Table Manners & Dress code

There are many written and unwritten rules on being polite which confront us daily: etiquette. In the previous article, we talked about table manners and how to use cutlery correctly. In this issue, our focus is on table dressing. On special occasions, we like to decorate the table beautifully, but we do not always know if it is being done according to the right rules…



You can, if you want, display a tablecloth according to the occasion. Make sure it is clean and ironed. A one-color tablecloth with another color runner always works well. It is permissible for the linen to hang 20 centimeters below the table edge.


If you decide to use a service plate, the plate edge should be placed approximately an inch away from the table edge. A service plate is not required; it is usually used on special occasions only. The plates for the main course and the appetizer are placed on top of the service plate in that particular order.


If a table is prepared in advance, the cutlery is set in order of the served menu. Start your meal using cutlery from the outside. The dessert cutlery is placed horizontally above the plate. Make sure the cutting side of the knives is always pointed inwards. Nowadays, we opt for simplicity and the table is usually prepared for one course. Furthermore, a bread plate with a bread knife, a water glass, wine glass, and a napkin are also part of the simply prepared table.


Invitations often mention a dress code. Sometimes we wonder what is expected of us. Therefore, we explain the most common dress codes.


Black tie Dress code:

Semi-Formal, a short or long evening dress for ladies is required. The men wear a tuxedo.

Evening dress Dress code:

Evening, women wear a one-color ladies’ suit or a short or long evening/cocktail dress. Men wear a dark suit with a tie.


Cocktail dresses Dress code:

Cocktail wear, women wear a short cocktail dress and men a dark suit. Here one must be vigilant in terms of where the party is located; there is a difference between out of town and the workplace.

Walking Suit Dress code:

Business casual, here we talk about smart clothes for the daytime. This is mostly a suit for the ladies, pants, or a smart dress with tights. For men a suit, preferably dark blue or gray, with a shirt, tie, dark socks, and black shoes.

~published in Victuals Magazine: Second Edition; written by Chantal Rijker~

6 thoughts on “Etiquette: Table manners & Dresscode

    1. Thank you Helene! Etiquettes are the most forgotten part, hence the reason to write/publish about it.

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