What to Wear to a Fine Dining Restaurant

If you plan to enjoy a meal at a fine dining restaurant, you need to decide what to wear to fit the dress code and the ambience. Restaurants typically state their dress code on their website or reservation confirmation, often asking patrons to wear smart or formal attire. If you’re not sure what clothing and accessories fit these criteria, this article can help learn what to wear to a fine dining restaurant so you won’t get turned away or suffer any embarrassment.

Dress Codes Defined

Before deciding what to wear, it’s important to understand the different types of dress codes restaurants may have, such as the following:

Business Casual 

Business casual is aptly named as it’s typically what people wear to work in an office. While you don’t have to wear the same thing to dinner that you wear to work, business casual just means you look professional and put together, so you can make a good impression. 

Casual Elegant

Casual elegant may seem confusing to you as the words are quite opposite, but this type of dress code wants guests to find a balance between casual and elegant clothing. For example, you can dress up a casual dress by adding high heels and jewellery or men can add a tie and cufflinks to their dress shirt.

Formal 

Many fine-dining restaurants, weddings, and events request that guests wear formal attire, so you may already understand this dress code. Formal wear typically includes elegant dresses or suits, as well as heels and dress shoes.

Jacket Required

Some restaurants may emphasise the need for formal wear by stating that jackets are required. This means men must wear a suit jacket and women must wear similar formal wear, such as a dress or pantsuit

What Should Men Wear to a Fine Dining Restaurant?

If you’re a man, here’s what you can wear when you visit a fine-dining restaurant:

Suit and Tie 

A classic, well-fitting suit paired with a smart tie is always a safe option for fine-dining restaurants, as you can dress them up or down depending on the establishment’s exact dress code. Choose a dark-coloured suit, such as black, charcoal, or dark navy for a polished look. This also makes it an easier task to find a tie that doesn’t clash with your suit.

Tuxedo

More upscale restaurants, particularly establishments that request formal wear, expect men to wear full tuxedos. They’re similar to suits, as the only difference is that tuxedos have satin lapels and buttons, elevating your look. You also wear a bowtie with a tuxedo rather than a tie, ensuring you don’t take away from the satin details. 

Dress Shirt and Dress Pants 

For less formal fine-dining restaurants, you can wear a high-quality dress shirt and tailored dress pants. Consider dark pants with a neutral-toned shirt, such as white or grey. If it’s patterned, ensure it’s a subtle pattern, such as light stripes, so your outfit doesn’t clash with the decor.

Accessories

No matter what outfit you choose, ensure it fits you well, as ill-fitting clothing can take away from the polished look you’re aiming for. Consider adding cufflinks to your dress shirt, a wristwatch, and a leather belt that compliments your shoes. Ensure your dress shoes are shined to complete the look. 

What Should Women Wear to a Fine Dining Restaurant?

If you’re a woman, here’s what you can wear to a fine-dining restaurant:

Elegant Evening Gown or Cocktail Dress 

Although a full-length gown may seem excessive for dinner, it’s a great choice for restaurants with a formal dress code. If long dresses aren’t your thing, you can also opt for a chic cocktail dress. Try to choose high-quality fabrics, like silk, satin, or chiffon in colours that complement your skin tone. 

Sophisticated Blouse and Skirt or Trousers 

For less formal restaurants, you can wear a sophisticated blouse paired with a well-tailored skirt or trousers. Consider neutral tones for the entire outfit, such as a black skirt with a light-coloured top. Don’t incorporate too many patterns, or it can distract from your clothing.

High-Quality Accessories 

Once you choose your clothing, enhance the outfit with tasteful accessories, such as a statement necklace, chic earrings, or a small clutch. Avoid excessive bling, which can often look tacky, opting for timeless pieces instead to add a touch of glamour. 

Stylish Heels

To complete your outfit, don a pair of elegant heels in a neutral colour, like black or nude, as they’re so versatile. 

Fine Dining Dress Tips for All

We spoke with Amanda Syrowatka, (manager of one of the most popular fine dining Ubud restaurants) and asked her for her best tips for dressing for fine dining. Here are the tips she gave us:

Check the Dress Code

Before you choose an outfit, ensure you double-check the restaurant’s dress code. As mentioned, you can typically find it on the establishment’s website or on your reservation confirmation. If you can’t find the information, call ahead to ensure you’re prepared. 

Mind the Fit

No matter what outfit you choose, ensure it fits you well, as ill-fitting clothing can detract from the polished look you’re aiming for. If your clothing is too big, take it to a tailor so they can adjust it to your body shape. 

Coordinate with Your Companion

If you’re dining with someone, try to coordinate your outfits to create a cohesive and polished look. You don’t have to 100% match, but you can choose complementary colours and styles.

Grooming 

Ensuring you’re well-groomed before you leave can help you complete your formal, sophisticated look. Men can tame their hair with gel or mousse, shave or trim their facial hair, and tie their shoes neatly. Women have more options for styling their hair, but a sleek updo is always a good option. Women can also paint their nails and wear a nice, subtle perfume. 

Weather Considerations

While dressing appropriately for the season is important, you need to prioritise the dress code. This means even if you’re on a tropical island, you still have to wear a full suit or dress to a fine dining restaurant. Try to choose a breathable fabric in this case so you don’t overheat on your way, but once you arrive, you can enjoy the cool atmosphere inside. If it’s cold out, choose a stylish coat or shawl that compliments your outfit.

Conclusion

We hope our guide on; what to wear to a fine dining restaurant has helped you learn the do’s and don’ts on fine dining dress etiquette. Remember, if in doubt, you can always check the establishment’s website or call ahead to ask about the dress code beforehand so you can relax and enjoy your evening out.

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Our dress code recommendation is smart to formal. We just ask that you please refrain from wearing sports clothing or beachwear, including singlets and flip-flops. Apéritif is fully air-conditioned.

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