HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >

Discussion

Jacket Required Question. Please Help!

Ok so I know this is gonna sound stupid but I went shopping yesterday for my upcoming NY trip in which I will be dining at restaurans like Per Se and Daniel who require a jacket. Now I'm a short skinny 21 yr. old kid and I swear all the suit jackets I tried on just make me look so silly. Suit jackets just don't look right on me. So my question is if yall think I could get away with this jacket which fits be perfect and I just feel much more comfortable in. I will be wearing of course nice shows and dress paints with a nice cashmere sweater since its winter time. Now its the khaki color not the blue!

http://www1.macys.com/catalog/product...

Please let me know yalls opinons! Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. I don't think this would work.

    1. A wind breaker? Are you serious?

      1. Nope, I really don't think that will work. I'd just try and find a navy blazer even if you think it doesn't look right on you.

          1. Ok I thought I'd ask. Now that I know I need to go get a suit jacket my next question is do they make you wear it thoughout your meal or can you check it in?

            6 Replies
            1. re: cgervais45

              You wear it throughout the meal. It's actually technically incorrect to arrive somewhere in a suit jacket/sports jacket and then remove it. And, just to clarify, what I think you are looking for is called a sports jacket or a blazer, not a suit jacket, unless you intend to buy a suit.

              1. re: cgervais45

                You keep it on throughout the meal.

                If you can't find a blazer that fits you well, you are looking at the wrong store. If you go to a proper store, with proper salesmen, they will be able to identify certain brands that will fit you better. Some brands are better designed for skinnier people.

                1. re: cgervais45

                  You need to wear it throughout your meal. I read a story once where a guy removed his jacket at Per Se during his meal because he was too hot. The restaurant asked him to put the jacket back on and adjusted the thermostat.

                  And if you think that your jackets are too large for you, you should look into European designers where they tend to cut their stuff a lot slimmer. It's all about finding the right fit.

                  1. re: cgervais45

                    It gets confusing doesn't it? "Jacket" in the formal sense means "dinner jacket" (formal wear, black tie, etc.), however in a restaurant situation it means "sports coat/blazer or better."

                    It's interesting how requirements have changed over time. It use to be a place would state "coat and tie" required, meaning "sports coat or better" and tie.

                    Any way, I've taken off my jacket at the French Laundry a few times but that might be California rules dining.

                    1. re: ML8000

                      Along these lines, I had reservations at a restaurant that stated "formal attire for gentlemen." We were traveling and I hated to pack a dinner jacket, or a tux. I mentioned to our host, my problem - I had only brought a black suit. Would this work?

                      He had me call this restaurant in Phoenix, AZ, and I asked about "formal attire." "Collared shirts," was the reply. So much for "formal attire" in Phoenix. Still, I always wear a blazer to dine in fine-dining establishments, even there.

                      Hunt

                    2. re: cgervais45

                      I am from the "Old South." The rule is that a gentleman never removes his jacket, unless he's covering a mud puddle for a lady. Now, that's a bit harsh and anachronistic, as well. Still, in my adult life, I have only removed my jacket once and that was during a particularly hot spell in Phoenix. We were seated indoors, and the AC was not working. At my wife's instance, I finally took off the blazer. People were having to go outside to "catch their breath."

                      Even when dining in the Tropics, I never remove my jacket - never.

                      Once, at the Ritz in London, while in the bar, I went to remove my jacket, as I was having a fine Cuban with my Port. My server stopped by and whispered, "a gentleman is not allowed to remove his jacket, even with a cigar." This was the bar, not the dining room. My blazer went to the cleaners on Half Moon St., as I had to wear it for two more dining occasions on that trip, and did not want the aroma of the cigar to intrude on the meals, yet to come.

                      Hunt

                    3. I am hardly into overdressing but there is certainly a jacket and/or suit out there that will fit you regardless of body type. This is the type of "jacket" that makes a mockery of fine dining dress codes. If you or someone else has the money to pay for meals of this cost then said person can afford the appropriate attire.
                      Please do not be THAT person in the dining room. It can ruin the meal a bit for others.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: dietndesire

                        Thats why I was asking first. I've never been to a restaurant with a dress code so I want to make sure I buy the right jacket. I'm off to go shopping. Thanks for everyones input and advice!

                        1. re: cgervais45

                          Don't discount the importance of the jacket or the SHIRT you will wear.Try on both together for looks and FIT.My spouse is 6'6" my brothers are 6'10" & 6'7".Everything requires "fitting" and altering.Our tailor and one store where they shop insist on ALL
                          fittings be done with the shirt,not a polo etc.
                          Have a great trip.EAT WELL !!!!

                          1. re: cgervais45

                            You have done wisely, by asking. You, and your fellow diners will appreciate it. At the restaurants that you mentioned, I'd also wear a tie, though none is probably required.

                            This is one of the wonderful things about CH. One can often ask necessary questions, prior to dining, and doing something wrong - see my other post about a youngster without a tie in New Orleans. It used to be that some restaurants would collect the most unattractive and garish jackets for folk, who arrived without one. A walk through a fine-dining restaurant with one of these, a paper one or a paper tie, is something that one never gets over. Trust me, 'cause I've been there. Even a pre-teen remembers the looks of the other diners, at the sight of a paper tie. They all knew. Lesson learned.

                            Now, if possible, enjoy your dining experiences.

                            Hunt

                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                              Paper tie? Maybe I'm missing something, but ...

                              If a resto had to humiliate anybody, i'd rather see them humiliate an
                              asshole patron than sombody perhaps slightly underdressed [say
                              "merely" in a nice shirt without a jacket in a hot place or without a
                              tie] ... if anything they ought to just say "we cant seat you" to avoid
                              the slippery slope in a case of a "strict' dress code.

