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How to Dress When Going Out to a Club?

Choosing a club outfit seems so easy for some people; they look effortlessly cute and cool every time they go out on the town. While that ease may have something to do with intuition and natural style, it’s primarily a result of trial and error.

a cowded nightclub full of people

If you go out frequently and try different club outfits, you’ll learn quickly what works in that setting and what doesn’t. What to wear to a club depends on the seasons, the type of club you’re going to, and your personal comfort.

Here, we’ll give you some tips and essential, common-sense advice inspired by real-life experience. We hope you enjoy our club outfit ideas.


Why Some Clubs Have Dress Codes

Traditionally, clubs have enforced dress codes to ensure the right environment in the establishment. Many club owners felt that anyone who shows up looking rough or shabby might be prone to undesirable behavior. 

a packed nightclub with a dress code

Nightclub dress codes also exist to give the club an air of exclusivity. If getting into a club is difficult, people assume it’s a high-end experience, and will want to find out for themselves. 

Not all clubs have strict dress codes, but most have some kind of dress code or expectation of what patrons should wear. 


What to Wear to Clubs (For Men)

When choosing a club outfit, men generally have fewer choices than women. While this simplifies things for guys, it can also make it hard to find the happy medium between standing out and trying too hard. Here are some tried and true tips: 

Elegant dressed men with whiskey at night club

Suits

Yes, you can wear a suit to a club. However, you don’t want to look like you just stepped out of a salesman’s convention at the Best Western. A flattering suit with a young, modern cut can give you a successful, upscale vibe without aging you or dulling your look.

four handsome good-looking men in elegant classic suits in a club

A dark color, like black or navy, is your best bet, and you can pair it with a white shirt for contrast. Skip the tie, and leave the two top buttons of your shirt open. 

A suit is a choice you’ll want to reserve for a nicer-than-average club. It’s likely to look out of place and not be appreciated at a more casual club or one that has a very young clientele. 


Jackets

If you’re going to wear a jacket to the club, a simple yet chic blazer is your best bet. Once again, darker colors tend to look the most sophisticated.

young bearded man in denim jacket in club

If you’re going for an edgier, bad-boy look, you can go with a leather jacket instead. Just be sure that whatever jacket you pick has a slim, streamlined fit. A bulky jacket obscures your lines and looks awkward. 


Button-up Shirts

When putting together a club outfit, button-up shirts are a great, practical choice. These menswear staples are acceptable attire at most standard clubs and versatile enough to style in various ways. The top ways to wear button-up shirts include pairing them with fitted designer jeans or chinos. 

man putting on a button-up shirt before going to a club

The great debate over whether to wear a shirt tucked or untucked will always continue, but for a casual club setting, untucked is generally preferable. 


Overshirts

Overshirts can make good clubbing outfits when layered over another shirt, usually a tank or slim T-shirt. This layering effect can work well for guys who want to make their upper bodies look wider or who don’t feel confident enough to rock a form-fitting T on its own. 

a man wearing an overshirt to a club

It’s also a great opportunity to mix things up in the color department. Your over-shirt can be a standard dark color, while the shirt underneath can bring in a brighter hue. 


Fitted T-Shirts

A fitted T-shirt is a must-have if you’re putting together a stylish summer outfit for the club. They’re comfortable, show off your body, and keep you cool while you’re moving around socializing and dancing. 

young man wears a classic cotton black fitted t-shirt to a club

While a classic cotton black T-shirt is the men’s version of the little black dress, feel free to get creative with colors and patterns.

New designs that include various fabrics like mesh, lace, and satin have been popular in some trendy clubs. It all depends on your personal style and comfort level. 


Pants

When choosing pants for the club, you have a few good options. 

a man dressed in pants going to a club
  • Chinos. Chinos are classic twill pants that you can wear in different types of clubs, from casual or dressier environments. They’re comfortable and usually kind to your shape, so they’re a good choice if you don’t like how super slim-fit jeans look on your body. Pick a color like dark gray, tan, or olive green that goes well with just about any color top. 
  • Jeans. While not usually an option for higher-end clubs, jeans are perfect for casual venues. Just remember to pay attention to how they fit you, and the color and wash of the jeans. You want to look stylish, clean, and sexy, not like a dude checking out lumber at the hardware store. Choose a slim fit in a darker color. Lighter washes are okay with some outfits but tend to look more casual. 
  • Trousers. If you’re going to a sophisticated, upscale club, trousers are the most appropriate option. With a pair of dark trousers, a button-up shirt, and a nice blazer, you don’t have to worry about getting turned away at the door. 

Footwear

Shoes are often an afterthought, especially for guys, but if you’re going to a decent club, people will likely notice what you have on your feet.

