Who don't people dress up anymore? I am not talking about going to an opera kind of dress up. I am talking about going out to dinner - even if it is at a fairly casual place. Allow me to explain the source of my frustration.
I took my beloved husband out for sushi yesterday (starting his birthday celebration early) to a fairly new place in Shelby, NC called Sushi Dojo. The restaurant itself is fairly casual, although cute. The food presentation is actually two or three degrees more formal than the place itself - everything looks stunning and tastes delicious. So, while the setting is casual, the dining experience is far from it, and I personally think it warrants a "special occasion" ranking. Yet when we were there, all we saw was jeans, jeans, jeans, t-shirts, jeans, sweaters, sweatshirts, jeans, an occasional dress shirt or blouse, and did I mention jeans?
Another thing I found disconcerting is that people hardly seem to enjoy themselves when they go out anymore. With the exception of a young couple sitting at a table next to ours and ourselves, the patrons looked rather sour and weren't talking to each other. I realize the economy has been tough and many have lost their jobs, but still... If you decide to treat yourself to a dinner out, then make it a treat - enjoy it! What is the sense in going out, if you are going to just sit there looking glum and ignoring your dinner companion?
Our household has been hit by the economy too. However, we still make a point to dress up and enjoy ourselves when we go out - regardless of the occasion. We are also one of those disgusting couples who like to coordinate with each other (kind of like Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith). Gerry was casually dapper in a red shirt, khakis and one of his "universal" jackets.
What I mean by a universal jacket is that it is not solid in color and has some texture to it. What makes it versatile is the fact that the texture makes it easier to travel with, because it hides wrinkle, while the fact that there is usually more than one color woven in makes it wearable with more things. Jackets like that are usually more in the casual territory, but, in a pinch, can be worn to a classy dinner with a crisp shirt, tie and dress slacks.
Gerry is also modeling one of his birthday gifts - a vertical messenger laptop bag I gave him as an alternative to his nylon backpack. This thing doesn't look like much, but trust me - he was able to fit all his junk in there and there is still room left. As with ladies, I recommend that gentlemen have more than one work bag and switch them at least once a week. That way, you can get rid of all the junk that tends to accumulate in various nooks and crannies.
I went with one of the simplest, yet most effective looks, in a red sweater dress with black textured tights and black high-heeled oxfords. Like Gerry's jacket, this dress is very adaptable to a situation. I can wear it to work or to a casual dinner and still look sharp. Or, if I had to go to a fancier place after work but had no time to change, I would swap the tights for more delicate fishnets and the oxfords - for smaller pumps, put my hair up and add more sophisticated jewelry. As is, I wore my now favorite Target earrings and a delicate gold bracelet.
We had a great time. The sushi and sake were fantastic and the dessert - to die for. I suppose other people there may have thought we were overdressed. However, we have long since learned to operate under the principle, "I am not overdressed - everyone else is underdressed."