                              This seems extremely odd to me.

                        2. To find something that you like, I recommend first paging through style magazines like GQ, Men's Style, Details, or Esquire. I don't recommend going to a store or paging through a catalog where everything is similarly styled.

                          When you see a sportcoat or a suit that you like (If price is an issue, don't let it bother you when you're selecting whar you like), tear the page out. Then take these pages in with you when you go to buy your suit. A good salesperson should be able to select something styled similar to what you like.

                          If they keep bringing out things that make you look silly, then you need to be able to articulate what it is that you want. Having the pictures will enable you to do that. If they still don't bring out what you like then shop somewhere else.

                          A suit/ sportcoat is an investment. You should look at the purchase as an investment in something you will enjoy wearing because it makes you look better - not because it is forced on you for a meal.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Spends Rent on Food

                            I can't comment on the jacket because it wouldn't load in my browser, but if it's labeled "windbreaker" I'm thinking it's a no go.

                            I think this is a good approach. The OP should also keep in mind that the European style tends to be more tailored for thinner men and might work better for him. American styles tend to be boxier and don't work as well on thin men. You don't want to come out looking like you've just put a football jersey on, so make sure you talk to a salesperson and have him direct you to something that will fit well. You may end up spending more, or you can buy a lesser priced jacket and have it tailored to fit better.

                            1. I agree that this jacket wouldn't do. BUT I may have a suggestion for you. Our new SIL is very, very thin and also quite style conscious. For their wedding he tried on everything from $2000 Armanis on down. He wound up in a $200 suit from H&M. He told me that it was styled to fit closer to his body. You may want to check them out. Happy dining :)

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: c oliver

                                This is European styling- so it would be a good fit and probably dirt cheap! Just don't expect it to last very long.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  Yes, H&M is an excellent source for clothes that are cheap, relatively fashionable and of a slimmer cut. It seems that there's one location in Atlanta. So, OP, you're in luck. Queencru is correct that it won't last very long. But I find that at the age of 21, tastes in fashion change pretty quickly. Luckily, I've retired my short black miniskirt with skulls all over it. My parents were very happy when I donated it to the Salvation Army!

                                2. FYI, Macy's offers alteration in men's suits for free. Many people don't know that. Speak to a guy there, tell him you need a sport coat (not a suit jacket) or blazer and he will help you find one that fits, and they can alter it if need be.

                                  1. Have you ever thought of buying a jacket and getting it tailored? Yall! They won't let you in.

                                    1. Thrift strore + maybe tailor. Vintage is a plus because people used to be shorter and thinner.

                                      11 Replies
                                      1. re: Up With Olives

                                        Thanks everyone. I found a really nice suit today at Macy's that I think will be perfect. Now I'm not really a tie kinda a guy so yall think a nice white Lacoste Polo shirt underneath will be fine? It goes really well with the suit I got.

                                        1. re: cgervais45

                                          No, Lacoste Polo underneath is not acceptable unless you just won the Masters.

                                          Wear a dress shirt and before you ask, jeans are not acceptable either.

                                          1. re: KTinNYC

                                            DITTO ,I do agree.Think about the shoes also.

                                            1. re: KTinNYC

                                              continuing down the body, you should probably wear socks (dark please) and shoes, not sneakers.

                                            2. re: cgervais45

                                              If it's a sport coat (jacket only) - you can get away with that, unless the restaurant rules specify a tie as well. If it's really a suit - i.e., jacket and matching pants - then you pretty much need to wear a button-down shirt and a tie with it. Suits without ties just look weird, in my opinion. Bill Maher used to wear that on Real Time With but even he couldn't pull off the look and he finally wised up this year and added the tie.

                                              1. re: cgervais45

                                                I'm not a large fan of that look. An Izod polo (pique or interlock) can work if you purchased a summer suit (eg. linen, seersucker), which I doubt since it seems that you'll be visiting NYC soon. It's pretty cold here now. With a regular 3 season suit, you may be able to get away with a silk (not shiny crepe silk) polo.

                                                If you're not a tie guy, it's perfectly acceptable to wear a sports coat with a button down shirt sans tie. Of course, it's your call. You should dress in whatever way you're comfortable as long as you have your jacket. I think a blogger once did that -- wore some ridiculous outfit underneath a jacket to a jackets only restaurant to prove a point.

                                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                                  Oh, if you still plan on wearing your Izod polo shirt, please tuck it in.

                                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                                    And of course there was the famous Judy Carne incident back in 1969 - she went to the 21 Club in NYC, which at that time had a policy that women were not allowed to wear pants in the dining room, and she showed up in a classy tunic pantsuit. When the maitre'd refused to admit her in pants, she simply took them off and checked them at the coat room. Her tunic top barely covered her!

                                                    True story, not apocryphal: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/art...

                                                  2. re: cgervais45

                                                    Here's an excerpt I just found in an Esquire article:

                                                    "The things one wears beneath the suit: long-sleeved fine-knit polo shirts, cashmere sweaters, sophisticated button-front sport shirts, even high-quality crewnecks. T-shirts, though--they tilt perilously in the direction of Miami Vice. "

                                                    I think you have some flexibiity here especially as you're young and thin :)

                                                    1. re: cgervais45

                                                      I think you can probably get away with no tie and a nice button-down shirt, but it's late November and I can't really see a white polo shirt being appropriate at this point in the year. Presumably you'll need a full suit in the future for weddings and job interviews, so you might as well purchase the whole thing now and go with a more conservative look.

