WHO DRESSES FOR DINNER?

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The Causerie Restaurant, Claridge's Hotel

The rule of jacket and tie at all times has become more relaxed. The public rooms require smartness without formality; the restaurant remains firmly jacket and tie. Those who come without a tie are invited to choose one from a selection held at the door - "all very fine ties". The restaurant used to ask any gentleman who removed his jacket during the meal to put it on again, but this practice appears to be dying out. The recalcitrant "star" who came in less-than-formal clothes would be admitted, but respectfully asked to improve next time.

The Ritz

Tries very hard to ensure no denims or trainers. Smart casual is the norm for breakfast, while at lunch, tea, and dinner, jacket and tie are mandatory. A spokeswoman draws attention to 20 silk Turnbull & Asser ties, and a selection of jackets, for guests who do not provide their own. Ladies' only requirement is to be smart: "It's hard with the ladies, but we tend not to like making an issue of it."

The River Cafe, Hammersmith

Owned by the wife of the architect Sir Richard Rogers, and one of the most fashionable restaurants in London, it has no code at all, but a spokesman did indicate that bare chests would not be allowed, "although people haven't actually started stripping off", he adds.

Quaglino's

Terence Conran's central London restaurant also has no code, although most people tend to come in looking fairly smart. "If you came here in shorts and a T-shirt, people would probably think you were a little strange," a spokeswoman says.

Beverly Hills Hotel, Los Angeles

Certain obligations remain sacrosanct. Jackets are compulsory after 7pm,while shorts are only allowed on the patio at lunch, and tennis shoes not at all. "People are very educated about dress," a manager says, although celebrity guests are given some leeway: "We have to be diplomatic."

Jimmy's Bar, Newcastle upon Tyne

One of a growing number of bars banning trainers and tatty or torn denim. No

visible tattoos are allowed, either. "We're fairly long established here," says the manageress, "so the majority are aware of the rules, which in any case are guidelines only."

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