A pair of soft mens loafers on a chair

Most club dress codes ban open shoes like sandals and flip-flops, so they’re off the table unless you find out the club you’re going to explicitly allows them. 

  • Loafers are the safest option for the club. They’re soft and comfortable, and you’ll find it easy to dance in them for long periods. Once considered a strictly casual look, loafers now count as dress shoes, at least in American culture. 
  • For a clubbing outfit, sneakers are a “maybe.” High-quality designer sneakers can look great with fitted jeans in a casual or urban club setting. That doesn’t mean they’ll meet the dress code at every club. Many upscale nightclubs won’t allow sneakers at all, so check beforehand. 
  • Boots can be a good choice, particularly for winter club outfits. They offer ankle support and can look on-trend as long as they’re the correct type. Steer clear of anything overly bulky that will make it hard to dance. Your safest bet is Chelsea boots. You can wear these lightweight, slip-on ankle boots with a range of outfits, from casual to formal, and they look good on just about everyone. 

Accessories

For men, it’s best to go with a minimalist approach to accessories for club outfits. Over-styling with things like scarves, lots of jewelry, or expensive sunglasses will usually become an annoyance, bogging you down with excess “stuff” when you want to be free to dance and socialize. 

bar guy wearing hood and sunglasses accessories

If it’s a formal club, a pocket square in a bright, eye-catching color can add excitement to a monochromatic trousers-and-jacket combo. A high-end watch can add an air of sophistication and some masculine bling to your ensemble.

If you wear your shirts tucked in, you can get creative with belts, adding a colorful or printed belt to a low-key dark-colored outfit for fun. 

Hats have gone in and out of style on the club scene for decades. The consensus is that hats are a no, and most clubs do not allow you to wear them inside. 


What to Wear to Clubs (For Women)

Now, let’s demystify club outfits for the ladies! 

Jackets

Jackets can not only look super-cute, but they can also help keep the chill away on a nippy night out or add some coverage to that daring dress you don’t feel 100% confident about. 

young lady wears jacket in a club

Try a short leather jacket over a bodycon dress or with a white tank and slim ripped jeans. You can also choose a long, flowy satin jacket over a tank and jeans or a fitted jumpsuit. 


Dresses

A bodycon dress is the most common type of dress to wear to a club. “Bodycon” is another word for form-fitting. These dresses can be made of various materials but are often somewhat stretchy.

Young woman at the night club in blue dress

A simple bodycon dress is standard attire for clubs of all kinds. You can get crazy with color if you like to stand out or wear classic black. The choice is yours! 

Another option is a classic black minidress if you feel comfortable wearing one. It could be tight-fitting or loose, whatever you think it’s best. If you just don’t know what to wear, you can’t go wrong with this option.  


Rompers and Jumpsuits

Rompers and jumpsuits are another excellent choice for what to wear to a club. Like dresses, you don’t have to worry about matching top and bottom, but unlike dresses, rompers and jumpsuits can offer a bit more coverage and can be more comfortable to dance in. 

woman wearing red jumpsuit

You have so many choices with these pieces; wide-legged, flowy jumpsuits give a vintage 70’s vibe, while short rompers are perfect for showing off toned legs.

You can go crazy with the choice of colors and materials, too. Just be sure to choose one that’s sexy and upscale. You want to look like you’re clubbing, not curled up watching Netflix. 


Bodysuit

Standard bodysuits cover only the upper body and torso, like a ballet leotard, and are worn with jeans or other pants. Full bodysuits are just what the name implies; Catwoman-style suits that hug your curves from top to bottom. 

woman wears black bodysuit

These bodysuits have become a staple clubbing outfit, and they’re available in all sorts of gorgeous varieties, including those with lace, sequins, or cutouts that show plenty of skin. 


Button-down Shirts

Girls can wear button-down shirts just as well as the boys! You can wear these on their own or unbuttoned over a tank top.

button down shirts for women on  a rack

Pair them untucked with leather pants or jeans, or tuck them into slim women’s trousers. Delicate materials like silk and satin can elevate this look for wearing to upscale clubs.


Skirts

Skirts are very versatile pieces of clothing. Pretty much anything you can wear with pants to a club, you can also wear with a skirt. Button-down shirts, tank tops, bodycon tops, midriff tops, you name it. 

young lady wear denim skirt

Usually, for a clubbing outfit, you either want to go short or long, not in between. A long skirt can look glamorous, especially if it’s slit. 


Pants

When it comes to pants, women have many of the same options men do for club outfits. Women’s jeans, chinos or trousers all work fine for a club.

womens pants on a rack in a store

You can also wear pencil pants or capri pants. You’ll want to check with the club you’ll be going to and confirm their dress code. Not all clubs allow jeans.


Footwear

When deciding what to wear to a club, footwear often causes the most headaches. You want to look cute and have your shoes complement your outfit, but you also want to be able to dance and walk without pain.

