A dress code is a policy of appropriate dressing for social events such as fetish clubs and play parties. It specifies how guests have to be dressed to be admitted into the event. Dress codes are usually enforced, commonly by a "door bitch".
Most fetish parties have dress codes that require the guests to wear latex, leather, PVC, metal, bondage gear, burlesque or formal evening attire. Guests that do not meet the code may not be allowed in, even if they are holding valid tickets to the event.
What to wear
The most important rule in a BDSM dress code is that guests' attire should be erotic and/or fetishistic; denim jeans, T-shirts or streetware are usually a no no. There are two reasons for having a dress code. One is to discourage people not in the BDSM scene from entering the event solely to ogle at the guests, and another is to raise the event's atmosphere by ensuring that guests are dressed excitingly enough to attract others' attention. Basically, dress codes exist to ensure that you have to make a bit of effort.
Dress codes are usually fairly standard between clubs but the types of dress worn by clubbers does vary depending on the type of club. Dance orientated clubs, such as Torture Garden, have a "see and be seen" attitude to them, and the clubbers' attire tends to be much more individualistic. Play clubs on the other hand are generally more conservative, with a focus on the more classic fetish stereotypes of rubber and leather. Some gay fetish clubs also have a dress code oriented towards masculine rather than feminine or trans clothing/appearance.
The kinds of attire a BDSM dress code includes vary slightly from club to club but usually follow a general guideline:
- Rubber, PVC and leather clothes are almost always acceptable
- Military uniforms.
- Skinhead gear is popular in some gay clubs.
- School uniforms.
- Formal dress wear, although this should be given a fetish spin.
- Medical uniforms
- Nun's habit and other religious imagery
If you are planning your first visit to a fetish club, PVC clothing is a safe bet. It is relatively cheap, easy to put on, comfortable to wear, and you will always look the part in it.