I have often complained about how I have dressed up for an expensive meal and been disappointed to be seated next to someone in casual or extremely casual attire. How that takes away from the experience. It could be my age (I’m much more sensitive to it now than I was when I was younger) or it could be my mid-westerness conflicting with the devil-may-care attitude of the west coast. Maybe I feel this way because I work in an industry where casual dress is the norm and so wearing a tie feels special to me.
You want a good meal to be an experience. Restaurants work hard to create an appropriate ambiance. Allowing diners to diminish that can pollute the memory of a special evening. I started thinking about this again when I read Adam Roberts’ Anti Dress-Code Manifesto and the response by Frank Bruni in the New York Times. You can tell that I found myself much more in line with Frank Bruni rather than Adam Roberts.
I’m not suggesting that all nice restaurants have dress codes, but there are several which are trying to provide a special atmosphere where I think it would be appropriate. Maybe we would choose one restaurant over another for a special occasion because we’d know that if we wanted to dress up, we wouldn’t feel out of place.