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What To Wear To A Restaurant – A Men’s Smart Casual Outfit Guide

Men's Style Guides
Monday, 11th March, 2024

What To Wear To A Restaurant - Outfit Ideas For Men

Going out to a restaurant but don’t know what to wear? Don’t worry, I’ve got a few ideas!

Restaurants and going out to eat can be a tricky thing to dress for.

You want to look the part but don’t be overdressed, or worse you don’t want to be underdressed or even turned away.

There’s two simple things you can do: Get the dress code for the restaurant you’re going to, or play it safe and stick to smart casual.

Here’s how to dress for going to dinner at a restaurant.

What To Wear For Dinner At A Nice Restaurant

Here’s some ideas on what you can wear to a nice restaurant.

Smart Casual Outfit

What To Wear To A Restaurant - Smart Casual Outfit

A simple outfit for men to wear would be a go to classic for smart casual. This can be:

  • Plain button up shirt
  • Black jeans (plain, solid black)
  • Brown dress shoes
  • Blazer or smart jacket

This is an incredibly simple outfit to put together, and only consists of a few pieces.

This will look smart without being overly dressy, and should do you fine for almost any restaurants.

Outfit 2 – Black Shirt

Wearing a Black Shirt With Black Jeans

Black Shirt, Black Jeans, Brown Brogue Shoes

I love a black shirt, they are so smart to wear and give off a really sleek look.

A black shirt can be worn with a lot of things, and makes virtually anyone look that little bit smarter. Black shirts definitely have that extra touch of class.

In the above outfit I am pairing a black shirt with black jeans which gives off a sleek silhouette along with a pair of brown brogue shoes.

If you’re dressing in your 20’s this is a great outfit choice, as it’s modern and keeps things looking casual while still looking sharp.

Outfit 3 – Navy Blue Suit

Dress More Attractive By Wearing A Suit

Wearing a navy blue suit with a light blue shirt and black shoes

If you’re going for a suit option, there’s nothing easier to wear than a navy blue suit.

Here I am wearing a 2 button navy blue suit which is a suit jacket and matching trousers. I paired this up with a light blue shirt and pair of black derby shoes.

Extra touches include a dress watch and white pocket square for that little bit of class.

If you’re looking for ideas on how to dress in your 30’s, a navy suit is going to be one of your best friends, and works well going to restaurants.

Outfit 4 – Separates Suit

Separates Suit Smart Casual Outfit

Separates Suits styling with complimenting coloured jacket and trousers from Hugo Boss

An outfit combination which I really like in suiting is separates. What are separates?

It’s exactly as you might think. Separates are when you combine a separate colour suit jacket or blazer with a pair of trousers.

As you can see above, if you pair up the right colours it looks really stylish. This is often a look worn more in the summer or warmer months, and takes advantage of lighter colour palettes.

What To Wear To A Restaurant In Winter?

When it’s cold outside you’ll want to dress warm for winter. But what if you’re going to a restaurant, what is acceptable?

Usually your outer layer doesn’t matter so much, but for me I like that to be dressy too, so I would opt for an overcoat or pea coat.

Both of these choices of coat are smart and will look good when you’re in a restaurant.

You can wear a suit, which will comprise of a jacket, and as you’ll know you should not remove a suit jacket in a restaurant.

Another option is good quality knitwear, such as a sweater. This could be V-neck or round neck, with a shirt under.

Remember when wearing a V-neck jumper you’ll want the shirt to be complimentary to your knitwear, as it will be on display.

What To Wear To A Restaurant In The Winter

Outfit 1 – Smart Casual Clothing For A Restaurant In Winter

  • Light Blue Shirt
  • Grey V Neck Jumper
  • Dark Blue Chinos
  • Black Shoes
  • Navy Blue Overcoat

What To Wear To A Restaurant In Summer?

In the summer the heat really is on, and not just in the kitchen! You’ll want to wear something which is smart and suitable for restaurant attire, but not sloppy or too casual.

A smart plain T-shirt could be worn, and could be combined with a linen blazer or lightweight blazer, depending on the temperature.

