239 - Does He Have Pants?

Let it be made known that my family has a knack for not making plans known clearly to every member of the family, so when we went down to a restaurant on a Saturday night to 'celebrate good results' (we take so many excuses to celebrate we could be the family version of Community) my brother ended up walking in wearing bermudas. The lady at the counter asked us, "Does he have pants?"

The issue of dress codes it perhaps one of the most vexatious things about having to dress up. A year or two ago I would have vehemently argued that a blazer shorts combo is considered smart casual (a small, but significant percentage of me still does so, however). On this occasion, nuances aside, I personally thought that some of the patrons of the restaurant weren't dressed up to par with "smart casual" - would you count 'jeans' as smart casual? The restaurant's take on the simple, often misinterpreted title of "smart casual" was exceedingly basic yet ignorant: they just wanted the men to cover their legs.

I would have burst out laughing (irregardless of any etiquette to be followed) at the turn of events that followed had I not been silently sore about the whole issue. They lent him a pair of pants: it was a ghastly brown-green color, more like a moss that lost it's chlorophyll; it was probably 2 or 3 sizes too big, and running down the sides it had a ribbon with the restaurant's logo printed on it. Granted, it was perhaps a kind gesture on the part of the staff to allow us to enjoy the meal since we made a trip all the way down, but I failed to see how a pair of revoltingly ill-fitted (we are not even on the same page as 'margiela oversize' appeal, which is already subjectively controversial in its own right) pants worn over a pair of neat, well cut berms would fit the 'polished' profile of the establishment more.

Is "smart casual" a simple issue of ticking off basic requirements in a mental checklist, or is it a sartorial attitude you embody that should be lent to more leniency? Truthfully, I'm in favor of the latter, given the generally lack of concrete definition for this pervasive dress code.

Illustration by Ruth Leong

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