Dress code for male Doms?
April 18, 2008 8:21 AM   Subscribe

What is the minimum acceptable dress code for male Doms who want to go public?

There's been a lot of D/s questions on AskMe lately and it's drawing out all the kinksters, old and new alike. Awesome!

My question is this: having just recently self-identified as a straight male Dom, I've yet to mould myself to the 'scene', and am doubtful if I ever will (i.e., it will most likely remain a private indulgence, though not necessarily closeted).

However, I'm interested in attending clubs and fet-friendly gatherings- not for public play (necessarily), but simply to meet more people in the scene and just generally soak up the atmosphere.

Problem: most clubs require a strict dress code, and even public events encourage it. I'm NOT into dressing up (e.g., leather, PVC, goth, punk, TV, nude, etc.), but at the same time I want to show that I've made an effort (and actually be allowed in).

What can I possibly wear??? I can look good in a suit, and don't mind shelling out for a new outfit, but how would that go over? Tuxes seem a bit overdone, and costume?? Like... army & navy stuff? This could work, but, again, it's not my style, so I'd risk looking idiotic or phony.

Help this newbie out, please! If it helps in any way, I'm slim, 5'8", and dress 'street casual' in my vanilla life.
posted by anonymous to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

The inimitable Twisted Monk has long advised that a top can never go wrong in classy black jeans and a nice black T-shirt.

You're new to this. No one expects you to have a full set of leathers-- in fact, buying a brand-new full set of leathers runs the risk of offending Old Guard leatherfolks, who believe that leather is earned by service to the community-- or a complete set of mascot costumes or whatever you're into. Ease into your style as you learn. Good luck!
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 9:21 AM on April 18, 2008

Dress codes very often depend on the place you want to go to. Here in London, there are one or two play clubs that recognise that people can be into kink but not necessarily the attendant dressing up that can come with it, so they have a 'smart black' policy. So black jeans, dress shoes and smart shirt would work in that case. Usually the best thing to do is to contact the club directly and ask them what is acceptable. Fetish-friendly gatherings, munches and fairs in my experience are usually dress code optional, even if they do encourage it. Again, check directly.

However, if you do want to go to somewhere that has a dress code, you are right in that you will have to make a bit of an effort. So the question is, what makes you feel Dommy? Sexy? Powerful? Do you have ways of comporting yourself that put you in the mood, and could you match an outfit that compliments that behaviour (eg stern = military?). If you play at home, do you dress up to do so, and if what you wear isn't enough to meet the dress code could it be adapted so that it is?

You say you are not into the latex, leather, PVC side of it; is this an objection to the typical kind of garments you see in these materials or to the materials themselves? Because if it is the former and you say you don't mind a) suits and b) splashing out on something new, there is lots of absolutely stunning masculine, unfetishy tailoring out there these days in kinky material aimed towards those who don't have a 'thing' for that particular material.

House of Harlot double-breasted city jacket
Breathless pinstripe shirt
Libidex Fifties Pin-up Shirt
Demask drape coat

But if that kind of thing is out completely, you'll have to get a bit more creative. Uniforms do appear to be the default choice for the Doms I know who don't like dressing up, with the added bonus that they seem to bestow instant authority upon the wearer (which never hurts). Also, you can hire them from costume shops if you are unsure it will suit you. You don't have to go the full hog with them if you are worried about feeling foolish or them appearing too 'costumey'. Army fatigues, surplus vest and big boots would do, or if you were feeling more officer class Navy whites look stunning.

It is important to remember though that you do not actually have to act the part of the clothes you are wearing and neither do they have to define you as a Dom or your relationship to other people there. You might find your fears of looking silly or fake in your outfit are being exacerbated by having the additional worry of attending a scene event for the first time; on top of that potentially nervewracking experience you find yourself potentially obliged to wear something completely out of character too. I don't know if you have a play partner or any other occasion that might be suitable for you to 'try out' your outfit and get comfortable in it first before launching yourself into a club, but even if you just wear it around the house by yourself for a bit it might feel less alien to you when you go out in public with it on.
posted by Acarpous at 9:30 AM on April 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

Strict dress code? Where do you live? In my area (midwest), a "dress code" generally means black attire; material is unspecified. Most straight male dominants I've seen wear a pair of black jeans or leather pants and a buttondown casual shirt. The best piece of dominant gear is BOOTS. Black leather biker boots, or police boots, or riding boots.

Again, it'd help to know where you were, but a tuxedo or even a suit would just be fodder for comedy. (Also, if you're going to play, it's likely to get messed up.) I'd avoid costumes and uniforms unless it's really who you are, or unless the club/event specifically calls for that.

If you just want to make sure others know you're dominant, wear a flogger on the left side.