                                                      1. re: cgervais45

                                                        If you post any more about this, expect this thread to bath, powder and dress you themselves. Have a good time.

                                                    2. get a blazer. get it tailored to fit your "short, skinny" frame.
                                                      or change restaurants. lots of folk refuse to wear a jacket. even more refuse to wear a tie.
                                                      it's your call.

                                                      20 Replies
                                                      1. re: steve h.

                                                        Yes its a full suit. Alfani...anybody ever heard of the designer? Matching paints and jacket. I guess yall are right. I may get a tie with it but since I will be going the first of Feb. I'm starting to lean towards a nice white warm sweater. Its nice dark grey suit with light grey pinstrips which is why I'm leaning towards white to bring out the grey. Yall have to excuse me for acting stupid in this subject but I'm a southern polo and khakis guy so I've never worn a suit before. What yall think about the sweater? I figured its gonna be cold as heck in Feb. so I want to dress properly.

                                                        1. re: cgervais45

                                                          Alfani is a Macy's house brand and I'm sure it's fine as long as it fits properly. Did you have help picking it out? Some of the sales people at Macy's are very good and they can help you pick out the proper size for you. Many people assume they are a certain size and buy an ill fitting suit. Also, did you have the suit altered? No off the rack suit will fit you perfectly. Take advantage of the tailors at Macy's and have them alter the suit to fit you.

                                                          1. re: cgervais45

                                                            cg,
                                                            now your talking. you'll also need a proper overcoat, decent dress shirts, ties that say you know what you're doing and shoes made of real leather - with laces!
                                                            ...just kidding. have too much fun and report back

                                                            1. re: steve h.

                                                              No I didn't get it altered but it fits very comfortable and I tried everything from Ralph Lauren to Kenneth Cole and its what fit me decent. LOL and trust me I dress very nice but never had to buy a suit before so I'm new at this. Its a little tight in the back but out of all the ones I tried on, it was the only one that didn't make me look like a football player and I think any size bigger would be to big on me.

                                                              1. re: cgervais45

                                                                I would go back and get help. I've had friends who wore the wrong size suit for years because he "knew" he was a 42.

                                                                1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                  There is an old, rather ribald joke about a man wearing the wrong size of underware. I will not go into it, but size does "matter." [Jackets here ladies and gentlemen - please!]

                                                                  The tailor IS your friend and earns his/her keep making you look the best, that you can. Utilize their services, please.

                                                                  Hunt

                                                                2. re: cgervais45

                                                                  cool.
                                                                  looking forward to your reviews of per se and daniel.

                                                                  1. re: steve h.

                                                                    I did ask them what size I was and they directed me straight to 38R and also went to Mens Wearhouse and they agreed with the 38R which is what I got. Now I just need help with the underneath. A nice sweater ok? I've heard Feb. is very chilly which is why I'm thinking a nice sweater would be ok. O yes I will be giving very detailed reviews for yall!

                                                                    1. re: cgervais45

                                                                      february is freezing. worst month of the year. get your macy guy to help you pick out an overcoat (i was only slightly kidding with my 5:54 post). a sweater is good, too. you'll need both.

                                                                      now, how about those fancy, italian gloves?

                                                                      you'll get a kick out of the per se staff: relaxed, friendly, totally on your side. one of new york's better dining experiences. get a table overlooking the park/columbus circle. leaves are down and the view is gorgeous.

                                                                      have too much fun.

                                                                      1. re: steve h.

                                                                        Hey steve h. I notice you said Feb. is the worst month of the year. You think going in Jan. would be better weather wise or stick with feb.? I'm going Feb. because its the cheapest and less crowded time of year but if jan. weather is better then I will go then because its just as cheap. Would love your help! Thanks!

                                                                        1. re: cgervais45

                                                                          stick with february. the weather is cold, the leaves are down and the touristas are few and far between.
                                                                          don't be afraid to be a tourist. go see dr. john and the neville brothers at terminal 5; pop over to moma, grab a bite and hang with the glitterati; walk the brooklyn bridge; grab a pizza at grimaldi's.
                                                                          and so on. make that new overcoat work for you.

                                                                          1. re: cgervais45

                                                                            No, it's technically warmer in February than in January. The reason why NYers tend to think that February is the worst is that we've been dealing with the cold weather for an extra month (which is precisely why I end up going to a nice warm sunny place in December or January). You will be fine in Feb.

                                                                        2. re: cgervais45

                                                                          I get too warm when I'm indoors so that wouldn't work for me. I agree with steve h about some kind of topcoat - and gloves and a hat. Hey, I grew up in ATL and I know it gets very cold there so it's not like it will go to waste.

                                                                          1. re: cgervais45

                                                                            Okay, so you're a 38r. You don't need your trousers altered? I'm just guessing now but I'd say Alfani has a 5" drop meaning the waist in the pants are 33". If you are skinny you'll need those pants altered.

                                                                            Some days in Feb are warm. a suit, sweater, and scarf and you're good to go. On a cold day you're in trouble.

                                                                            1. re: cgervais45

                                                                              If you wish to add some warmth (be careful as interiors can be over-heated in the Winter) a thin wescot (sleevless sweater-vest) can be paired. It is less a formal look, but can be comforting in the Winter. I'd dress for the interior spaces, and layer above the suit/jacket. There is no point in suffering with too much warmth, while dining.

                                                                              I have a couple of Marino wool vests and a couple of cashmere ones, when I need something more. Still, a topcoat, muffler and gloves should be a first choice. Remember, you cannot take off your jacket (or your vest).

