Eating at a fancy restaurant can be an exciting experience, but figuring out what to wear can also cause anxiety. If you want to look fashionable yet appropriate, pay attention to the dress code, time of day, and formality of the restaurant.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll give you a quick answer for how to dress before diving into all the details you need for a stress-free fancy dinner.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Stick with cocktail attire – for women, opt for a little black dress or dressy separates like a skirt and blouse. For men, wear a sport coat with dress pants and collared shirt.

Avoid overdressing with gowns or tuxedos, which are too formal for most restaurants.

Decoding the Dress Code

When dining at a fancy restaurant, it’s important to adhere to the dress code to ensure you feel comfortable and fit in with the atmosphere. Understanding the different dress codes can be confusing, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to decoding the dress code for various types of fancy restaurants.

Formal/Black Tie Optional

This dress code is typically reserved for the most upscale and elegant restaurants. For men, a tuxedo is the ultimate choice, complete with a black bow tie, cummerbund, and polished black shoes. Women have the option of wearing a floor-length gown or a chic cocktail dress.

Don’t forget to accessorize with elegant jewelry and a small clutch. For more information, you can visit

Smart Casual/Stylish Casual

Smart casual is a dress code that strikes a balance between formal and casual. It allows for a more relaxed attire while still maintaining a polished appearance. Men can opt for dress pants or chinos paired with a collared shirt and a blazer.

Women can wear a stylish dress or a blouse with tailored pants or a skirt. Avoid wearing jeans or sneakers, but feel free to express your personal style with accessories. Remember, it’s better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed.

Business Casual

Business casual is often the dress code for restaurant meetings or professional gatherings. Men can wear dress pants or khakis with a button-down shirt and a blazer. Ties are optional, but it’s always a safe choice to have one on hand.

Women can opt for dress pants or a skirt paired with a blouse or a tailored dress. Keep it professional and avoid overly casual or revealing clothing. For more tips on business casual attire, you can visit

Casual Chic/Resort Casual

For a more relaxed dining experience, casual chic or resort casual dress codes are commonly seen at beachfront or vacation destination restaurants. Men can wear linen pants or khakis with a collared shirt or a lightweight polo shirt.

Women can opt for a sundress, a maxi dress, or linen pants paired with a blouse or a stylish top. Sandals or dressy flip-flops are acceptable, but avoid overly casual clothing such as shorts or tank tops. Embrace the laid-back vibe while still looking put together.

Remember, it’s always a good idea to check the specific dress code requirements of the restaurant you plan to visit. Dressing appropriately shows respect for the establishment and helps create a pleasant dining experience for everyone involved. So, dress to impress and enjoy your meal!

Choosing an Outfit Based on Time of Day

When it comes to dining at a fancy restaurant, choosing the right outfit is essential to make a good impression. One factor to consider when deciding what to wear is the time of day you’ll be dining. Whether it’s a brunch date or an elegant dinner, here are some outfit ideas to help you dress appropriately for any time of the day.

Daytime Looks

For a fancy restaurant outing during the day, you want to strike a balance between looking put-together and comfortable. Opt for light and breezy fabrics like cotton or linen to keep you cool in the daytime heat. Pair a midi or maxi dress with sandals for a feminine and elegant look.

Alternatively, you can wear a tailored jumpsuit with a pair of wedges for a chic and modern vibe.

When it comes to colors, choose lighter shades like pastels or neutrals that complement the brightness of the day. Avoid anything too flashy or overly embellished, as it may seem out of place during the day.

Keep your accessories minimal and opt for a stylish hat or sunglasses to complete your daytime ensemble.

Evening Attire

For an evening dinner at a fancy restaurant, it’s time to bring out the glamour. Opt for more formal and sophisticated attire to match the ambiance of the restaurant. A little black dress is always a safe and classy option. Pair it with statement heels and elegant jewelry to elevate your look.

If dresses aren’t your thing, you can opt for a tailored suit or dress pants paired with a stylish blouse. Choose rich and luxurious fabrics like silk or velvet to add a touch of elegance to your outfit. Don’t forget to complete your look with a clutch or a small evening bag.

When it comes to evening attire, darker colors like black, navy, or burgundy are always a good choice. They exude elegance and sophistication. However, don’t be afraid to add a pop of color with your accessories or a statement piece.

