How Men Should Dress For A Club In 2023: 36 Night Out Outfits
For all its positives and potentially life-affirming moments, the club presents an array of possible problems when it comes to your wardrobe. Here's how to dress in a stylish yet practical way.
Deciding what to wear in the club in 2023 isn’t as easy as you might first think. It’s not just about looking or feeling your best – you need to consider practicality, too. For all its positives and potentially life-affirming moments, the club presents an array of possible problems when it comes to your wardrobe.
There’s the endless opportunities for spilled drinks for example, which could easily ruin that new shirt or your suede boots, or the possibility of your phone falling out of your perfectly-fitted chinos pocket mid dance move.
In short, you need clothes that feel good but which also perform. Below, we set out exactly what those pieces are, offer some foolproof styling tips and tricks, as well as provide some example club outfits that work for every man.
How to dress for a club: styling tips
Stick to darker colours
Darker colours in the club just make sense. If you’re stuck on what to wear, or you just fancy keeping things simple, this is the way to go. Think about it. Dark, monochrome outfits are nearly always cooler than those made with lighter shades (just ask the Parisians), and suit the louche feel of after-hours partying. They also won’t be illuminated by any UV lights, so you won’t stand out like a one-man beaming light source on the dance floor.
But perhaps the best thing about shades such as black, navy, charcoal and khaki green is that they hide stains well, meaning you can go about your night without fear of spilled drinks.
Don’t wear your Sunday best
A fairly obvious point, but one many men often forget. For a place with so many risks and variables that are out of your control, it’s only right that you avoid wearing your very best clothing. That means, of course, your favourite new silk-blend shirt is out, as is that lightweight cashmere sweatshirt and those tailored cotton suit trousers. One slight spillage, a drunken tumble or god forbid, a scuffle, and those pieces are consigned to the back of your wardrobe forever.
Instead, prioritise stylish pieces in rugged fabrics that will stand up to a beating: indigo selvedge jeans, cotton canvas overshirts, loopback sweatshirts, pique cotton polos, leather jackets… items which are classically stylish yet easy to clean.
Dress appropriately to the venue
Of course, there is more than one type of club. There’s your small-town, sticky-carpet venue with cheap drinks and even cheaper music. At the other end of the spectrum, there’s your fancy city club, with restricted entry, a strict dress code, pricey cocktails and perhaps even a rooftop terrace. And there’s everything in between – from rock ‘n’ roll clubs through to throwback 80s-themed nights.
The point is, every one of these affairs requires a slightly different approach. The fancy club, for example, might require a collared shirt or even a blazer, but wear that to an indie night and people will be asking you if you were in The Libertines.
Keep in mind the vibe of the respective club you’re heading to (check out their social media accounts if you’re unsure), and dress accordingly.
You might have guessed it by now, but a lot of dressing for the club is about practicality and prevention. You want clothing that looks good and then you forget about, so you can get on with enjoying the night.
This means fabrics that are durable, dark colours which don’t show stains, and secure pockets to keep your personal items safe. A pair of jeans, for example, with its tight curved pockets, will secure a phone far better than a pair of chinos, with their slanted side pockets. The same applies to lightweight jackets. Look for one with zipped or buttoned pockets, which will ensure your keys or wallet stay safe and sound, regardless of how many pints you’ve had.
Key clothes that work for a club
Dark jeans are your best friend when it comes to club night dressing. Whether slim or straight fit, black or dark blue, they’ve got you covered from first drink at the bar to fifth shot on the ‘floor.
They’re versatile and go with anything; dark denim rarely shows up spilled drinks; and jean pockets are perfect for keeping your phone safe all night long.
Wear yours with a simple plain tee and minimal leather sneakers, or dress them up with a crisp Oxford shirt and loafers.
It can be difficult to know what to wear on your top half on a big night out. It’s likely to be pretty warm inside the club, but what about afterwards, when you don’t know where you’ll end up? And what about your essentials – surely it’s better to take a jacket than carry a bag?
This is where a lightweight outerwear comes in. Think a denim jacket, cotton chore coat, nylon bomber or even an unstructured blazer for upmarket venues. You want it to be made from a lightweight fabric that doesn’t weigh you down and cut so that a tee or polo shirt can be layered underneath with ease.
A simple, utilitarian alternative to the lightweight jacket, the overshirt (or work shirt) is an excellent option for late-night drinks.
Simple, practical and lightweight, the overshirt can be dressed up or down to suit the venue. You’d be hard pressed to look sloppy in a black overshirt with two buttoned chest pockets, worn with black jeans and a dark grey T-shirt. Wear it open with the sleeves rolled for a more casual night out, or button it up for dressier affairs – you’ll look great every time.