                                                                              If a tie is not required, and I am wearing a jacket/blazer, I also rely on many long-sleeved wool, and wool-cashmere, shirts beneath. Sometimes, the interiors will be warmer, than I like, but that is what cleaners are for...

                                                                              You are going to be the best-dressed dude at Per Se!

                                                                              I do not know your age, but I always recommend on purchasing clothing as an investment. Had I not gone from a 38L to a 44L, I'd still be wearing some of the suits and jackets, that I bough in high school, and that was almost 50 years ago - in the Deep South, no less. Just don't get old and fat!!! I was lucky to have some classic clothiers, from which to choose.

                                                                              Buy well, and wear for a long time,

                                                                              Hunt

                                                                              1. re: cgervais45

                                                                                I think a cashmere sweater would be ok underneath, but I think it would look to casual unless you had a shirt and tie underneath... so that doesnt really help with your aversion to a shirt and tie. You can get a nice shirt and tie for under $50 at Macys, or better yet, if you have a TJ Maxx down there.

                                                                                1. re: Chefsquire

                                                                                  No problem if the cashmere sweater is a turtleneck, preferably a light cream or light blue. It's a truly classic look that only the strictest dress code would turn away.

                                                                            2. re: cgervais45

                                                                              In really general terms, one should buy the next size UP, and have it tailored, rather than one that is too tight. Few jackets, even very high-end ones tailor UP. Down is much, much easier. A tailor worth their chalk can take "larger" and make it wonderful.

                                                                              I do take some exception regarding the shoes, but this is personal "style." While I have some "laced" shoes, I find that various loafers and pumps get me through every occasion. I even have four pairs of "formal" pumps and have never felt "underdressed." At some point, one does need to exert his/her style. Still, one cannot go wrong with adequate tie dress shoes with their suit.

                                                                              Depending on the style of your suit, you might even do nicely with a nice pair of tassle Weejuns, or similar.

                                                                              Still, a good pair of laced shoes, in an appropriate color, will not be a bad investment.

                                                                              Hunt

                                                                          2. re: cgervais45

                                                                            Alfani is one of their upscale house brands but I bet you do need the pants altered. It's FREE so why not take advantage of it?

                                                                            Personally, I do not think a sweater under it will look good unless it a really expensive cashmere, dressy sweater. Honestly, restaurants are a very comfortable temperature, it's likely if you layer on a sweater under your suit you will be way too warm. You will likely have a need for a dress shirt again and again, I would buy one of those to go with it. Tie or not is your choice. To combat the weather, you wear appropriate outer wear.

                                                                            1. re: cgervais45

                                                                              Stop by Burlington Coat Factory. Check out the topcoats. You will appreciate that in NYC in Feb. I picked up a Cassini cashmere wool that was a bit more formal, than my Burberry. It was about US$200. A very similar topcoat, by the same designer, was US$1900 at SAK's. Add a nice muffler and some gloves, and you're good to go! Check the topcoat, put the muffler into one arm hole and the gloves into the pocket. Bring some $1's to tip the coat-check person, when you retrieve your topcoat. Even if you do not use your topcoat much back home, you will likely do so, when you travel. Though I live in Phoenix (not much use for a topcoat there), I have a half-dozen from the univeral Burberry "trench coat" to a formal black camelhair and cashmere one - formal occasions in colder climes. I've also got a handful of mufflers (never would I use one in AZ), that go with the coats.

                                                                              Enjoy,

                                                                              Hunt

                                                                          3. I hope you take pictures of this outing. I'm dying to see what you end up wearing in January/February in New York at one of the best restaurants in town.

                                                                            1. Young man, I will give you the same advice that I gave to my son recently. (his favorite attire is Hawaiian shirt.) You must buy a navy blazer. You can wear it with a turtle neck, polo shirt, whatever, and khaki slacks. It seems that you might not have not grown up in an environment where these things were known. That's okay, but you would be wise to check the boards here before meetings, lunches ., etc. We would all be happy to give you advice that would spare you embarrassment.

                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                Excuse me, sir/madam, did you not read that he bought a suit? And is seeking other advice?

                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                  Yep, he bot a suit and is seeking other advice. The other advice is to buy a blazer. This fellow will get more use out of a blazer than a suit in the long run. As pikawicca said, the blazer is very versitile. You can dress it up with shirt and tie or down with Levi's and a colored tee shirt. I can't really see a suit with-out a shirt and tie.

                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                    (Madam.) No, I did not; I was responding to his original posts. BTW, after reading all of this guy's posts, I suspect he's having us on.

                                                                                  2. re: pikawicca

                                                                                    A navy blazer, button down shirt, rep tie, and grey flannel pants are always a good choice in the northeast. That uniform can take you anywhere....but depending on the weather.. an overcoat, scarf and leather gloves are necessary when the winds blow.

                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                      The pants actually fit me perfect. No need to alter anything. I actually REALLY like the suit I got and the way it looks on me and trust me I have no problem going out and buying a tie but like I said I will be going in Feb which is going to be cold which is why I'm leaning towards a nice cashmere sweater underneath. I much rather be nice and warm than freezing and looking so called "Fit In" with a tie. I think a suit and a sweater will be fine. No restaurants are requiring a tie just a jacket. Plus its a suit that goes very well with a sweater underneath. I'm going to take in NY A LOT this time around because last time I was there for business and only got to stay in the city for a day or so. Thanks for the recs on the gloves and scarfs. Thats the next on my shopping list.

                                                                                      1. re: cgervais45

                                                                                        Well CG... I hope you have a wonderful visit this time around! Don't forget to come back and tell us all about it. Safe travels....

