The ‘going out shirt’: surely one of menswear’s most heinous crimes. Somewhere along the line, these patterned monstrosities became the go-to garments for confused men trying to find something other than their work clothes or a plain old T-shirt to wear on a night out. Thankfully, they’ve mostly disappeared from today’s pubs, clubs and bars, but what still remains is the uncertainty about what is and isn’t appropriate for hitting the town.
Different nights out call for different approaches, of course, but knowing a good date night outfit from what you wear to an all-nighter with your mates is what truly separates the men from the boys.
Whatever your evening plans, we have the look for you.
What To Wear On A Date
In the animal kingdom, the males of many species are able to perform extravagant courtship displays. The peacock has his intricately patterned tail feathers to wow the ladies. The hood seal boasts a large sack on his face which he proudly inflates in the name of love. And some types of squid are even able to change colour in order to flirt with prospective partners.
Sadly, we human men have no such biological tools at our disposal. Just nice jackets. As bipedal hominids, our chances of making a good impression whilst out on a date depend largely on how we choose to dress ourselves.
The key to date night wardrobe success lies in striking that delicate balance between smart and nonchalant. You should look like you’ve made an effort, but the last thing you want is for your sartorial stylings to come off as try-hard.
For this reason, a suit is off the menu, as are football tops, tracksuits and battered old trainers. Aim somewhere in the middle by employing an unstructured blazer or a smart overshirt as your top layer. Underneath you can opt to slot in a shirt, or for extra cool points, go for a rollneck or knitted polo. On your feet, a black Derby or Chelsea boot is always a safe bet.
What To Wear To A Club
The term ‘club’ is a little ambiguous, meaning that what’s appropriate outfit-wise can vary greatly from venue to venue.
Some upmarket city spots still operate strict ‘no trainers or sportswear’ policies, whereas if you rocked up to Fabric in a pair of freshly polished Oxford brogues and a blazer you’d likely be laughed out of the queue. Luckily, where the former is concerned, dress codes have loosened up a lot in recent years, which is good news when it comes to picking the right clothes for the job.
Starting from the bottom up, monochrome is your secret weapon. A pair of simple black sneakers or shoes are a safe bet for most types of nightclub. Plus there’s the added benefit that they won’t look completely trashed after an evening of dancing, spilled drinks and fellow clubbers inadvertently flicking cigarette ash on them in the smoking area.
For legwear, jeans are now a perfectly viable option. Just remember to stick to raw, grey or black to match with the dark kicks. Then simply throw on a plain black T-shirt and top things off with a versatile, multi-pocketed jacket – ideal for storing phones, wallets and the like.
What To Wear For A Restaurant
While we don’t know you personally, we’re going to assume that your average meal out probably doesn’t involve nipping over to Buckingham Palace for a spot of caviar and quail’s eggs. Therefore, there’s nowhere you could possibly be dining for which a smart-casual outfit wouldn’t do the trick.
Smart casual is the perfect restaurant-friendly dress code because it won’t look out of place whether you’re enjoying a tasting menu at a Michelin-starred establishment, or just stuffing a fillet burger into your face at your local chicken place.
For the jacket, a good blazer should be your first port of call – think twill or wool in a neutral or earthy colour to keep things just the right amount of laid back.
Next, a knitted crewneck always looks good with a crisp Oxford shirt collar peeking out from underneath. Then it’s just a matter of throwing on some chinos – green, navy and beige are nice and adaptable – and suede shoes or trainers, and you’re good to go.
What To Wear To A Concert
There are few better ways to spend an evening than getting shoved around and covered in other people’s beer and sweat while deafening noise blasts from a stack of amplifiers just a few metres away from your face. Granted, it doesn’t sound that great on paper, but we maintain that you’d be hard pushed to find a better night out.
As well as being fun, gigs are also a great opportunity to let your inner rebel shine through. Something which we find is best achieved through a combination of either a leather or denim jacket and your grungiest pair of ripped black jeans.
Much like at a nightclub, the chance of your footwear having a rendezvous with dropped pints and indeterminate floor grime is extremely high. This considered, leave the fancy shoes at home and opt instead for something you don’t mind getting battered. An old pair of Converse or Vans would be a good choice, because they actually look good when they’re beaten up.
What To Wear To The Pub
The good old pub. It may not be the most glamorous place to hit up on a Saturday night but by God it’s the best. Not least because this British institution, alongside lots of beer, offers absolute wardrobe freedom. Suit: fine. Trainers: fine. Oversized neon warcore: you’re probably won’t have people lining up to buy you a pint, but also fine. This sort of wardrobe freedom means you can go as casual as you like, and that’s exactly what you should do.
First and foremost, you’ll need a good jacket. Waiting outside the kebab shop for your doner at two in the morning can be a chilly affair. We’d suggest an anorak, due to it being both practical and bang on trend in equal measures. Layer it over a crewneck in the winter months or just a T-shirt when the weather allows.
Down below, jeans are the obvious choice and in terms of shade, pretty much anything goes. That’s provided they’re sitting above a nice pair of trainers. We’d suggest some retro runners, or something suede with three stripes if you’re a fan of the whole terrace fashion thing.