What to Wear to a Nice Restaurant

What To Wear To A Nice Restaurant: 6 Outfit Ideas

Last Updated on May 17, 2024 by Shari Mason

Rephrased: The thought of having a romantic night out can be really exhilarating, but the task of picking the ideal attire for an upscale dining establishment can at times stir up anxiety.

Many possible outfit combinations are popping out of your mind, and you’re torn on what to wear. Worry no more—this article can save you from wearing inappropriate attire.

Here’s a simple guide for a suitable dress code I usually follow whenever I visit nice restaurants.

Top 6 Outfit Ideas For A Nice Restaurant 

woman in a restaurant

1. Casual

Casual attire is an outfit that you’re comfortable with. This attire is popular in occasional and spontaneous casual dining or suited for everyday use.

I usually go for jeans, a t-shirt or sleeveless shirt, collared shirts, trousers, skirts, and a dress with sneakers because they are typically considered casual. These clothes are basically “not formal” attire but it will do whenever I go to simple but nice restaurants.

Read: Why Should You Remove Your Apron When Going To The Bathroom?

2. Casual Elegant

Casual elegance is commonly followed in upscale restaurants, parties, and country clubs. When the restaurant calls for casual elegant dress code, I wear a nice blouse, skirt, cardigan, jumpsuit, or dress. My partner usually wears long-sleeved shirts or suit pants, which are ideal for men.

Avoid wearing t-shirts, ripped jeans, shorts, and slippers in a casually elegant restaurant. Always remember to wear something more formal, but not to the extent of wearing a gown or suit.

Find out how much do restaurants make in a day here.

3. Business Casual

Business casual dress codes are considered casual wear but in a smart-looking outfit.

When I have meetings with my clients, I go from casual t-shirts to polo shirts or blazers. Satin blouses, midi dresses, khaki pants or slacks, and dress shoes or loafers will also do.

I usually avoid clothes with explicit details, something overly revealing and casual, like t-shirts, ripped jeans, and sneakers.

4. Formal

Some fancy parties and fine-dining restaurants usually implement a formal dress code for their guests. If the restaurant calls for formal wear, I ask my partner to wear a tuxedo, and I wear evening gowns on formal occasions. [1]

Wearing a long evening dress or gown with heels is ideal for women, while a full suit or tuxedo with a matching tie and formal shoes is for men. 

Read: Why Did Graham Elliot Close His Restaurants?

5. Jacket

A jacket, sweater, or cardigan over your t-shirts is recommended for a date night in a casual restaurant, especially on cold winter nights.

“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.”

– Rachel Zoe, Fashion Designer, Author

But if you’re attending an elegant casual theme and you’re in a cold or windy place, you can add a trench coat, a blazer, or a faux-fur jacket to make it more than casual looking.

My partner usually styles his suit coat or fur jacket with a simple turtleneck sweater and wears boots or leather sneakers.

6. Closed Shoes or Heels 

Sneakers and slippers are most applicable in casual dress codes, but any elegant or formal dress code calls for closed shoes for men while heels for women. 

Leather shoes for men and high heels, sandals, or boots for women are the ideal footwear, and they should be comfortable for walking around the place. 

Can You Wear Jeans To A Nice Restaurant? 

folded jeans in the cabinet

Yes, you can wear jeans to a nice restaurant, especially when paired with a nice top. What you will pair with the jeans will greatly impact the whole outfit.

Wearing jeans is more likely acceptable to laid-back establishments than a fine dining restaurant. We avoid wearing tattered jeans when going to upscale restaurants.

What Not To Wear To A Nice Restaurant

  • A swimsuit or tank top. Despite not having an official dress code for most restaurants, wearing swimwear or tank tops in a fancy restaurant is generally very out of place.
  • Overly tattered or ripped jeans and shirt. You might not want to wear fashionable jeans and tops with holes or rips as it’s not most appropriate in a fine dining restaurant. 
  • Dirty or wrinkled clothes. Since it’s a nice restaurant, you want to look presentable on your date or dinner night, so your outfit should at least be clean and pressed. 
  • Flip-flops or sandals. Leave your favorite flip-flops or sandals at home and wear something sleek to match your smart attire for a business or a casually elegant event.
  • Excessively high-heeled shoes. For women, to avoid tripping at a restaurant, never wear heels more than three inches, especially when it’s your first time walking in heels.


u003cstrongu003eWhy should you wear something casual to a nice restaurant?u003c/strongu003e

You should wear something casual to a nice restaurant to look polished and chic. Wearing casual is an outfit you feel great, being comfortable and having a suitable amount of elegance.

u003cstrongu003eIs it ok to wear mini skirts to a nice restaurant? u003c/strongu003e

Yes, wearing mini skirts in a nice restaurant is ok as long as it makes you comfortable. However, it still depends on the regulation of the restaurant, especially when it implements a dress code.

u003cstrongu003eCan men wear shorts to a nice restaurant?u003c/strongu003e

No, men cannot wear shorts to a nice restaurant. It is not an appropriate outfit when going to a nice restaurant, especially if the restaurant calls for elegant or smart casual attire.

In Conclusion 

Most people dress to impress, but it has to be based on the type of place you’re going to. It’s best to wear the proper dress code that reflects the upscale nature of the restaurant [2].

Make sure not to wear anything too revealing and casual if you go to upscale restaurants. Adding a coat and a jacket to your outfit is a better option, especially in cold weather.

Don’t forget to put some suitable accessories and make sure you look clean, presentable and tidy whatever the type of restaurant you’re going to.


Shari Mason

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