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Dress code help

t19103 Jun 11, 2007 06:34 PM


I need a very specific answer to the question of what is appropriate attire for a woman at the more formal Manhattan restaurants. I know that you have to "dress up" but what exactly doees that mean? cocktail dress, evening gown, business suit, summerdress?

Please help!

Thanks in advance....

  1. p
    planetjess Jun 11, 2007 06:50 PM

    For "very specific" advice, it would help to have a few more specifics about what you mean by "the more formal Manhattan restaurants." That said, I can't think of a single "formal" restaurant in Manhattan that would require an evening gown (or, in fact, many in which you wouldn't look perhaps a touch overdressed in an evening gown). A cocktail dress or a business suit is fine for even the most formal of Manhattan restaurants. As for a summer dress, I think it depends on the dress and, somewhat, on what restaurants you're thinking of. For the dress, are you talking something you'd wear to a nice garden party or something you'd wear to a backyard barbecue? For the restaurant, are you talking, say, Daniel and Le Bernardin?

    8 Replies
    1. re: planetjess
      t19103 Jun 11, 2007 07:07 PM

      Yes- Le Bernardin, Daniel, etc.

      1. re: t19103
        salad man Jun 11, 2007 07:16 PM

        spaghetti strap little black dress and the highest heels you're comfortable in. even i know that and i'm a 68 year old guy.

        1. re: salad man
          financialdistrictresident Jun 11, 2007 07:28 PM

          You can never go wrong with black. Even at the River Cafe where gentlemen need to wear jackets, a woman in black slacks and a dressy black blouse will feel comfortable.

          1. re: financialdistrictresident
            t19103 Jun 11, 2007 07:44 PM

            Thanks both of you.

            That's what I was planning- but then I heard "business casual" and worried about being overdressed. I have never worn a cocktail dress to work so I didn't think it would be business casual....

            By the way- I was just kidding about the evening gown.

            1. re: t19103
              RGR Jun 11, 2007 08:09 PM

              One thing that can guide you as to just how dressy you should get is whether the restaurant requires jackets (and even ties) for the gentlemen. Daniel, Le Bernardin, Jean Georges, La Grenouille, Le Cirque, The Modern and several others require jackets. However, the preponderance of upscale restaurants, including Eleven Madison Park, Gramercy Tavern, Cafe Boulud, Bouley, Veritas, Robuchon, etc., do not and so you can dress more casually at those.

              1. re: RGR
                Rubee Jun 11, 2007 08:16 PM

                I think Bouley might have changed their policy. When we called to make reservations last week, we were told no jeans, and sports jackets are required.

                1. re: Rubee
                  financialdistrictresident Jun 11, 2007 08:28 PM

                  This reminds me you might also want to ask the host/hostess what the dress code is when you call to make your reservation (or find out online). Not sure if menupages.com and opentable.com have this information.

                  1. re: Rubee
                    DonnyMac Jun 12, 2007 11:43 AM

                    I ate at Bouley last week and wore no jacket. Other dinner guests were in jeans, so if they said that, they're certainly not enforcing it.

      2. Pink Pepper Jun 11, 2007 08:37 PM

        Black dress pants, dressy tops and high heels will be fine at any of the more formal places.

        1. m
          maxine Jun 12, 2007 07:43 AM

          NY restaurants are fairly casual. Even at the most formal of them I would feel fine in slacks or a summerdress, anything but perhaps jeans. Cocktail dresses are not necessary, however, that does not mean you will be overdressed. There will be women in a wide spectrum of outfits.

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