What to Wear Out to the Restaurant


Crushed Velvet Wrap Jacket and Wide Trouser from Whistles

This is the fifth in a series of dressing up for evening events.  Restaurant dinners are probably the main way we get together with friends and family.  My other articles in this series were:  1) “How to Wear Velvet Now for All Your Special Occasions”; 2) “How to Dress Up Your Little Black Dress”; 3) “Secrets of How to Look Special on Easy Evenings” ; and 4) “How to Look Sensational for Special Evenings.”

So, do you have plans to meet friends or family or business associates at a restaurant for dinner?  You’ll want to look good across the table with sparkling jewels or a pretty top.  Or meet them in a beautiful turnout.  And, of course, the little black dress fits in anywhere, and here is no exception.  These looks are for everybody.  For instance, shoulders are the last thing to go.  Age doesn’t matter when you’ve got style!

off shoulder lbd
Michael Stars Off-The-Shoulder Tunic Dress from Anthropologie

If you’re wondering how to fit in, read between the lines.  The dinner invitation will give you hints about what to wear. A buffet tends to be casual; a seated dinner, more formal. The location of a party is also a clue. You’ll want to choose something dressier for a dinner at a restaurant in the city than for an evening in someone’s backyard. Fall and winter parties end up being more formal than events in the spring and summer. Take your cues from the men, as well: If the invitation says jacket and tie, this means cocktail attire for women.

Here are some outfit ideas to inspire you when you’re getting ready to go out to any type of restaurant dinner.

  • Restaurant dinner or drinks at a friend’s:  An ivory ruffled blouse + gray flannel or ivory trousers.  Add a gold belt + gold sandals.  Add a short fur jacket, a cardigan jacket of bronze velvet, brown cardigan with fur collar or a huge cashmere or soft wool shawl in navy or peach.
  • City dinner anywhere:  Long-sleeve black t-shirt + black velvet or silky skirt.  Add a gold belt, sandals and evening bag — Or a red belt, sandals and evening bag.
  • Dinner Dress:  A black shirt + black velvet skirt.  Add black satin sandals + gold & black satin belt + gold & garnet jewels.
  • Date or Special Dinner:  A lace or ruffled blouse + tweed slouchy trousers.  Add sparkly drop earrings or sexy shoes.  Add a natural (no blush) complexion + a bold lip.

    ruffled top & leather
    Ruffled top with leather trousers from Free People



  • Cruise lines, the country club, friend’s home for dinner, nice restaurant:  A skirt, khakis, or dress pants + long sleeve or three-quarter sleeve tops.
  • Weekend or casual dinner:  A black jacket-style cardigan + a camisole + jeans.
  • Easy Dinner:  A dress in your favorite color + a jean jacket.  Add flats.  You may add wood jewelry.
  • Informal Restaurant:  An a-line dress + knee-high boots.
Ruffled blouse and jeans
Soho Soft Shirt and embellished jeans – NY&Co
  • Pink satin blouse + black pinstripe pants.  Add black dressy heels.
  • Black cashmere sweater set + long black silky skirt.  Add a belt + black satin sandals + jewelry of choice.  If you don’t have the right belt, you may tie a black satin ribbon in a bow at your waist.
  • A feminine blouse sweetens a pair of jeans.  Add gold bracelets, bag & flats.  You may want to belt the blouse.
  • A little black dress + a leather jacket + heels.
  • A short metallic dress + a moto jacket.
  • Snakeskin or faux leather leggings + one or two looser shirts under a more structured jacket.
dinner jacket
Moon Dynasty Jacket – Soft Surroundings
  • A jewel-toned cardigan + a navy velvet camisole + navy velvet skirt or pants.
  • A black cashmere tank top + a velvet jacket & pants.
  • A long-sleeve t-shirt with ivory in it + a short skirt.  Add tall boots + an ivory purse.  Or match tee and purse in some other color.
  • Black cashmere sweater + black silk skirt.  Tie the waist with a black satin ribbon.  You may like to add black satin flats.
  • A dark color tunic + leggings.  Add riding boots + sparkly earrings.
shimmer tunic
Foiled Lace Top from Chico’s

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