                                                                                        1. re: cgervais45

                                                                                          Keep in mind that most northern locations really heat up their buildings. It's not like in the South where we keep places like 72 all the time. Trust me when I say that you will be insanely uncomfortable if you have on a sweater AND a jacket. The dress shirt/tie and suit will be more than adequate. Just get a warm coat and you will be fine.

                                                                                          1. re: cgervais45

                                                                                            If you buy a sweater to wear underneath the jacket, bring the jacket with you when shopping. You said the jacket was a bit tight in back. That could be even more so if you're wearing a sweater underneath rather than a button-down shirt.

                                                                                        2. re: pikawicca

                                                                                          Great advice. I bought my nephew one some time back, and spent for his, as I do for mine. An investment - just do not grow/spread!

                                                                                          When I last checked, I had eight navy/blue blazers of many levels. Some are specifically for travel, where they get folded up in an overhead bin. Tip: turn the blazer/jacket inside out (not the sleeves) and then fold it. This will keep any dirt from luggage in the bin from getting on the outside of the jacket. I also find that good wool, wool-blends, fare well, when folded in this manner, and show few wrinkles. I even do this for the TSA bins at the airport. When possible, do turn all jackets inside out, to save the exterior surface.

                                                                                          Were I outfitting a younger person, the blazer and several types of proper trousers would be #1. A dark (true navy, or black) suit would be #2. A lighter-weight suit (several to choose from) would be #3. A tux with both a regular, and a dinner jacket, would be #4.

                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                        3. I'll bet this would be easier for you if you quit thinking that a 21 year old is a "kid."

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: yayadave

                                                                                            Spot on, yaya. A sad testament.

                                                                                            Cgervais,
                                                                                            If you or someone is paying for all of this, I do not understand the resistance to proper attire. Again, I don't wear suits or jackets if I don't have to but when a proper venue of proper caliber requires it, you do it. If you don't like it, don't go.

                                                                                            As much as you COULD just wear a sweater underneath a jacket, you should have a collared shirt underneath the sweater, anyhow. Plus, this is fine dining, room will probably not be too cold and you might want your sweater off.

                                                                                            I think you should have a decent button down shirt in your wardrobe, anyways.

                                                                                            This is from a very warm blooded creature, I hate the cold and don't care for unnecessary formality. But this ain't Burger King, not everything is your way. Otherwise, we would have dopes in tivas and who knows what ruining a very wonderful venue for those who act and eat properly.

                                                                                          2. CG

                                                                                            Please report back to all of your adopted "parents" on this thread. Everyone would like to hear how it went.

                                                                                            Enjoy.

                                                                                            1. No, you are not going to get away with that. You need a blazer (a navy blue blazer is about the most generic and universally usable piece of men's attire imaginable).

                                                                                              And, at 21, you've not been a kid for a while. You are old enough in not so distant ages to have had a family of your own and died for your country.

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                LOL enough with the blue blazer. Like I said I already got the suit. I will be shopping next week for a shirt and tie and scarfs and gloves. Now I just need to watch You Tube on how to tie a tie. LOL I know its sad but I got to start somewhere. I will posting reviews and try and get a picture so yall will see the final outcome. Thanks for everyones help! Really, yall have been VERY helpful!

                                                                                                1. re: cgervais45

                                                                                                  Most good men's wear stores can give you a sheet on several knots. Depending on your collar style, the fore-n-hand is probably the best. If you go with a more European spead, either the Windsor-knot, or a half-Windsor will work better. Ask the salesperson for a sheet. Many tie mfgrs do these, and offer them as handouts. It might be worthwhile to scan it, put it into an image processing program to flip it, then print it out. This will give you the image, that you see in the mirror - unless the mfgr has done this for you. Even though I can do a bow-tie in my sleep, I keep a copy of one of these in my luggage. Little worse than being late, and not being able to get it right. Note: for a non-bow-tie, the tip of the tie should be right at your belt buckle.

                                                                                                  Now, do not forget to bring a handkerchef, in case your date has to blow his/her nose - or you do. Do leave the table for this. The gentlemen's room is the proper venue.

                                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                              2. If a suit jacket or blazer makes you look silly, it's because it's not fitted properly. Shop someplace where they do tailoring and have it fitted. Good men's clothing is an investment. I would suggest a blazer rather than a suit. It will be fully acceptable, and most blazer styles will still be great in ten or fifteen years. Do NOT shop fads! And no. A windbreaker won't work. Unless you're doing a casual lunch aboard someone's yacht.

                                                                                                1. out of curiosity, which Alfani suit did you buy? That textured 3-button is nice ! So does the red charcoal stripe. I love the side zip boots they make, not with the suit, just an observation. (Argh....I should not have clicked on this thread as i have now spent too much time drooling around the women's shoe selection at Macy's. )

                                                                                                  as many on the board have pointed out, you're not a kid, but I also don't see any reason why you should have to go out looking like you're 50 either, because you're 21. Now IS the time you can pull off some of the trendier or cutting edge stuff, as opposed to later, when it might look ridiculous on you.

                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                    Oh, bless your heart! I'd wanted to say the exact same thing re trendier. Hey, am I the only one who remembers leisure suits and Nehru jackets?!?!? What's stylish and acceptable aren't the same thing but they're also not mutually exclusive. I grew up in the "hat and gloves" era in the 50s in Atlanta. What's acceptable doesn't change as fast perhaps as what is stylish but change it does.

                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                      Nomad and Oliver, I do understand what you're saying about fads, but... There aren't a lot of 21year olds who have enough discretionary inome to viably afford fads. Fads are the clothing industry's way of ensuring future income when they introduce the next fad.

