Does deciding what to wear out to dinner stress you out?

You’re not alone. A new Nordstrom Trunk Club study reveals that half of Americans admit deciding on an outfit is the most stressful part of dining out

Chicago, Ill., Sept. 10, 2019 -- While going out to eat might seem like a simple way to enjoy a great meal with good company, a new study reveals that the entire dining out process, from choosing where to eat and what to wear, is stressful.

A poll of 2,000 Americans, conducted by One Poll on behalf of Nordstrom Trunk Club a personal styling service, discovered sixty-five percent of those surveyed said they felt overwhelmed when choosing what outfit to wear to a restaurant. Additionally, one-third of those studied believe choosing what to wear is more difficult than deciding where to eat.

When asked what are the most stressful parts of dining out, respondents shared choosing what to wear is more stressful than making the reservation.

“It’s clear we’re all struggling to find the perfect outfit when we’re dining out and feeling pressure,” says Maggie Mee, head of merchandising for Nordstrom Trunk Club. “Forty-one percent of people said they felt pressure to look stylish going out to eat. Fashion and food both change with the seasons, you can easily reinvent classics with creative twists. Both should be fun and enjoyable.”

So, if Americans are feeling this style pressure, how are they deciding what to wear when dining out?

They are wasting a lot of time. About half of those surveyed admitted when choosing an outfit for a meal out, they:

  • Stare blankly at their closet wondering what to wear (51 percent)
  • Try on more than half of their closet trying to create the perfect outfit (46 percent). 
  • Ask a friend for outfit advice because they feel so lost (47 percent)

While they are stressed about what to wear, there’s a general consensus on what not to wear. Seventy-two percent agree they would never wear flip flops or sandals to a restaurant.

“About one in four of those surveyed admitted they’ve skipped going out to a meal because they couldn’t find the right outfit,” added Mee. “No one should miss an event because they can’t figure out what to wear. Next time you feel that worry, think about using an expert Nordstrom Trunk Club stylist to create an outfit to help you feel confident that your look is appropriate for the occasion and is uniquely you.”

So, how are people choosing where to eat?

People are thinking about what they want to wear before choosing a restaurant. Two in five reveal that what they want to wear influences where they choose to dine, and 36 percent choose the restaurant based on its dress code.

Many approach their restaurant decision with concern about damaging their clothes. Thirty-seven percent worry about spilling on their outfit.

Which is why the Americans studied revealed they avoid certain types of food and restaurants because they don’t want to deal with staining their clothing. Thirty-eight percent avoid wine bars while a further 37 percent avoid coffee because they don’t want to deal with a coffee stain. It’s no surprise that nearly half (47 percent) would have no idea what to do to remove a coffee stain from their clothing.

The study also revealed the following lists of stressors.

Forty-one percent of those studied revealed they feel pressure to look stylish when going out to eat while a further 33 percent think their friends are incredibly stylish and want to keep up with them.

The struggle to find something to wear is so real that 32 percent admit to not feeling confident in their own style while another 31 percent don’t think others will even like their outfit choices.

But, a solid three in 10 of the people surveyed are guilty of not liking any of their clothing options currently in their closets.


Feel pressure to look stylish when going out to eat 41%

Think my friends are incredibly stylish and want to keep up with them 33%

Don’t feel confident about my style 32%

Don’t think others will like my outfit choices 31%

Don’t like any of my clothes 30%


Picking what to wear 50%

Coordinating my accessories with my outfit 38%

Not spilling anything on my outfit 37%

Making a restaurant reservation 35%

Anything and everything 28%


Flip-flops 38%

Sandals 34%

Sweatpants 32%

Shorts 30%

Hat 29%

Tank top 28%

Leggings 28%

Cargo pants 28%

Overalls 28%

T-shirt 26%

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