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Appropriate Dress in Paris

joannecam Mar 21, 2012 12:13 PM

Thanks to advice from this board and a few friends, we are booked to dine at Caius, Saturne, Spring and Les Papilles in two weeks. I would be grateful if anyone who has been to these restaurants could comment on appropriate dress. My husband would prefer not to wear a jacket and tie although he would rather not be the only male diner without. Are slacks suitable for women? Thanks, and will post on our return.

  1. mangeur Mar 21, 2012 12:28 PM

    Truthfully, a jacket for a man is seldom out of place at the kind of restaurant you list. Not a tie, not a suit, not even a collared shirt, but a recognizable jacket will take him anywhere. At the minimum, think of what Steve Jobs would have worn out to dinner: decent jeans, a mock turtleneck and a jacket.

    Women can get by in slacks just about everywhere.

    1. m
      Maximilien Mar 21, 2012 02:43 PM

      Always have a jacket with you; not fancy, but a nice simple jacket (lightweight) with a shirt.

      Or have a "nicer" shirt with a nice sweater.

      1. Parigi Mar 21, 2012 03:09 PM

        Agreed with the others. Jacket's the ticket.

        1. Delucacheesemonger Mar 21, 2012 03:30 PM

          While l fought the jacket idea for a long time. l now always carry a sports coat with me, feel much more comfortable; a tie, nah

          1. Rio Yeti Mar 22, 2012 04:05 AM

            Truthfully I never wear jackets to dinner... (except when I went to Gagnaire)... But I do dress daily with collar shirts, nice jeans or pants, and always, always nice leather shoes (never snickers).
            So I guess if your style is more of a laidback jeans, tshirt, you could add the jacket in to class it up a notch.

            11 Replies
            1. re: Rio Yeti
              PhilD Mar 22, 2012 05:13 AM

              Rio - I am intrigued by the thought of your chocolate bar shoes. - useful for a snack?

              1. re: PhilD
                Rio Yeti Mar 22, 2012 05:43 AM

                Useful for a candy from the Boulangerie !

                1. re: Rio Yeti
                  SWISSAIRE Mar 23, 2012 10:22 AM

                  In Paris, always a jacket in better restaurants.

                  And no Hawaiian shirts underneath.

                  1. re: SWISSAIRE
                    Peg Mar 23, 2012 10:57 AM

                    Not just Paris - this goes for anywhere on the planet!

                    1. re: Peg
                      Parigi Mar 23, 2012 11:04 AM

                      So true.

                      1. re: Peg
                        bronwen Mar 29, 2012 07:57 AM

                        One of the magical things about Paris is that people dress up, it is such an homage to a fabulous city. No shorts, no t-shirts with logos, no sneakers. I don't know why people don't think it's fun to dress up. Even my New Yorker boyfriend loves to put on his finery when we are there and his usual outfit consists of something with a tank top!

                      2. re: SWISSAIRE
                        Rio Yeti Mar 23, 2012 11:08 AM

                        Isn't it "no Hawaiian shirts ever" ? (except maybe ... in Hawaii.... maybe...)

                        1. re: Rio Yeti
                          SWISSAIRE Mar 23, 2012 12:01 PM

                          Actually, we just saw a lot of them in Brasil.

                          Formal wear apparently in the Nordeste-Tropical regions, with a good pair of slacks. Makes sense there, but not out to a better restaurant in Paris.

                  2. re: Rio Yeti
                    vielleanglaise Mar 23, 2012 03:18 PM

                    Circumstances have meant that I've eaten at starred restaurants in trainers, and have always felt perfectly at ease (which for me is a sign of impeccable service).
                    Dress codes here are more relaxed than in England and the US, for better, and for once - I'm always surprised by the casual approach to weddings and especially funerals.

                    1. re: vielleanglaise
                      mangeur Mar 23, 2012 04:11 PM

                      Sorry to be macabre, but the last time my husband wore a suit to a funeral, he said that he felt like the corpse.

                      1. re: mangeur
                        globalgourmet Mar 27, 2012 04:44 AM


                  3. m
                    marthak Mar 28, 2012 03:45 PM

                    We are in Paris now and this week have gone to Chez L'Ami jean, Le Verre Voles, brunches and dinners and 2 "hip seen and be seen" restaurants with relatives (not as great), plus Reed and will head to Les Papilles tomorrow night. We are 49 and 48 and I like to look good. So I tend to stick to the fashionable but cool side - gorgeous japanese silk kimono style pants in black and white silk, great jewelry and a silk black cowl neck seater top plus a sheer long grey scarf and nice shoes. Husband wears grey or black Levis, nice shoes, a hipster dress shirt and his nice older hipster black leather jacket. We range in the middle to upper end of dress for Paris this time. I have seen business suits to jeans, to casually elegant dresses to kind of slutty tourist clothes. Its all good. Smile, use some french, truly appreciate the food. The people we have encountered have been amazing, professional, kind, wry and fantastic all around. Food is phenomenal. Everyone is nice. And honestly I am dressing for myself. I have seen some dinner jackets, but they have not been the norm so far. They dress us far more at lunch, that's work hour and almost all men wear suits while they ride bicycles.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: marthak
                      Parigi Mar 28, 2012 04:05 PM

                      "honestly I am dressing for myself."
                      That's the secret. Bravo.

                      1. re: Parigi
                        madamebatignolles Apr 1, 2012 07:40 AM

                        I would add : vaut mieux briller par son élégance que par sa négligence!

