Trying to decide which fabulous cafe or restaurant to visit is usually only half the battle, at least from a fashionista’s perspective – the other is what to wear

Although you don’t necessarily have to be a fashionista to revel in this as well, trust me, there is no better and quicker way to enrich your dining experience than by showing up in style.

‘What should I wear?’ is a question that slips off one’s tongue much too easily. In many circumstances, going out on the town is the perfect opportunity to have fun with your choices by wearing something funky and maybe even bold. Although sticking to classics and streamlined garments is always a great option too.

Of course what you end up wearing will be much dependent on where you decide to go and what the occasion might be, and what you choose to wear can sometimes also be determined and dictated by the menu and vibe of the place in question. Perhaps fitting in with the decor is your cup of tea, or you may take a note from other patrons as your form of inspiration.

To make your style and fashion choices a little bit easier, we decided to capture the street style of patrons at three Calgary hotspots to showcase how the current clientele are choosing to sparkle and dazzle. Dining should be an experience, so you might as well make it a stylish one.

Vendome Cafe

A gem in Calgary’s Kensington neighbourhood, Vendome Cafe is the perfect place to grab brunch with your girlfriends, or to simply enjoy some quiet time with a book or magazine. With its high ceilings, fantastic wood touches, beautiful natural light, and photo portraits that you can’t help but study in detail, the casual vibe also allows for a fresh, young and funky style that can be laid back at the same time.

As Miranda Botto shows here, leggings, a circle scarf, ankle booties and a funky oversized jacket are the perfect choices for Vendome Cafe, among many others. During my visit I saw everything from fur hats, slouchy toques, denim, dresses, patterns and all colours of the rainbow, all worn in varying personal styles that blended well with the coziness and warmth of the cafe.

Botto’s outfit was not only perfect for a Sunday afternoon at Vendome, but also full of versatile pieces that she will be able to incorporate into various outfit combinations, whether she’s coming back to Vendome or not.

The dark blue tone of her jacket is also perfect for its versatility and classic touch. Ankle booties are not only on-trend, but they work with pretty much anything, especially in a black or other neutral tone. Once again we see the circle scarf, which is a great winter accessory to incorporate into business casual or just casual. Botto also tops off her outfit with the addition of a bold red-orange lipstick that is stylish, trendy and always looks good, no matter where you’re heading out to – day, evening, casual, or formal.


Blink is the perfect mix of modern and classic, with a menu featuring local and fresh ingredients that change as often as fashion does – with the seasons. Over the past six years the restaurant has become a welcoming, comfortable and well-known locale on Stephen Avenue, and its loyal clientele have come to expect a certain caliber ofdelicious food. Add on an extensive wine list and fabulous dessert options, this place aims to impress. And with that ‘impression’ also comes a way to dress.

Even when you walk in for lunch mid-week, it becomes obvious that this is a place that attracts many business meetings and those working in the downtown core, which automatically puts a professional spin on the fashion choices.

For evening, Blink is an upscale dining experience where a cocktail dress can certainly make an appearance, although many other options remain open, and are not limited to a skirt/top combo, dress pants, blazers, and of course, the favourite little black dress which never fails to impress. As for the gentlemen, you can never go wrong with a suit and tie, no matter what time of day.

What’s great about Blink is that although you can dress to the nines, a more business casual option is also appropriate, which is exactly what Christina Cleveland decided to go for. She put together classic pieces in bold colours, a fantastic circle scarf and a funky pair of patterned tights to add some splash and unexpected fashion flair to her ensemble. She keeps her look streamlined with black flat boots that are versatile and perfect for skirts and dresses, and an oversized Michael Kors tote that is appropriate all year round and will never go out of style.

A fitted pencil skirt, no matter what colour or tone, is always a great choice and perfect for both work and Blink.

Model Milk

Model Milk’s three tiered layout always makes for a great place to enjoy one of their delicious cocktails while people watching, especially if you’re on a mission to spot trendy and stylish Calgarians. With its exposed brick, the feel of the restaurant is hip and relaxed, leaving much room for fashion choices to be explored and shown off.

So when a restaurant declares that they are “unique…featuring a fresh, local and innovative menu,” it certainly sets the tone for unique and innovatively dressed, and that’s precisely what I was able to spot from my bar view of the entire space. It only took a few minutes to notice and meet Thomas Robert Lee with his stylish and stand-out moustache, perfectly coiffed hair, and streamlined, yet effortlessly casual, outfit.

Gentlemen – and ladies too – a sleek pair of black pants will never steer you wrong; you can always choose to dress up or down as you wish. Ladies, this is a great and subtle way to showcase your legs, especially when you tuck your top in and add a pair of heels to elongate your legs.

What’s so good about the pant choice here is that many outfit options can be formulated, as they can be worn with a t-shirt, sweater or blazer, for a combination of looks that would all work wonderfully at this restaurant. As a huge fan of layering, I’d recommend bringing a cardigan or blazer, not only to complete the fashion equation, but also for practical reasons in case you get chilly.

Lee chose a two-toned checkered shirt that is by nature quite casual, although by tucking it in, it makes his look a bit more formalized.

A great way to expose your funky boots is to give your pants a slight roll, and Lee does just that to draw attention to his fabulous and winter-perfect shoe choice. If you’re rocking some art on your arms, roll up your sleeves too.

The most impressive part about Model Milk – aside from its cuisine and sleek interior – is the fact that you can dress to impress in whatever style truly want to embrace.

The little black dress. Jeans. Or a checkered top. You can find all of these here, and much, much more.

Photos by Aldona Barutowicz

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