The Unofficial Dress Codes of Your Favorite Restaurants and Hangouts
With the plethora of dining options in and around the metro, choosing where to eat can be the most difficult decisions to make nowadays. Another tough decision? What to wear. Dressing appropriately is as important as choosing the right wine to pair with your entrée or the most satisfying dessert to share with your date. Lucky for you, we’re decoding the (unofficial) dress codes of your favorite food stops, so that you'll look good while eating great.
Casual dining meets casual dressing. In a place where golden fried chicken, grilled cheese with tomato soup, and baked ziti with ragu reign supreme, your best bet is to dress down. Be as trendy as you want, but keep things very relaxed. You can’t go wrong with a plain dark T-shirt, distressed denim, and sneakers.
Shirt, Uniqlo x J.W. Anderson; jeans, Diesel; sneakers, Converse
Also, skip the bling. Leave your pricey watch and branded accessories at home, because you’ll do a lot of walking around the sometimes sketchy, sometimes seedy neighborhood. Insider tip: If you’re doing the great Poblacion food crawl, dress light and comfy because you will sweat…A LOT.
2| Salad Stop
Dressing for healthy, wholesome, good-for-you places like Salad Stop can get tricky. Places like this have two main clienteles, each with their corresponding dress codes. First: the power-dressing lunch crowd. Between 11 in the morning and two in the afternoon, you’ll see briefcase-toting corporate slaves, rolling up their sleeves for a quick bite to eat.
Jacket, Mango H.E.; shorts (with leggings) and cap, Zara; sneakers, Saucony
If you’re not one of them, and you drop by outside lunch hours, then you should be clothed like you’re headed to or just stepped out from the gym—or at least look like you care about your body. It’s intimidating enough to read a menu filled with nutrition info, so best to boost your confidence by wearing your Under Armour or Lululemon gear. One word: Athleisure.
Got invited to brunch with your girlfriend’s girl friends, or worse, her mom, sisters, aunts, godmothers, and the whole extended family for the first time? Our most important tip: Leave the arrogant, douchey attitude at home. This isn’t the Upper East Side and no one likes Chuck Bass (at least, not this early) near their brunch table.
Sweater, Uniqlo U; shirt, Sfera; pants, Mango H.E.; shoes, Zara
Your goal is to look like, and actually be, a good boy—one who goes to church every Sunday and can also afford the finer things in life (like a meal of kimchi fried rice, cacio e pepe, octopus salad, croquet madame, and chocolate cake every weekend). Go preppy: Wear a properly ironed shirt with loafers. But never tie a sweater around your neck. Please.
Congratulations! You’ve made it far enough in your relationship (or life, in general) to celebrate a milestone. Props to you, too, for choosing Antonio’s. Whether it’s the duck confit, steak tartare, or lamb chops that you choose, you’re sure to have one hell of a dining experience.
Sport coat and pants, Uniqlo; sweater, Mango H.E.; shoes, Dune; belt, Adolfo Dominguez
Make sure you’re dressed for the occasion. Antonio's imposes a “strictly smart casual” dress code. But what does that mean, right? Things to remember: collar, belt, trousers, socks, and a good pair of shoes. A jacket would be nice, especially if you’re there for dinner.
But also consider these: You’ll be driving; you’ll be having pre-dinner cocktails; you’ll be sitting for at least three hours for your meal. That’s at least three different activities that actually require their own dress codes. So keep your outfit versatile for day or night; comfy for driving and sitting; and dapper, of course. Here’s a tip for places like these: Check out what the servers are wearing, and dress a notch or two above.
5| Salcedo Market
If you don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb when you shop and eat at Salcedo Market, then dress down—way down like you actually just got out of bed. Weekend markets cater to communities where they are set up, so you want to fit in and not look like a total outsider. The woke-up-like-this look might work, but let’s admit that this look doesn’t match everyone’s, uhm, looks.
T-shirt, sandals, and sunglasses, Mango H.E.; shorts and cap, Zara
Our suggestion: a super comfy cotton top, chino shorts, and weather-friendly sandals. Remember that it can go from sunny to drizzling in a minute. You can accessorize with a cap and sunglasses, but use them for their function and not because you want to look fashionable. The best accessory, however, is a reusable shopping bag. It shows that you care about the environment and you’re there to get your fill of great food.
6| Spiral at Sofitel
Nothing gets food lovers excited as much as buffets. The abundance! The choices! The gluttony! The guilt that comes after devouring way beyond your stomach can take! If you’re planning to celebrate at Spiral, which should be your top buffet choice in Manila, then you better come prepared—not only with your appetite, but also with your attire.
Sweater, Adolfo Dominguez; shirt, Uniqlo x J.W. Anderson; pants, Marks & Spencer; sneakers, Mango H.E.
Please, do not wear baggy clothes that immediately show how much you plan to eat. The key to leaving any buffet dignified is to respect the bounty offered to you. One way is to look respectful and respectable, and not famished and starved for days. Put on a smart casual outfit or even something elegant. You want to look like you know your Brie from your Camembert when you get to the cheese room. If you arrive with your shirt tucked in, then leave with your shirt still tucked in. Leave, too, with all buttons buttoned and zippers zipped.