This is the story of Barry Belvedere. Barry wants to go to a nightclub, but he’s not sure what he should wear. He read the dress codes on the club’s website, but he’s also been to clubs before and seen people breaking them. Barry is very confused, and we’re betting he’s not alone.
Trying to decide what to wear to the club can be tedious and overwhelming, not only because you want to look as good as possible so the 12 people who can see past the darkness, lasers, smoke and their own drunkenness will like you. You always want to be sure you get in.
Regardless of body type, what you wear to the club matters. And there’s nothing worse than getting to the front of the line and being told you don’t meet the dress code, except, you know, all the things that are objectively worse than that. But we’re here to talk about the dress code thing. So let’s get down to it and see what we can do to help Barry, and all the Barry Belvederes of the world, get into the club and get their smooth on.
What they say
The clubs all have their rules on their websites. We even like to list the obligatory “Establishment reserves the right to refuse entry to anyone not meeting dress code requirements.” It’s pretty important that they lay down the restrictions so your dad doesn’t show up in his khaki shorts and sandals+socks combo.
When Barry looked at the club’s site he saw clichés like “upscale nightclub attire” and the only slightly more specific “gentlemen must wear collared shirts and dress shoes.” The codes leave even more wiggle room than the dance floors. They also tend to specify no baseball hats or tennis shoes or ripped clothing or baggy clothing or lions or tigers or bears or saying “Oh my” unless you’re George Takei. That’s a lot of stuff you can’t do. But damn clubs, tell us how you really feel.
What they mean
This is the point where Barry went to his closet, stared at his wardrobe, looked at the tux he wore to his brother’s wedding, the suit he wore to his Bar Mitzvah and the cocktail dress he wore in college. But which should he pick? Which will get him through the door and which will get him some action? That is the question that’s worth only slightly more than the table fee.
The clubs put dress codes in because they want to keep everything as upscale as they can. To quote Omnia, “This journey is an occasion, so please dress for it.” That makes sense. Most people don’t make clubbing a nightly outing. It’s something special to do on vacation or when your BFF just got dumped and needs some rebound booty before the breakup box shows up. But what the clubs really mean is that they don’t want people to treat this place like it’s a bar. A nightclub isn’t a bar. It isn’t a place you decide to go when you want a drink. It’s a place you plan in advance and consider an adventure. You should look nice not because the people at the door are requiring it, but because you want to feel, in your own skin, like 007 has nothing on you. That’s how Barry felt when he looked in the mirror.
But what even is “nice”?
Yeah. It’s different for everybody. Some people think a pair of dark jeans with a collared shirt and some shiny shoes works just fine. Others want to go all out and rent a suit that would make Jay Gatsby’s head turn. Most people fall somewhere between wanting to get in the door and not wanting to stink at the end of the night because they wore a three-piece to a place with 300 people and poor ventilation. So when we say “nice,” we mean, if you wouldn’t wear it to make your ex jelly then don’t wear it to the club.
Exceptions. Because there are always exceptions.
While Barry was digging through his closet, he found something else that he thought might help guarantee him a great night at the club. Remember that Bar Mitzvah reference? Well Barry still had $200 left over from his. And if nightclubs have a favorite color, it’s green.
We’re not saying that you will absolutely get in if you flash some cash at the door. There are certain infractions that no club will let slide, like assless chaps or your favorite old T-shirt that glows under black light because of what you assure us are mustard stains. We totally believe you. But if you do want to slip some cash, remember that everyone else in line has the same idea, so don’t expect super special treatment unless you’re willing to pop for a nice table or you happen to have a new album dropping soon – that does not include your new mix on Soundcloud. And, of course, who you bring matters too.
If you show up with a crew of hot women in short skirts, you might have a better shot, but it all depends on the night. Clubs are all tech now and they can tell everything about the demographics inside. If you want you and your party to get in, the best bet is to look hot and not piss off the people at the door.
What not to do
Barry picked his outfit and met up with his boys. One of his boys thought it would be funny to dress weird when going to the club. That person is no longer one of Barry’s boys. Yeah, it seems fun. And yeah, there are places that will appreciate it. But nightclubs take things surprisingly seriously. Unless it’s Halloween or some specific party, they don’t want you being the “funny guy” in the club. They want you to be the sly one who spends a fortune. So don’t stroll up to the club in your pleather pants and ironic “This is what a Whovian looks like” T-shirt and expect to find the one promoter who’s willing to take a risk on you.
We understand it’s all very complicated and anytime you’re getting dressed up it can be stressful. So we’ll leave this section with some words of wisdom from a man who always, always gets into the club. “Be specific but not memorable, be funny but don’t make him laugh. He’s got to like you then forget you the moment you’ve left his side. And for God’s sake, whatever you do, don’t, under any circumstances…”
The bottom line, which is about as short as the hemlines on most of the dresses in the clubs
If you’re gonna go to a club then you best bring it. There is no reason to leave it in the hotel room. You got it so flaunt it and make the whole club buy vowels so they can say, “Daaaayuuummm!”
- Dresses = sexy but able to move
- Suits = cool and not at all funeral-esque
- Tops = nice collars, long sleeves, solid colors
- Bottoms = long and dark unless you intend to show off them thighs
- Grooming = you’re at least 21, you should – hopefully – have this one covered
- Goal = make your ex call you drunk after seeing the pics on Instagram
Here’s what Barry decided to go with… ladies.
Your outfit is ready; it’s time to pick your club. Hit up our Nightclubs Page for your choices.