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The dress code is not dress down: Why Seattle should dress up from time to time

There is a time place to be casual, but if you're headed to fancy restaurant, you might want to consider a suit and tie. (AP Photo/File)

Suit up, Seattle. It turns out, Seattleites are saying there is a time and a place for t-shirts and sandals and it's not all of the time.

It's something that Leslie Kelly pointed out in her recent rant in Seattle Magazine, and KIRO Radio's Tom & Curley went right along with it. While you might expect John Curley, who wears a suit just about every day to work, to be a lone crusader for a more formal Seattle, even his more casual counterpart, Tom Tangney, agreed.

Kelly was at the Seattle Metropolitan Grill when she saw the offender that prompted her to go on a dress code tirade. He was wearing shorts, a t-shirt, flip-flops and he walked through the restaurant carrying his leftover electric blue Gatorade.

"I appreciate the casual atmosphere of Seattle, but I agree if you're going to go out to a nice restaurant [the man's appearance] could be disconcerting," said Tom.

"It's the same way if you looked over at someone blowing their nose into a napkin. Aesthetically, it's offensive," said John.

And despite the belief that Seattle lacks a dress code - John thinks the idea is passé. "That's going out the door, it's so late 90's, early 2000's."

More and more people are caring about the way they look - at the Met Grill, at the Seattle Opera, even when they go to work. You certainly don't score points at job interviews when you show up in flip-flops and shorts.

John recalled a post in the back of a creative magazine for a job opening and underneath the job's description it said "goatees need not apply."

"That was written in 1997," said John. "They basically get to a point where there are so many people with so many goatees. It loses whatever the effect is. Whatever statement you were trying to make, (it) has been made. Move on."

And that's how it is with your casual get up at a restaurant where you drop a few extra bills - not just for good food - but for ambiance. Or when you attend the ballet. Or you show up to the job interview. Your message about how casual you are has been sent. Move on.

The Tom and Curley Show on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

Listen to Tom and Curley every weekday at 9am on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. Seattle's News, Seattle's Talk.

Tom and Curley on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

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About the Author

Alyssa Kleven is an editor and content producer at She enjoys doting over her adorable dachshund Winnie - named for Arcade Fire front-man Win Butler.


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