Woman choosing many shoes for night club

If you’re the kind of person who has no problem getting around in high heels, you have virtually endless options. However, if you find that heels don’t offer the support you need, you can go with shorter heels (two to three inches ) or platform heels.

Platforms may seem a more risky choice, but they provide more support and balance than traditional heels. Boots can be a cute addition to winter club outfits.

Ankle boots look best with trousers and chinos, while short skirts and jeans complement knee-high or thigh-high boots. If the club you’re visiting allows sneakers in its dress code, a high-quality, on-trend pair can complete your casual clubbing outfit.

Just bear in mind that if you’re planning to wear white sneakers, they might have a different color by the end of the night. 


Accessories

Keep accessories simple. An easy-to-carry small clutch or cross-body bag, your favorite simple jewelry (maybe some hoop earrings or a tennis bracelet), and, if it applies, a belt that matches your outfit.

woman wear expensive sunglasses accessories in a club

You don’t have to bog yourself down with heavy jewelry, scarves, and other items that will reduce your freedom of movement. 


How to Choose What to Wear

Choosing what to wear to the club depends on a few different factors. 

Dress Code

As discussed earlier in this article, most clubs have dress codes, and those codes vary. A club can be casual, business casual, or even formal, although formal clubs are much rarer than others. 

Sign outside a nightclub indicating dress code

Atmosphere

The atmosphere makes a lot of difference when deciding what to wear to a club. Even when clubs have no official dress code, they will have a certain ambiance. Is it a younger or older crowd? Mainly working class or white collar? Country, suburban or urban? 

young girls and guys in a club wears dress code

Gay clubs, theme clubs, or clubs that cater to a specific ethnic culture (like Latino, South Asian, etc.) can also have different clothing norms than a generic club. 


Season

You’ve probably seen women standing outside a nightclub, waiting for their ride, freezing in tiny dresses and short jackets during the winter. Maybe you’ve been one of those people yourself. It’s no fun! 

woman wears pink coat at a night club on winter

If you’re going to a club in winter, you can look good without completely sacrificing your comfort. There’s nothing wrong with wearing a long, warm, stylish coat to a club.

Many of them have coat rooms, so you don’t have to carry it around all night. Long-sleeve dresses or tops in warmer materials are also great choices during winter.

For women, thick, insulated tights or hoses can save the day. The summer season can be a challenging time to stay comfortable on the dance floor.

A stylish summer club outfit should be breathable and cool. Most short, sleeveless dresses work fine for women, while guys can keep sweat at bay with chinos and a fitted t-shirt. 


Quality

When it comes to what to wear to a club, quality counts. Many people want to buy a few classic pieces they like to wear while clubbing. They like the durability and look of these higher-end pieces. 

Female friends enjoying wine in night club wears quality dress

In the other camp are (mainly younger) people who frequent clubs and prefer to buy fast fashion and other economy clothing. They like the fact that they can afford a variety of looks and swap them out as trends change,

Both choices are good. You can always recycle and donate clothing you no longer want. 


What to Avoid Wearing When Going to a Club

  • Poorly made, ill-fitting clothes
  • Worn-out or stained clothing and shoes 
  • Out-of-style clothing
  • Athletic wear like loose T-shirts, sweatshirts, or sweatpants
  • Very light colors (because of possible staining) 
  • Uncomfortable shoes; unsupportive shoes like flip-flops
  • Anything you feel very awkward or self-conscious about. It will cramp your style and prevent you from enjoying yourself. 
happy people wears trendy dress in a club

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about what to wear to clubs. 

Should I always bring along a pair of comfy shoes?

It’s not a bad idea, especially if you’re wearing heels, and you anticipate having to walk anywhere. 

How do I find out what dress code a club has?

Some clubs have their dress code on their website. You can also ask people who have been there or call the club directly. If in doubt, business casual wear is acceptable at most venues. 

Are baggy clothes unsuitable for clubs?

In club lingo, “baggy” is an umbrella term for ill-fitting and unstylish clothing. Of course, not all clothing with a loose fit falls under this frumpy banner; plenty of designer clothing is baggy.

It all depends on the quality of the outfit and how you style it. It also depends on the preference of the doorman/doorwoman.

Why are hats often not allowed in clubs?

Hats are considered a security issue in clubs. It makes sense that at a crowded venue, people want to be able to see and identify the faces of other folks in the room. 


Final Thoughts

I hope you’ve gotten some valuable tips on what to wear to the club. If you still have some questions, leave them in the comments section.

All that’s left to say is to stay safe and drink responsibly!

Written by Paul Kushner

I have always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. My restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time I turned 17 I was serving tables, and by 19 I was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, I opened my first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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