Dress Codes in Clubs: A Defining Judgement

Nathan Clare


Having been away from clubs for so long it has allowed me to think about certain parts of the industry that I love. One of those things that recently came to mind was the idea behind the dress code for clubs and what exactly it stands for. The idea for this piece came from having recently cleaned my wardrobe and finding myself throwing out almost a full drawer of jeans and jean shorts which are compulsory if you wish to gain access to several venues in Dublin City back when clubs were open. I haven’t touched most of these clothes in a year and a half because of the pandemic since I only ever wore them to be allowed into venues. 


Personally, I would love for the dress code for clubs to be abolished although I don’t think that will happen anytime soon. When you think of high-end clubs or more formal venues that would prefer to be branded as a commercial space or act as a multipurpose venue. While I can understand the dress codes being in place it isn’t something I would entirely agree with. 


Although that may be the case, I do believe that there is room to improve with underground clubs and how they approach their dress code for entry to their spaces. When many of these places talk about inclusivity and wanting to be perceived in a communal or family manner, I feel dress code is warranted to be acknowledged and practiced for gigs, or at least to be more cautious in future. Dress codes at its most extreme can come across as stereotypical, discriminatory, and classist. Examples of this may include people not being admitted to clubs for not wearing certain branded clothing or footwear which is more common than people would think in Ireland and the UK. 


Music is a form of expression. Fashion is one too. What one wishes to wear should not directly influence where they may choose to go and enjoy themselves on a night out. I think it should be a personal choice on whether people would like to be as creative or mundane with their dress sense as they would like without the negative prejudice that may be associated with certain fashion choices. It should not make a difference if someone doesn't want to put much effort in or too much effort into their dress sense providing that they are comfortable in what they are wearing. 


Another variable like weather seems unlikely to be consideredregarding these types of clothing limitations with events too which is unfortunate. The optics of a gig starting early in the evening on a summer’s night and every male attending is required to wear a form of slacks, jeans, or trousers. It makes for a squirmy and uncomfortable experience at best and I would much rather be able to wear something more comfortable while still being able to enjoy myself at said event. 


As someone who places a lot of importance on my nightlife experience on the people, places, and music that I consume and associate myself with it would be such a shame for specific clothing items to be required which ultimately would result in being a potential barrier of access (and possibly having to disregard many forms of spontaneous, last-minute night out decisions in future) due to this would be extremely upsetting. Discussing these things and asking these questions is nothing but healthy for the industry because at the end of the day people want to be able to enjoy themselves and be comfortable in doing so.