As an alternative to a t-shirt, a Henley, polo shirt or casual shirt could be considered. If you’re going for a casual shirt, try to make this plain. Long sleeve is also preferable, which can be rolled up.

Also as a side note: don’t wear shorts in a restaurant!

What To Wear To A Restaurant In The Summer

Outfit 1 Smart Casual Clothing To Wear To A Restaurant In Summer

  • Navy blue Henley shirt
  • Beige chinos
  • Brown shoes

Can You Wear Jeans In A Restaurant?

One of the most asked questions about men’s dressing for a restaurant is can I wear jeans in a restaurant?

The answer is mostly yes, but sometimes no.

Jeans in most restaurants are acceptable providing they are smart. The best smart jeans are dark, plain and solid in colour. These are black jeans and dark blue indigo denim jeans.

In the summer months you may be able to wear lighter jeans such as beige, grey and white.

Jeans which should be avoided are light blue hues, and any kind of ripped jeans or distressed jeans.

These styles of jeans look really casual, and aren’t the best look for a restaurant, and may be too casual.

Can You Wear Trainers In A Restaurant?

Stan Smith Smart Casual Trainers

Stan Smith trainers may be acceptable in a restaurant depending on the restaurant, setting and time of year.

Trainers have come a long way in recent years. Trainers are casual, and often sportswear, but not always. More and more guys are wearing smart trainers these days rather than formal shoes.

The key here is smart trainers. No running shoes or obvious sports trainers.

There are tons of smart trainers which you can wear these days as part of a smart casual outfit.

But are they acceptable in a restaurant?

Once again this depends on the restaurant, but for most smart-casual styles of restaurants, smart trainers should be fine.

Smart trainers are that which are low profile, plain and simple and usually one colour. Plain black and navy or plain white in the summer are some good choices.

Trainers such as Adidas Stan Smith’s can be worn in many restaurants as part of a smart casual outfit.

Fancy Restaurant Dress Code? Follow The Restaurants Dress Code

If you’re going really fancy, the place you’re going may have certain rules or a dress code.

Some fancy restaurants may require a dinner jacket and tailored trousers, but should state this in a dress code or rules of the restaurant somewhere.

The vast majority of restaurants you’ll book in the UK will be fine with smart casual attire.

The Do’s And Don’ts Of Restaurant Dress Code

When it comes to dressing well for a restaurant, there’s a few do’s and don’ts.

The do’s really do take care of themselves and should be obvious. These include:

  • Do dress well
  • Do make sure you look clean and smart
  • Do follow any dress code if one exists

The don’ts are usually simple, and include one big one in many restaurants in the UK: NO SPORTSWEAR

When it comes to most casual fine dining places, they don’t want you wearing sportswear. This can mean a no to things like football shirts, casual t-shirts, sweats, sports tops and even graphic hoodies.

There was a funny story when restaurant Miller And Carter had to give guidance on what to wear as they don’t want customers turning up in sportswear.

Needless to say the dress code for Miller And Carter is smart casual (see outfit options above).

For many, a restaurant is an experience where you get dressed to a certain degree, so most places expect you to look the part. That’s where smart casual comes in.

If you’re going to a restaurant on a first date, then dressing up even just that little bit more might be something you want to do.

With the restaurant outfit advice above, you should be looking your best whether you opt for something more formal, or something on the side of smart casual.

Verdict – What To Wear To A Restaurant

If you’re going to a dinner at a nice restaurant you’ll want to look your best. This is going to usually be a smart shirt, dark jeans, trousers or chinos along with a blazer or smart jacket.

A clean pair of brown or black shoes will also be a good idea to keep your outfit looking fresh.

If the restaurant has a more casual style to it, swapping out a shirt for a plain t-shirt, Henley or polo could be an option, especially in summer.

When it comes to the winter, you can add an extra layer by wearing a jumper, and don’t forget a smart coat.

Michael Adams

About Michael

Michael Adams is the founder and editor of Michael 84, blogger from Newcastle, UK. Sharing men's fashion tips, style advice and lifestyle information for all guys.

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