What To Wear On A Night Out

Probably going to House

Probably going to House

I’ve been doing a lot of lifestyle stuff recently, so this week I’m going to throw it back to my roots and bring you a style guide that might come in handy on those su-hum-er ni-hi-ights (tell me more.... you get the idea). A bit of good weather puts us all in a good mood and makes us want to go out on the town more and more (just ask my liver and my debit card). But when it’s finally time to get away from your desk and hit the town, what do you wear? Whether you’re hitting the pub, the club or going for dinner with your significant other, I’ve got you covered here. The name of the game is to be comfortable and stylish while being appropriately dressed for your chosen venue.


Now, these are just guidelines to help take the stress out of picking an outfit for an occasion. There are no set rules on what to wear and where to wear it and everyone has their own style and personal preferences when it comes to fashion, but I’m a guy and I know that my housemates and I have all had outfit anxiety before hitting the town as I’d imagine most of the people reading this have. So, you do you, but if you get stuck then you might find the following somewhat helpful.



The Pub


We all love a good beer garden so this is probably the place you’ll go most often this time of year. You can drink, you can chat, you can watch the World Cup and you’re probably less concerned with your outfit than you would be if there was a nightclub or restaurant involved. A casual night out in the pub requires an outfit that fits the vibe of your surroundings, but you generally can’t go wrong with a pair of nice, comfortable jeans or chinos matched up with a well-fitting shirt or t-shirt. Layer it up with an open shirt if you’re into that sort of thing. No blazers, no roll necks, no OTT unless you’re moving on to something else afterwards. Same rule applies for what to wear on your feet. Unless you’re heading somewhere where you’re going to be dancing and trodden on all night, you can really wear whatever you want, so long as it fits in with your casual vibe. A nice pair of clean trainers or Chelsea boots will do the job here. If the weather isn’t still glorious when you’re reading this, then you might need to bring a jacket. If you do, then make it something nice and relaxed, like a bomber jacket or a denim jacket and away you go. Just don’t overdo it on a school night.


The Club


What do I wear to a club? Short answer: it depends on the type of club. Long answer: read on... As we all know, there are different kinds of clubs. There are clubs that won’t let you in for wearing trainers and there are clubs that will let you in wearing just about anything so long as you can stand up straight. Let’s break them down:


Exclusive Club


Not familiar with this concept? Here are a few calling cards: massive queues, bouncers wearing suits and definitely no trainers. No need to rent a tux, but no harm stepping your game up a little for this place. Think smart Oxford shirt, tailored trousers (or very smart chinos) and formal shoes. The shirt should ideally be long-sleeved and slim fitting. You’ll get away with a grandfather collar if you’re into that (I am), but don't go all Ricky Martin with the open buttons. Ideally, the trousers should also be slim fitting. You’ll get away with a straight leg, but anything baggy is going to ruin the look. Your shoes should be Oxford or brogues; ideally comfortable ones, as you are in a nightclub after all so the rhythm might in fact get you. If you aren’t down with wearing your work shoes on a night out, then you’ll get away with a nice pair of Chukka boots or maybe even sockless loafers (weather permitting).


Casual Club


I’m talking about the normal, popular club in any town or city where you don’t have to dress up or book a table. The cocktails won’t exceed the tap limit on your debit card and you’ll have no problem walking in wearing your Adidas Superstars. Again, you can dress up going to a club like this, but it’s optional and your shoes will definitely get ruined. If you want less stress with how you dress then keep it casual and easy. You can’t go wrong with a shirt/t-shirt and jeans combo, but make sure everything is clean and ironed. Colour wise, I would say to go dark because we’re talking about nightclubs here and there’s a clue in the name. The principles of evening wear apply – evening is dark – so look for black, navy or shades of grey with a flash of white to break it up (all black everything is a great rap lyric, but a bit severe on a night out). Jeans should be slim or skinny (you will also get away with slim chinos) and your trainers should be clean and in a colour that compliments the rest of your outfit.


Rave Club


Believe it or not, I have been to a few pop-up raves in my time and what I’ve learned is to keep my good clothes as far away from these places as is humanly possible. Spilled drink, vomit and sweat (lots of sweat) will end up on your clothes by the end of the night, so dress accordingly; loose clothing that’s easy to wash in a breathable material like cotton, so that you don’t overheat when the DJ plays The Moog's "Rush Hour". You can break out your party animal pattern shirt so long as it’s easy to clean, but if you’re not that far up the raver scale then stick to the basics: loose t-shirt, comfortable jeans and trainers that you don’t mind getting wrecked.


The Restaurant


Whether it’s dinner with friends, a family occasion or a romantic meal with the missus (or mister), you’re going to have to step it up a little from your usual trip-to-the-pub rig-out. Think smart casual and mix the formal with the informal to keep your outfit balanced. Some smart slim fitting chinos or formal trousers (no jeans, too far on the casual side) and a patterned shirt under a blazer will keep things smart and sharp without going over the top. If it’s not a ‘fancy’ restaurant then you can veto the blazer in favour of a nice smart Barbour jacket or something similar. And don’t spill your soup.


These guidelines might not suit your style and if they don’t, then keep doing what you’re doing so long as you’re happy and comfortable. The main thing to remember is to keep your clothes ironed and your shoes clean and you’ll be ready for anything the night out throws at you.


Patrick McLoughney