Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dressing for Dinner

Gary and I went out to dinner today. It's a nice restaurant, great atmosphere, the kind of place kids flock to for homecoming and prom. I went in a Sunday-go-to-meetin' dress. When some friends went there with us for a birthday celebration, they all looked nice.

We noticed this evening that almost nobody was dressed up. Most of the people were in jeans and t-shirts, or cargo shorts, or other types of play clothes.

Is the lack of dress-up due to people eating out SO often? I mean, if going to a restaurant is a regular part of your day (just like teeth-brushing or exercising or whatever) maybe you go out to eat in Whatever You Happen To Be Wearing ... just as we at our house come to the supper table or snarf down our lunch sandwich in Whatever We Happen To Be Wearing.

And then I remembered reading in a recent volume of Betsy-Tacy how they would "dress for dinner" on vacation. They always went to a resort for summer, swam in the afternoon, and then dressed up for supper in the resort's family-style dining room. So here I am tsk-tsking people for not dressing up when they go to a relatively fancy restaurant; maybe older people tsk-tsk me for not dressing up for dinner in my own house.


  1. We've talked about that before. We no longer dress up to go out, either. I'm going out twice this week for lunch. Wed. we will go to Ott's (a blue collar diner) or Subway. Thurs. I'll go to Arby's. Haven't gone fancy for a LONG time. The people I notice going out on a Sunday noon are the black people coming from church. They are always SO dressed up. Ladies wearing hats, dressed, jewelry. They look so nice to go to church and out to eat

  2. Typo above. They are not just dressed, but wearing dresses.

  3. The first time I went to Olive Garden (and I've only been 3x, ever) I was surprised that people were wearing cut off shorts, flip flops, etc at a place that costs $12-20 per entree. I mean, I know that Olive Garden isn't High Class, but still, I would THINK that if people are going to spend ~$50 to $75 on dinner, they'd dress up at least a LITTLE. How hard is it to AT LEAST put on a NICE pair of jeans, take off your baseball cap, and put on a business/casual type shirt instead of looking like you just rolled out of bed?

    Susan, I think it's really just the slow slouching of our culture towards the bottom. People don't know what "Sunday clothes" means anymore, people don't have a clue how to dress for a funeral.

    Still, I cannot imagine "dressing for dinner" in my own home. Although I do insist that my daughter not join us for supper in her skivvies, which she would be all too happy to do!

  4. While I do agree, and our culture is just getting more "slouchy," I think it's a seasonal thing, too. I know I tend to dress more relaxed when I go out during the summer. Part of that is due to the heat, part is due to us going out most often when we're done some activity off the farm during that day. I still try to wear my "nicest" "slouchy" clothes, though, and I'll go back to nicer things as fall sets in.
    A related question; can I wear a sleeveless dress to church in September?

  5. I am not particularly shocked by very casual dress for eating out - especially at those restaurants who cater to young families. But last week I attended the prayer service in the evening before the funeral for a 94 year old lady - a good share of those attending wore cuts and flip-flops.
    Suzanne L

  6. Your surprised that people don't dress up for dinner? Have you seen what people (including myself sometimes! - I'm not just pointing fingers here) wear to church???

  7. I've noticed it.

    We have a very nice steak house here, the 2 times we've gone there we've dressed for dinner but the other patrons were wearing shorts and flip-flops. We rarely eat out at anything other than fast food but when we do I'm always surprised at the way people dress.

    This ties in to a discussion I had with some friends. We were talking about churches and I mentioned that I was raised to dress in my "Sunday best" for services. They didn't really understand why. I mentioned that it was a matter of respect. I said that I would take time to dress nice for a special dinner out so it seems even more important to dress up if we were going to be entering God's house and partaking of the Lord's Supper. The comparison was lost on them since they never dress up to go out.

    I like EC's phrase the "slow slouching of our culture towards the bottom." Walk into many offices and you may see the change in attire. Dh went to a meeting recently that was supposed to be "business casual." Most attendees wore jeans and t-shirts, he was way overdressed in a pair of khakis and a button down shirt.

  8. Jenny, I had the same thought as you ("if they're going to spend $50-75 on a dinner"). But I've also discovered that I look at a sum of money different from most people. Most people will let go of $50 for dinner or a movie-night or theatre tickets about as easily as I will let go of $3-5. So maybe they dress up for a $50 dinner just as much as I'd dress up (not!) for taking the kids into Wendy's for a small Frostie off the dollar-menu when we're traveling on the interstate and need a break.

    Melody, I figure women our age get to wear sleeveless dresses or sleeves shirts Whenever We Want!!! I haven't been taking my black cohash more than about once a month, and I'm feeling it. Hooray for sleeveless tops!

    And for all of you who mentioned church/funeral attire, I guess I'm used to that. I go to church more often than I go out to dinner, so I see what's there. Besides, it's not generally too bad overall at our church.