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Casual and formal cities?

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Just thought I'd throw out this topic -- what cities do you find casual and what cities do you find formal? Largely, I mean in terms of dress -- are suit and tie the norm for business or going out to a nice restaurant, or can you get by in a golf shirt or sweater with khakis? Also, in terms of interaction.. which cities seem more casual or formal? The difference between calling someone Mr. or Mrs. so-and-so and seeming very rigid, or calling people by their first names and treating them like friends.

Overall, I have found Southern California to be a little more formal than I expected, particularly when it comes to dress at restaurants, etc. There are some places where jacket and tie seem expected, and even some very casual places have dress codes.

Denver is very casual -- jeans work almost anywhere, and I believe the Brown Palace is the only place in town that requires a jacket. Work attire is very casual.

Minneapolis/St. Paul is pretty casual for the most part, jeans and sweatshirts work when going out. Work attire still seems casual in most areas.

Any thoughts on your -- or any -- city?

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Southern California more formal? Perhaps my surprise comes from growing up in the southeast & more familiar with the east coast. I do find Denver to be casual, & even more here in Boulder. My "office-casual" wardrobe is more like a 3 piece suit where I work, there are no casual Fridays because everyday is casual. T-shirts, shorts & jeans are the norm while I'm a sucker & dress up in my slacks & dress shirt.

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Fashion types are different varying what part of the country you are in. If anywhere, people in South Florida are the most less formal with their summer clothes on, year round pretty much everywhere they go. Everywhere else ive been, people dress accordingly to the occasion and where they are going exactly.

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It seems like dress is becoming more and more casual in the workplace these days. Many companies/agencies don't even bother with dress codes anymore. I work for a regional planning agency and almost never wear a tie. Jeans are a go anyday and at the most I wear khaki's and a polo shirt.

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^ Man that's cool. Down here even low-class office workers wear ties and there a lot of restuarants in town that won't let you in without a coat and tie (found that out one day).

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I always thought New Orleans was very formal. Even in the heat of the summer, people wear coat and tie to lunch. When one of their old restaurant's quit requiring a coat for lunch, people were up in arms. You would have thought they killed Jesus. On Sundays, the city looks like a seersucker suit convention.

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It seems like dress is becoming more and more casual in the workplace these days. Many companies/agencies don't even bother with dress codes anymore. I work for a regional planning agency and almost never wear a tie. Jeans are a go anyday and at the most I wear khaki's and a polo shirt.

Lucky you! I find that public sector agencies are usually more lax with their dress codes, though. I work for a stuffy consulting firm and while ties aren't REQUIRED, I feel awkward if I don't wear one at least 3 days a week. Khakis and polo work only on an occasional Friday, and jeans are a no-no (unless you're doing field work)!

For my area overall, if you're doing business in New York (incl NJ) you've gotta be dressed to impress.

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For my area overall, if you're doing business in New York (incl NJ) you've gotta be dressed to impress.

Agreed!

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In Florida, especially in South Florida, the least u wear, the better you are. Everybody have to keep a good beach body.

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San Diego is incredibly casual. I think there is only one restaurant in the county that requires a jacket to get in. A few of the newer clubs downtown are maintaining a dress code much to the consternation of the long-time locals- old navy dives now have $20 covers and dress codes-sheesh!

Most of the time if you are dressed up you are looking out of place (except maybe at a wedding and even there one will see the youngsters VERY casual) but maybe it's just the crowd I hang with.

Good thing for me because I am terminally clothing challenged and don't own and can't afford a whole new wardrobe anyway.

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I hope u can at least afford a pair of speedo, living in San Diego.

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Where I live, a dress shirt and tie are almost a most. There's some places that are more business casual, but the majority of businessmen wear shirts and ties.

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Interesting responses so far. Recchia -- I presume you're in Providence, from your quote? When I visited Boston and Providence a few years ago, I found the area surprisingly casual (a good thing). I'd always heard the stereotype that New Englanders liked to wear a suit and tie on weekends (like Frasier Crane), but I found the opposite -- jeans and sweatshirts seemed to fit right in, even at most of the restaurants I went to downtown and in Back Bay (keep in mind though, I'm not into overpriced, pretentious restaurants -- Houston's is about as formal as I get). I really liked Providence -- I believe it to be the most underrated city in the country!

New York does seem more formal alright, although I actually have not been there, so I'm going on reputation and what I've heard.

Florida... I've heard the central parts (including Orlando and Tampa Bay) are casual -- golf shirts and khakis will get you almost anywhere. At the same time, I've heard Miami and Jacksonville can be quite formal.

