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Is it OK to wear a bra while dining out? Restaurant sparks controversy

An eatery reposted a photo of a popular blogger promoting its new nighttime scene. A fierce debate quickly ensued.
what's appropriate out to eat
Meshki/Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

If there's no posted dress code, then what isn't appropriate to wear when dining out?

A restaurant's recent Instagram post has sparked a fiery debate about how little is too little to wear when going out for a meal. Australian food blogger Karylle Banez, who is known to her 60,000 followers as Karylle Eats, partnered with a café in Adelaide to promote its new dinner menu. The original photo she posted doesn't stray from her typical posts: she's often seen posing at a table full of food, dressed in a trendy crop top, with a dazzling smile.

But when the restaurant Fine & Fettle shared the shot across its own social media platforms, it sparked plenty of comments from those who were either outraged — or very much in support of the snap.

Many of the restaurant's followers on Facebook found Banez's outfit (a white mesh bralette is visible in the photo) to be offensive and off-brand for an eatery that's popular for its morning and afternoon fare.

"I think u have done a very poor job marketing what did not need a girl in a bra," one outraged individual wrote on the restaurant's Facebook page. "You need to understand your target audience and it’s not great when your food is served with a half naked person at the table ... The girl is beautiful just not in the right spot!"

Others chimed in saying that Banez pictured dining alone in that particular outfit wasn't the right fit for Fine & Fettle. Said another poster, "It’s meant to be promoting a restaurant not a night club. Nothing against the girl she is stunning but I don’t think it’s the right image for a restaurant."

One person even said that the promotion made the café look like "a Gentleman's Club."

As of Monday afternoon, TODAY Food was unable to reach the team at Fine & Fettle, but on Facebook, restaurant management politely clapped back at harsh critics in the thread, reminding followers that Banez "is a real person, with real feelings."

"It was never our intention to offend, however, we also do not appreciate this type of offensiveness from our community. Karylle is not only a lovely person, but has always been a great supporter of Fine & Fettle," said the restaurant. "We do not discriminate full stop. Everyone is welcome to wear what they choose and should not be so superficially judged," they wrote — adding that this particular promo was targeted towards the restaurant's new nighttime scene for dinner and drinks.

More people have since voiced their support for both the restaurant and Banez.

"1. Karylle wears fashion and this is fashionable at the moment - [sic] get with the program. 2. Women can wear what they want - I don’t know Karylle personally but I see her as a body-confident woman who loves food," one person wrote and added Fine and Fettle had "gained a customer" for its stance.

"It’s not a bra it’s a top. She’s famous on instagram for this sort of thing. She goes around Adelaide restaurants looking hot and promoting. Get over it," another advocate wrote.

The bralette Banez is seen wearing in the photo is by a brand called Meshki, which is known for its generally tiny tops and short dresses — and, of course, some select items of lingerie. According to its Instagram, its clothes have been worn by plenty of celebrities, including the Kardashian-Jenner sisters, supermodel Bella Hadid and singer Ariana Grande.

This isn't the first time these trendy bralettes have ignited controversy over what is and isn't appropriate to wear in public.

In March, a woman named Emily O'Conner came forward after an airline crew threatened to remove her from a flight if she didn't cover up the bralette top she was wearing with high-rise, loose-fitting pants. And one high school student recently pointed out a double standard in her school's policy when the administration rejected her yearbook photo because a bralette was showing from beneath her shirt.

And its not just students and younger women who have stirred up controversy for their supposedly provocative outfits. In April, a Texas mom was turned away from enrolling her daughter at school for wearing a T-shirt dress and a headscarf.

When it comes to evolving fashion trends, it's apparent that controversy is definitely still in on the menu for what's considered appropriate.