The first thing you need to know about fine dining is that there are rules involved. You’ll be expected to show up in a particular type of attire, and the servers should also follow strict rules to give you a memorable experience. Apart from that, be ready to be treated to a unique, sophisticated but expensive dinner.
Depending on the level of fine dining a restaurant offers, there’s a dress code requirement. Generally, the restaurant will tell you about these dress code rules beforehand. They’re followed strictly and you don’t want to be turned away for showing up ‘inappropriately dressed.’
However, it can be challenging to figure out what to wear without breaking the rules or looking and feeling awkward or out of place. But, do you know what these fine dining dress codes mean? There are several categories of fine dining dress codes that are acceptable. Having a general idea of what you should or shouldn’t wear is the first step to your showing up in a befitting attire and style.
Here’s your guide to four dress code categories that you need to know about in fine dining.
- Business Casual
If you want to understand the whole business casual dining concept, take the outfit you usually wear to work. Then tone it down a bit. What you need is to look professional without looking too formal. Think of the outfit you wear when meeting clients for lunch. Restaurants with a business casual dress code want you to look and feel professional but at ease at the same time.
The restaurant atmosphere is slightly relaxed from formal dining. A well tucked collared shirt with or without a tie, dress pants, a belt, jacket, and official shoes is the ideal look. This way, you won’t end up looking underdressed or feeling like the odd one out.
What to Avoid: Don’t wear jeans, sneakers, hats and unpressed clothes. You want to look smart just as you would attending any other business event, only a bit toned down.
- Casual Wear
Don’t be fooled, in fine dining, a casual dress code doesn’t mean that you can wear any outfit you choose. It just means wearing comfortable yet polished attire. You may want to browse this site for guidance on how to coordinate that casual look.
Ideally, you can opt to pair your jeans or khakis with a polo shirt or a decent tee. The casual outfits desired in this setting may also be light colors and bold patterns that you normally wouldn’t wear as formal wear but are still decent. However, leather shoes work perfectly with your casual outfit to give it a bit of formality.
What to Avoid: Don’t go too casual and wear sweatpants, ripped jeans, or a tie and dye tee. You may also want to avoid heavy linen or else you might end up looking overdressed.
- Elegant Casual
You’ve already worn your jeans to the casual dining and maybe your jacket for the business dinner. What then is elegant casual? The emphasis here is on the elegance and not the casual part. You’ll be expected to show up in a long-sleeved dress shirt and slacks. The preferred shoes are dress shoes.
The dress code is eerily similar to a business casual save that you can add more flair and detail to it. The cufflinks could be more stylish or swap the normal tie with a bow tie. You should stick to dark colors like blue or black instead of greys. Keep in mind that casual elegance doesn’t mean formal.
What to Avoid: Don’t wear short-sleeved shirts, sandals, or shorts.
- Formal Wear
While in casual elegant dress code is more stylish, the formal dress code is more ceremonial. This is when you go all out in your dressing. You can choose to wear complete tuxedo cufflinks, cummerbund, and all. Another alternative is the black suit and ties with a formal white dress shirt. Be in dress shoes.
For formal fine dining, if you’re required to dine formal, it’s better to oblige and dress accordingly.
What to Avoid: Don’t show up in your favorite khakis and polo shirts.
Fine Dining Dress Etiquette
The whole concept of fine dining brings meaning to sophisticated dining. As a guest, you’re expected to carry yourself with a high level of civility and adhere to dress code requirements strictly. On the upside, no one will rush you as you wine and dine and you’ll receive the highest standards in service. That means that at least you get to show off your attire for longer and therefore your hard work in dressing up won’t be in vain.
Showing up for fine dining in the appropriate attire allows you to be confident and enjoy the moments without worrying about your looks. Understanding these dress codes may not be easy since some are similar to each other which might cause confusion. This guide should help you in some way as you prepare for your next fine dining experience.