The formality of Northwest Arkansas surprises me, with the reputation of the area as an outdoorsy area -- not to mention Fayetteville being a college town. Of course, I have not been there in a decade -- I suspect Wal-Mart's influence has increased since then, and I suspect many of the vendors in the area dress formally (ironic, since Wal-Mart is not really for the suit and tie crowd).

I have to say, I never understood the "Dress to impress" comment. A suit, for example, doesn't impress me. If someone is selling something to me in a suit, that's a HUGE obstacle to overcome -- I guess I naturally distrust people in suits. A sweater and khakis "impresses" me a lot more, and I know a lot of people like that.

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The formality of Northwest Arkansas surprises me, with the reputation of the area as an outdoorsy area -- not to mention Fayetteville being a college town. Of course, I have not been there in a decade -- I suspect Wal-Mart's influence has increased since then, and I suspect many of the vendors in the area dress formally (ironic, since Wal-Mart is not really for the suit and tie crowd).

Not everyone wears a shirt and tie, but a lot of the vendors, Wal-Mart HQ employees, and JB Hunt (trucking) employees. Most of the other businesses are real casual. It's extremly hard to find someone in a full suit up here, but a tie & shirt or polo and khaki's is extremly common. Fayetteville is a bit different since it's a college town. Most people wear casual there. There's probably about 6 or 7 real upscale restaurants that require jacket and tie here.

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Where I live, in my small town northern MInnesota haunt, a lot of people wear suits with ties during the workweek just simply because they are white collar workers, but we also have a university, so anything is going to be more casual. We really only have a few nice restaurants, but a nice shirt with khakis or jeans would suffice.

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I have noticed in my travels that Milwaukee tends to be pretty casual, or at least business casual, while Chicago, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Louisville tend to be more formal for business people.

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Bay Area, definitely casual, especially Silicon Valley. Sure, you can find suits, but I don't see too many on the streets of my hometown! Been to a few city council special agenda meetings, and the officials were all very casual. Maybe that's typical though of city council meetings.....?

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Here in Orlando in the workplace, jeans are usually acceptable and the newer companys such as EA sports where they design video games, flip flops, shorts, t-shirts, caps are all acceptable, most employees there are 20 somethings. I work in the brokerage industry (behind the scenes) and jeans are acceptable but have to wear a shirt with a collar, polo or oxford, sneakers are ok, there are special tshirt or jersey days, hat days, tropical shirt days, etc.

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this is a strange discussion. not because it's not interesting, but because i've always thought of cities to be a combination of everything, from formal to casual and everything in between.

as for the work place... i work in a freaking college that freaking makes me wear a freaking shirt and tie!!! :angry:

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I can't imagine anyplace in California being that formal! Maybe in the OC or something I could understand, but Cali's always been the relaxed kind of place, especially by the coast. Even in the workplace, there's a lot of the high-tech companies that have casual friday every day.

NYC struck me as being pretty formal in a lot of ways (and yet, super casual in others), and the Dallas Metroplex always feels semi-formal to myself as well.

Arizona and NM both struck me as being "comfortable" - whatever you want to wear that's comfortable is the way to go. Montana was formal in its casualness - you feel out of place if you're not wearing jeans, a plaid shirt, and a cowboy hat (don't get me wrong, I thought Montana was a beautiful and friendly place).

Other than that - I'm not sure any of the other places I've been really struck me as being either particularly formal or informal as far as dress.

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In general I think the South places more emphasis on dressing "up". My experience has been that the midwest is very comfortable, CA is casual - but always image-conscious, and the northeast is chic.

I come from a very Southern family, and my mother and sister wear heels around the house. Not kidding.

I work for a southern university, though, and it's very casual here. Today, as always, I'm wearing a polo and jeans that have holes in the knees. :lol:

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^ I find the whole south pretty casual. Va Beach is very casual. At church on Sundays usually you will find anything from shorts to jeans to folks dressed up.

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^ I find the whole south pretty casual. Va Beach is very casual. At church on Sundays usually you will find anything from shorts to jeans to folks dressed up.

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I've been living in the Orange County, CA for 21 years. This is a very casual place. When I see someone in a tie, I figure he's a Jehovah's Witness or a Radio Shack salesman.

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I always thought New Orleans was very formal. Even in the heat of the summer, people wear coat and tie to lunch. When one of their old restaurant's quit requiring a coat for lunch, people were up in arms. You would have thought they killed Jesus. On Sundays, the city looks like a seersucker suit convention.

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