If you're not in the US or Canada, then nevermind.. I know the culture is different in Europe. I went to a BDSM club in Paris and they were turning people away for not being properly attired.
posted by desjardins at 9:35 AM on April 18, 2008

A lot of times the dress code is just intended to discourage people who aren't BDSM-friendly from attending events to gawk. In Seattle's scene, the dress code involves being dressed in all black or in some obvious fetish costume. Jeans are sometimes a no-no even if they're black, but that is not a universal rule.

I agree with fairytale of los angeles' advice - wear a nice, formfitting black shirt and pants. If you want to spice it up a bit, try a thick belt with large metal grommets or a few studs. Sturdy black boots also add a nice touch. You'll pass the dress code and you'll feel more comfortable than if you were dressed in a costume that you aren't feeling.
posted by rhiannon at 9:36 AM on April 18, 2008

Personally, I would find a commando sweater and parade boots to be incredibly hot and dominant, yet understated.

in fact, buying a brand-new full set of leathers runs the risk of offending Old Guard leatherfolks, who believe that leather is earned by service to the community

This doesn't apply to the hetero community under 60. Feel free to laugh at any straight person who says they're "Old Guard," because they are full of it. Older straight people might have come up in that culture, but it's extremely unlikely for, say, a 40 year old. I've never heard anyone say anything, ever, about someone having too much leather.
posted by desjardins at 9:43 AM on April 18, 2008

Black T-shirt, Levis, and your choice of non-brown, non-athletic shoe footwear.

Can't go wrong (although black jeans are not my cup of tea).
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:10 AM on April 18, 2008

Never been to an event myself, but I'd probably go with a black button-down shirt and nice black pants and shoes. I wouldn't go with a T-shirt or jeans unless you know you look good in them. Depending on the fit/style/condition of them, black tees and jeans can run the gamut from "yes Sir" to "oh, are you the guy IT sent to fix my printer?"
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:44 AM on April 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

Don't wear a costume. Dress like, and be, yourself.
posted by houseofdanie at 3:18 PM on April 18, 2008

Well, more specifically, dress like yourself, when yourself is out somewhere. You can be a straight male dominant in all pink, if you'd like. If all-black isn't an easy fit for you, it'll look like it's not suitable for you, and you'll seem uncomfortable. Wear what makes you feel confident. Your confidence is what's going to get you in and out of trouble, after all.
posted by houseofdanie at 3:22 PM on April 18, 2008

Black, traditional, leather boots, which are obviously not work attire. These should be glossy and clean but not mirror-shined. Black trousers that aren't jeans. Solid color shirt that isn't black OR black silk button-down shirt OR tight black shirt that while it isn't a T-shirt is not a button-down one and for God's sake doesn't have an embroidered alligator or penguin on it. Black leather belt (counts as a toy) with plain stainless steel or silver buckle only. Black leather jacket. If you have a black leather jacket you can not infrequently get away with an aloha shirt, depending for whom you are baiting your hook. This depends on your style, too. If you have a humorous style of play this can be appealing to certain partners, particularly if you play with nasty clamps or other devices that look very innocent or funny.

That ought to do you, but to go slightly further: wristlet on left wrist, -or- impact toy on the left side hanging from a belt or belt loop.
posted by jet_silver at 3:30 PM on April 18, 2008

In my experience, black jeans, black t-shirt (that actually fits, not the bagged out super duper extra large faded thing you like to hide in), plus boots, and a sweater (like the one desjardins links -- sexy!) or coat if it is cold outside, get you in the door just fine. (That worked for me in Europe, too, but that was a long time ago; things may be different now, and will vary on how upscale the place is, too.) I leave the costumes for the people who like to play dress-up, and the leather for the leather people (unless I am coming by bike, but then it is well-worn and functional, not kinky dress-up leather).

For boots, basic black combats or Doc Martins look fine; the glossy ones that desjardins links are ok if you keep them shiny but not so great if you don't take care of them; well-worn, good quality work boots (eg Red Wings, etc) can look very, very sexy too, when worn with confidence.

Accessories matter -- don't wear that crummy thin fabric belt you've had since 8th grade, for example. Black t-shirt and jeans are kind of invisible, and mean that any attention on your outfit will focus on your shoes/boots, watch, belt, haircut, etc. You want understated and high-quality -- things that feel good to the touch. (And yes, that means your haircut, too.)
posted by Forktine at 3:40 PM on April 18, 2008

I've found great success with my Utilikilt. One fair warning: The best way to make sure you purchase a kilt that fits correctly is to actually try them on before you buy.

If you're in WA or can get there, awesome. If not, they do travel around a bit. I was lucky enough to find them in a booth at my local renaissance festival. Check their site for more details.
posted by phredgreen at 3:02 PM on April 19, 2008

« Older What do I do now that I've missing the deadline to...   |   Two stories from San Fran planning history: sunny... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.