In our ever changing society, what was once considered formal or elegant attire is now more relaxed in the world of dining. Dress codes in finer establishments continue to be a challenge for business owners.  Many have a misconception when it comes to business casual or formal wear in todays’ world. The older generation knew what it was to ‘dress to the nines’ as they use to say. I was fortunate to be taught from my parents and grandparents what it was to dress up; from attending church on Sundays or dining out, we were always in dress; it’s the way it was. We always knew we were expected to look our best when a special occasion came up such as holidays or plane travel.  Today it’s very different and dressing has become relaxed when going out, almost too relaxed. There’s no real mandate on dress attire, but it’s clear that the majority of the younger generation (millennials) don’t care to dress in ‘proper attire’; therefore dissolving the notion of formal wear in high-end establishments. I believe it is sad and while ‘dressing to the nines’ isn’t for everyone, I still enjoy it.

Recently I visited a finer restaurant for a birthday celebration and the attire was to be business casual, so knowing it was a bit upscale, my mother and I wore black & white dress attire with a bit of finer jewelry. Once we arrived we were greeted professionally and observed the wait staff wearing all black; so far so good. We were seated at a table in a location which was requested and now ready to relax and enjoy. What we didn’t expect to see were people coming in wearing shorts, t-shirts, jeans and a young women wearing a 2-piece outfit with her stomach showing. We were surprised, and while the dress attire wasn’t enforced, it seems that todays’ world accepts it as long as they’re willing to pay the money. The interpretation of ‘business casual’ to the younger generation is nowhere near what we older folk knew it to be. Business casual by men should be a button down dress or polo shirt, pants and loafers, for women it can be a suit, dress, blouses and, or skirts. Observing dress codes today should be upheld, but it’s not; the same goes on cruise lines. There are always formal nights in the main dining room, and it is explained in details what is acceptable attire in your cruise planner. However, the cruise lines have the same problems as high-end establishments, people showing up in whatever they want, clearly a sign of the times.

I feel privileged to have been raised in a manner which makes me feel good, and to know what it was like when people took pride in the way they dressed and carried themselves. Clubs and fine dining restaurants have loosened policies on formal wear, and there will be those that keep pushing the envelope on proper attire. There are plenty of places you can patronize with more casual dress attire, but if you choose to attend a high-end place, then you can at least go with a little respect, if not for yourself then at least for the establishment.

Make your week count.