Tim Foolery

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Jacket Required

Last Friday, I visited a restaurant here in Chicago where gentlemen are required to wear jackets in the dining room.  To my knowledge this has been the first time I’ve been to a restaurant with this requirement.  I often wear a jacket in general, but I don’t remember seeing this requirement on a reservation that I’ve made.

This restaurant, Les Nomades, even had a sign prominently displayed outside reminding diners of this rule.  The coat check was immediately at the entrance and this coat check was a little different. Not only were they taking coats and bags, but you could check out a jacket, it you failed to realize this requirement.  I came prepared.

I did a little research and found an article from 2014 that lists the restaurants that still require a jacket for men in the dining room, but I found how quickly that list isn’t accurate any more.  The list includes 5 restaurants in Chicago that require jackets, but now only 2 of those still require jackets: Les Nomades and Tru.  While Spiaggia, Alinea (now closed for extensive renos, but scheduled to open again in Spring 2016) and Everest have all relaxed their dress code.

I really don’t like how America is getting so casual. You see more people at the grocery store or on a plane wearing yoga pants than the number who actually practice yoga.  I understand the need for being comfortable, but this is just extreme.  We look like slobs.  I don’t necessarily like the idea of a required dress code for restaurants, events (theater for example) or flights, but we need to step up our wardrobe.

I will make this pledge that I will never wear sweatpants, yoga pants or pajamas in public.  I will also wear a jacket more often than not on a flight and I will never wear a t-shirt of a polo to the symphony, theater or opera. These are special events and we need to treat ourselves and other with respect and dressing the part is a great foundation.  I don’t think one needs to be in a suit all the time, but we need to shed the idea of “being comfortable” means wearing sweats or tees.  When you buys clothes, buy items that fit you and they will be comfortable.  You don’t need to spend a lot of money to look nice either.

Am I nuts? Am I out of touch with the real world?  Am I being elitist?  What am I not understanding here?


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