Black leather sneakers or Chelsea boots
When it comes to everyday sneakers, we’d usually recommend white. But, if you’ve read this far, you’ll know that’s a shade that’s best avoided when dressing for a club.
Black leather sneakers lack the versatility of their white counterparts, given that they only tend to work with monochrome fits. But for the club, their dark shade and clean, minimal look makes them ideal for teaming with black jeans, tees and work shirts.
They’re also a comfortable choice (great for those all-night sessions) and can pass for a relatively smart shoe in dim lighting conditions, so they tick all the boxes.
For those dress codes and venues that require a little more sophistication, look no further than the Chelsea boot. Sleek leather versions in black and brown are not only practical but will bring a sense of refinement to any outfit, along with a little bit of an edge, which is ideal for a club setting. Able to be dressed up or down with ease, Chelsea boots look just as good with black jeans and a leather jacket as they do tailored trousers and an unstructured blazer.
Go-to club night outfits for men
Arguably the easiest way to dress for a club – and certainly one of the most stylish options – has to be all black. Although it can appear a little stark during the day, at night an all-black outfit comes into its own, affording you a rugged, rock ‘n’ roll edge that simply can’t be replicated with other shades.
It also works in virtually any club environment. From sticky carpets to the VIP section, a black-out look consisting of jeans, a tee and a bomber jacket or work shirt will look great every time.
Chinos with patterned shirt
Ah, the ‘going out’ shirt. For so long the preserve of groups of lads in pointy shoes and matching haircuts – the kind you tend to hear before you can see. Said shirts would be business-like in cut and fit, with stiff collars, long cuffs and featuring offensively loud, colourful patterns that would clash with virtually everyone else on the dance floor.
While the execution of these shirts may have been questionable, there’s no denying the appeal printed shirt. Clubs are supposed to be fun after all, and what better way to show you’re there for a good time than to wear an equally ‘fun’ shirt? Stay on the right side of tasteful by going for a suitably playful cut, like a Cuban collar or open neck shirt, and picking a subtle pattern in a muted, complementary palette.
Anchor it with black or navy chinos and you won’t go too far wrong.
Trousers and a T-shirt
Smart but not too smart, a classic trousers and T-shirt combination is great when you want to step things up a little. The look’s success all comes down to fit. Avoid going too slim and opt for trousers or chinos that are straight cut with a slight taper, which will flatter most body shapes.
Similarly, the tee should be slim but not tight (no matter how hard you’ve been working out), with no pulling across the chest or shoulders.
Denim on denim
Double denim is a classic look that works surprisingly well at the club. Just make sure you don’t go too matchy with the shades. For a foolproof approach, combine black with blue denim, either a black jacket and dark blue jeans, or the other way round.
Keep it simple with a T-shirt underneath, or smarten it up slightly with an Oxford shirt, and you’ve got a rugged, versatile fit that will see you through to the early hours in style.
Workwear is named as such because it’s practical for working in. You know, proper manual labour like mining, factory work and mechanical jobs. At least, that’s what it was originally intended for. These days, its rugged, practical nature appeals to men from all walks of life.
As you’d expect, given its heritage, it’s a style of clothing that makes light work of clubbing, thanks to features like multiple pockets (for storing your personal items), hardy fabrics (that don’t mind a spill or two), and its traditionally dark and muted palette (to keep you looking cool through the night).
Take the core elements – jeans, overshirts, chore jackets, flannel shirts, heavyweight tees, leather boots, Henley tops, worker pants – and mix and match them as you see fit.
There will be times when smarter clothing is required for the club. However, you need to get the balance right. Go too formal with a lounge suit and tie and you’ll look like you came straight from pulling an all-nighter at the office. But don’t be shy of tailoring separates. Breaking up your two-piece instantly brings the formality down and stops you from looking too corporate. This goes double if your jacket and pants come in Italian-esque unstructured cuts and more relaxed fabrics like flannel or cord.
Try a pair of black wool trousers with a dark grey textured blazer and a knitted tee or polo, and you’ll be the best dressed guy popping bottles.
The leather jacket
For the ultimate in louche, late-night dressing, look to the leather jacket. Evoking icons of the past, including Steve McQueen and James Dean, a well-fitting leather jacket is perhaps the coolest piece you can bring to the party.
Go for a classic motorcycle silhouette, like an asymmetric perfecto or a minimal cafe racer style, and wear it with black/blue jeans, a grey T-shirt and leather Chelsea boots for an edgy look that oozes masculinity.