An unsettling article tucked away in the Times last week announced that the few remaining Manhattan restaurants still requiring dress codes–bless you 21–are now providing a better class of jacket to their delinquent underdressed visitors. Relax, the article said, there’s a perfectly good coat waiting for you at Per Se, so you can hide your complete lack of protocol under a 40 regular from Ralph Lauren.
While the restaurants are being perfectly hospitable–Daniel, in fact, has their coats custom-made–that does not mean you want to join the sartorial class of clothes swapping masses who wander into serious establishments in their shirtsleeves. Perhaps you prefer to rent a tuxedo for your own wedding, as well.
Show a sense of occasion. When you stride into Per Se, a restaurant that is not kidding around, why not wear your most devastating pinstripe suit? Or break out a double-breasted coat for your lunch at 21, and honor the dapper New Yorker cartoonist Peter Arno who was a fixture there.
Unless you are known by one name or have taken your own company public, a dress code is not to be tested lightly. You might think you’re getting away with something, but who wins in the scenario where you are the most casual man in the room? Certainly not your date.
So take it upon yourself to be the man who makes an impression, honors the house style and sets a higher standard. –DAVID COGGINS
Further reading: Jacket (Not) Required by Steve Garbarino in the Wall Street Journal.