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What to take?

Darling Companion generally dresses nicely on vacation: khakis, good polo shirts or button down shirts. Not (in public) a jeans and tshirt kind of guy. This time, on our spring trip to London, Edinburgh and the Highlands, we are generally staying at somewhat upscale hotels and will be going to tea or dinner a few times at great restaurants. Should he take a sportcoat and/or tie? Thank you.

Posted by
4873 posts

Few people wear ties for work these days, although a limited number of stuffy places still have dress codes that require a tie and jacket. Check online for the policies of the places you are visiting. If they don’t have a dress code, wear anything smart. Polos aren’t considered as smart as a dress shirt.

Even upscale hotels have clients that mostly wear jeans - just a more upscale brand.

Posted by
2774 posts

Weather in springtime is likely to be cool, so a tweed sport coat would be both practical and appropriately "formal" without being as fussy as, say, a navy sport coat. A few years ago we ordered a tweed one for my husband from Marks & Spencer and it arrived in about 48 hours with no delivery charge. It was much less expensive than what I saw online from U.S. retailers. He's gotten quite a lot of wear out of it.

I agree with other comments that a necktie probably isn't expected even in upscale restaurants. OTOH, it doesn't take up much space in the suitcase, LOL. I will mention that we had dinner in the Tower Restaurant in Edinburgh -- loved it! -- and noticed other customers wearing jeans, sneakers, and polo/golf shirts (not T-shirts, though, unless I'm really remembering wrong).

Posted by
4410 posts

I wouldn't worry about a tie, whilst some men will still wear one when dining at a restaurant they're becoming less common. A jacket, shirt and smart, well fitted jeans are perfectly acceptable attire and are what most men in the UK would wear to dinner.

Posted by
741 posts

If staying at good, upmarket (I.e. expensive) hotels I usually take decent shoes and trousers, a jacket, and yes, a tie. The latter is not always required, but takes up very little room in the packing.

It’s probably my age showing, but I figure if your accommodation is making an effort, then maybe you should reciprocate. I admit to being mildly irked by folk who show up to dinner in formal restaurants in jeans and t-shirts, but recognise it’s their prerogative and if the restaurant is OK with their attire, then it’s not up to me. I also recall the words of Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey writer) who said that there is nothing wrong in being a snob, you just set your standards higher than most!

For the space it takes, and the potential embarrassment it might save, pack a jacket and tie (one is ample) even though even I consider the tie to be the most useless piece of clothing ever devised!

Posted by
2774 posts

Great phrase worth repeating: "if your accommodation is making an effort, then maybe you should reciprocate." Thanks, Ian and Julie!

Posted by
26039 posts

and tie (one is ample)

if you don't spill anything on it.

Take 2 - they are small (even smaller if you take a dickie bow)

Posted by
741 posts

“If you don’t spill anything on it”

No holiday is entirely risk free!

And Nigel….bow ties are cool.

Ian

Posted by
3555 posts

You mention khakis.

Somewhere I read that khakis aren't common in Great Britain or really anywhere in Europe. And that they announce "American" for anyone who wears them. I'd be more concerned about their typical light color and the high probability of them showing the least little bit of dirt.

But especially for those who have already responded, are khakis worn much in England?

Posted by
4410 posts

But especially for those who have already responded, are khakis worn much in England?

Not really, the closest thing to them in the UK are chinos. They're slightly different, the cut is closer fitting and they look a bit smarter and don't have a pleat down the front. They're a good substitute for jeans, more comfortable and can be paired with a variety of options. Whilst there isn't really that much difference between the two, khakis definitely do cry out "American".

Posted by
5563 posts

I'm trying to think if I have ever seen Peter Philips the Chief Executive of Cambridge University Press wear a tie in the last year and I don't think that I have! I think he would wear one to an awards banquet, but life has really changed.

One of my dad's favorite purchases from Scotland was his tweed sports jacket. :)

Pam

Posted by
69 posts

Thanks, all. I think we're going to invest in a tweed sport coat for Darling Companion, and take one tie. And perhaps we should look into chinos.