Remember, regardless of the time of day, it’s important to dress appropriately for the occasion. Always check the dress code of the restaurant beforehand, as some places may have specific requirements. And most importantly, wear something that makes you feel confident and comfortable.

Enjoy your dining experience!

Dressing for Specific Fancy Restaurant Types

When dining at a fancy restaurant, it’s essential to dress appropriately to match the ambiance and style of the establishment. Different types of fancy restaurants may have specific dress codes or expectations.

Here’s a comprehensive guide on what to wear when dining at specific fancy restaurant types:

French Restaurant

French restaurants are known for their elegance and sophistication. To fit in with the French dining culture, consider dressing in formal attire. Men may opt for a tailored suit or dress pants paired with a button-down shirt and a blazer.

Women can choose a stylish dress or a fashionable blouse paired with a skirt or dress pants. Remember to add classy accessories and polished shoes to complete the look.

Italian Restaurant

Italian restaurants often have a more relaxed and casual atmosphere compared to French restaurants. For an Italian dining experience, you can go for a smart casual look. Men can wear dress pants or chinos with a collared shirt or a polo shirt.

Women can opt for a stylish dress, a skirt paired with a blouse, or dress pants with a nice top. Don’t forget to add some Italian flair with accessories and comfortable yet stylish footwear.


Steakhouses usually have a classic and upscale atmosphere. When dining at a steakhouse, it’s best to dress in semi-formal or business attire. Men can wear dress pants or dark jeans with a button-down shirt and a blazer.

Women can choose a chic dress, a skirt paired with a blouse, or tailored pants with a stylish top. A pair of dress shoes or heels will complete the polished look.

Seafood Restaurant

Seafood restaurants often have a relaxed and coastal vibe. To match the ambiance, you can dress in smart casual or resort wear. Men can wear khakis or linen pants with a polo shirt or a casual button-down. Women can opt for a sundress, a maxi dress, or linen pants paired with a flowy top.

Don’t forget to add some beachy accessories and comfortable footwear suitable for a seaside setting.

Remember that it’s always a good idea to check the specific dress code of the fancy restaurant you plan to visit. Some establishments may have specific requirements or restrictions. By dressing appropriately, you’ll not only feel confident but also show respect for the restaurant’s ambiance and other guests.

Men’s Fashion Tips


When it comes to dressing for a fancy restaurant, a well-fitted suit is always a safe choice. Opt for a suit in a classic color such as black, navy blue, or charcoal gray. These colors are timeless and will never go out of style.

Make sure the suit is tailored to your body shape to give you a polished and sophisticated look. If you want to add a touch of personality, consider adding a pocket square or a lapel pin that complements your outfit. Remember, the key to a great suit is confidence, so wear it with pride!

Shirts and Ties

When selecting a shirt to wear with your suit, choose a crisp white or light-colored dress shirt. This will create a clean and elegant look. Pair it with a tie that complements the color of your suit. A classic silk tie or a patterned tie can add a touch of sophistication to your ensemble.

Remember to keep the width of your tie proportional to the width of your lapels. If you want to make a bolder statement, consider experimenting with different patterns or textures.

Shoes and Accessories

Choosing the right shoes and accessories can elevate your outfit to the next level. Opt for a pair of polished leather dress shoes in black or brown to complete your look. Avoid sneakers, sandals, or any casual footwear.

For accessories, a stylish belt and a classic watch can add a finishing touch to your ensemble. Avoid excessive jewelry and keep it simple and elegant. Remember, it’s all about looking sophisticated and well put together.

For more fashion inspiration and tips, you can visit websites like Gentleman’s Gazette or Men’s Health Style. These websites provide valuable insights into men’s fashion and can help you stay up-to-date with the latest trends.

Women’s Fashion Tips

Cocktail Dresses

When it comes to dressing up for a fancy restaurant, a cocktail dress is always a safe and stylish option. A cocktail dress is typically knee-length and can be either fitted or A-line. It’s important to choose a dress that flatters your body shape and makes you feel confident.

Opt for classic colors like black or navy, or experiment with bold hues like red or emerald green. Remember to accessorize with statement jewelry and a clutch to complete the look.


