Dress to Impress: The Ultimate Guide to Men’s Smart Casual Attire for Fine Dining Restaurants


Dress to Impress: The Ultimate Guide to Men's Smart Casual Attire for Fine Dining Restaurants

Smart Casual” is a dress code often found in upscale restaurants. Surprisingly few people can give an immediate answer when asked exactly what kind of attire is required. In this issue, we will discuss the “smart casual” dress code for upscale restaurants, and introduce examples of attire that can be used as a reference while interviewing a former hotelier about natural attire that blends in with one’s surroundings!

First, a rundown of the best smart casual attire for dinner!

First, to get an idea of what smart casual attire looks like, we’ve compiled a list of snaps that you can use as a reference!

As you can see from the snapshot above, smart casual is based on wearing no necktie to create a sense of class and cleanliness. As long as you are dressed in a clean and neat manner with a tailored jacket, such as jacketed pants or a set-up suit, you will not be refused entry to a restaurant even if you wear a T-shirt or shirt as an undergarment.

Smart casual is the dress code that allows the most casual attire

To begin with, smart casual is a type of dress code. Among various dress codes such as formal, semi-formal, and informal, the most casual attire is considered acceptable. A familiar example of a dress code is informal attire for wedding guests, but smart casual is positioned as more casual than such wedding attire.

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Ask a former hotelier! What is the smart casual attire that will not float away at a dinner in a luxury hotel restaurant?

Now that we have a rough idea of what smart casual is, what is the natural attire to wear when actually going to a high-class hotel restaurant or French dinner? To find out, we interviewed a former hotelier at a certain luxury hotel in Akasaka about realistic smart casual attire.

Natural smart casual dress Point 1: “Basically, it’s OK as long as you wear a jacket.”

In general, more than 60% of the guests in the restaurants of luxury hotels come to the restaurant wearing jackets. Even if they do not wear a jacket, most of them wear a collared shirt, cardigan, or other elegant garment. Although no one will pay attention to you if you come to a restaurant without a jacket, it is preferable to have a jacket ready if you do not want to be seen as a stranger.

Mr. S, former hotelier
Although the percentage of those without jackets is higher in the hotel restaurants due to the fact that guests also use the restaurants, about 60% or more of the guests were still wearing jackets. The percentage of jacket wearers would be even higher in upscale restaurants that are not located in hotels.

A man who can pick out a jacket that fits his casual attire is smart and popular!

There are many different types of jackets. If you do not choose a tailored jacket that fits your casual attire, you may end up with an unbalanced look between dress and casual wear. Aim for jackets with minimal use of interlinings such as shoulder pads and chest padding, or knit jackets made of knitted fabrics. A relaxed yet elegant tailored jacket will allow you to enjoy dinner and conversation without worrying about your comfort or the eyes on you.

CIRCOLO 1901 2B Jersey Jacket is so popular for its authentic tailoring that you would not believe it is a jersey material jacket!

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LARDINI Knit Jacket

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Natural smart casual attire Point 2: “Rough shorts and sandals are a no-no!

In a prestigious hotel, you may be denied entry if you are wearing shorts and sandals. No matter how casual people are dressing, it is better to avoid incorporating items that are positioned as rough in the casual category and that would take away from the impression of cleanliness when worn.

Mr. S, former hotelier
Some restaurants may accept clothes that do not conform to the dress code without caution, but they will clearly stand out in the restaurant. Items that expose too much skin are almost always a no-no. Please refrain from wearing jeans with hard damage.

Natural smart casual attire Point 3: “If you’re worried, wear a collared top and no tie.”

In most cases, if you are wearing a jacket, a T-shirt as an undergarment is acceptable as smart casual attire, but there must be some people who are concerned that it may be too rough. According to Mr. S, a former hotelier, Japanese people tend to come to restaurants in more elegant attire, such as a jacket and a collared top, compared to foreign patrons.

Former Hotelier S
Collared tops are recommended because they allow you to keep a classy look that blends in with your surroundings even when you take off your jacket in the restaurant. Many customers came to the restaurant wearing polo shirts with jackets as well as front-opening shirts. You can either hem it or tuck it in.

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Choose a shirt with a collar that looks good with a no-tie shirt.

Since the basic smart casual attire is to wear no necktie, it is recommended that the shirt you choose as an innerwear should have a collar that can maintain a three-dimensional appearance even without wearing a tie. Popular choices include button-down, cutaway, and Italian collars. Since they can also be used for casual office attire, it is a good idea to be particular about the shirts you choose and have shirts of top brands on hand.

GUY ROVER button-down dress shirt

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Choosing a T-shirt with a good texture is also a good idea!

Some people may think that a T-shirt is sufficient as an inner layer for a jacket if it can be worn as smart casual wear. The T-shirt to be worn with a jacket inner should be a plain, shiny fabric with little fluff.


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Natural smart casual attire Point 4: “Jeans are OK as long as they are not too thick or excessively damaged.

Surprisingly, pants can be worn with jeans as long as the jacket is worn. However, denim pants that are too thick or incorporate excessive damage should be avoided, and jeans with a slouchy silhouette, such as those produced by Italian brands like Jacob Cohen and Ikai, should be chosen.

Ychai Robusto jeans with a moderately loose silhouette that is comfortable and leggy!

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Natural smart casual attire Point 5: “Sneakers are fine if the design is simple.”

Sneakers are allowed to be worn in smart casual attire as well, as we live in an era when sneaker commuting is permitted. Sneakers with a simple design that has the elegance of leather shoes can easily blend in with the footwear of a jacket or set-up suit style. If they are clean and unblemished, canvas sneakers such as Converse All Star sneakers are also acceptable.

Mr. S, former hotelier
Many people wear sneakers with simple designs with leather uppers. It is best to avoid sneakers with sporty designs that are easily recognizable as being from a sports manufacturer.

Sneakers that can be worn like loafers! NEW STANDARD Chill

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