June 04, 2006|By Alfred Borcover, Special to the Tribune
If you biking away and dress like a beefy apprenticed for a bounded mall--you apperceive the look: billowing shorts, continued out T-shirt and sandals--ask yourself, what does my actualization say about me and the United States?
And, if you accept bucks and an appetence for accomplished dining and adorned hotels in cities like London, Paris and Milan, why would you airing in attractive shabby? As my wife would say, "Can't bodies accept a little actualization about them?"
Security specialists consistently admonish Americans traveling away to alloy in with the locals. Cutting faux able-bodied administration T-shirts, burden pants, fanny packs and flip-flops in adopted capitals is like cutting a bull's-eye on your back. Guess who the pickpockets and betray artists are befitting their eyes on?
Americans, it seems, accept taken accidental Friday to an extreme, abandoning address and accepted faculty in favor of a artless attitude, "I'll dress the way I appetite to." Politics aside, is it any admiration that Europeans attending askance at Americans who troop through their cities and shrines--Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Tate and Westminster Abbey--looking slovenly.
Nobody says you accept to dress like Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn to appointment museums, cathedrals and celebrated neighborhoods. Clean khakis or jeans, a nice shirt and Rockports will do for men. So will capris or slacks, a blouse and adequate shoes for women. It doesn't accomplish abundant aberration whether you boutique at Brooks Brothers, Nordstrom or Target; it's not difficult to accept a anatomic biking wardrobe, and it needn't amount a array to attending great. Plus there's a payoff.
Said Clinton Kelly, host of TLC's "What Not to Wear," during a contempo actualization at Northwestern University, "People amusement you abnormally [better] if you attending put together."
What launched this "dress code" altercation was a agenda from a aide aloof aback from Paris. She and her bedmate were afraid to see some accidentally dressed diners lunching at one of the city's best--and priciest--restaurants, the abundant and celebrated Le Grand Vefour. (Famous assemblage accept included Napoleon and Josephine, Victor Hugo and Collette.) "No complaints about the aliment and service--excellent all around, and what a aces attractive dining room," my aide said. "Call us old-fashioned, but the acquaintance would accept been absolutely brilliant--especially back cafeteria amount about $400--if the restaurant had a dress code."
Europe's bigger hotels, and restaurants, too, go to abundant pains to accumulate their backdrop attractive elegant. They'd adopt their guests do the same, but that's addition story. At London's Dorchester, guests are asked to burden from cutting shorts or flip-flops in accessible areas, a backer said, adding, "The auberge attracts guests from abounding altered walks of activity so it's adamantine to generalize how bodies dress. At dinner, however, gentlemen are affably asked to abrasion a anorak in the Grill."
At the chichi Meurice in Paris, "Tourists who banquet in our restaurant Le Meurice dress actual able-bodied and abnormally the ladies who abrasion actual sophisticated, chichi and alluring clothes," a backer wrote. "Parisians usually tend to go to banquet anon from the office, which agency they attending acute and abrasion clothes that booty them through the business day but additionally assignment in the black afterwards actuality under- or overdressed. A lot of French ladies accept one or two accessories in the appointment which add an `evening touch' to a acute dress or suit. We like our macho guests to abrasion a anorak for dinner, but there is no obligation for a tie, and at cafeteria time bodies tend to dress a little added accidentally unless they are in for a business lunch."
At the appropriately affected Plaza Athenee, a dress cipher exists, and aegis association ability say article to you if you are break dressed. "For the ADPA [short for Alain Ducasse's three-star Restaurant Plaza Athenee], you charge a anorak and a tie," e-mailed a spokeswoman. "If you don't abrasion a anorak or tie, the restaurant can accommodate both to you. In the hotel's added restaurants, we adopt that men abrasion a anorak (no tie required). In the bar, afterwards 11 p.m., the dress cipher is added `cutting edge'." She continued: "Generally speaking, sneakers and flip-flops are not accustomed at the hotel. Neither are shorts."
In Milan, Italy's fashion-conscious capital, the agent at the Principe wrote via e-mail: "The auberge does not accept a austere dress code. On weekends you will acquisition audience who are added dressed down, but consistently in a accidental acute attitude. Our all-embracing audience is primarily businessmen, and accordingly they tend to abrasion apparel both during the day and additionally in the evening. In the accomplished there was a aeon area bodies tended to dress bottomward and the accidental attending was added in vogue, but now we are witnessing that our guests are afresh starting to pay abundant added absorption to what they abrasion and are added absorbed to dress elegantly."