The dress code

August 29, 2009.
I hear in the news that the New York City Waldorf-Astoria hotel Starbucks announces a “smart casual” dress code for its customers — and I see that online some folks are grousing about it. To the latter, I say, get over it!

I’m not sure exactly when this whole “It’s cool to be casual–everywhere!” movement began. My guess is it started in the ’60s, around the time tie-dye became a rage, and that it spread like a virus. It was probably worse then, as eventually establishment owners found the need to put up “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service” signs. All they were asking for, even the Ma n’ Pa shops, was a little respectful dressing on the other side of the counter. This for their own tired eyes, as well as for their customers’.

The signs must have worked, as it seems in modern day, even the most extreme casual dressers bother to put on shoes and a shirt before walking into a public place.

Now the Waldorf-Astoria management ask that customers respect a “smart casual” dress — sans t-shirts, tank tops, cut-offs or casual hats — at the hotel Starbucks. Apparently this offends some “extreme casual” folks more than they’d offend the most uppity hotel guests by walking in barefoot. The casual extremists gasp and whine.

Simply, the Waldorf-Astoria management want to assure their guests — all of them — an elegant atmosphere. A temporary haven away from the stampedes of faded jeans, tank tops and cut-offs, and away from the “casual-everywhere!” attitudes that carry them.  Since a Starbucks is under their roof, they ask a certain dress of even the coffee-lovers who stumble in. In the Waldorf-Astoria hotel binder, where the “smart casual” dress code is established, they request it politely.

As for those who feel offended by this gentle request: Thank goodness this is the U-S of A; chances are they’ll find another place closeby that serves coffee — and will sell them a cup no matter what their attire, as long as it includes shoes and a shirt.

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