“Proper dress required.” This phrase was etched into a placard on the door of a local restaurant visited by the Mondoos on Saturday evening. Now, I dunno about you but when the door says: “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service,” I know what to expect. Slap on some shoes (any) and a shirt (any except muscle, apparently) and you’re gonna get served (in the food sense, not the terrible 2004 amalgamation of urban competition movies Save the Last Dance and Drumline). But, what exactly does “proper dress required” mean? It’s truly a mystery. In hopes of sorting through the ambiguity, I kept my eyes peeled during our date night dinner. Surely, the attire in this establishment, dubbed a “special occasion restaurant” by many, would give us a clue as to what proper dress actually is.
What kinds of “proper dress” did we find?
– A plain, blue Hanes sweatshirt. Who knew that apparently the same piece of clothing that so many dads across America wear to rake leaves was also appropriate for a special evening out?
– Jeans. Yes, I was surprised, too. I wear jeans all sorts of places: shopping, get-togethers, even to casual dining restaurants, but to a “special occasion restaurant?” Not usually. But it’s true, I guess, and not just in West Virginia but in big cities as well. Apparently you can wear jeans anywhere as long as you throw on a blazer or pashmina and you’re automatically considered “dressed up.” These denim styles may look more fashionable than the middle-aged man wearing that Hanes sweatshirt but should they be considered “proper attire?” I guess so!
– A Castro cap. Uh-oh, someone was watching the Olympics this weekend and broke out his castro cap just like Michael Phelps. Though apparently “proper dress,” nothing screams douchebag like a Castro cap. I mean, it’s called a Castro cap, for Pete’s sake!
– Ed Hardy long-sleeved t-shirts. His and hers to be exact. Yes, believe it or not, they make matching Ed Hardy t-shirts for both you and your significant other. And trust me, when you wear them at the same time to a special occasion restaurant, it makes a statement. But who knew that Ed Hardy apparel was considered proper? Oh wait, it’s not. Not anywhere. You hear that, Jon Minus 9, Plus 50 extra pounds?
I dunno. I’m still a little confused about “proper dress.” Oh! I know who I can get to help. Old people! They may not know how to act in a movie theater but old people certainly know how to dress when they go out. They LOVE dresses, slacks, ladies pants suits, dress shirts, and jackets! Honestly, it’s dressing down that confuses them. Take my grandfather, Puppup. He loves dressing up, especially for church. Sometimes he even dresses up for church on a Thursday and sits and waits for Grandma to get ready. And then she tells him that it’s Thursday, not Sunday, but since he’s all dressed up, they go out to dinner… at 11am. But seriously, this man loves to dress to the nines. I mean, we’re talking about the man who bought a special suit with flecks of pink and a new pink tie just to match my Grandma’s pink dress as they walked down the aisle at my wedding. But then again, we’re also talking about the same man who wore a flannel pajama shirt to Christmas Day dinner. And I can’t even begin to explain the dandy-ness of my husband’s grandfather, but dressing down eludes him as well. He’s never even owned a pair of jeans in his entire life.
So, I guess if you’re planning on going out and you need some guidance on proper dress, call your favorite old person. They’ll help you out. If you need some guidance on dressing down, just visit your favorite special occasion restaurant. Don’t mind the placard on the door.