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How To Dress For A Club Like a Boss

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The mass production of COVID-19 vaccines have given us hope that there is now an end to the pandemic in the near future. Knowing that we will eventually be able to go back to our old routines and activities means we can now start making plans with friends and family.

Going to clubs was expectedly one of the first activities banned during the pandemic. All our plans of getting drunk with friends in our favorite clubs were put on hold. Now that there is an end in sight, we are free to think about these things again. Before we go to the club, we need to worry about getting back in shape, relearning all our classic dance moves, or even listening to trendy music again.

Getting our outfits ready for a night out is a start. If you aren’t sure what to wear, we have created a simple guide to dressing up for the club to help you.

Dress Code

Have you ever walked into an event and quickly realized you were underdressed? Those dirty looks you were getting from your bosses or family members are probably something you wouldn’t want to see again. Very few things are more awkward than arriving at a black tie party wearing shorts or missing a business meeting because you were wearing sneakers. Being overdressed for an occasion is slightly less embarrassing but is still something you would rather avoid altogether.

Your outfit is what gives a first impression to anyone you meet at the club. Knowing how to dress right for the occasion is one of the most important life skills that you can learn. By dressing appropriately, you can make sure that you are never out of place. It makes you look attentive, self-aware, and responsible.

Dress Codes in Clubs

While parties, weddings, and corporate events will usually include a specified dress code in the invitation or email, clubs are not as formal about it. Sure, some establishments will have a poster of clothing that are not allowed inside, but for the most part, club dress codes are unwritten rules. Knowing which clubs have a formal, casual, or no dress code at all is usually a product of experience. If you are going to a particular club for the first time, you can look it up online or ask around to see if they have a specific dress code.

If you are still not sure what dress codes are comprised of, we have compiled a list of the most common dress codes you will encounter.

Streetwear

Streetwear is a wide style of fashion that generally includes anything that follows current pop culture trends and is worn casually. This can range from sportswear, jeans, t-shirts, to hoodies, shorts, and sneakers. Anything that you will normally see outside on a daily basis can most likely be considered streetwear. This is the easiest dress code to adhere to as you are guaranteed to have more than enough options in your closet.

Smart Casual

This style is a combination of business and casual wear. Also known as dressy casual, smart casual outfits take your regular everyday wear and upgrade them a bit to adapt to more formal or professional occasions. For example, a pair of regular denim jeans can be paired with a button-down shirt and a sportcoat. You may also opt for vests or shirts and ties, and finish off the look with loafers or boat shoes. A dress shirt, blazer, or polo shirt will also do just fine with slacks or khakis. In colder climates, a coat will also be a good addition.

A smart casual outfit is basically any type of outfit that will be deemed acceptable in the workplace but will also not be overdressed in a casual meeting or date.

Semi-formal

A semi-formal outfit is almost anything that will be slightly too formal to wear to work everyday, but also less formal than something you would wear to a formal function. The most common examples are a business suit and tie, or a dress shirt, tie, and slacks. Dress shoes are customary for semi-formal events. These are the outfits you would typically wear to a corporate event or meeting or most weddings and engagement parties if you are a regular guest.

Black Tie

For black tie events, you will need a black tuxedo, white formal shirt, and a black bow tie. This includes cufflinks, shirt studs, a cummerbund or vest, and all the works. Black dress shoes are also a must. In some situations, the hosts might request or allow for other tuxedo colors in which case you will be free to choose for yourself. It is, however, important to note that bright, flashy colors are often frowned upon. More adventurous guests may opt for different color ties or cummerbunds as long as the event allows it.

Dressing Up For The Club

When choosing an outfit for the club, there are a few things you need to remember. First, clubs have different levels in terms of price range and patronage. You need to know whether the club is low or high-end. This usually dictates the dress code of the establishment. The more expensive the place, the more formal the dress code.

Local pubs and college bars will let you in as long as you are not wearing anything too crazy. Most of the time, casual wear and anything after that is good enough to get in. Sportswear is typically frowned upon in most clubs but some places will allow it. More high-end clubs and speakeasies will have a stricter dress code. Smart casual might be enough to get in some places, but others will require at least business or semi-formal attire. In exclusive clubs, you may need a suit and tie or tuxedo to be allowed to enter.

If you don’t have the time to do the research or need to come up with an outfit on short notice, we got your back. We made a list of possible outfits you can wear to the club on any occasion.

Top

Your top is typically the most noticeable part of any outfit. Cheaper pants or shoes can be understated enough to remain unnoticed, but a bad top will always draw attention.

Tuxedo

This is peak formal wear. A tuxedo is customary during formal events and exclusive cocktail clubs, wine bars, and gentlemen’s clubs. A black or white tux will get you through most occasions unless the hosts decide on an unusual color scheme. Tuxedos can get very expensive, so it is usually practical to only own one.

Tuxedos can make you look extra dapper for a night, but try not to wear them to local pubs, dive bars, or college bars. You will just get a bunch of weird looks for being overdressed.

Dress Shirts

Dress shirts are one of the most versatile tops you can own. Paired with a suit, they can get you into semi-formal and some formal events. On their own, they will still do well in semi-formal, smart casual, and casual settings. Wearing a dress shirt to any type of club is a good, safe choice. For higher-end clubs, you can just add a tie.

A white dress shirt is the most common, but other pastel-colored shirts are also great choices if you can pull them off.

Jackets

A good jacket goes a long way towards improving any outfit. When your outfit is borderline casual and smart casual, a clean jacket is usually enough to get it over the hump. When trying to get into a club with a light dress code, you can just put on a good jacket together with a clean shirt and decent jeans or slacks. A sport jacket or trench coat can get a little pricey, so you may opt for cheaper brands and just choose a good, clean style.

