Washington D.C. Dress Code Insights
Dress code is not a laughing matter at some restaurants in D.C. Though Washington is a tourist town, it still is not a good idea to walk into a moderately upscale restaurant for dinner in a Hawaiian shirt or shorts. Sweaters or a light sports jacket are always good choices to help spruce up any day time outfit. It’s better to be safe than sorry in dressing for a night out at a restaurant, especially if you are not sure what the dress code might be.
The Prime Rib no longer requires a tie but still demands a jacket and rejects shorts even at lunch. Corduroy, a popular restaurant across from the Washington Convention Center, stocks wraparound skirts as well as extra jackets for the underdressed. In this, as in most things, it’s better to be safe than to be sorry, which means that while you’ll be tolerated in shorts during the day at less formal spots – and Lord knows you’ll be one of many thousands – you might feel a social as well as climatic chill if you wear that Hawaiian shirt to a moderately upscale restaurant for dinner.
What else to pack
For winter travelers, stock up on gloves and hats. Be sure to choose accessories that can withstand some wind. Ball caps are fine indoors, but remember that in art galleries or museum, there are people next to or behind you trying to see the same exhibit.
When packing for your trip, consider packing in zippered bags. Bags can keep more private possessions together so a luggage inspector doesn’t have to shuffle through them, but they can also help keep jewelry and medications together in an easy to find place. Remember that comfort supersedes style when packing shoes. Walking around monuments and museums will give your feet quite the workout so why punish them with uncomfortable shoes? Also, don’t pack more outfits than you need. Do you typically change multiple times a day? Pick outfits that you can accessorize to either dress it up or down instead of all new outfits for day and evening activities.
For more tips on what to pack and the Washington D.C. dress code check out the Unofficial Guide to Washington D.C.