What To Wear To Clubs: The Universal Nightclub Dress Code

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The definitive guide for nightlife fashion explaining exactly what to wear to get into the best clubs faster & cheaper! Straight from a nightclub promoter.
What to wear to Clubs  The universal nightclub dress code

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Have you ever waited on line at a popular club for hours, only to be haggled at the door with ridiculous cover charges? Have you seen other guests cut the line ahead of you and skip through the velvet ropes? The culprit here may be your choice of fashion, so this will be your definitive guide that covers everything you need to know about “The Universal Nightclub Dress Code.”

The first thing to understand and accept, is that your outfit should match your expectations. Besides the music or the ambiance, popular clubs tend to be popular because of their reputation for having a great looking crowd.  This is not just because beautiful people flock there, it is because the venue is more selective about who may enter.  
I’ve worked in the nightlife industry for over 6 years, and you would be surprised at how many people that I have seen arrive thinking it’s ok to wear a white tee, blue jeans, and old running shoes to the club!
Although most venues don’t explain it in detail, there is a “Dress Code” and standards for nightlife fashion that will help you get into the best clubs easier and cheaper.
The rules tend to vary slightly for men and women. So we’ll cover recommendations for each gender, and kick things off with the gents since we tend to struggle a bit more in this arena.

What Men Should Wear To A Club

Guys should always wear business casual to parties at the very minimum. A button-down shirt or v-neck with fitted jeans and shoes work well. A blazer is ideal, goes with almost any outfit, and gives the impression that you have a little money in your pocket, which venues unanimously love. If you love special treatment, go all out and wear a business suit.

Absolutely do not don athletic wear or construction boots. Those are the items that will likely get you turned away at the door unless you are immediately asking to pay for bottle service, which trumps all dress codes.

Here are some examples of the best options for men to meet nightclub dress code standards:

Business Wear/Formal Wear – The Absolute Best Choice for Men

“This is your best shot at the VIP treatment without buying a bottle or paying cover! Oh, and ladies love guys in suits.”



Business Casual – A Blazer Makes A Big Difference

“You will get past the bouncers no problem, but may have to pay cover”



Urban Fashion – Fresh and Clean is The Key

“You will likely have to pay a higher cover, and carry some bottle service money just in case”



5 Important Tips For Guys

1. Wear a blazer (any color, but blue or black are best to avoid stains)

2. Wear a button-down shirt, v-neck, or crew cut long or short sleeve shirt (any color)

3. Wear a nice pair of jeans or slacks (slight rips are ok, but don’t overdo it)

4. Fashion boots or shoes or the best options (no construction boots or sneakers)

5. You can never go wrong with a business suit and shoes.

What Women Should Wear To A Club

Very often you may find that dress codes are more flexible for ladies than for men. Nevertheless, ladies should dress in business casual or cocktail attire. This could mean a nice fitted shirt or blouse and slacks or fitted jeans, which you can match up with heels or flat shoes. I highly recommend a form fitting dress and heels for a sexy and fashionable look to increase your odds of skipping lines and being treated to free libations, 

Unlike gentlemen, ladies can often get away with high urban fashion styles, casual wear, and sometimes athletic wear if the outfit looks amazing. Even a pair of sweats and heels may go over well if you pull it off right. Nevertheless, I still do not recommend athletic wear since that style is highly subjective and depends greatly on the bouncer’s preference, the venue, and the night.

Here are some examples of the best options for ladies to meet nightclub dress code standards:

Cocktail Attire

“You can never go wrong with a black fitted dress with heels!”



High Fashion/Business Casual Wear

“You can never go wrong with grown and sexy!”


Photo by Alessio Cesario

Urban Fashion
“A killer look when done right”


5 Tips For Ladies

1. Dresses are your friend. A little leg goes a long way. (Enjoy the advantage, this doesn’t work so well for guys.)

2. A blouse with a fashionable jacket can keep you in your comfort zone. But keep your eyes on your coat!

3. Tight-fitting jeans or slacks (Feel free to rip and show a little skin)

4. High heels or flat shoes

5. You can never go wrong with a short tight dress and high heels.

Practical Tips For All

Since styles come in many shapes and forms, these examples I gave you are just to give you some perspective on the looks you are going for. If you go for a style that you feel is a little out of the norm, here are a few general tips that you should consider before you walk out that door. These focus more on your own personal comfort and experience, not just what the club wants.

1. Business Casual wear is comfortable and will get you into most clubs. That’s your go-to.

2. Cocktail Attire is the best option to stand out from the crowd.

3. Avoid light colors to avoid visible stains! It just takes one spilled cranberry with vodka to ruin your night!

4. Although light colors aren’t recommended, colorful tops grab attention and stand out in the crowd. Just make sure you are at peace with it if it gets thrown up on.

5. Always go for “Sexy But Classy.” I’ve actually seen ladies turned away from clubs for exposing too much. Also, as you surely know, some people don’t know how to act when they see a lot of skin. I’ve had to come to the rescue quite a few times when foolish guys step out of line. We’ve all been there.

Bonus: What You Should NOT Wear To Clubs


Finally, what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t tell you what you should not wear to clubs? In general, athletic wear is not welcome in nightclubs. Anything else depends upon the style of the club and location. For example, in Brooklyn or the Bronx, construction boots are considered fashionable. This is not the case in Manhattan.

So to play it safe, here is a shortlist of items that you should NOT wear to clubs:

1. Athletic wear such as sweatpants and hoodies  (You are not hitting the gym, it’s a club)

2. Work/Construction Boots (No one likes getting their toes crushed or floors getting marked up.)

3. Running or basketball sneakers  (Yes, that includes foams, Jordans, and Yeezys. Everyone knows they are expensive but still, NO.)

4. Graphic shirts with cartoon characters (Don’t attempt to wear a Star Wars unless you have real fashion skills to make it work.)

5. Anything that is so expensive that you would cry if you lost it.

I personally had my Louis Vuitton scarf and multiple phones snatched up. There are people who actually come to the club just to steal luxury items and are waiting for you to have that momentary distraction. Just ask the girl I met one night crying because someone stole her mink fur from the coat check.

The doorman is watching you, well not just you but everyone. Understand that the job of the doorman at most club venues is to make sure that a certain “look and feel” of the crowd is maintained, and often this is exactly why the venue is in high demand. People normally love to be in a place where they feel everyone has to try a little harder, be it a restaurant, a travel destination, or an event.

Now there is more flexibility when people look like models, and when I say models I mean tall, slim, and HOT. And yes it sucks, but unfortunately, the European/Western image of beauty is still dominant in many places including nightlife. So if you are a normal human, such as I am, then take 15 minutes to throw on that blazer and shoes or dress and heels. It’s an investment in the success of your night.

Don’t be that guy/gal that shows up looking like you just came from the gym, look like the guy/gal that just came from work at the office or stepped off the runway. My motto is, “It is ALWAYS better to be overdressed than underdressed.”

Follow my advice and I guarantee that you will not only get into nightclubs easier, but you will also get more attention from others, have promoters at these venues inviting you back, and the best nights out across the board!

PS: In case you are wondering what I wear to clubs? Ask anyone, I’m in fashionable business wear at all times. Here’s a quick look from my Instagram page at one of the styles I wore while promoting at my nightclub for Halloween. 😉

If this article helped, please comment below and tag me in your stylish pic on Instagram @nezalpha and use hashtag #alwaysthevip.

If you would like to get your style featured in this or a future article shoot me a message!

Cheers to your great night out!

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