What Not To Wear, According to NYC Club Bouncers

Ah, New York nightlife – a labyrinth of dos and don’ts, especially when it comes to your sartorial choices. Forget about just showing up; your outfit is your ticket past the gatekeepers, the omnipotent doormen and bouncers who are all about cultivating that elusive “vibe.”

Meet Jonah Almost, the gatekeeper at Silencio and sometimes Inferno, who chatted with NYLON about the quest to weed out the “NPCs” – that’s “non-player characters” for the uninitiated. Apparently, the club scene isn’t just about looking good; it’s about what you’re “contributing to the space.” Spoiler alert: your contribution is judged strictly by your wardrobe (at least in NYC – making me grateful for the casual atmosphere cherished in my town of Denver. If you dress up for the club here, you’re the weirdo.)

So, what are the absolute no-gos when trying to make it past the velvet ropes in the city that never sleeps?

White Sneakers

Yes, the beloved white sneakers – adored by all, except the bouncers. Cameron, the doorman at Paul’s Casablanca, dismisses them as a “lack of imagination” and a dead giveaway that you’re no fun on the dance floor. Almost shares this disdain, calling them the “boring” staple of the generic young, straight-guy look. Unless the club is having a particularly slow night, those pristine kicks aren’t cutting it.

Golden Goose Shoes

Golden Goose shoes, with their intentionally scuffed aesthetic, are apparently too last season for the discerning eyes at the door. Once a millennial favorite, these “dirty” shoes have resurfaced among Gen Z – to the utter dismay of Carattini, who sees their popularity as nothing more than “lemming behavior.”


Seriously, Crocs? This should be a no-brainer. Donté McGuine, a partner at Outer Heaven, might let Balenciaga Crocs slide, but for the love of nightlife, leave the garden clogs at home.

Loro Piana Slippers

Thinking about rocking your Loro Piana slippers? Think again. Cameron warns they might actually make him nauseous. He’s all for individuality and personal style – just not if it involves these.


Got a great pair of shorts? Keep them far from the club. Carattini has no interest in seeing your kneecaps, ever. McGuine is slightly more lenient, granting an exception only for high-end brands like Miu Miu or Prada (lol).

Vineyard Vines

Preppy threads from Vineyard Vines? Save them for the Hamptons, quips McGuine. If you must go preppy, at least put some effort into it. Almost begrudgingly acknowledges that preppy can be cool, but not when it’s as thoughtless as throwing on a polo. Sorry, tech bros.

Nap Dresses

Nap dresses in a club? Seriously? Carattini wonders if you’re planning to catch some Z’s on the dance floor. Save the comfy summer frocks for, well, napping.

In short, New York club doors aren’t just guarded by doormen – they’re guarded by fashion critics. So, next time you plan a night out, remember: your outfit is your ticket, and the fashion police are very, very real. That is, if you even care – because being yourself is way more valuable than any “label” that might impress a few random people. And let’s face it, many of our favorite DJs wouldn’t even make it past the door with rules like this. Happy raving!