As we’ve noted regarding “Ways Pandemic Transformed Fashion Trends”, we’ve seen a distinct rise in activewear, loungewear, casual wear and the like. The pandemic “has made everything go down to casuals,” as we wrote, and has led people to prioritize comfort over formality.
We know that fashion moves in cycles and trends, and that at some point more formal and “business casual” attire will be in again. For the time being though, casual, lounge, and activewear appear to be the new normal for day-to-day fashion. Indeed, even before the pandemic, Americans surveyed about fashion suggested they’d surrender as much as $5,000 from paychecks to dress more casually. This indicates that the changes we saw during the pandemic were overdue, and are likely to stick around for a while.
Generally speaking, this is cause for relief; we like to be comfortable! At the same time though, the change begs the question: Where is it still okay to dress up when you want to? Even if casual attire is appealing on a day-to-day basis, many of us still like to get a bit fancy now and then. And while there seem to be fewer times and places where this is appropriate, there are a few options that come to mind.
Nice Meal Out
One nice thing for those who still like to dress up now and then is that the casual trend hasn’t fully extended into nicer restaurants. While no one needs to wear an evening gown or a tailored suit to the average sit-down meal, the option to dress up is still there. As a fashion guide to dining out at Eater put it, “there’s no such thing as overdressed.” The article does note that it’s wise to do some research before heading out, so as to know what sort of attire is normal at a given restaurant. But generally, a nice meal out in the evening remains an excellent opportunity to reach into the high-fashion corner of your wardrobe.
Drinks At A Cocktail Bar
Perhaps even more than restaurants, nice cocktail bars still cater to a more dressed-up clientele. That’s not to say more casual patrons don’t sift through; there will always be bar hoppers, and these days one isn’t out of place popping in for a $15 cocktail in ripped jeans and a tee or tank. A true upscale cocktail lounge, however –– say, Thyme Bar in New York, The Violet Hour in Chicago –– remains an excellent place to visit with more of a high-fashion look. You won’t be out of place, and you’ll get to enjoy a few drinks feeling like you look your absolute best.
Resort Poker Room
In decades past, casino poker was an occasion to dress up for. More recently, it’s become a far more casual affair. However, when you look to upscale poker rooms at major resorts, there are still those that inspire fashionable attire. As you might expect, the top Vegas poker rooms still set the tone in this regard, with the venues at resorts like the Aria, the Bellagio, the Venetian, and the Wynn still harboring fashion-forward players. Elsewhere in the world, renowned poker rooms at destinations like Macau, Monte-Carlo, and Baden-Baden follow suit. With the possible exception of Casino de Monte-Carlo, most of these poker rooms are still somewhat flexible regarding dress code. But they’re respected, high-stakes gambling rooms, and it’s still perfectly acceptable to dress the part when you visit them.
High-End Casino Floor
We’ll note briefly that it’s also still fun to dress up for a casino visit in general. Yes, you do see far more casual attire on people seated at slots or stopping by craps tables than in high-end poker rooms. But you’re not out of place if you’re dressed up on a casino floor. Typically there are enough fancy restaurants, nice bars, and card rooms in the vicinity that there’s a healthy mix of high- and low-end fashion.
Finally, there are theater shows, where –– in keeping with the trend we see at most of the venues we’re discussing –– a healthy mix of fashions is expected and accepted. Just as Vegas sets the tone for casinos and poker, New York City tends to establish the bar for theater etiquette. And per a piece on New York Broadway fashion written earlier this year, “there are no rules.” It’s generally frowned upon to be too casual (for instance, don’t wear flip-flops or a tank top). But rather than merely avoiding this sort of faux-pas, many enjoy dressing up to make an occasion of attending a show. There’s really no such thing as too fancy.
Ultimately, we appreciate the transition toward casual wear. But if you’re looking for a chance to break out that fancy dress or tailored suit, it’s perfectly appropriate to do so for the venues and occasions above.