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What to Wear to the Bar

Less flashy than a club, more fancy than a beer garden. You want to don an interesting outfit without looking out of place at your local bar. Here?s how to get that balance right.

Every bar is different in terms of its usual crowd and dress code. The type of place where old men hang out is going to be quite different from a trendy bar in town. You need to dress appropriately for the venue you?re going to. However, there are a few general rules to follow.

It?s more formal than you think

Bars are generally relaxed places where you go for a drink with a few friends, and maybe to meet some new people in an atmosphere where you can actually talk to them. It may not be as fast-paced as going clubbing, but that?s no excuse for dressing lazily. You need to take some care with what you?re wearing; a bar requires neater clothing than you may think.

Wear a shirt

Plenty of men wear tee shirts out to the bar. That doesn?t mean that you should follow suit. Instead, look stylish in a nice button-down shirt, preferably tucked in. This is more formal than the graphic tees that you may see other guys wearing, but it?s setting you apart in a good way. Wearing a tee shirt at a bar is just sloppy. Even a polo shirt is a little underwhelming.

Casual or formal shoes

At a bar, it is totally up to you whether you want to wear dress or casual shoes. Either is totally acceptable. Note that casual does not mean runners. Canvas shoes, however are a great option if you want to look low-key but stylish. Leather shoes are also an option for the man that likes to look more dressed up than the rest.

Jeans are your best bet

The easiest option in terms of pants is a pair of fitted jeans in dark blue or black. Slacks are generally too formal for a bar. Stay away from light blue, baggy jeans; these are more of a daytime piece. Jeans are certainly not mandatory wear for a bar- if you have a favorite pair of chinos, that would also work well. However, jeans should be your go-to option; always worn with a leather belt with a thick buckle.

No hats

It?s bad manners to wear a hat inside. You may be in the habit of wearing a fedora out clubbing, which is almost acceptable at some nightclubs, but it?s inappropriate to wear a hat at a bar. The same goes for sunglasses. You can get away with dressing flashy at a club, but a bar is a little more mature.

Dress for success

Try this sneaky trick for your weeknight drinks: dress like you?ve just come from a high-powered job. Suit up, and encourage your group to dress similarly. Even if you?re all unemployed, others in the bar will flock to you, thinking that you?re important people. Just have a convincing back-story prepared if someone asks you what you do for a living.

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About Natasha Abrahams Natasha Abrahams is a writer and journalism student from Melbourne, Australia. When she is not busy with being a principal writer on Weekendnotes or skipping lectures, she can be found emptying her wallet at the nearest shopping centre. You can read more from Natasha at:

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