New Yorkers Treat Restaurants Like Runways—5 Outfits Worthy of the Scene

In NYC, there doesn't need to be a fancy party or high-profile event for a fabulous outfit to be required. Nope, all you need is a dinner reservation at the right spot, and just like that, you have created an outfit opportunity. New Yorkers take their dining-out outfits seriously. After all, many paparazzi shots of our favorite celebrities are taken running in and out of said NYC hot spots, and just in case you're captured in the back of Taylor Swift and Blake Lively's Via Carota dinner date, you're going to want to make sure the outfit is good. I listed five chic outfits for you to bookmark for when you have a really good reservation on the books and even mentioned some of my favorite NYC hot spots to wear the looks to.

Keep scrolling to see the NYC restaurant–ready outfits I'm loving at the moment. 

Two-Piece Set + Statement Earrings


(Image credit: @emmaleger)

A matching set is my favorite hack for a chic dinner outfit. It does all of the styling work for you, and now, you just get to have fun with the accessories. This no-brainer, crowd-pleasing outfit is my go-to when I have an exciting reservation ahead. Opt for a cooler fabric choice like Emma did in this faux-leather Cult Naked two-piece. The real star of the show is the earrings, and this Heaven Mayhem pair really takes this outfit over the finish line. I'd wear this look to dinner and drinks in the West Village at The Wesley. It's the perfect cozy but elevated restaurant that offers an intimate dining room in the back for parties. Plus, the interior is divine. 

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Sultry CEO


(Image credit: @coco_floflo)

Sexy corporate style has come back in a big way for 2024. It's all about blazers that contour to your figure layered over bustier tops or lace bodysuits, pinstripes, and, of course, the sleekest pumps in your collection. This sultry CEO vibe feels very New York to me and just oozes an intimidatingly chic kind of vibe. I'm taking this outfit uptown to drinks at Monkey Bar. The dim lighting and "upscale Midtown NYC bar" feel just make sense to channel my inner sexy CEO. Plus, how chic will this outfit look with a martini in hand? 

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Pants Optional


(Image credit: @nitsanraiter)

You guessed it. We are still pants-less in 2024. When this trend first hit the runways and the paparazzi shots of celebs, we all thought it would be fleeting, but it seems like "pants optional" is here to stay. Throw a blazer or long coat over the outfit for a little extra coverage, but a pair of pumps and chic earrings are must-haves to complete this look. I love how Nitsan styled the pants-less look above with this low-key top from Reformation, making the look a little more approachable. I'd wear this to a late-night dinner at Casino with my friends. 

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(Image credit: @itsreallynana)

Last year's favorite color is sticking around for 2024. Red has come back in a big way, and this spicy, hot hue is becoming a favorite of chic NYC restaurantgoers. This bold color is for those not afraid to have all eyes on them and is the perfect choice for something celebratory like a birthday, anniversary, or dinner party. Lately, I'm loving red pieces styled with metallic accessories, and the feathers really take this look to the next level. I'm wearing this outfit to Tribeca's new hot dining spot Fouquet's. With an elegant Parisian feel, this outfit feels right at home at Fouquet's. 

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Dress Code: Lace Encouraged


(Image credit: @cassdimico)

We are in our lace era, apparently. Lace tights, lace bodysuits, lace pants, lace catsuits… You name it. It's all trending. I love that we're going back to these simple, sexy fabrics for a night out. For a while, I shied away from these pieces with the fear of looking tacky, but lately, lace pieces are calling to me more than ever. I love the glamour, sexiness, and romantic feel that lace adds to a look. Try a bodysuit with your favorite trousers and a jacket if you want to dabble, or go full force with a lace catsuit or lace pants like Cass did above. I'm undoubtedly wearing this outfit to The Nines on a weekend with my friends and sticking around until this piano bar turns into a nightclub. Plus, what better to eat a caviar potato in than this? 

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Assistant Editor

Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Grace has always been a lover of all things fashion and beauty. Upon receiving her first degree in visual communications from FIDM in Los Angeles, she moved to New York City and continued her education at LIM College, majoring in fashion media with a minor in society and culture. Grace has worked for PhotoBook magazine, Insider, and Harper's Bazaar. As a writer, Grace has had pieces published covering topics including racial justice, fashion, politics, and current events. During her free time, she loves wine tasting, creating content for her social media, spending time with friends, traveling to new places, and Pilates, and has a love for reality television, especially The Real Housewives. Grace is the person in your friend group everyone goes to for recommendations for the best place to grab drinks in NYC on a Friday night or the best hotels and restaurants to try when traveling to a new city. While fashion is her main love, she loves all things wellness and lifestyle as well. Her ideal sunday is brunching with friends then walking around furniture shopping and listening to a podcast. As the assistant shopping editor at Who What Wear, Grace loves finding the best buys out there for the WWW readers.