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Covid accelerated dress code de-formalization - true or false?

Phileas Fogg

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I've always found the concept of a fancy steak house to be a little odd anyway. Steaks are delicious slabs of meat, but hardly 'haute cuisine.'

I'm expecting a fancy tuna casserole eatery next: open for dinner only, three nights per week. Black tie.
and $100 per person minimum. Old Style on tap of course.
 

pasadena man

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New today: https://www.wsj.com/articles/jacket-required-no-more-how-the-pandemic-changed-dress-codes-11624286698

Let's discuss!

‘Jacket Required’ No More? How the Pandemic Changed Dress Codes

FOR THE FIRST time in its 35-year history, Manhattan’s Le Bernardin is letting male patrons order its tasting menu or a bottle of Burgundy without wearing a sportcoat. When it reopened its polished dining room on March 17 after a several month hiatus, the three-Michelin-starred restaurant discarded its longstanding “jacket required” dress code. The decision, said chef and co-owner Eric Ripert, was driven by hygiene concerns.

Pre-pandemic, between five and 10 men on average arrived nightly at Le Bernardin in their shirt-sleeves. To maintain a sense of decorum, the restaurant would give these too-casual diners a loaner jacket for the evening. But this system didn’t work in the Covid era. It required Le Bernardin’s staff to get too close to clients, and to touch their worn jackets after the meal’s conclusion. For Le Bernardin, “jacket required” became an unsanitary, unworkable policy.

Add restaurant dress codes to the list of the many things scrambled by the global health crisis. Upon reopening earlier this year, Galatoire’s, a jacket-required stickler in New Orleans, also stopped giving out germ-magnet loaners. Guests who arrived sans sportcoat, said the restaurant’s general manager Billy Clark, were steered toward the bar or a separate, more laissez-faire dining room where the sight of shirt-sleeves wouldn’t ruin someone’s supper.

La Grenouille, a chichi 59-year-old French haute cuisine destination in Manhattan has clung to a jacket-required policy for all guests eating indoors—its Opentable reservation page still advertises this policy. Yet, like many New York City restaurants, La Grenouille added an ample outdoor seating area last year and guests dining al fresco are permitted to enjoy their meals without a sportcoat.

Even before Covid, the jacket-required dress code—once de rigueur at finer establishments nationwide—had started to seem increasingly out of date. In keeping with the creeping casualization of how we dress, many formal hold-outs like Spaggia in Chicago and the French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., had already eliminated their jacket requirements pre-pandemic. (At most such eateries, however, shorts, tank tops and flip-flops remain verboten.)

At his Manhattan restaurant Daniel, the famed Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud nixed the jacket requirement several years ago. As he noted, “I have a lot of designer jeans that cost more money than a suit.” For him, it was about customers’ comfort level: If they felt more natural in their shirt sleeves, who was he to force them into a jacket? For many other establishments, the push they needed to retire “jacket required” during the pandemic was the hygiene considerations, or the incongruity of making patrons dress formally when their table was on the sidewalk.

Michael O’Keeffe, the proprietor of the fussy River Café on the waterfront in Brooklyn, is unwavering in his commitment to “jacket required.” People have “surrendered to the indignities of our society,” by dressing down to go out to eat, he said. “I’m holding the line.” The policy doesn’t seem to keep eaters away, said Mr. O’Keeffe: “We don’t have any trouble being full every night with people dressing up.” Indeed, the River Café is currently booked up for dinner weeks in advance. Mr. Clark of Galatoire’s noted that the 116-year-old restaurant never considered fully removing the jacket requirement in its formal dining room. “It’s a Galatoire’s tradition that people love to be a part of,” he said. (It should also be noted that many private country clubs still require guests to wear sport coats to dinner.)

But curiously, all the sartorial energy that became pent up during the pandemic seems to be perpetuating formality despite the loosening dress codes. All the restaurateurs I spoke with noted that, as customers flock back to their establishments to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries or friendly reunions, they’re treating these occasions as an opportunity to finally dust off their dress clothes.

Mr. Boulud noted that, since he reopened Daniel in February, even with his jacket-optional policy, diners come dressed to the nines. “We have a lot of young customers, and I tell you, most of them dress up without [my] telling them that they need to dress up,” he said.

At Le Bernardin, too, though jackets may be optional now, most men are still opting for them. Mr. Ripert said that he was “very surprised” to see almost every male patron come in wearing a jacket these past few months. Going out for an elaborate dinner now feels more like an occasion than ever before, he observed. “The gentlemen are very, very happy to be elegant.”
This has been an entertaining thread, but it has been lacking one thing, IMO, enough sex!

It has been brought to my attention that women like clothes, as shown by the fact that department stores allocate 4x-100x more space to women’s clothes than to men’s.

Among those types of women’s clothing are dress up dresses and gowns. Just as with Black Tie, a nice woman’s dress is best set off, and highlighted, in an environment in which the men are well dressed, in my (and my partner’s vehement) opinion.

