Taste of the Nation Is Thursday. Whatever Will You Wear?

 Photo: Share Our Strength

Photo: Share Our Strength

San Francisco's Taste of the Nation is Thursday, March 23 at City View. If you like to eat, you should grab a ticket. It's a chance to geek out over the top chefs in the city and sample bites from the best restaurants, all while supporting Share Our Strength (SOS).

Why does SOS matter? Because one in five kids in America doesn't get the food they need everyday. In San Francisco, that number is one in four. Through the No Kid Hungry program, SOS has distributed more than 500 million meals nationwide to kids. Taste of the Nation SF raises approximately $250K annually to help low-income families and children get healthy meals. So while you're grazing your way through amazing nibbles at City View, you can also help feed a family in need.  

Now that we've covered the philanthropic aspect of the event, let's get to the question that's surely plaguing you: what do you wear to Taste of the Nation? Since I'm in my fifth year attending, I have lots of opinions on this matter. Let's start with fellas.

 Photo: Suitsupply. 

Photo: Suitsupply. 

Guys, City View is going to be crowded. Not only do you have about 1,200 guests in the space, there are also the chefs, the volunteers, the tables with all the food, and the heat lamps and kitchen-y thingamabobs to keep the food warm. It doesn't matter how much the venue blasts the AC, the space is warm. Plan accordingly. 

Most fellas wear a suit or jacket for TOTN, but this is an event where anything goes. If you want to wear jeans, you'll be fine. If you want to wear a tux, people will tell you that you look dapper. Now that it's spring, if you have a linen or seersucker suit, I would strongly recommend bringing it out. Think light, breathable textiles. Easy peasy.

Shoes are up to you. Do the sneakers and suit combo. Rock loafers sans socks. Just stick with shoes that you can stand and walk in.

 Photo: The Reformation

Photo: The Reformation

Ladies, your choices become a little more complicated. (Is that ever a surprise?)

A lot of women attend this event immediately after work, so they're wearing something that's pretty and professional—usually a dress or a skirt and cardigan combo. As I mentioned previously, it can get warm, so I highly recommend layers you can peel off. (If you want to ditch a jacket or sweater, there is a coat check.) Most of the women who attend are in day dresses or cocktail dresses, and—given the amount of food you'll probably consume—you might want to stay away from super-binding styles. (A-line, fit-and-flare, and wrap dresses are solid bets.) For a happy medium, think print cocktail dress instead of sparkly cocktail dress. I like prints because they mask food and wine stains if you get bumped in the crowd. And you will probably get bumped in the crowd.

As always, there will be people who dress up and people who dress down. If you want to wear a ballgown, by all means do so. Similarly, if you love pairing joggers with heels, keep doing you. 

 Photo: Rebecca Minkoff

Photo: Rebecca Minkoff

I recommend accessorizing with a crossbody bag or a wristlet since you'll want both hands free for plates and glasses. There are limited tables and seating areas at the venue; go in with a plan to eat while standing. While a work tote may keep your hands free, you'll have a harder time maneuvering through the crowd with a large bag on your shoulder. If you're coming to the event from work, throw a small crossbody bag into your work tote, and check your tote when you arrive. A clutch will also work, but keep in mind that you'll be squeezing under your arm throughout the party.

 Photo: Cole Haan

Photo: Cole Haan

 

Finally, there's the issue of footwear. Due to the limited amount of seating, you should anticipate standing the entire night. If you can stand and walk comfortably in your stilettos for three hours, go ahead and wear them. If your favorite shoes should be admired while you perch on a settee, please realize that no one will see them at TOTN. Do yourself a favor: wear comfortable(ish) shoes. Closed-toe might be preferable given the number of people in the space.

Taste of the Nation is one of my favorite nights of the entire year. Ticket prices—$250 for VIP, $150 for General Admission—are reasonable, and the food, wine, and cocktails are fantastic. Most important, it's a wonderful cause that helps people right here in San Francisco. So get dressed up, enjoy a night on the town, and give back at the same time.

Taste of the Nation is Thursday, March 23 at City View in the Metreon building, 135 4th Street. VIP admission starts at 6pm, and general admission starts at 6:30pm. Enjoy a 15 percent discount on tickets with the code FRIENDSANDFAMILYSF.