Dining Dress Code: Attire to wear for Fine Dining in Fancy Restaurant

fine dining dress code

Having a special night out with someone can be really fun, but sometimes it can feel stressful trying to figure out what to wear to a fancy restaurant. You have so many outfit options in your head, and you’re confused about what to wear. Don’t worry anymore! It will help you avoid wearing the wrong clothes. Lots of people in the US like going to restaurants every year. Americans really enjoy eating out, but things are changing in the food industry because of new restaurant technology and ordering food online.

These are the important numbers about the always-changing restaurant business:

  • In 2021, the restaurants in the US earned a total of $731.5 billion in sales. This was $132.8 billion less compared to what they made in 2019.
  • In the 2023 sales forecast, there’s a whopping $997 billion expected for total yearly sales.
  • In 2021, the United States had a total of 660,936 restaurants.
  • Out of 1,000 Americans, 56% said they usually go to a restaurant for meals about 2 to 3 times each week.
  • In a survey, it was discovered that people who make between $40,000 and $50,000 a year tend to spend the most money on eating out at restaurants. People in this specific income group typically spent around $117.82 every week, which is about 12.25 to 15.31% of the money they make.

Here’s a simple guide for a suitable dress code usually follow whenever visiting nice restaurants:

1. Casual

casual fine dining attire

Casual clothes are outfits that you feel relaxed in. People wear casual clothes for relaxed and unplanned meals or for everyday activities.
When you want to dress casually, you can choose jeans, a t-shirt or sleeveless shirt, collared shirts, trousers, skirts, or a dress with sneakers. These outfits are not very fancy but are suitable for going to relaxed and pleasant restaurants.

Top 5 Restaurants that Allow Casual Fine Dining Dress Codes in the USA:

  1. The Spotted Pig (New York City, New York)
  2. Girl & the Goat (Chicago, Illinois)
  3. The French Laundry (Yountville, California)
  4. Husk (Charleston, South Carolina)
  5. Commander’s Palace (New Orleans, Louisiana)

2. Casual Elegant

casual elegant wear at fine dining restaurants code

Fancy places like fancy restaurants, fancy parties, and fancy clubs usually prefer a relaxed but stylish look. If a fancy restaurant wants you to dress casual elegant, you can wear a nice blouse, skirt, cardigan, jumpsuit, or dress. Men usually wear shirts with long sleeves or suit pants.
Don’t wear t-shirts, ripped jeans, shorts, and slippers when you go to a casually elegant fancy restaurant. It’s important to wear something more formal, but not to the extent of wearing a gown or suit.

Top 5 Restaurants that Allow Casual Elegant Fine Dining Dress Codes in the USA:

  1. Eleven Madison Park (New York City, New York)
  2. French Laundry (Yountville, California)
  3. Alinea (Chicago, Illinois)
  4. Per Se (New York City, New York)
  5. Le Bernardin (New York, New York)

3. Business Casual

what to wear to a fancy restaurant guy

Business casual dress codes are considered dressing comfortably but still looking professional.
When you meet your clients, you can wear casual t-shirts, polo shirts, or blazers. You can also choose satin blouses, midi dresses, khaki pants or slacks, and dress shoes or loafers.
It’s best to stay away from clothes that have too much stuff on them, show a lot of skin, and are very casual, like t-shirts, ripped jeans, and sneakers.

Top 5 Restaurants that Allow Business Casual Fine Dining Dress Codes in the USA:

  1. Per Se (New York City, New York)
  2. French Laundry (Yountville, California)
  3. Eleven Madison Park (New York City, New York)
  4. Alinea (Chicago, Illinois)
  5. The Restaurant at Meadowood (St. Helena, California)

4. Formal

formal dining dress code

At special parties and fancy restaurants, people often have to formal dress code. When the restaurant wants everyone to dress formally, men wear tuxedos and women wear evening gowns.
Women should wear a fancy long evening dress and high heels, while men should wear a complete suit or tuxedo, along with a matching tie and formal shoes.

Top 5 Restaurants that Allow Formal Fine Dining Dress Codes in the USA:

  1. The French Laundry (Yountville, California):
  2. Per Se (New York City, New York)
  3. Alinea (Chicago, Illinois)
  4. Le Bernardin (New York City, New York)
  5. Eleven Madison Park (New York City, New York)

5. Jacket

jacket in dining etiquette

If you’re going on a date to a casual restaurant on chilly winter nights, it’s a good idea to wear a jacket, sweater, or cardigan on top of your t-shirts.
However, if you’re going to a fancy but relaxed event and the weather is chilly or windy, you can wear a trench coat, a blazer, or a faux fur jacket to give your outfit a more than just casual appearance.

6. Closed Shoes or Heels

closed shoes or heels in fancy restaurants

Sneakers and slippers are great for casual outfits, but when it comes to fancy or formal occasions, men should wear closed shoes while women can opt for heels.
Good shoes for men are made of leather, and good shoes for women can be high heels, sandals, or boots. These shoes should feel comfortable when walking around.


Recommended Outfits for Fine Dining

Here are some recommended outfits for fine dining, taking into account the time of day and the occasion.

