Image: Dark three-piece suits with club-collared shirts and striped tie, black-tie, spread-collar with spotted bow tie and flannel pants, ascots, heavy wool blazers with collar pins lifting four-in-hand knots, highly shined black cap-toes, argyle sweater vests and ties with small nouns on them.
Image: Navy double-breasted blazers, white pants, Bengal striped shirts, yellow ascots, yachting caps (seriously), ribbon jackets, anchor patches on blazers, and bold primary colors, drinking rum or Champagne.
Where it may have gone wrong
Because most of these organizations are populated by middle-to-late-aged Baby Boomers who brought us the 1960's rejection of decades of formality, there is often little pleasure taken in dress code adherence. Weddings and parties rented out to people unaffiliated with the clubs usually have better dressed guests that the club members themselves. The same demographic that invented and implemented indulgences like "casual Fridays" has no interest in the formality of those who survived the Depression and the Second World War, and possibly resent it. This voting block ushered in Country Club by-laws establishing "casual dining" and "grill room dining". The sad result is that jackets and ties are left only for the "Main Dining Rooms" which once required reservations, but are now thinly populated and pleasantly without televisions above the bar. A note-worthy feature of a restaurant these days requires pants in non-denim and with dress shoes, and a sleeve or jacket requirement places a restaurant at legitimate risk of bankruptcy. Certainly most eateries should NOT have dress codes, but when a clothing standard is dangerously close to a business death-sentence, it points out that perhaps we have gone too far in one direction. Considering too, how many actual cultural restrictions of conduct and custom we adhere to in restaurants, hostile resistance to clothing requirements seems infantile and overly precious.
"My whole childhood was spent getting lectured about dressing right. When we went to DC we were dressed up even though we were young and just going to museums. My parents are both still teaching at [university] and [same university's medical school], but along with all of the faculty they always wear the minimally formal clothing with white sneakers to restaurants and the like. Once [their demographic] got in charge it was regular wearing of what they used to call "play clothes" when I wore them with sneakers, jeans, teeshirts. I'm the only one in a tie during holidays and its by my own choice!"
Tread not dandily