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Taillevent Merged topics


Holly Moore
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The following is an e-mail that I received yesterday:

Chers Amis,

In a few days we shall celebrate the 60th Anniversary of D.Day.

May the friendship between our two countries be for ever as strong as it was in June 1944.

With my best personal regards.

Jean-Claude Vrinat

I would not consider myself a regular at Taillevent but I have been on numerous occasions over the years, usually for a special anniversary or birthday. On every occasion I have been greeted by M. Vrinat and have found him to be very personable and interesting to talk to. Although the cuisine is not cutting edge I have always thought that the service and attention to detail at Taillevent was beyond compare.

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  • 1 month later...

The place: Taillevent in mid-October.

The players: me and my husband.

The problem: What on God's green earth do we wear to this thing?

So we have dinner reservations at Taillevent for a Friday night in October. I've seen the lovely pictures of the dining rooms on the website, and I know this will be a pretty swanky affair. My concern, though, is the attire gap that probably separates dinner in your typical top-notch American restaurant (to which I've been countless times) and dinner in a top-notch French restaurant, especially one with the pedigree of Taillevent (to which I've never been).

In other words, just how fancy will be fancy enough? Are we talking a tux for my husband and (god forbid) Chanel formalwear for me? Are we talking a step above business formal? How haute do we need to be to keep from looking like utter rubes at our milestone dinner in Paris?

Edited by MysticMilt (log)
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This should be a great thread.

In my view, dress has been going steadily downhill for men since the late 1980's but for women has remained stylish. Thus, TV guys got away with black tee-shirts or white shirts left hanging outside their pants anytime of day long before it was au courant here (for example, see today's front page picture in the NYTimes). It's only around the Palais Bourbon or La Defense or places like Taillevent where ties and suits outnumber schlumpy dress. That said, men can't go wrong with a conservative suit, white shirt and tie at Taillevent and women should dress like they would here at say Boulay, but of course with a scarf. I would do black tie only if before opening night at the Opera where a group is similarly dressed.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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well, they let me in - so don't expect the level to be high :wink:

seriously - when I was there some people were wearing jeans & jackets - designer I'm sure

I think its just smart casual these days - thank god - who wants to wear a monkey suit when you're trying to relax & enjoy yourself. Of course - if you want to go for it - its the place to do it. Better still - if its a grand evening you want - Leydon is pretty hard to beat (& has better food)

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A simple black dress of high quality with the appropriate simple accessories. A wrap and a simple clutch, matching black shoes.

For men ditto to a conservative suit, white shirt and nice tie.

Otherwise wear what you want, but if you don't want to stand out, the above outfit is very appropriate!

Paris is a mood...a longing you didn't know you had, until it was answered.

-An American in Paris

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Perhaps you could give us some more info, so we can tailor our advice.

Where do you live? Are we talking Columbus, St. Louis, mid-West my-shirt-has-ten-colors-with-swirls-and-stuff issues? Texas helmet hair/cowboy boots? Colorado it's-still-the-60s-granola? Southern golf-shirt-with-my-company's-logo? Jersey/B&T?

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I live in the Philadelphia area, but I was raised in the South. So while my absolute favorite and most comfortable outfit is jeans and a cute top, when need be I can clean up fairly well. I love Ann Taylor-ish stuff and Talbot's when they're not being too fusty and soccer mom-y.

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Relax. I trust you're kidding about the dinner suit for men. If not, I suggest you stop watching black and white movies from between the wars. It's a very elegant restaurant, (the number of Michelin forks and spoons are more indicative of elegance than the number of stars which relate more to the food) but it's just a restaurant and only dinner. Black tie would not be pretentious if you had someplace else to go before or after dinner, but if you're not in a party of similarly dressed people, you're likely to stand out and be uncomfortable.

I rarely travel with a suit and have never felt uncomfortable in a blazer and dressy slacks even at a three star, four fork and spoon restaurant in Paris, although I have never dined at Taillevant. Within more recent visits, I think every man at Ducasse/Plaza Athenée had a tie, but there were a few sports jackets that I would not have described as dressy. At Arpège there was one guy in a t-shirt and jacket, his date in a sporty tank top. He was British and I suppose I should have known who he was. The staff seemed to know him. Arpège is one level less dressy by Michelin standards with only four forks and spoons. At that level I'm comfortable with a tweed jacket or corduroy slacks with a blazer. One taxi driver asked me if I was a professor. I said I was an artist and writer and asked why he asked. He said it was the corduroy trousers. It seems they are the mark of an intellectual. Paris being what Paris is, you are what you wear. Corduroy trousers will mark you as an intellectual, at least under circumstances, and while intellectuals are highly respected by the average Parisian, what they wear will be sufficient for classification.

Stone's questions are astute. What Americans consider a top notch French restaurant, and what's appropriate to wear there, seems to vary considerably--largely by geography. At le Bec Fin n Philadelphia, for instance, I found a much more conservatively formal group than I might at Daniel or Jean Georges in New York. I'm not sure if that was indicative of a difference in local standards or if New York City restaurants tend to benefit from a greater number of visitors from even less formal parts of the US.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Oh yes, what do you wear? My wife would not feel out of place in a dark pants suit and has herself begun to travel without a dress. I assume you're younger than we are. That may be a factor in your choice of clothing.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I was JUST thinking Ann Taylor/Talbot's for the average American woman. A fall version of this from Ann Taylor would be good - just add a cover. Or this from Talbot's.

