t’s unimaginable to think that I’ve been going to nightclubs since I was thirteen. A tall, lanky girl, I was able to pass with many fake IDs during my youth. (Don’t tell my momma!?)
I grew up in Baltimore (I know it’s shocking…DC Fab! grew up in Baltimore) and in high school Hammerjacks was our favorite place to party on a Sunday night. That was back in the day when ‘The Hotboy’ DJ Quicksilva opened for DJ K-Swift, our fallen Club Queen who helped the “17 and older crew” dance clear into Monday morning.
Back then, we were fly in our tightest jeans, a wife beater tied up in a knot (in the back or the side), a matching fitted cap along with some Air Force Ones. Thank God times have changed!
Once you graduate to the 21 and older establishments and you’re not just going to the club to dance anymore and rack up a list of telephone numbers you may or may not call, appearances or how you look become more important.
Especially in Washington D.C., where the socialite scene is buzzing and ripe, how you look distinguishes you from the grown and sexy to the mature and upscale. What you’re dressed in determines if you’re a socialite or a hopper.
Nightclub owners and even individual party promoters are becoming stricter with dress codes for many of our favorite parties. Hotspot staples such as The Park at Fourteenth and Josephines as well as promotional groups like 1693 Luxury Entertainment Group are known for their strict dress codes.
The dress code is an aspect of party going that is more frequently talked about. Flyers, email blasts and Facebook messages more often include the new dress code mantra: “Be young, fly and flashy”, “No tennis shoes or athletic wear” or “Fellas, don’t forget your fresh”. The seasoned partygoers know to pay attention to these wardrobe expectations, especially if you are a guy, who always seems to have a harder time getting into nightspots without being hassled.
I’ve seen many fallen soldiers who think they can pass simply because their tennis shoes are made by Prada. Yet even designer names don’t faze bouncers and doormen anymore who enforce this upscale dress code.
When talking to one of my best friends about the rising expectations of attire when going out in D.C., Emory Martin expressed:
“The dress codes in the nightclubs are biased. Girls can come in there looking [a mess] with a Forever 21 shirt and some jeans from the Gap; and I can’t get in [the club] with some Prada [tennis shoes] on. I just want to be comfortable. I don’t always want to have to wear hard bottoms and a button down…”
Such strict dress codes at some of our favorite establishments have even created an underground outdoor industry. Bouncers and doormen will let patrons in wearing whatever for some extra cash…and it will cost you. A friend of mine was told he could come inside The Park with his fitted cap and tennis shoes for $600. Obviously, they just didn’t want him inside. No sane person would pay that much to party (I hope). Still, at other establishments you can hear bouncers whisper, “If you take care of me, I’ll take care of you,” often letting patrons in for an extra $40.
Regardless, stricter dress codes are a reality so it’s time that we all take notice and step up our swagger. Okay, I’ll admit; it might be easier for women to decide how to dress when going out not only because of more lenient dress codes but because dressing up your favorite pair of jeans isn’t that hard. Still, most promoters and club owners prefer us to wear cocktail dresses to party or worse stilettos, which make getting down on the dance floor a bit harder.
Meanwhile, men have to endure fewer choices to enter into some of their favorite parties (unless their a baller or some type of celebrity). Promoters and club owners mostly tell men what not to wear: no tennis shoes, no athletic gear, no hats and no jeans. Pull out a suit to fully swag it out but fellas, you’ll fit right in with a button down shirt and dress shoes too.
It can be annoying sometimes but the stricter yet more upscale dress code is a great look for the District. D.C. is becoming more and more known for its bustling nightlife, where one can find a great urban party any night of the week. Stricter dress codes not only minimize fighting and other disturbances to nightlife but dressing up also puts you in a certain mindset to have a great time. I don’t know about you but when I look good, I feel good and I have a better time.
However you swag it out, whether it be Stuart Weitzman’s or stilettos from Bare Feet, a Bebe dress or a Forever 21 shirt, a Polo or an Ed Hardy tee, Pradas or Ferragamos, just make sure you do it right. Up your swagger and make nightlife in D.C. even more grown and definitely more sexy.
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|By Joi-Marie Shy Magazine Staff Writer