The woman may feel less special dining next to someone at the next table in cargo shorts, a t shirt, and sandals. Cognitive and aesthetic dissonance.
 

Nobilis Animus

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This has been an entertaining thread, but it has been lacking one thing, IMO, enough sex!

It has been brought to my attention that women like clothes, as shown by the fact that department stores allocate 4x-100x more space to women’s clothes than to men’s.

Among those types of women’s clothing are dress up dresses and gowns. Just as with Black Tie, a nice woman’s dress is best set off, and highlighted, in an environment in which the men are well dressed, in my (and my partner’s vehement) opinion.

The woman may feel less special dining next to someone at the next table in cargo shorts, a t shirt, and sandals. Cognitive and aesthetic dissonance.
On that note as well, I have a theory: that the whole idea that men don't need to dress well to be desirable/complimentary/etc. to women is actually something that stems from confirmation bias, and not borne out by the evidence. We see tons of badly-dressed men with women on a date because that's just the general average, and the women are settling.
 

Franky In T.O.

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I am wondering how people in our community deal with this issue. I usually carry a Clegg or Filson bag with a detachable shoulder strap. I often use the strap with casual or workwear, but never with any tailored jackets, the likely consequences are too dire. Laptops and tablets obviously make it easier to transport the information you need in a hand carried bag.
I carry a leather bag with a shoulder strap and try to carry it by the handles while wearing a suit as often as I can. However, taking the subway with coffee in hand and opening doors makes it almost impossible to avoid using the shoulder strap.

My main issue is the wear and tear on my left pocket. At least I can bring it into a tailor and have it mended to still look decent.
 

Franky In T.O.

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Rodney Dangerfield used to tell a story about running into Frank Sinatra, who he knew well from playing in Vegas together, at a swank NY restaurant. He went over to Sinatra and asked him to stop by Dangerfield’s table, because his dinner companion was a big fan. So Sinatra came over to say hi after dinner and Dangerfield said “Frank, can’t you see I am talking to somebody here?”.
That was Don Rickles. A hilarious prank!
 

dauster

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These days I imagine most people who go to fancy pants establishments that require jackets are middle class people seeking the old-timey "rich and famous" experience, rather than actual wealthy people who need an exclusive social club from which to look down their noses as they puff their cigars and hoist their linen sacks of gold coins with dollar signs stenciled to them.

Of course it's dress-up. Grown adults having a martini party with their discretionary income.
spot on assessment, nowadays the real billionaires party with lil baby in the hamptons, not sure whats worse :)
 

dauster

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Mirage-

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On that note as well, I have a theory: that the whole idea that men don't need to dress well to be desirable/complimentary/etc. to women is actually something that stems from confirmation bias, and not borne out by the evidence. We see tons of badly-dressed men with women on a date because that's just the general average, and the women are settling.
Well, if the women are settling, doesn't that mean that indeed men don't *need* to dress well? That's what I gather from it.
For some people, i.e. those that only view clothing as a necessity and nothing more, that's enough to mean that they don't need to bother, if they can attract their desired partner anyway.
Ofc that doesn't mean that dressing well would not help, but if ultimately they can get away not doing it, many will do just that.

Then there's also the problem that women might not like what we on SF collectively think as well dressed, since they didn't attend SF university and often have their own totally random associations to go by.
For example my girlfriend hates brown with a passion, as she says it's old-man-ish. Same with monk strap shoes.
If I did not know her yet, I could (in a world where I had the money...) show up in a flawless hand-crafted brown suit and bespoke Japanese double monks, and she'd potentially prefer the guy next to me in a black jacket and sneakers (to name some combo that sounds absurd to us), as far as clothes go.
 
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dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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Then there's also the problem that women might not like what we on SF collectively think as well dressed, since they didn't attend SF university and often have their own totally random associations to go by.
+1

Also saw this tweet yesterday and it reminded me of SF


 

pomor

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Well, if the women are settling, doesn't that mean that indeed men don't *need* to dress well? That's what I gather from it.
For some people, i.e. those that only view clothing as a necessity and nothing more, that's enough to mean that they don't need to bother, if they can attract their desired partner anyway.
Ofc that doesn't mean that dressing well would not help, but if ultimately they can get away not doing it, many will do just that.

Then there's also the problem that women might not like what we on SF collectively think as well dressed, since they didn't attend SF university and often have their own totally random associations to go by.
For example my girlfriend hates brown with a passion, as she says it's old-man-ish. Same with monk strap shoes.
If I did not know her yet, I could (in a world where I had the money...) show up in a flawless hand-crafted brown suit and bespoke Japanese double monks, and she'd potentially prefer the guy next to me in a black jacket and sneakers (to name some combo that sounds absurd to us), as far as clothes go.
You make very astute observations, and I think the majority of us here consciously or subconsciously know it. Most of us here, for that reason, are enthusiasts and - dare I say - do it to satisfy our own egos.
 

josepidal

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Yes and there are enough articles about $1,000 drawstring pants and $3,000 cashmere joggers to prove it.

Opens up ideas for appreciating other items such as unstructured linen blazers though!
 

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