Let’s get the elephant out of the room first shall we? The U.K as a whole is known around the world for its terrible clubbing fashion. A name it doesn’t deserve, and is pretty unfair in most cases. Yes, the average 16 year old girl living in rural Great Britain will spend her first clubbing years dressing like the girls she sees on MTV. Unfortunately the girls on MTV have not lived off a steady diet of potatoes their entire life, something our poor 16-year-old is not aware of. She will happily go out with her love-handles folded neatly over a mini-skirt she could not even pull off if she lost 10 kilo’s, horrifying the tourists unlucky enough to catch a glimpse. And thus the story gets sent across the world.
Truth of the matter is, if you aren’t dressed properly there is a very big chance you will not even be allowed to enter the club. Especially in London (like most world capitals) there is a certain dress code you will need to adhere to if you want to go clubbing. So disregard whatever you’ve heard from others and stick to this list. You’ll have a great night out and won’t have to worry about standing in line for an hour to be send away at the door.
LEAVE YOUR TRAINERS AT HOME. I do not know where you are from, but this is the biggest faux pas possible in most clubbing areas of Europe. If you are wearing trainers or any kind of sport shoe you will be sent away from the door. As a general rule of thumb all sportswear should probably be left at home. Although most bouncers can see the difference, shoes that might be mistaken for trainers (Vans, Converce, slip-on deck shoes etc.) can still merit you being sent away. Black or dark shoes are best. For the sake of completeness we will also mention not to wear heavy boots, but honestly, it is safe to assume you wouldn’t be reading dress code guides if you were planning to go out in those.
Again, leave your sportswear at home. Jogging pants and tracksuits will get you sent away as quickly as trainers. Wearing shorts should be avoided too, unless it is a particularly hot summer. Just wear a nice pair of jeans and you’re golden.
A shirt with a collar is probably still your safest option. Although there might still be stories about bouncers sending away people wearing shirts with a deep v-neck we would be very much surprised if that was still the case today. Try to avoid shirts with offensive slogans or club logos. They might get you send away, or get you into a fight. Jumpers and sweaters are fine too, but might get very hot if the club is busy or when dancing. A nice button up shirt is always a safe option.
Jacket or coat
Especially during winter London can get pretty cold. Wearing a coat or jacket to head out clubbing is normal. Most clubs will have a (mandatory) cloak room where you can leave your jacket for a pound or two. You will get a ticket stub to collect your coat when you head home. Take good care of it. If you lose it many clubs will force you to wait until everyone has left to reclaim your coat (this to prevent theft).
Stick to these rules and you will have a great time while clubbing in London!
Robbert Sas is a professional blogger and permanent traveller who writes here on behalf of the London nightlife experts Inside LTL http://www.insideltl.com