Gurdon

Moderator
2,934
United States
California
Forestville
Levi’s and Leather- Observations in Europe, October 2018

Over the second half of last October my wife and I visited Paris and Aix en Provence in France, and Chur and Zurich in Switzerland. Although the trip was to walk and eat, ride trains and experience new places, I paid attention to how people dressed.

The short answer, as regards men who were paying attention to their appearance, was Levi’s, decent leather shoes, and dark blazers or sport jackets. The only men wearing ties appeared to be either bankers or corporate functionaries. Some could have been politicians, or merely wealthy. This isn’t exactly news to forumites, but I thought it worth sharing.

I have reported similar observations from visits over the last half dozen years to other European cities, including Rome, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Paris, and Zurich. More men were wearing ties then than now.

I still pack a suit, tie, and dress shirt on European trips, for those occasions where I want to dress like an adult, but I feel comfortable, and that I fit in, wearing a jacket, Levi’s and Edward Greens.

Regards,
Gurdon
 

SG_67

Connoisseur
14,392
United States
Illinois
Chicago
Levi’s, leather shoes and blazers are certainly a notch above sweat pants, hockey jerseys and sneakers I see worn here.
 

Color 8

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
178
United States
PA - Pennsylvania
Philadelphia
Levi’s, leather shoes and blazers are certainly a notch above sweat pants, hockey jerseys and sneakers I see worn here.
Agreed. I wish American men would wear sport jackets like they were really jackets, and not "fancy-Dan dress-up duds." The current belief seems to be that one can wear khakis and golf shirts to everything short of a state dinner.
 

Hebrew Barrister

Senior Member
705
United States
texas
yourmomtown
Your average man in Europe is dressed much better than in the US. I always notice this when there. They also seem to understand how clothes should fit and don't wear comically baggy things like men here do.
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
7,665
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NY
Living in NYC, I still see plenty of suits and ties, and sport coats and dress pants, but also plenty of sweats, yoga pants (on women) and, even, pajama bottoms with sweats on top for some doing their morning coffee run (yup, that's a thing apparently). But on my annual Christmas visit to my girlfriend's parents in Michigan, I was once again reminded that, outside of NYC, suits, ties and sport coats are incredibly rare.

Also, on a similar topic, I watched a special on the opening of Eleven Madison Park, an upscale and visual attractive restaurant in NYC. The documentary showed the care that went into decorating the architecturally beautiful space. Also, as you can see in the pictures, the staff is nicely dressed in ties, etc.

I was not thinking about it ahead of time, but when they showed video from the opening night, many of the male customers were dressed in golf shirts or open collared-shirts with not even a sport coat. It undermined the entire aesthetic of the restaurant - a soaring space, tastefully and elegantly decorated with a professionally-dressed staff jarringly serving a motley mix of casually-dressed diners.

There's no big point here, just an observation that the attire of the customers undid the visual beauty that the restaurant had worked very hard to achieve and, for me, would somewhat detract from the experience of having a special and elegant night out. There are 10,000+ bigger problems in the world than this, but since this is a clothing forum, it feels like fair game to grumble about it here.
AC1I0203.0.jpg eleven-madison-park-18.w1200.h630.jpg
 

derum

Suspended
1,572
United States
T
Houston
The simplest explanation is that a lot of Europeans care how they look, whilst a lot of Americans don't. American men feel comfortable in baggy trousers and voluminous shirts, European men don't. These are of course generalisations, not everyone in Europe dresses well nor every American dresses badly. Go outside of the "nicer" areas in Europe (the suburbs, industrial towns etc.) and the standard of dress deteriorates. Looking sharp is not always high on the priority list for a lot of people, for many reasons, irrespective of nationality.
On the occaissions I have been in Eleven, or Le Bernadin, or Alinia, or Robuchon, everyone has been nicely dressed, though not stuffily so. I think that people still like to "dress up" for dinner if the setting warrants.
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
7,665
United States
New York
NY
The simplest explanation is that a lot of Europeans care how they look, whilst a lot of Americans don't. American men feel comfortable in baggy trousers and voluminous shirts, European men don't. These are of course generalisations, not everyone in Europe dresses well nor every American dresses badly. Go outside of the "nicer" areas in Europe (the suburbs, industrial towns etc.) and the standard of dress deteriorates. Looking sharp is not always high on the priority list for a lot of people, for many reasons, irrespective of nationality.
On the occaissions I have been in Eleven, or Le Bernadin, or Alinia, or Robuchon, everyone has been nicely dressed, though not stuffily so. I think that people still like to "dress up" for dinner if the setting warrants.
My experience in those restaurants has been more mixed than yours. Yes, many still dress well in those places, but a not small number show up in golf shirts or open collared shirts and khakis or basic jeans. Even in the picture above, you can see several open collared shirts, that, IMHO, look out of place versus the decor and staff attire. Again, I'm not arguing any big point at all, just the small point that it detracts somewhat from the overall experience. To be honest, what surprised me was that on opening night so many dressed casually.
 

g3org3y

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
406
UK
SE
London
The simplest explanation is that a lot of Europeans care how they look, whilst a lot of Americans don't. American men feel comfortable in baggy trousers and voluminous shirts, European men don't.
Unfortunately, I'd have to lump the Brits in with the Americans. Generally speaking, poor dressers compared to our European cousins (Italians especially).
 

JBierly

Advanced Member
2,801
United States
Tennessee
Chattanooga
In general, I would concur that European men dress somewhat better than Americans. The reasons are multifactorial.
 

Mr. B. Scott Robinson

Super Member
1,670
Atlanta, Georgia
United States
Georgia
Atlanta
Living in NYC, I still see plenty of suits and ties, and sport coats and dress pants, but also plenty of sweats, yoga pants (on women) and, even, pajama bottoms with sweats on top for some doing their morning coffee run (yup, that's a thing apparently). But on my annual Christmas visit to my girlfriend's parents in Michigan, I was once again reminded that, outside of NYC, suits, ties and sport coats are incredibly rare.

Also, on a similar topic, I watched a special on the opening of Eleven Madison Park, an upscale and visual attractive restaurant in NYC. The documentary showed the care that went into decorating the architecturally beautiful space. Also, as you can see in the pictures, the staff is nicely dressed in ties, etc.

I was not thinking about it ahead of time, but when they showed video from the opening night, many of the male customers were dressed in golf shirts or open collared-shirts with not even a sport coat. It undermined the entire aesthetic of the restaurant - a soaring space, tastefully and elegantly decorated with a professionally-dressed staff jarringly serving a motley mix of casually-dressed diners.

There's no big point here, just an observation that the attire of the customers undid the visual beauty that the restaurant had worked very hard to achieve and, for me, would somewhat detract from the experience of having a special and elegant night out. There are 10,000+ bigger problems in the world than this, but since this is a clothing forum, it feels like fair game to grumble about it here.
View attachment 27900 View attachment 27901
When I dined at EMP this summer, almost all the men were in suit/jacket and tie. It was a rather early meal for NYC so most folks had probably arrived direct from the office.

If I am going to spend $2000+ on a dinner, you bet your a** I’m going to wear a tie.

EMP is a stunning place with a wonderful view of the trees through the window. The recent redesign has its detractors but it is well worth a visit if one is into food at the worlds best restaurants.

Cheers,

BSR