Visitors to New York City are often very confused about how to dress. Television shows such as “Gossip Girls” would have you believing that every single person is dressed in high end designer clothing every day of the week. However, this is hardly the case!
New Yorkers are very practical people as well as fashionable. While there are exceptions to the rule, most New Yorkers dress according to the weather and the occasion. For example, in Winter, you aren’t going to see people without hats and gloves, and, only a few people in furs. Most are wrapped head to toe in warm outerwear such as down filled coats, and, wool hats and gloves. However, under all that outerwear you might be stunned to find an Escada dress or an Armani suit. Yes, SOME New Yorkers are VERY fashionable, and, yes it takes a lot of money to “keep up with the Jones”.
On the flip side, you’ll find cab drivers, delivery people, and, people in other similar jobs wearing jeans and other clothing they don’t mind getting dirty. It’s a bit judgmental, but, how you dress in NYC often tells people about you, your lifestyle, and, your occupation.
So how do you dress as a tourist? This depends on what you are seeing and doing, and, this series will help you navigate your way through this maze of confusion. Today’s topic: restaurants and dress codes.
Restaurants and Dress Codes
You’ll quickly realize you aren’t in Kansas anymore at your first attempt to enter a top tier NYC restaurant in jeans or shorts. New York restaurants take their dress codes seriously, and, they have no problem turning people away for not being properly dressed.
Case in point. 21 Club is one of New York’s finest restaurants. It has long been a favorite dining spot of the rich and famous, and, more than one multi-million dollar business deal has been discussed in this restaurant; and, despite the whimsical decor, they DO have a dress code, and, they DO enforce it. And, there is no point in arguing – the fact is – no, the restaurant doesn’t need your money, because, they’ll easily fill your seats with people who actually conform to the dress codes. (Yes, really!)
If a restaurant calls for jacket and tie for gentlemen, then wear a jacket and tie. This also means ladies should be in nice dresses. Just because your jeans or shorts are expensive and neat that does not mean the restaurant is going to let you in. And, leave the cameras at home or at your hotel. Nothing screams tourist louder than a camera hanging around your neck!
If in doubt, call and ask specifically what the dress code is for that restaurant. It’s far better to make an anonymous phone call to get the information than to be humiliated at the door!
So, if you don’t like to dress, find restaurants that have more casual dress codes. A good source to finding restaurants and dress codes is OpenTable.com
If you dress and act like a tourist, then you will be treated like a tourist! And, if you are going to an upper tier restaurant DO call ahead for both reservations and dress codes.