Shirts

Shirts can range from casual to smart casual depending on the style and design. For low-end clubs, any shirt that doesn’t have offensive prints or text on it will do just fine. You might have a favorite band shirt or a top with pop culture designs that you think are conversation starters. You can wear those to try and meet people in college bars and dive bars.

Bottom

A good pair of bottoms is perfect for complimenting your favorite tops and accessories. Pants, slacks, and jeans are all common bottoms worn in clubs and bars. If you aren’t used to dressing up for the club, we have some suggestions on good bottoms to wear on your night out.

Pants

Leather pants may not be as trendy as they were 30 years ago, but they can still pass in a club or pub setting. Paired with a decent top like a good jacket, coat, or shirt, these pants are still a viable outfit choice.

Denim jeans are arguably the most versatile type of pants. These classics can mesh well with a wide array of tops and accessories. When going to a club with a casual dress code, jeans are the perfect bottoms to go with. Practical, reliable, and understated, a nice pair of jeans can go a long way.

Slacks

A little more formal than jeans or leather pants, slacks are still quite versatile bottoms. These are perfect for polo shirts, button-downs, sport coats, or vests. If you want to be a little more upscale, a dress shirt will take your outfit up a notch. While subtle colors are the norm for slacks, you are free to experiment a little bit when going to a club.

Sportswear

Typically frowned upon in formal and semi-formal settings, sportswear can still pass in sports bars or college pubs. In most clubs with no strict dress code, you will not be judged for coming in wearing a tracksuit, joggers, or even a hoodie. While sportswear is not as professional as other outfits, it is still just understated enough to keep a low profile when getting a quick drink or hanging out with your buddies.

Shoes

Shoes are the least noticeable part of your outfit inside a bar, but that does not mean you can slack off with your choices. Slippers and slides will not be allowed in almost any club. Sneakers and slip-ons are fine in cheaper bars and pubs with no dress code. For high-end establishments, however, you will need to have boots or dress shoes. Color usually does not matter unless you go to one of those exclusive clubs with a black tie or formal dress code. In those situations, you can’t go wrong with a black or brown pair of formal shoes.

Your choice of shoes for a night at the club can be a combination of practicality, aesthetic, and budget. There is no need to purchase high-end brands when you can get similarly modest formal shoes within your budget.

Accessories

Accessories are an important part of any outfit. The right pieces can accentuate your look, making it sleek and classy, while the wrong pieces just end up making it tacky. If you are not confident with your ability to mix and match accessories with your outfit, we have come up with a few tips to help you achieve the look you want.

Belts

Traditionally, belts are not the most flashy accessory out there, but they can be the highlight of any outfit when done properly. The right belt can turn a boring polo shirt and slacks into a smart casual getup. A classy belt can turn a cheap suit into a Wall Street executive look. If you are not too confident in your current outfit, you can put on a crazy belt to draw attention to that accessory instead.

For a more in-depth take on finding the right belt for your aesthetic and budget, we also have a guide on some of the best belts available for men.

Watches

In a bar or pub where most of the attention is focused on drinks and food, a watch can be the most important accessory to have. A great looking watch is always a good conversation starter. If you have a suit, tuxedo, or smart casual style on, a classy watch can take it up another level. For a casual outfit, sport watches are enough to complete your look. In terms of practicality, having a watch also means you can keep track of how late it is and whether it’s time to call it a night.

It is important to take note, however, that a watch might be a hindrance or even a hazard when you are on the dance floor in jam-packed clubs. In those cases, it is probably best to leave your trusty watch at home.

Chains/Necklaces

A good chain or necklace can turn a boring outfit into a trendy cool one. If you think your all-black leather outfit is too bland, try wearing a shiny gold chain to accentuate it. A classy necklace can also enhance a simple jeans and shirt combination, making it look more expensive than it really is.

Frequently Asked Questions About What To Wear To The Club

How do I choose a club to go to?

Before you can decide on your outfit for the night, you need to know which club you are going to. Location is an important detail as you would not want to travel too far away for a night out, and your friends will probably not want to do the same. Choosing a place that is somewhere in the middle for everyone is the smart option.

Budget is also an important factor in choosing a club. If you are going with friends, family, or a date, you need to take into account how much each person can afford so that no one feels alienated. Don’t go to a high-end club where you might end up spending a month’s rent on a single night of drinking and dancing. Know your budget, company, and find a good place where everybody can have fun.

Are all clubs about drinking and dancing?

Clubs have different types of activities, so choosing the right one is key to enjoying your night out. If you prefer chill places to have conversations over drinks, pubs and gentlemen’s clubs are good choices. For people who want to dance and rave all night, there are also many nightclubs made for partying and music. These places are also great for meeting new people and making new friends. Other clubs still have in-house bands and acts, if those are the types of entertainment you want.

A quick internet search or asking for recommendations from friends is a good start in choosing the right club to go to.

How can I avoid being overdressed or underdressed?

Knowing the kind of club you will be going to is key. Understanding what kind of clientele who frequent it will allow you to dress up accordingly. For high-end establishments, you will need to dress up to at least a semi-formal, maybe even formal outfit. Local, mid-range places will let you in with a casual or smart casual outfit as long as you are not wearing anything offensive or too suggestive.

The rule of thumb is that it is better to be overdressed than underdressed when going to the club. Being overdressed might get you some weird looks but being underdressed might not let you get into the establishment at all.

A Final Word From The Trending Man

Going on a night out to the club is an exciting activity to do alone or with friends or family. A good outfit will give you confidence and will make you look like you know what you are doing.

Choosing the right outfit is a mix of practicality, style, and environment. As long as you do not break the dress code, feel comfortable with what you are wearing, and are dressed for the weather, you can wear whatever you want. Do not be afraid to experiment with different styles.

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The Trending Man

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