                                                                                                      One of the problems with entering into the land of fads in one's early twenties is that that is a time to be building a solid sense of one's own style anchored in what will weather time. Begin with wardrobe building, then when you reach your thirties, you have a foundation that helps you recognize what is fad and to make a reasonable evaluation of whether or not you want to go there.

                                                                                                      Someone has already mentioned Nehru suits of the '60s. They weren't cheap, and there were a whole lot of polyesters killed to make them. Two important points here: First, where are all the Nehru suits and men's peace necklaces today? Second lesson, polyester is not a durable material. It pills. It does not hold color well. In both clothing and home furnishings, there is NO synthetic fiber that performs as well as natural fibers. Wool will outlast and outperform any synthetic fiber, whether in a suit, blazer, or carpet. Just care for it and keep the moths out. And that's the ONLY thing that can be said for syntyhetic fibers in my opinion. Moths won't touch them. So you might say moths have good taste.

                                                                                                      I know we live in an "anything goes" age, but there is a great deal to be said for "standards." The fact is that we do live in an age of "engineered obsolesence." Buy the latest computer or cell phone today and it won't reach it's first anniversary before it is "old hat." Don't get too attached to a software program, no matter how perfectly it works for you, because it won't work with the operating system of your next computer. It's very comforting to the soul in the long haul of life to have one area where you can build continuity by going the classic route: clothing!

                                                                                                      I've truly enjoyed reading Bill Hunt's posts tonight. And it is possible to build a woman's wardrobe that is founded on solid enduring style. I have a black alpaca winter coat from the early sixties that no one dreams is that old when I wear it. And it never fails to get compliments. It was expensive, but when you can wear something for nearly fifty years and get compliments all along the way, what a bargain!

                                                                                                      Men's suits do go in and out of style. Pinstripes, surge, flannel, double vents, double breasted, shawl collars, flap pockets, cuffs, no cuffs, pleat front trousers, flat front trousers. A really good classic-cut wool blazer just smiles and waves at them all as they fade into the past. Mr. Hunt, thank you for a lovely evening. :-)

                                                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                        With all due respect, i'd just like to point out that not too many 21 year olds can afford to eat at the places the OP is dining at either.

                                                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                          Caroline1,

                                                                                                          Thank you for the kind words. I do agree with fads, if only we could look into the future and see what is around the corner. I was fortunate to grow up in an era and a location, where traditional and classical were on the wardrobe front. Oh yes, I dabbled with "style" in the late '60s and early '70s. Still, I held onto my classics and they came back into vogue. I only wish that I could fit into some of my old Hart-Shaffner-Marks & Hickey Freeman suits and jackets. Some have been let OUT to the final threads, but that is another story.

                                                                                                          From the time that we began dating, I urged my wife to invest in classic clothing. She pretty much followed my advice, with but a few forays into "style." She still has some Corbin and similar, that have lasted decades.

                                                                                                          Yes, sometimes it's tough purchasing clothing that is not bespoke, but if one is patient and works at it, the clothes are there. Until recently, I was wearing out a couple of double-breasted blazers. It took a year of searching to find replacements. All of the salespeople had no clue what I was talking about. I began bringing one with me to show them. They had never seen anything like it. Every jacket was 8-button with tiny lapels and some of the cheapest fabric, that I have ever felt. Finally, Brooks Bros. brought back their silk-wool navy double-breasted blazers, after a 5 year haitus. I bought two the first day they hit in AZ. As I wear these so very often, I'm going to pick up another, after the Holidays. Now, this is a person, who wears cargo shorts, and Hawaiian shirts most days, and also all day, as he works on his computer by the pool. I do not go into an office. Still, for travel, dining and board meetings, they see a lot of use. That is why I bought my nephew the finest blazer, that he'll probably ever own. It should serve him well for decades. Now, if I could only find a double-breasted traditional tux, without having to have it custom made - maybe next year...

                                                                                                          Speaking of natural fibres, I still have 3 Izods, that I bought in the mid-60's. Yes, they have faded, and the collars are a little worn, but I can still wear them in very casual situations. Try that with polyesters! For me, it's silk, wool, cotton and variations like cashmere and camelhair. Pay more, buy classic and wear it forever - or until you totally outgrow it.

                                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                            Probably the men's look that I think is most unflattering to the wearer is a double breasted suit or blazer unless the wearer is quite thin. He can be broad or narrow through the shoulders but should taper down through the waist and hips. Especially the brass buttons on a blazer just seem to draw attention to an area that the wearer might want to reconsider drawing attention to. Also unflattering - again this is just one of MY bugaboos :) - is a double breasted jacket that's unbuttoned. Just as there's "eye candy," for me there's probably "eye durian" :)

                                                                                                          2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                            I mostly agree with you here Caroline -- and oh my god, after seeing a friend of mine pull out his 1990s shiny suit in the 2000s ... wow -- but although men's suits go in and out of style, many of those styles remain just fine, even when they're out. Just depends on who's wearing them.

                                                                                                            1. re: tmso

                                                                                                              Yup. But that's a general rule of thumb. In the '50s and '60s, men's charcoal gray ITALIAN cut suits with a shiny finish to them (I forget what the fiber was, silk?) were incredibly "in," and in the '50s they were preferably worn with pink shirts and/or ties. Very expensive, tailored to perfection, and they never have come back in style that I'm aware of.

                                                                                                              The other style that I really like the look of, but that hasn't regained "in demand" popularity (though it is never 100% out of style) is a tuxedo or dinner jacket with a shawl collar. If it's really well cut and drapes well, I love that look!