Dining at three-stars in Paris is not a business meeting - but it's not the prom either. And once you've picked what you're wearing then you'll know what your husband can too.

Edited by LKL Chu (log)
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Y'all are brilliant, thank you. I think I'll probably go for something along the lines of this with a wrap and great shoes, although maybe I can find something with a slightly lower hem. At the knee instead of just above it. I am très relieved that I'm not going to have to bust out with the Badgley Mischka.

Thank you for indulging my girlie topic. :smile:

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When I was in Paris in February, I brought an Ann Taylor pantsuit and wore it in different permutations (as a suit, pants alone with a dressy top or with a great blouse) for our dinners out.

Another store that has a good selection of clothes that would be appropriate is Casual Corner -- their collectible collection. I bought this dress on sale a couple of months ago because it's classic. They also have matte jersey pieces that you can mix and match.

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OK, this is fun. Bux is right, a dark (as in black)chic pantsuit would be in keeping with those tres tres chic Parisian women. The dress you have shown above is perfect. AMericans tend to stand out by their loud clothing, which is ok at times such aswhen I get really pissed off at the french. I once wore tan suede pants with a red suede halter to a nice little resto, I stood out but then it was my intention.

But the Parisians do dress mainly in black and simply but very stylishly or at least some do :raz:

Paris is a mood...a longing you didn't know you had, until it was answered.

-An American in Paris

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Perhaps you could give us some more info, so we can tailor our advice.

Where do you live? Are we talking Columbus, St. Louis, mid-West my-shirt-has-ten-colors-with-swirls-and-stuff issues? Texas helmet hair/cowboy boots? Colorado it's-still-the-60s-granola? Southern golf-shirt-with-my-company's-logo? Jersey/B&T?

Or Sonoma Ca where t shirts (clean) Shorts, Jeans etc are no problem as long as your money is green.

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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Everyone told me that London was relatively "casual smart" these days. But on the one occasion that my husband didn't wear a suit to a high end restaurant (lunch at Gordon Ramsay because we were going to the Chelsea flower show after - he wore a jacket and turtleneck) - he was the only man in the whole restaurant who wasn't wearing a suit. His rule of thumb is wearing a suit and tie means never having to say you're sorry. And that's with the shirt tucked in (I saw the articles today about the new "shirts not tucked in" look - but I suggest that it doesn't work for a guy unless he looks like a movie star or a model. Robyn

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it doesn't work for a guy unless he looks like a movie star or a model. Robyn

That's advice that men and women need to understand. It's often how you carry the clothes you wear as much as the clothes themselves. While the French have their slobs just as any nation, there is a class of Parisians who wear clothes very well. You might find them at top restaurants, but actually, as in any major destination city, the destination restaurants are likely to have a high proportion of tourists.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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That's advice that men and women need to understand. It's often how you carry the clothes you wear as much as the clothes themselves. While the French have their slobs just as any nation, there is a class of Parisians who wear clothes very well. You might find them at top restaurants, but actually, as in any major destination city, the destination restaurants are likely to have a high proportion of tourists.

How true - a lot of French people do have a way of "putting things together". But - like you said - you have to know who you are clothes-wise (and presumably you do once you're of a certain age). For someone like me who's "scarf impaired" - no reason to think that just because I'm in Paris - my knots will look better (they tend to look like I enlisted in the Navy last week and am practicing).

By the way - for travel to places where you need new clothes - I highly recommend end of season sales. My husband bought a kind of tweedy jacket (he always wanted one) at a local department store this year for 75% off (I'm not sure why they even sell tweed jackets in Florida). He looked great in it - it was perfect for London - and he got his money's worth out of it in a week there. If you're planning on Florida this winter - shop the end of season sales up north now for the things you know you'll never wear in NYC (just like we have tweed jackets - I'm sure your department stores have lots of things that don't look right north of Palm Beach). Robyn

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Since we've covered attire at the best restaurants, let me pose this question to y'all: conventional wisdom (read: the 8,000 Paris books we've bought since getting our air tickets) says that wearing jeans immediately marks one as "boorish American tourist". Have any of you experienced this? Should I forego jeans for khakis, or were the writers just being overly sensitive?

If it's true then I will skip the jeans with tears in my eyes, but having seen first-hand how Neanderthal some of my fellow American tourists can behave when I was in Italy, I'll do just about anything to separate myself from the obnoxious masses. :wink:

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conventional wisdom...says that wearing  jeans immediately marks one as "boorish American tourist"

I think that black jeans are probably much more acceptable than blue jeans. Of course, black's probably better for every item of clothing you take to Paris.

:laugh::wink:

Jamie

Edited by picaman (log)

See! Antony, that revels long o' nights,

Is notwithstanding up.

