agree that the average family is a bit too casual when eating out. Thanks for your thoughts on such a topic. It is good to know that others go a bit out on a limb to look/feel special in these times!

    • Thanks so much for the comment! My family does the same thing. Eating out isn’t something we do often so when we do, we like to at least look presentable. People are sometimes a little too casual!

  2. Thank you thank you thank you! It bothers the heck out of me that I put effort into dressing appropriately for the setting/occasion, and people are in tank tops and flip flops. I think it cheapens the vibes. If I pay the extra money to get black tie service, I would not mind a dress code to abide by. Its not about the money, its about class.

  3. i think you do have a point here about the importance of taking pride in everyday appearance. i go through a similar internal struggle like you when i go to a ‘nice’ restaurant and put in the effort to look presentable and then realize that other people don’t care as much. I have to remind myself that it’s a fine line between being classist and being respectful. 🙂

    • Yes! There’s such a fine line! My grandma told me that even during the great depression when her dad was out of work, he still wore his button up and tie to go out. It’s all about respect.

    • I’ve heard that from some many Californians before! I’ve had Mexican food in both places, and the ingredients used are totally different. I liked both types though.

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