                                                                                                      2. In the "jacket-required" restaurants, at which I dine - no. That is a wind-breaker.

                                                                                                        Though I see this less often now, I do frequent a few nowadays. There was a time that most places had a rack of inexpensive jackets (some were even paper), that a gentleman would be given, should he show up without a "proper" jacket. I even recall having to wear a paper tie at Galatoire's (New Orleans) as a 10-12 year old. I had the jacket, but no tie. I do not recall any places in the last few decades in the US that still require a tie, though a diner without one might feel uncomfortable in some of these restaurants. Just in case, I always travel with several. I might also offer one to someone in our group, should he not have thought to bring one.

                                                                                                        You mention Per Se, well back some years ago, I could not score reservations at the French Laundry, Yountville, CA. We arrived at our inn, and I inquired of the concierge, "where can you recommend for lunch?" She made a call. "Yes, they are dressed perfectly," and sent us to the French Laundry for lunch. She had to assure the host/hostess that we WERE "dressed properly." A nice touch in my book. That's why I always travel in a blazer, even to Hawai`i, or other tropical climes.

                                                                                                        Going back some years, I had managed to get my wife's party of 13 into Commander's Palace (New Orleans), at the last minute. They HAD a "jacket-required" policy then. One member of the group was from Boulder, CO, and clean cargo-shorts and ragwool socks was considered high-fashion. I knew of their policy. It was getting late, and the men's stores were closed. As he was very slight of build, we found one of the ladies in the group, who had an extra blazer. It fit him pretty well, and did look better than a paper jacket.

                                                                                                        A men's ware store, with a decent tailor can make you look wonderful. If a restaurant says "jacket-required," please respect that. The other diners will, as well.

                                                                                                        For me, there are too few such places in the US. Dress-codes are becoming horribly relaxed. For fine-dining, a gentleman should consider dressing for the occasion. In Europe, one would be instantly turned away, and no options offered.

                                                                                                        I am glad that there are still some bastions of adequate gentleman's attire out there, but then I'm old-school about issues, such as these.

                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                        14 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                          I am SO hesitating about responding to this. I love to dress up and occasionally have black tie dinner parties at our home (VERY occasionally!). I don't mind telling guests "hey, let's dress up a bit for Saturday's dinner." BUT I believe that a restaurant gets to decide what is appropriate attire, not the patron. When I read things like "horribly relaxed" and "adequate gentleman's attire," I feel bristly :) . Over time things change and change isn't necessarily horrible or inadequate. No one will ever criticize you for dressing up even when not required. Please don't be offended by this. I just think there's room for some different approaches.

                                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                            Thanks for all your tips, stories, and advice. Very helpful. I think I might take my suit back and buy the next size up and get it tailored. It fits comfortable but a little tight in the back so maybe the next size up will help in that matter? While I'm still young, 21, I've never gotten into "Fads" that much. I've always been a classic Ralph Lauran Polo shirt and khakis kind of guy. One thing I didn't mention is I will be dining at these restaurants solo, kinda of a gateway for myself to relax, and the last thing I want to do is stand out since I'm sure I will already be getting looks for dining alone.

                                                                                                            1. re: cgervais45

                                                                                                              per se is very solo friendly. you and your well-tailored suit should have a wonderful dining experience in the least-stuffy, high-end place i know of.

                                                                                                              let me know what you think of the magic sliding entrance door.

                                                                                                              1. re: cgervais45

                                                                                                                If two different stores told you that you were a 38R, I have a feeling that's probably your size. A lot of guys not used to wearing suits find their proper suit size a bit snug in the back because they are so used to wearing relaxed, looser clothing. With your frame, you will look like you're swimming in a suit that's even slightly large for you. For your build, slim, lean suits and no pleats and cuffs on pants would be best. And no suit will fit you perfectly off the rack. As Macy's includes free alterations, I would ask the tailor for advice before you exchange your suit for a different size.

                                                                                                                If you ever go to Vietnam, visit tailors. You can get suits custom made there for an incredibly cheap price -- much less than what you would spend on an off-the-rack suit in the States. I know one of my friends got a suit made in Hoi An for about $40. This was a few years ago, but prices there are still very low compared to the US.

                                                                                                                Enjoy Per Se. You will have a wonderful time there. Food and service are excellent, and they will make you feel very welcome.

                                                                                                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                  I agree completely. It's possible the tailor may be able to take the back out a bit on the 38 to make it fit better. It may be much harder to do the next size up if the shoulders are way out of whack. I see a lot of guys try to do that and the football player shoulders just look ridiculous. The only problem I see is with wearing a sweater underneath. I tend to buy my blazers a size larger than my suit jackets so the former can fit sweaters underneath. I don't really see the European style being all that compatible with wearing a baggier sweater underneath. However, with the way most northern cities heat their buildings, I usually end up ripping everything off to just the shirt underneath anyway.

                                                                                                                2. re: cgervais45

                                                                                                                  just for the record, I never suggested anyone go out to dinner looking like they walked off the runway...I just didn't want you to look like an old fart ;)

                                                                                                                  for the record, I LOVE getting dressed up and going out, however I wouldn't want anyone suggesting I have to wear an evening gown either. What exactly makes a jacket a higher standard of clothing anyway? I have seen some damn fine and classy outfits on men that don't involve a jacket, or at the least, not necessarily a traditional one. just sayin'

                                                                                                                  anyhoo, have fun.

                                                                                                                  1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                    Hey, I'm the "old fart," in the group! [Grin] But I completely understood what you were talking about.

                                                                                                                    Still, I believe in classic styles, 'cause they fit me perfectly. I hate to see folk spend great quantities of $, to get something that will belong in the Goodwill bin far too soon.

