If you’ve ever watched a TV show or film that was set in the 50s or earlier, you’ll have noticed that men dressed very differently to the way they do today. No matter whether they were going to work, to the shops, to the cinema, or to a sports game, they wore a shirt, a tie, and a jacket.
Today, suits are typically reserved for special occasions like weddings, funerals, and other ceremonies. You won’t find many people who will dress to the nines to pop out to their local supermarket or to watch a movie.
For many people, not even work mandates a formal dress code and business leaders have realised that dressing comfortably can help make people more productive and feel happier at work. This is most commonplace in the creative industries, though many modern offices are filled with people dressed in jeans, t-shirts and other casual attire.
Instead, suits are often reserved for important client meetings and those in professions like law and finance.
So if you enjoy donning a suit, you may be lamenting at the lack of opportunities you have to dress up. But fear not! There are plenty of places left where you’ll fit right in while dressed up.
Until the 1970s, sports fans went to cheer on their team wearing shirts and ties, many even donned a jacket. This began to change in the late 1970s when sportswear brands began signing deals with teams to create replica products that could be sold to fans.
By the late 1980s, it was commonplace to see a sea of a single colour in the stands as fans all turned up in their team’s shirt or jersey.
There are a few sports where the tradition of dressing smartly has been retained though, and perhaps the most famous is horse racing. The tribalism of team sports doesn’t apply in horse racing since people typically only cheer on the horses they’ve bet on.
This can be best seen in the Grand National, the biggest horse race in the UK. Fans and non-fans alike each follow the 40 or so horses that take part, placing bets and setting up pools in the days and weeks in the run-up to the event.
The organisers of horse racing have also realised that getting dressed up to attend a race meeting is part of the experience, so they’ve embraced it by encouraging attendees to dress smartly, and even enforce strict dress codes.
If you only have a general admission ticket, you’ll find that there is little to no dress code, but you still won’t look out of place in your best suit and a nice pair of shoes.
Like how most sports have seen changes to the attire of attendees, cinemas are mostly filled with people dressed casually. That isn’t so much the case with the theatre, though. Of course, there are people who don’t follow along, but for the most part, the tradition of getting dressed up to watch a performance has been retained at the most prestigious establishments.
Evening performances and opening nights are typically where you’ll find the most smartly dressed people, but you’ll fit in if you’re in a suit at any show.
Of course, you’ll likely look out of place in a tailored suit at a greasy diner, but there of plenty of restaurants out there that cater to more sophisticated customers.
Of course, you’ll pay considerably more at an upmarket restaurant, but you’ll get great food and an enjoyable atmosphere. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, there is nearly always a fancy restaurant somewhere nearby where you can get dressed up to visit.
What’s more, you could combine dinner with any of the other activities on this list to add to the overall experience.
Famous characters from movies like James Bond have helped to portray casinos as glamorous places filled with people in black-tie dinner suits. The reality is a little different though.
Most casinos don’t enforce a strict dress code, though usually sportswear isn’t permitted inside. With that said, like with theatres, you won’t look out of place dressed smartly in a casino. They’re often places that attract a very broad spectrum of people, so you’ll find players in jeans and a polo shirt sitting at the same table as those in a shirt and tie.
Like with horse racing, dressing up to visit a casino is all part of the experience and is what makes it fun. This is especially true when you do it with friends.
Larger casinos also usually have bars and restaurants, so your whole night out can be combined into one venue.
Have you ever wondered what flying in first class is like, but don’t have the funds to shell out for a ticket that costs more than an average annual salary? Well, there are many people who claim that dressing smartly when heading to the airport can earn you special treatment from airline staff. If your flight is overbooked, the team at the check-in desk may opt to give you a free upgrade.
People who have made a hobby out of this recommend that anyone wanting to get bumped up dress smartly, since the airline won’t want scruffy passengers in first class when they haven’t paid for the privilege.
Of course, just putting on a suit isn’t enough to get an upgrade worth thousands, but it can help. You should also be polite and direct when asking, be as early as possible, and cross your fingers in the hopes of getting lucky.
Today’s world is a very different place to how it was 70 years ago. People have many more options when it comes to choosing a wardrobe, so it’s understandable that many opt not to wear a suit. Though, those that do want to get dressed up still have plenty of opportunities to put on their finest regalia.
In reality, there is nothing stopping you from wearing a suit anywhere, though the suggestions above will at least give you the social justification for doing so.