While standing in line to get a bagel at 8:15 A.M., bright and early in the heart of one of the trendiest transplant neighborhoods in New York City, I realized I was severely underdressed. In line behind me was a girl ten times cooler than I am, wearing crochet leg-warmers, a metallic designer headband and a pair of pink satin Tabi ballet flats. The usual outfit I wore to scurry downstairs to get breakfast — a collegiate t-shirt and faded grey sweatpants with a weird stain on the butt-pocket that wouldn’t come out no matter how hard I tried— wouldn’t cut it anymore.
Decried on the internet, long gone are the days of fast-casual dining. Since the turn of the pandemic, restaurants, and, in turn, what you wear to them, have arisen as a newfound status symbol for anyone who’s online. It’s not uncommon to find models-off-duty in head-to-toe Diesel munching on calamari at Fanelli Cafe in SoHo or TikTok micro-celebrities in matching clean-core-aesthetic-cool-girl-soft-life uniforms of choice romping around the West Village in search for their new summer watering hole. The common thread? An emphasis on an unspoken ‘if you know you know’ uniform
All across Los Angeles, New York, Paris, and countless other fashion-adjacent cities, trendy restaurants have transcended their reputation as simply another place to grab overpriced dinner and drinks in dim-lighting. They’re a place to be seen. After an essay by Elle.com editor at large Faran Krentcil went viral amongst the small-but-mighty New York fashion scene, it just propelled the phenomenon to even greater heights.
While, sure, you can make the argument it’s always been like this (who can forget the early-aughts days of celebrities being paid to host their birthdays at Tao or Sugar Factory?), the normal, non-Kardashian crowd wasn’t able to slip past the server’s stand into the arms of fashion elite quite as easily as it were today. With the touch of a button and an alarm set for 12 P.M. on a random Monday afternoon, you too could be whisked away into stardom by simply lounging around a restaurant in an outfit that costs nearly twice-as-much as the total bill.