While nightclubs generally welcome clientele from a diverse section of the population and may not publish an official dress code, club goers often maintain certain expectations of dress and appearance from other patrons. This expectation varies depending on the club theme and any published requirements, but certain attire suggestions apply regardless of the club rules.
Women Dress to Attract
While the particular rule of dress certainly varies from club to club, one universal truth applies to female nightclub patrons: the cuter and more attractive, the better. Miniskirts and cute, feminine blouses commonly serve as the default attire for ladies, though some girls may choose to spice up their appearance with bright, colorful accessories. The lighting in nightclubs is rarely conducive to showing off small, subtle items like diamond stud earrings or dainty bracelets, and this visual shortfall gives rise to the greater popularity of oversized accessories like necklaces, pendants and rings. Clothing and accessories should be conducive to easy movement during dancing and should not be thick and heavy to encourage perspiration in an already warm environment. For this reason, linen is an ideal fabric for pants and tops alike, though ladies should use caution to ensure the thin fabric does not make unwanted revelations. Miniskirts and silk blouses may be the norm for almost any club, though pants and even dresses may better suit nightclubs with varying atmosphere. In general, female club goers should steer clear of jeans and, especially, tee shirts, though this selection may be somewhat more acceptable (and more at home) in a country-and-western-themed club.
Men Dress to Impress
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Just as ladies visit nightclubs with the objective of attracting a male partner, many men visit nightclubs with hopes of taking home a female counterpart at the end of the evening. To facilitate this task, club savvy men often employ dressy—and sometimes flashy—clothing designed to attract a lady’s attention and convey a message of confidence. In most nightclub environments, dark wool, cotton or synthetic slacks mate well with a button up shirt. Gentlemen in nightclubs should use caution to distinguish between button-up shirts appropriate for nightclub wear and the dressier, somewhat stodgier button-up shirts intended for professional office wear. Club shirts are often somewhat flashier than professional wear and may have a sheen designed to reflect club lights, and generally come in colors that a professional would typically not wear in an office environment. In some circles, a polo shirt may be appropriate for nightclub wear and may be mated with dark or khaki-colored chino pants for a casual, relaxed appearance. Like ladies, gentlemen should avoid blue jeans and tee shirts for nightclub wear unless the club theme makes such attire relevant (country bars and western-themed nightclubs, for example, often see men in jeans, boots and western-themed button-up shirts).
Respect the Club Rules
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Attire is, of course, a matter of personal choice and self-expression. While clubs often encourage patrons to dress according to their own personal style, some nightclubs post and enforce strict dress code regulations. High-end clubs, for example, commonly prohibit tattered clothing and branded tee shirts, as some club owners feel these clothing articles detract from the club’s prestigious atmosphere. Regardless of the type of club or the article of clothing, club goers unfamiliar with a particular club should verify dress requirements before heading out for an evening of fun.
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Keith Evans has been writing professionally since 1994 and now works from his office outside of Orlando. He has written for various print and online publications and wrote the book, "Appearances: The Art of Class." Evans holds a Bachelor of Arts in organizational communication from Rollins College and is pursuing a Master of Business Administration in strategic leadership from Andrew Jackson University.