As we enter the fourth quarter of the year, our “new normal” has eased a little, although it is very uncomfortable in most cases. Some have still not felt comfortable leaving the house other than going to the bank or grocery store, and some have gone out as much as possible just to feel as close as possible to “how it was before.” Wherever you land on the spectrum, style matters—as it always has and always will.
How do you showcase your style when you have a meal at your favorite new outdoor dining experience? I have a few tips and tricks to bridge the gap and ease your mind from overthinking in the new normal.
In most major cities, restaurants have pivoted to deliver a less crowded, all-outdoor experience, which has been amazing given the summer weather and new ambiance. Being in the custom-clothing industry, it kills me to say this, but clothing has become even more casual than it was back in March.
This is not a bad thing. You can most certainly still pull out your favorite sports coats and shirts in lighter-weight materials. I personally have enjoyed a nice T-shirt under an unlined jacket with a light linen blend or denim trouser with a slipper. This is obviously going to be for a gentleman who wants to be a little more stylish and showcase more effort.
If you find yourself feeling a bit more casual, there is an abundance of options for you as well. Nice dress sneakers paired with dress shorts and a polo or short-sleeve, woven collared shirt is plenty. Depending on the venue, tuck in your shirt with a nice belt, and roll up your shirtsleeves to bridge the gap between dressed up and casual.
In today’s climate, less is definitely more, and the formality of dressing for dinner has changed. Business dinners are no longer as abundant, and the need to dress up has become a want, not a need. But I have also noticed some places beginning to enforce a dress code again.
I agree with this, especially since we still have fine-dining options in most places, and a level of respect should be had for establishments like this. If you find yourself in this situation, denim is not the best option. Instead, grab your best dress-casual, lightweight trousers. If you want to step it up, wear a nice lace-up dress shoe or monk strap. The lightweight jacket I mentioned earlier is perfect for warmer temperatures. Complete the look with a lightweight dress shirt (tucked in), and, of course, a pocket square with complementing color. Even in these times, being overdressed is not a problem but being underdressed still can be.
Let’s say you are not so enthused about wearing a dress trouser and jacket to dinner. That’s perfectly fine, just pivot to a nice, short-sleeved shirt with a cotton chino. Most men wonder, “What the heck is a chino?” It’s just a cotton or canvas material trouser that may resemble denim in style but not color. Have fun with these, especially if you are going out for a day occasion. Find your comfort and pair it with a crisp white shirt or micro-pattern complemented by rolled-up sleeves. Complete the look with fun sneakers or a semi-casual dress slipper. If you want to add some personality, cuff the pants with a slim roll (three quarter-inch folds) in order to show a little skin and the complete shoe.
Accessories matter when dressing for any occasion, but they can totally take any of the outfits above to the next level. As always, a nice watch is key to your outfit, no matter how dressy or casual, whether a nice Movado or your favorite Rolex.
For a casual daytime brunch or cup of coffee, grab your favorite watch with a simple face and leather band. If you happen to dine by the water, a canvas or similar material band is always fun to add a little nautical feel to your outfit. When dining out at night, a stainless steel or gold band is the way to go no matter how casual or dressy you are.
For your other arm, a nice David Yurman bracelet or stacked (two to three) bead combo works really well. A great brand called Spivey Cufflinks has some amazing things for any occasion at a good price.
The accessory we all have to wear—like it or not—is a face mask. So many options are out there from many designers, including myself. It is a hassle but mandatory in most if not all establishments, so why not find a way to make it fun and wear something that flatters your style and outfit?
Staying safe in luxury is absolutely the biggest new normal and it has zero signs of going away anytime soon. Might as well make it your own and express yourself with your face mask. In a time when no one can see your smile, show them your style!
We are all in this together, and as things start to return to what they once were, so will style. Style is another opportunity for you to make a statement and show who you are within all the chaos. Find ways to have a healthy outlet while you are dining at your favorite restaurant or rooftop in the most unusual of times—while being as stylish as you choose.