                                                                                                                    Also, there might well be a new "style," that replaces "classic" sometime in the future. Who knew that my Izods from my youth would come back, and stick around for sevearl decades? I certainly did not, and I worked in the business, when I was young. Much of what I purchased was "lucky," as at my age then, I wasn't really planning a wardrobe. I wasn't purchasing for an investment, and just happened to be in the right place, at the right time. Had I been 10 years younger, I would have missed it all.

                                                                                                                    I hope that you know that I am having some fun with the "OF" term, but I can - because I am one!

                                                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                                                  2. re: cgervais45

                                                                                                                    Keep your style. It will last ,with but a few hiccups, for much of your life.

                                                                                                                    I applaud you for seeking out great restaurants. Chef Thomas Keller does some very nice food. I have not dined at Per Se, but have made the French Laundry several times. Sorry that you'll be solo, as I really like to share fine food and wine with my sweetheart (my wife of 37 years) and my friends. Still, go for it. Build some memories, that will last a lifetime.

                                                                                                                    When we're traveling, I often end up alone at a fine-dining establishment, as my wife is probably in a meeting/dinner. I do not miss any opportunity, even when solo. After three visits to a lovely French restaurant in DC, I finally got an evening with my wife. The staff knew me, and welcomed my wife on this visit, as they'd had to tolerate me drinking all of their finest wines - then cabbing it back to the hotel. They knew that she'd keep a tight rein on me... It's now her favorite French restaurant when in DC.

                                                                                                                    Enjoy,

                                                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                                                    1. re: cgervais45

                                                                                                                      You might want to get it a *little* big. You will get more use out of it if it's a little more comfortable. They can take in a bigger jacket so it doesn't look like you're swimming in it but it's also comfortable to sit in.

                                                                                                                      1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                        Probably depends on what shape you're in and/or how vain you are. I had one hand-me-down suit that fit quite well, but was just a little bit big. Still looked good, and it was more comfortable, but ... well, I just *always* opted for the more flattering ones and never wore the hand-me-down until I finally got it tailored.

                                                                                                                        1. re: tmso

                                                                                                                          I do enjoy dressing up for dinner, however when you're travelling I find it hard to do. Perhaps it's me, I hate having to pack so much when I travel. Especially these days, airlines have changed their limits on the luggage limits. Plus depending on where you are during your sight seeing, timing may be constraint.

                                                                                                                          Recently I was travelling for a month with my family to China and HK. Since we were booked on domestic flights in China, we were only allowed 1 luggage per person, imagine that. So we only allowed ourselves to bring one set of "formal" wear. When we wer in Macau, we didn't realize that shorts were not allowed in casino. Us being tourist didn't realize there was such a rule. Even Vegas allows their patrons to gamble in shorts. We did get some stares but no one said anything to us. It wasn't until we came back to Canada that we were told of such rule. Friends who previous encoutered this earlier in the year were turned away.

                                                                                                                          1. re: gourmet wife

                                                                                                                            No, it's not just you. When my family travels, you'd better stuff everything into a carry-on. Sometimes dressy clothing doesn't make the cut, like when we went to California. We were surprised a restaurant required a jacket, but it was "sweltering" so they waived the requirement. Everywhere else I've been with my family, we've managed to get by in jeans because most places don't have those requirements anymore. We ate at one lovely restaurant in Paris in jeans and I lived in London for a year and was told that London has gone downhill in recent years in terms of level of formality- usually jeans are fine there too, except at a few really high-end restaurants.

                                                                                                                            That said, I always make sure to bring more modest clothing for hotter climates in case I go somewhere that does not allow shorts/sleeveless. I learned my lesson when I went with a friend to Thailand and had to rent a shirt, skirt, and shoes because I was so inappropriately dressed. Whoops!

                                                                                                                            1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                              Along the packing line, my wife has purchased several items in the Misook line (Nordstrom's, for one, sells this line), because it is lighter than her St. John (both in physical weight and also in insulative value). The beauty is that it is virtually wrinkle-free. She's got a few dozen formal outfits, travels in less-formal, and then can mix and match. It is a knit, and while there are various sets that are "haut-fashion," many are more classic.

                                                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                Yes, Misook is "classic." But SO classic that I can't imagine anyone under the age of 50 wearing that line. And "haut <sic> fashion"? I was so amazed at that that I checked all their lines. No haut fashion or haute couture. Some different colors but that's it. But it definitely won't wrinkle. So this is my back on to the off-topic. Back to cooking :)

                                                                                                                  3. Everyone will be happy to know I bought a nice white button down shirt and beautiful Black Donald Trump tie. I must say I didn't like the idea at first but I think I'm starting to like the whole suit thing and can't wait to show it off at Per Se. Thanks EVERYONE for suggesting me getting one!!!

                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: cgervais45

                                                                                                                      shoes! don't forget the shoes!!
                                                                                                                      black cap toes from johnston and murphy at the least. never look "down at the heels."

                                                                                                                      cg: by the time you have this meal, you should have enough material for a capote-like short story. have way too much fun.

                                                                                                                      1. re: steve h.

                                                                                                                        LOL. I did try on some johnston and murphy which by the way were VERY VERY comfy but didn't go with my suit so I went with some nice Kenneth Cole's!

                                                                                                                        1. re: cgervais45

                                                                                                                          you should've stuck with the johnson and murphy's . but regardless, you're fine.

                                                                                                                      2. re: cgervais45

                                                                                                                        that's wonderful! I bet you'll really enjoy such a special meal and will remember it forever.

                                                                                                                      3. Did we ever find out the end of this story? How was dinner?

                                                                                                                        oh, never mind, i just found the continuation thread...