                        1. re: madamebatignolles
                          marthak Apr 1, 2012 02:44 PM

                          Is that your way of saying better to overdress than underdress? My husband brought his dinner jacket on the trip. Although he never had the inclination to wear it, he had the opportunity but he chose not to wear the jacket as it was not required. Knowing this, we still would have brought the jacket. It does not take up a lot of room in the suitcase. And if I were a different woman, I might have wanted to see him in that jacket. I just like his black sweater better. So sometimes, we dress for our date.

                          1. re: marthak
                            madamebatignolles Apr 1, 2012 04:08 PM

                            A black sweather is not underdress and since traveling is for fun(mostly) follow your feelings!

                            1. re: marthak
                              PhilD Apr 1, 2012 05:17 PM

                              Can i clarify. Where i come fom a dinner jacket is a tuxedo. Did you really see people wearing dinner jackets in Paris, wherethey going to a function?

                      2. chefathome Apr 1, 2012 04:34 PM

                        This has been most helpful for our upcoming Paris trip. Thank you!

                        1. p
                          PattyC Apr 1, 2012 04:49 PM

                          If your husband prefers not to wear a jacket and tie, then don't. He certainly won't be the only male diner without. A nice sweater or shirt and neat jeans will be fine. We've seen anywhere from suits to jeans at starred restaurants. My husband always brings a jacket because he prefers to wear one and is more comfortable dressed up than down. As someone else mentioned, dress for yourself and wear what you personally feel comfortable in.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: PattyC
                            TMFOtter Apr 3, 2012 09:39 AM

                            Yes, exactly.

                            My wife and I went to Jules Verne two years ago and dressed up (she looked amazing, I make expensive jackets looks cheap!!). We were surprised at the casual dress of the couple sitting next to us -- not inappropriate, just...casual. But the waitstaff did not mind at all, and everyone was comfortable and had a great time.

                            I appreciate this thread as we are going to Guy Savoy on Thursday and the jacket I brought has somehow developed a rip on a sleeve. Unwearable. so I'm going with the nicest things I have, but feared they wouldn't be nice enough for such a restaurant,

                            1. re: TMFOtter
                              Parigi Apr 3, 2012 10:24 AM

                              "I make expensive jackets looks cheap!"

                              Noooo ! You're supposed to do the other way around !
                              Maybe you were eclipsed by your wife…

                              1. re: Parigi
                                TMFOtter Apr 3, 2012 01:10 PM

                                Hehehe. Yes, my wife outshines me, but I also seem to have bulges in all the wrong places...

                              2. re: TMFOtter
                                PhilD Apr 3, 2012 09:01 PM

                                TMFOtter - the Guy Savoy website seems quite explicit: "To ensure perfect harmony with the elegant, aesthetic atmosphere of our restaurant, men are asked to wear a dinner jacket"

                                It seems like it may be time to go out and get anew jacket - thankfully Paris has lots of options! Jules Verne and Guy Savoy are leagues apart so not wise to assume the dress will be similar.

                                1. re: PhilD
                                  kevin25 Apr 6, 2012 07:35 PM

                                  at Guy Savoys you should wear a jacket "just because you could doesn't mean you should" (not wear a jacket i mean)

                                  1. re: kevin25
                                    TMFOtter Apr 7, 2012 09:12 AM

                                    Well, we ended up canceling the reservation, so no harm.

                            2. c
                              chezKiva Apr 2, 2012 09:01 PM

                              My friend reported yesterday from Belgium that it is still wintery cold! That's wild, it's nearly 90 here in Arkansas.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: chezKiva
                                marthak Apr 3, 2012 12:38 AM

                                Sorry, didn't mean dinner jacket. He brought a jacket which we used to call a sports coat. And it is cold in Europe right now. When we left Amsterdam this morning it was really very cold. He wore his black cashmere sweater or black leather jacket over work/dress shirts probably every single dinner out in Paris and Amsterdam. For those of you from California, Amsterdam is darn cold, bring gloves, warm scarves and gloves.

                                1. re: marthak
                                  Parigi Apr 3, 2012 12:52 AM

                                  Weather happens.

                              2. mangeur Apr 8, 2012 06:14 AM

                                Far more important than wbat you wear is how you come across. Last nite a table of 4 Americans dominated a room of 30 seats. They were not so loud as piercing, with one woma
                                dominating the conversation. Some one persom in every party should always be the designated volume controller.


                                4 Replies
                                1. re: mangeur
                                  chezKiva Apr 8, 2012 07:26 AM

                                  This is sad; ..perchance the French need better screeners at their borders!

                                  We had a similar experience buying pastries on our last day there. An affluent, and unusually irate woman from New York's upper East side was ready to duke it out with the owner and his wife and it seemed the cue was rapidly extending down the block of this upscale shop on the Right Bank. At first, we interpreted this as an indicator of the value / demand for their precious goods. But it turned out the server simply needed to know if the foursome wanted their carry-out sandwiches Hot, or Cold? Knowing their dialect first hand, I assisted in quelling their argument and instructed the party to drop their change in the tip-jar, and deliver a very much needed & polite MERCI! Was this high comedy, or just another day at the ranch?

                                  1. re: chezKiva
                                    kevin25 Apr 8, 2012 07:58 AM

                                    It starts at home. we americans don't do a very good job of training our young ones in proper etiquette. And proper etiquette for another country even worse. chezKiva did a good thing and we need more of that.

                                    1. re: kevin25
                                      LulusMom about 1 hour ago

                                      Embarrassing and sad. It is true - a lot of Americans are not taught appropriate manners. Lulu once ordered a pizza and said please, and the waitress brought her peas on the side. When we asked what the peas were for, she said "well, she said pizza, peas." The poor waitress had never heard a child say the word please before.

                                      1. re: LulusMom
                                        Parigi 25 minutes ago

                                        I have said it before: May I borrow Lulu ?

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