Club goers wait in line outside of Elsewhere nightclub in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, New...

Nylon Nights

We Asked New York's Top Doormen What Not To Wear To The Club

No. 2 may have some people up in arms.

by Tim Latterner

We’ve all been in the position of waiting outside the club trying to look calm, cool, and collected while inwardly freaking out that the strangers already inside think you’re lame. But consider that, at the same time, the people on the other side of the velvet ropes are trying to curate the right vibe, and that means judging potential partygoers by their appearance.

“There are so many NPCs,” says Jonah Almost, the doorman at Silencio (and sometimes Inferno). “I have to ask, ‘What are you contributing to this space?’ It’s about building up the culture here one way or another.” That means that the most fundamental rule of dressing for the club (and successful entry) is uniqueness — you’re adding value by adding visual interest. “If you come in the most basic look, you’re going to get the most basic experience,” Almost continues, “which is waiting in line and paying at the bar.”

To help you have the most elevated night out possible, we asked some of the top doormen around the city for their highly specific sartorial pet peeves.


“I don’t want to see your kneecaps ever,” says Frankie Carattini, the doorman at Laissez Faire. “Unless they’re, like, Miu Miu or Prada shorts,” adds Donté McGuine, a partner at Outer Heaven who also routinely runs the door.

White Sneakers

As a group, the doormen balked at the idea of a plain white sneaker. “They’re a lack of imagination,” says Cameron, the doorman at Paul’s Casablanca. “They instantly tell me you are no fun on the dance floor.” Carattini says that while he’ll accept sneakers at Laissez Faire — just no more Air Force 1s, please” — a Chelsea or combat boot is preferable.

Almost says he sees the white Common Project as part of “the standard young, straight-guy aesthetic in New York,” a “boring” (but not necessarily bad) way of dressing that’s also characterized by gray skinny jeans and navy T-shirts. “It depends on the night,” he says, “but if the club is pumping, it's just not enough.”

Vineyard Vines

“Keep that in the Hamptons where it belongs,” McGuine says. Again, the brand itself isn’t the problem — it’s the context around it. “Vineyard Vines would fall under preppiness, but it’s not intentional or thoughtful preppiness to just pull on a polo,” Almost says. “It's cool to wear preppy clothes, but style it out.”

Loro Piana Slippers

“Individuality and personal style are highly rewarded,” Cameron says. “But, please, those Loro Piana slippers give me nausea. At least bring some Advil with your transatlantic circus.”

Golden Goose Shoes

Carattini says he’s seen so many pairs that “it’s just lemming behavior.”


Not unless they’re Balenciaga, McGuine says.

Nap Dresses

The thinking here is simple, Carattini says: “You’re not here to take a nap in the club, so why would you wear a nap dress?”