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Feb 6, 2007 06:49 AM

Formal jacket and tie places -- love 'em or loathe 'em?

I was reading one of these new New York restaurant blogs the other day -- you know, the ones that have sprung up faster than toadstools after the rain -- and the author, Danyelle Freeman, praised a high-end place that discouraged jacket and tie. "We are a generation of casual diners," she said, "bred to enjoy good food in a relaxed setting... old world regulations just don't work in this millenium."

Now no one who sees me seven days a week will ever mistake me for Felix Unger , and indeed I've been offered leftover food as I stand outside my apartment building cadging a smoke. But about once a week or so, I feel the need to put on a shirt and spiffy tie, and grab a jacket from the coatrack, a jacket for which -- and never you mind how and where I got it -- SOMEBODY paid three thousand dollars, a jacket which whispers quiet elegance. And then I head to one of those posh places, a dying breed in New York, but you can still find 'em, where the headwaiter knows the difference between a Zegna and a Huntsman and a Brioni, and he gives me that subtle look that says, ah yes, YOU belong. And then the stately procession of waiters, as choreographed and formal as a minuet in a king's ballroom, come like kings bearing tribute to my table. It's over all too soon, only an hour or so, but for that brief shining space of time I've traveled far far away from the gritty New York streets and been a part of a purer, golden world, and when I emerge from that space I feel cosseted and validated and loved.

In short, I love those formal jacket and tie places. What about you? Do you love them.... or loathe them?

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  1. Love 'em. If one can't be comfortable and relaxed while wearing a jacket and tie it's time to change tailors.

    1. I love em -- we don't go all the time, but they're a special place -- I do love that feeling you take out to the world with you, after emerging from one of these cocoons. And agree the service choreography in places where a suit & tie is required is a joy to be part of. After our 4 hour lunch at Taillevent, I felt like I'd been out for both a meal and a show.

      1. I think Danyelle Freeman needs to dine at this new place called "As Far Away From Me As Possible."

        A special occasion visit to a restaurant is no longer special when everyone is wearing flipflops, barking on cellphones, chasing screaming children around, or have no concept of personal hygiene. There's no shortage of places that serve great food in a casual atmosphere. If anything, we need MORE "old world regulations," and fewer smug navel-gazing pronouncements from the trained seals of the tastemaking establishment.

        1 Reply
        1. There's a time and a place for everything. I wear a jacket and tie to work just about every day (fridays are casual- so no jacket, but still a tie). There are times to be appropriately dressed to eat out and there are times when it's ok not to be. I can't imagine someone discouraging someone from wearing a jacket and tie from work. As a matter of fact I think I'd find that kind of offensive.

          1. Right on, right on, y'all! Although I would add that someone dressed like a grownup but without need of a tie (turtleneck, ascot, etc.) is just fine. It's not about fashion, it's about pride.

            I just wish there were more dress-fine places to go on a lower $$$ scale. Not dressing like a jumbo toddler or teenslut doesn't equal billionaire budget.