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Manners Matter: Etiquette for Formal Dining - The Mitchelli - Modern Gentleman

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Etiquette, Food & Drink

Manners Matter: Etiquette for Formal Dining

Times change, fashions change, but things such as manners and etiquette are as important as ever for the modern gentlemen. Some points may seem obvious and yet many rules are broken surprisingly frequently (such as the bread plate rule), so here’s a quick reminder of a few.


Jacket and tie

Dinner jackets may no longer be a requirement for dining, but it is nonetheless appropriate to dress smartly for dinner. When dining at a restaurant or when invited to dinner at a friend’s house you should wear a jacket or possibly a suit unless your host has suggested otherwise. In formal settings a tie should be worn, and may be expressly requested. Whether you opt for separates or a suit, choose high end men’s tailoring to ensure you create the right impression. If you choose to wear a tie bar, make sure it is narrower than your tie and is positioned between the third and fourth buttons of your shirt.



Do not put the contents of your pockets on the table. Keys, wallet and mobile phone should all be kept out of sight, and unless an emergency situation is imminent, such as the lady in your life being due to give birth, your mobile phone should also be switched off or at least to silent mode. A meal is to be shared with your fellow diners only. Under no circumstances should you overtly photograph and share it on social media. (Quite apart from the lack of respect for your fellow diners, can you hand on heart name a single friend who has nothing better to do than view an image of your crème brûlée on Facebook?)



Perhaps more a matter of practicality than etiquette, unbuttoning your jacket while you are seated can make you more comfortable. Just remember to do the buttons back up later (with the exception of the bottom one).



Ensure your manners and sleeves are untarnished by keeping your elbows off the table – both polite and practical. At the very least wait for the plates to be cleared at the end of each course, but never while eating.



Should you need to leave the table, remove your napkin from your lap and place it on your chair. Do not put your napkin on the table until all of your party have finished and your host indicates that he or she is ready to leave.
Combine excellent manners with premium men’s fashion and you will be a welcome guest wherever you dine!


About the Author

Peter works for Mullen & Mullen (, a English family run bespoke tailoring service based in York.


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