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Why do dress codes even exist?

on June 15, 2018
You just discovered a new restaurant that you’re dying to try, and you finally snagged a reservation for you and your significant other! It’s a delicious steakhouse with an upscale, elegant atmosphere—and you know it’s going to make for an unforgettable date night. But wait! Before you arrive only to be turned away from the restaurant staff for your lack of compliance with the dress code, do a little research first to find out what exactly is expected of guests that choose to dine at the desirable hot spot—much like Atlas Steakhouse, where we continue to enforce our dress code policy. “But, why do dress codes even exist?,” you ask. In a world where everything is reverting to casual, who actually wants to abide by rules on what to wear while you’re out and about? Great question. From the outside, the rules surrounding what to wear while you grab dinner out may seem a bit outdated or unnecessary. That being said, there are specific and important reasons restaurants continue to believe in their policies. One of the main reasons is to create the type of environment that truly wows you. Through an elevated standard of dress, you enter a room that feels like a tip-top dining experience. Another reason is the belief that people actually enjoy dressing to the occasion and it makes for a more memorable experience, especially when everyday life doesn’t usually require it. To help better understand dress codes, be prepared for them and most importantly, look really good doing it—see below for the different types of policies you may experience while traveling to new cities or navigating your local food scene.


So, with this type of place, anything goes, right? Not exactly. What you may think of as a totally appropriate outfit for a day, or night, out on the town—your local restaurant may not agree. When picking an outfit from your closet, you should make sure you look more on the polished side, and less on the comfy-on-my-couch side. In other words, a nice tee shirt and simple jeans is a safe bet. Flip-flops? Maybe not so much.

Business Casual

Think generally work appropriate. Not too formally dressed up, yet not dressed down or sporting your athleisure. Look somewhat professional and pulled together, as if you’re meeting your boss for lunch or going on heading out on a first date with someone you want to impress. For women, think modest dresses and blouses while staying away from fabrics like denim. For men, think polos or button downs and dress pants or khakis, without shoes like sneakers.

Casual Elegant

In other words, your casual attire taken up a notch. For men, think a nice suit with a tie or button down with trousers and a tailored jacket. For women, think of this as your excuse to wear your favorite LBD or cute tailored pants with a blazer and heels. Darker colors are always a safe bet here. Feel free to add a little flair with eye-catching jewelry, cufflinks or through showing some (tasteful) skin.


The traditional definition definitely still stands here, with the focus being on a luxe suit for men and a fine cocktail or floor-length dress for women. Always finish off your look with heels, polished flats and dress shoes. While you won’t often see this dress code on your average night out, it is an important once to follow when enforced, and will most likely take the most planning ahead of time in order to meet the expectation. This is a dress code that truly makes for an awe-inspiring evening! For more information on the Atlas Steakhouse dress code before your next visit, contact us at (646) 494- 7227 or send us a message through our homepage. We’re happy to talk specifics and get you ready for your visit with us!