If you prefer a more personalized and versatile approach, consider wearing separates to a fancy restaurant. Pair a tailored blouse or a silk camisole with a high-waisted skirt or wide-leg pants for a sophisticated ensemble.

Mixing and matching separates allows you to create multiple outfits with the same pieces, giving you more options for future occasions. Don’t forget to add a blazer or a stylish cardigan to add layers and polish to your outfit.

Shoes and Accessories

Choosing the right shoes and accessories is crucial to complete your fancy restaurant look. Opt for heels that are comfortable to walk in and complement your outfit. Nude or black pumps are always a great choice as they can be paired with any dress or separates.

When it comes to accessories, aim for understated elegance. A delicate necklace, a pair of stud earrings, and a simple bracelet can add just the right amount of sparkle without overpowering your overall look. Remember, less is more in this case.

Dressing for the Weather

When deciding what to wear to a fancy restaurant, it is important to consider the weather conditions. Dressing appropriately for the weather not only ensures your comfort but also helps you make a fashionable statement. Here are some tips for dressing for different weather conditions:

Hot Summer Weather

Dressing for a fancy restaurant in hot summer weather can be a challenge. You want to look stylish while staying cool and comfortable. Opt for lightweight and breathable fabrics like cotton or linen. A flowy sundress or a pair of linen trousers paired with a light blouse can be a great choice.

Don’t forget to accessorize with a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun. Remember to choose light colors to reflect the heat and avoid dark shades that can absorb heat.

For men, a lightweight linen or cotton shirt paired with chinos or tailored shorts is a good choice. Avoid wearing heavy suits or jackets as they can make you feel suffocated in the heat. Instead, opt for a lightweight blazer if necessary.

Complete the look with loafers or sandals for a stylish and comfortable ensemble.

Cooler Temperatures

As the temperatures start to drop, it’s important to dress appropriately for cooler weather. Layering is key to staying warm and stylish. Opt for a stylish coat or jacket that complements your outfit. A classic trench coat or a tailored blazer can add a touch of sophistication to your look.

For women, a chic sweater or cardigan paired with a skirt or tailored pants is a great choice. You can also wear tights or leggings under your skirt or dress for extra warmth. Don’t forget to accessorize with a scarf or a stylish hat to complete your look.

For men, a smart casual look with a button-down shirt, a sweater, and a blazer is ideal for cooler temperatures. Pair it with well-fitted trousers and stylish boots for a polished and comfortable outfit.

Remember, regardless of the weather, it’s always better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed when dining at a fancy restaurant. Dressing appropriately for the weather shows that you have put effort into your appearance and respect the occasion.

What to Avoid


While it’s important to look put together and presentable when dining at a fancy restaurant, it’s equally important not to overdo it. Overdressing can make you feel uncomfortable and out of place, drawing unnecessary attention to yourself.

Avoid wearing overly formal attire such as ball gowns or tuxedos unless specifically stated in the dress code. Instead, opt for elegant and sophisticated outfits that are appropriate for the occasion.


On the other hand, underdressing can also be a major faux pas when dining at a fancy restaurant. Showing up in casual attire or streetwear can be disrespectful to the restaurant and the other diners. It’s always better to err on the side of being slightly overdressed than underdressed in such settings.

Choose outfits that are more formal than what you would wear on a regular day, but still comfortable enough for you to enjoy your meal.

Ill-Fitting Clothes

No matter how stylish or expensive your clothes are, if they don’t fit properly, they can ruin your entire look. Ill-fitting clothes can make you appear sloppy and unkempt, which is the last thing you want when dining at a fancy restaurant.

Ensure that your clothes are tailored to your body shape and size. This will not only make you look polished and sophisticated but also make you feel confident throughout your dining experience.

For more tips on what to wear to a fancy restaurant, you can check out articles on Vogue or GQ. These fashion-forward websites offer valuable insights into dressing appropriately for different occasions, including fine dining experiences.


Dining at upscale restaurants can feel daunting, but having a game plan for what to wear can give you confidence. Now that you know how to decipher dress codes, tailor your outfit to the time and cuisine, and avoid fashion faux pas, you can focus on enjoying amazing food and drink.

Dressing properly shows respect for the restaurant while also letting your personality shine. Use these tips as your guide for seamlessly fitting in at your next fancy dinner outing.

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