1. Outfit for Daytime Dining

Dress and jacket: Wearing a dress and jacket together is a timeless and fancy choice for eating during the day. Find a dress that looks good on your body shape and a jacket that goes well with the dress.
Skirt and blouse: Wearing a skirt and blouse is a great choice for daytime dining. Pick a skirt that goes a little above your knees and a blouse in a simple color. It will make you look stylish and adaptable.
Pantsuit: Wearing a pantsuit can make you look fashionable and trendy when you go out to eat during the day. Pick a pantsuit in a simple color like black or navy, and add some fancy jewelry to complete your elegant look.

2. Outfit for Evening Dining

Cocktail dress: A cocktail dress that looks elegant and never goes out of style is a great choice for a nice dinner in the evening. Pick a dress that makes your body look good and is made from really high-quality fabric.
Gown: A gown can make you look nice and fancy when you go out to eat in the evening. Just pick a gown that fits the event and makes your body look good.
Separates: When you go out for dinner at night, you can wear different pieces of clothing, like a skirt and a blouse or pants and a blouse. Separates are great because they can be mixed and matched, and they make you look stylish. Pick separates in a color that goes with everything and add the right accessories to complete your outfit.


Factors to Consider When Choosing an Outfit

When you’re trying to choose what clothes to wear to a fine dining restaurant, there are a few things you need to think about.

1. Restaurant Dress Code

Before you pick what to wear, it’s important to find out the rules about clothes at the restaurant. Certain fancy restaurants have a strict dress code, while others are more casual. The easiest way to know for sure is by visiting the restaurant’s website or giving them a call to confirm the dress code.

2. Season and Weather

Different seasons and weather conditions affect what clothes are suitable to wear. During the summer, it’s better to choose lighter fabrics that allow your body to breathe. In the winter, it’s best to opt for heavier materials like wool or cashmere to keep warm.

3. Personal Style

When you follow the rules about what to wear at the restaurant, it’s important to still show your own style. Pick clothes that make you look good and feel sure of yourself and relaxed.

4. Occasion

When you’re picking what to wear, think about the event you’re going to. Is it a fancy date, a party, or a work meeting? Dress appropriately for the occasion.

5. Time of Day 

Thinking about what time it is matters too. When it’s daytime and you want to eat, it’s better to wear comfy clothes. But when it’s nighttime and you’re going out to eat, it’s best to dress up a bit fancier.


What Not To Wear To A Nice Restaurant

  • You shouldn’t wear swimwear or tank tops in fancy restaurants, even though they usually don’t have specific rules about what to wear. It just doesn’t fit in well with the atmosphere.
  • Wearing very worn-out or torn jeans and a shirt might not be a good idea. Fancy jeans and tops with holes or tears are not suitable for a fancy restaurant.
  • Wearing dirty or wrinkled clothes is not a good idea when going to a fancy restaurant for a date or dinner. It’s important to make sure your outfit is clean and well-ironed to look nice.
  • Leave your favorite flip-flops or sandals at home and choose something stylish to match your smart outfit for a business or a fancy yet relaxed occasion.
  • Don’t wear really tall shoes if you’re a woman going to a restaurant for the first time in heels. It’s important to keep the heel height under three inches to prevent tripping.


1. Why do you need to dress casually when going to a fancy restaurant?
If you want to look nice and stylish at a fancy restaurant, it’s a good idea to wear casual clothes. Casual outfits make you feel good, they’re comfortable, and they have just the right amount of elegance.

2. Is it fine to wear mini skirts at fancy restaurants?
Yes, It’s fine to wear mini skirts in a fancy restaurant if it makes you feel good. But it also depends on the rules of the restaurant, especially if they have a dress code.

3. Can men wear shorts to a fancy restaurant?
No, guys can’t wear shorts to fancy restaurants. It’s not right to dress like that when going to a fancy restaurant, especially if they ask for fancy or smart casual clothes.

4. What makes fine dining different from regular dining?
Fine dining is when you go to a special place that feels really fancy and luxurious. The people who work there treat you with exceptional service, and the food they serve is high-quality.
Regular dining means eating out in a relaxed way, where the important thing is the food, not how fancy the place looks. Unlike fine dining, regular dining doesn’t have strict rules for how to dress up.

5. Can I wear shiny and eye-catching jewelry to a fine dining restaurant?
When you go to a fancy restaurant, it’s alright to wear jewelry, but it’s better to choose something simple and classy. Don’t pick anything too showy or extravagant. Instead, go for pieces that make your outfit look even better.

Many folks dress up to look good, but it depends on where you’re going. It’s important to wear clothes that match the fancy style of the restaurant. Avoid wearing anything too revealing or casual when you visit upscale restaurants. Wearing a coat and jacket is a good idea, especially if it’s cold outside. Remember to add some appropriate accessories and make sure you look neat, tidy, and presentable, no matter what kind of restaurant you’re going to.

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Rose Frank

Rose Frank is a young enthusiastic girl who loves everything about fashion. She believes in expressing her passion in a language that everyone can connect with. She is part of the LooksGud team, which loves to reach out to maximum people and inspire them to express themselves through fashion.