This topic is probably a perennial whipping-boy on this board (which I don't frequent much, being mostly about the chow), but I had to react to a poster on the Boston board who recently offered this up in response to another poster's question about how to dress to a particular restaurant:
"This is 2005. I don't care if this IS Boston--dining in jeans should be acceptable pretty much anywhere. I'm not sure what's up with there being a dresscode for enjoying good food, but I hope the trend continues where questions like these are rare."
I admit, I would rather that more of my fellow Americans took a little more care in their appearance when dining out, but I'm resigned to the ongoing advances of casualness. I'd rather you didn't wear that baseball cap indoors, but I'll settle for not seeing your underarm hair or gnarly toenails.
But it's not really a one-sweatsuit-fits-all world yet, is it? In a fancy place, with fancy food, and fancy prices, is it too much to ask that you dress up, just a little bit, perhaps beyond the jeans level?
Me, I like dress codes. I find it kind of harshes the buzz when people don't get into the spirit of the location. "This is an occasion place: dress like you're going to a swell party." "This is a casual place: leave the ascot at home, Thurston."
Is that too confusing, too harsh? Or is it just asking that grown-ups recognize that behavior and dress should be modified for different public settings? Don't wear a suit to the ballgame, and don't wear shorts to Daniel. Is that so hard, or hard to understand why your hosts and fellow patrons might prefer that you do that?