Julius Caesar, Act II, Scene ii

biowebsite

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Since we've covered attire at the best restaurants, let me pose this question to y'all: conventional wisdom (read: the 8,000 Paris books we've bought since getting our air tickets) says that wearing  jeans immediately marks one as "boorish American tourist". Have any of you experienced this? Should I forego jeans for khakis, or were the writers just being overly sensitive?

If it's true then I will skip the jeans with tears in my eyes, but having seen first-hand how Neanderthal some of my fellow American tourists can behave when I was in Italy, I'll do just about anything to separate myself from the obnoxious masses.  :wink:

I don't know how old you are. I think that unless you're fairly young and fairly thin - and capable of wearing very stylish cuts - jeans don't make it in any major city in the world (and even in the former case - you're talking about jeans that are accessorized very carefully). They don't mark you as a "boorish American tourist" - just a boor. Khakis are worse - particularly the dockers kind with pleats. They mark you as an older guy who's not thin enough to wear stylish jeans.

I think a reasonable rule is that when you're in a major northern city - most of the men who are in that city during the week are businessmen. They wear suits and ties - or nice pants and jackets with various kinds of shirts (depending on age and style orientation). If you want to "fit in" - and go anywhere without having to say you're sorry - dress like them. Your mileage can vary in southern cities. What you might wear in Cairo will be very different than what you might wear in Miami. And Miami (a business city) will be different than Miami Beach (a tourist city). In the business cities - err on the side of being conservative. In cities like Miami Beach - see rules regarding jeans - and if young enough and thin enough - take two steps to the left :wink: .

Of course - if you don't care what anyone thinks - you can wear anything you want to wear - with certain exceptions (don't expect to get into the Sistine Chapel wearing a cut-off t-shirt).

On my part - I kind of like getting "dressed up" a fair amount of the time when I go to a big business type city. And I really can't understand what the big fuss about jeans is. After wearing them for a day - they tend to look like garbage with the knees all bagged out. There are lots of men's pants that look a lot better after being worn for 2-3 days. Robyn

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jeans don't make it in any major city in the world (and even in the former case - you're talking about jeans that are accessorized very carefully). They don't mark you as a "boorish American tourist" - just a boor

perhaps you'd like to check in with giorgio armani, who always seems to be wearing jeans, white tee shirt and a very stylish jacket.

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jeans don't make it in any major city in the world (and even in the former case - you're talking about jeans that are accessorized very carefully).  They don't mark you as a "boorish American tourist" - just a boor

perhaps you'd like to check in with giorgio armani, who always seems to be wearing jeans, white tee shirt and a very stylish jacket.

I agree. As far as eating goes, nice jeans, leather shoes, a well-cut jacket and a stylish shirt will get you almost anywhere you need to go in Europe, I've found. I think the difference is looking like you dressed that way on purpose, as opposed to throwing on whatever was handy, and taking care of the details.

I'd put on a suit for a dinner at any restaurant with more than two Michelin forks and knives, though. Looking sharp never hurts, and it puts the missus in such a great mood.

As far as just bumming around, I wouldn't sweat it too much. As a long-time Washington, DC resident, I've found that the tourists are pretty easy to spot, and that map and camera you'll be clutching are a dead giveaway. T-shirt, jean and sneaker combinations are probably a bad idea on general principle, as are running-suit combos.

Robyn: bad news. The untucked shirt look is bursting out across the pond, and a lot of men who don't look like a movie star or a model are adopting it. Funny, that's how I used to dress for errand-running on a hangover.

Edited by Busboy (log)

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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There is a lot of jeans in restos in Paris, but they are on slim men, usually with a nice turtleneck(winter, fall, spring) or a nice shirt and usually a jacket. The same goes for women. Again these are usually at casual bistros. If you really want to fit in, one word is all you need BLACK! buy a causual and a dressier pair of black pantd, leather black shoes, and black sweaters, turtlrnecks, shirts, etc...and don't forget the jacket.

BTW it is very hard to find overweight Parisians, can't say the same for the rest of the country though. :rolleyes:

Paris is a mood...a longing you didn't know you had, until it was answered.

-An American in Paris

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I was trying to avoid this, but I will wade in anyway in my usual opinionated manner. Leave the jeans and tennis shoes at home. Unless you are at the beach in the south in warm weather, also leave the shorts. If you wear the shorts, wear sandals with them. If you want to travel light, and you should, men should take a blue blazer. You can go anywhere, dressing up for any restaurant with a dress shirt and tie, or down with a knit shirt. Black is always a good alternative or, if you must pack more, an addition. Although I don't claim any knowledge of women's clothing, my wife always takes a nice black dress and a nice black pants and jacket, with different stuff that goes with it and she looks great anywhere to me. I honestly believe if you dress right, everything is better. Maybe I would have had a different opinion 25 years ago.

We were in Monaco a few weeks ago, and we looked in on the Hotel de Paris. On the way out, we saw this couple coming in. He had his blue dress shirt out under his blazer. No comment.

Edited to change short to shirt. Even this guy wasn't that bad.

Edited by Carlsbad (log)
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