Trouser rant — and panic!

As some of you know, I’m dining at Victoria and Albert’s. So far as I know, it’s the only restaurant on property with a dress code that is enforced. (Though I heard a rumour that CG might get tougher.)

I have to say that dress codes really irritate me. I go to a restaurant to enjoy the food. What I look like should be irrelevant. You should be enjoying the food, too, not looking at me. If I’m being loud and obnoxious, then you’re right to complain. If I’m wearing a t-shirt with an offensive slogan that it’s hard to avoid noticing, then I’m being a jerk, too, and you’re right to feel aggrieved.

But otherwise, what does it matter what I wear?

I hate dress codes. I think it’s all about exclusion and snobbery.

But the food at V&A is so good — according to the users of TripAdvisor, it’s the number two restaurant in the whole of the US — that I have to follow their rules if I want to dine there.

They reminded me of their rules today in an e-mail they sent me:

A dinner jacket is required for men, along with a collared shirt, dress slacks and dress shoes (tie optional)

My plan is to wear dark(ish) brown chinos, dark blue blazer, blue and white striped shirt from Brooks Brothers with matching tie, and black leather Brogues (wingtips).

I’m slightly nervous about the chinos. But they’re the only thing I’ve got that fits that’s vaguely smart.

Are they “dress slacks”?

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I think they are less formal; check this Reddit thread.

Here they are. They’re from Orvis.

It only specifically prohibits “jeans, shorts, capri pants, sandals, flip-flops or tennis shoes…” I’d go in super confident about the chinos. :slight_smile: Also, I agree. I read in the past that it was to “preserve the formal atmosphere” but, man, I hate dress codes. I worked for a property management company in Las Vegas that required we wear socks or pantyhose every day, regardless of the fact that it would be 110+ for a month or more. My father worked for an even larger company whose restrictions like that were suspended during the summer. Anyway, the owner of my company was very proud of her Nordstrom stockings that were made to look like you weren’t wearing stockings, and I guess if I’d been smart I could have gone bare-legged and dared anyone to touch me to find out whether or not I was lying.


Those look like what I’d call “dress pants.” But also, I live in Austin and no one dresses up. When my husband was interviewing last year and put on long pants that weren’t jeans, my 3-year-old asked, “What are you now??”


Ah. Very helpful. If I may wheel out my legal training here, expressio unius est exclusio alterius. If you provide a list of things which are banned, anything not on that list must not be banned.

My budget is around $600 for a meal for one person. Are they really going to turn me away because my chinos are kinda like brown jeans?

Funnily enough I was thinking about the Texan look. Don’t Texans were blue jeans and super-expensive cowboy boots as part of formal wear?

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I’ve never been to V&A, but I’ve been to many, many fine dining establishments in the U.S. and have never been anywhere that would have turned you away for wearing those. There is zero need to worry.

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Soap box time.

I have not dined at V&A nor do I wish to. But I do respect the dress code. You are shelling out hundreds of dollars for a meal. It is insulting to oay so much and sit next to soemone who is in shorts and a tshirt.

It is a part of the atmosphere. Not snobbery but expected decorum and respect for the others sharing a similar experience.

I grew up with my father taking me to the opera in nyc. There is expected dreas codes and behaviors. I know as an adult when i went back dressed in an evening gown i was a bit miffed to see some in jeans. Now i know i was on the high side of dress but even so it brougt the experince down a peg.

I get it you are away at Dianey and do not want simply dreas up. I get it. But by entering V&A tou are atepping out if Dianey and into high society for a while and have to play the part even if you are a Beverly Hillbilly.

I know I would be very upset spending hundreds and dressing up only to sit down near someone in casul attire. It is about respect.

Okay i will step off my siapbox. Thank you for listening and sorry if I offended anyone.

And @profmatt those pants should be fine.


Those, paired with a dress shirt and jacket, are completely fine.

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You are perfectly entitled to your view!

I’m glad I fall on the right side of your line!


Yes, yes we do!! :slight_smile:

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No problem with the chinos; with a jacket and tie you’ll be perfectly dressed.


I feel the same way when I see plays/musicals. I was raised to dress up…that it is way to show respect to the actors in the show. To this day, I still dress up even though the typical attire is jeans or cut off shorts. :cry:.
I personally like dressing up from time to time, when the event calls for a more upscale look, and I don’t go to many events that do! Lol. So for the few times a year that I do, getting a little fancy isn’t such a hard thing to do.

@profmatt, I think what you’ve selected will look very chic and classy. Please post pics!! :heart:


I wonder if they allow the kilt. Not that we will ever go to V&A; but DH doesn’t own any pants other than scrubs for when he’s in his studio.

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Between you and me — and despite what I said in my opening post — I’m secretly quite looking forward to dressing up :wink:


I think we’re all looking forward to seeing you dressed up all Daniel Craig style. :rofl::rofl:


As a kilt wearer myself… If paired with a jacket and tie I would think it would be OK - especially if was a tartan kilt vice a “utility kilt”.


That’s what I was thinking, but you can never tell.

I am actually really excited about the dress code at V&A. I like to dress up and there are so few occasions to do it nowadays!


We always dressed up as kids but that was more because it was a treat. We’d travel, have a nice meal, then go see the show. Whether I dress up for them now depends on the circumstances. If I’m staying over and have a hotel room then I will change into something nicer but a lot of the time I’m doing day trips to London on the train so favour comfort over class. I’m just going to be sat in the dark anyway :joy:

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