How To Dress For A Night At The Casino

How To Dress For A Night At The Casino

A night at the casino is a great excuse to get your glad rags on and we all like to dress up for a special occasion. But, if you’re not a regular at the roulette wheel, the casino fashion code may seem a little bit daunting.

Casinos are synonymous with old Hollywood glamour, as well as modern-day decadence. They give us all the chance to live a VIP lifestyle for an evening. Movie star-style perks, cocktails, five-star hotel suites, hot tubs and private tables – What more could you want?

So how do you fit in among the regulars, the whales and the high-rollers when you have no idea what people wear to casinos? Check out our simple guide below for ideas to help you look the part and find that perfect outfit that fits your casino’s dress code.

Hangers with clothes on a rail
Image: Unsplash/ArtificialPhotography

Here are some steps on how to dress for an evening at a casino:

1. Research The Venue Dress Code

This is probably the most important step.

Not all casinos were made equally, so make sure to do your homework on your venue’s dress code. If you scroll to the bottom of this blog, you’ll see we’ve broken down what each dress code actually means – to avoid any confusion.

Nobody wants to be left red-faced or unable to cross the threshold with their friends, just for wearing the wrong type of jacket or turning up in a pair of sneakers. Some upscale casinos can be strict, so don’t be that person who didn’t get the memo.

How to find a casino’s dress code:
You’ll usually find all the information you need on the casino’s website. However, if that doesn’t work, try calling, emailing or Tweeting to ask.

Tip: The rules of attire will also help you get an impression of the typical clientele, so you know what you’re getting into.

A good rule of thumb is to go by restaurant reputations and hotel rates — a buffet or a pizza place probably won’t require a bowtie, but a Michelin-starred affair and the best casino hotel in town will demand greater effort.

2. Find Photos

Casino floor with pink lighting
Image: Unsplash/MichalDolnik

If you’re still unsure, try and find an online photo gallery, which most casinos will have. It may sound obvious, but these will give you a glimpse of employee and patron outfits, and perhaps even previous parties; all great tells.

This should reveal how formal the casino area, restaurants and bars are too — and you can use it as a chance to find inspiration for your outfit by perusing what guests usually wear.

Swiping through photos should also be useful for discovering more about the casino’s ‘identity’ or reputation, and any prominent themes or decor. Turning up overdressed as the only person in an evening gown or a tux is just as embarrassing as realizing you’re the only person without a dinner jacket.

Equally, you don’t want to read the room wrong and come decked out for a 1950s evening if your casino is more contemporary — you’ll stick out like a sore thumb. If in doubt, always go overdressed rather than under.

How to find photos:
Check the casino’s website (usually there is a gallery), look it up on review sites such as TripAdvisor, or check on social media. If you look at the pictures other people have tagged, you’ll get a more honest view of what people are wearing.

3. Use Your Network

Men playing cards in gray suits.
Image: Unsplash/AnaliseBenevides

The context of your evening also matters. Are you going with friends? If so, find out what they’re planning on wearing, so you’re all in sync.

If you’re not just heading out for an evening of fun, contact the event organizer, as business/networking functions, galas or fundraisers may have their own dress rules. But at a birthday bash in a private suite…anything may go.

This is also where social media comes in. Pose a question to your Facebook friends, look at the latest Instagram photos at your casino, and check out style vloggers and bloggers.

YouTube can also come in handy, as many mega casino companies, such MGM Resorts, post bitesize clips about etiquette and fashion at their casinos.

4. Make a Plan and Bring a Backup

Group of people holding footed glasses
Image: Unsplash/ScottWarman

First ask yourself: What will you be doing at the casino? And will you be going on anywhere else afterwards?

It’s always fun to leave things open-ended and see where the night takes you, but your outfit may depend on whether you pair poker with a nightclub, dinner or drinks.

If you’re not sure, bring a change of clothes or shoes with you. Then you can party without the pain of high-heels after a formal dinner, or don a jacket to gain entry into that fancy restaurant if hunger strikes. It’s always best to have options.

Tip: Many venues offer locker rooms where you can leave your spare clothes, so don’t worry about carrying them.

5. Decide if You Need a New Outfit

Man wearing tuxedo beside wooden fence
Unsplash/GiftHabeshaw

Will you need a new outfit? Unlike the cast of Ocean’s 11 (and Ocean’s 12, 13, and er, 8) you may not have a spare tux or evening gown hanging casually in your closet.

If you don’t and are shopping in person rather than online, why not ask for assistance from a personal shopper, or a store assistant?

6. Set Your Budget

Woman holding white and black paper shopping bags.
Image: Unsplash/freestocks

Beware…your budget for a classy night at a casino can be doubled if you add a new outfit into the mix.

Factor this into your financial thinking and decide on a budget in advance. You don’t want to go all out on designer togs and then have less to spend on drinks, games and food.

Shopping at the on-site casino stores can be expensive, so if you do have a strict budget, it’s worth looking around.

Tip: You don’t always need to buy something new. Ask friends if you can borrow something, rent an outfit, or check your local charity shop to see if you can pick up a good deal.

7. Buy Fitted Clothes (If You’re Splashing Out)

Man holding his black suit
Image: Unsplash/JeremyBeadle

Fitted clothes will make all the difference. Buying off the rack without research will leave you with ill-fitting clothes that hang strangely or don’t suit your shape.

Know your measurements before you go to get your casino dress or outfit, or get yourself measured at the store. Ensure you focus on the correct length for sleeves and trousers and how an outfit fits you around the waist, chest and shoulders.

But not to worry, if that dream outfit doesn’t look or feel quite right, you can always ask for alterations.

Look up a tailor or an alterations service — if it’s a specialist shop, they may even have someone on hand to make the right tucks and trims. Just as long as you don’t leave it until the last minute.

8. Don’t Forget The Shoes

Pair of black dress shoes on top of wooden surface.
Image: Unsplash/photostockeditor

Remember to look down. It goes without saying that shoes are a crucial part of your overall casino outfit.

Dress shoes that go with a suit or a tux should always match in style and color. But there’s no need to wear anything you’re unhappy with.

Always adhere to the dress code, of course, but flats are just as valid as heels and perhaps more flexible, even in a formal setting.

Tip: Avoid sneakers, flip-flops, Ugg boots, sandals et al — keep those for the gym and the pool.

9. Choose Your Accessories

Women's sunglasses and black bag with watch and iPhone 6
Image: Unsplash/STIL

An easy way to lift your outfit to classy casino level is by using accessories.

At the mega casinos, patrons go all out for a special evening and glamour is the name of the game.

So, take your pick of any combination of matching clutch bags, pouches and purses, with hair accessories and clips, shawls and scarfs, eye-catching earrings, and attention-grabbing necklaces, rings and bracelets.

If it’s a black tie evening, aim for sophisticated (think: a night at the opera) but it’s fine to go a little fun and flash otherwise. You won’t be the only one and it’s a great way to add identity to your outfit.

Alternatively, if it’s a suit you’re wearing, why not jazz up those cufflinks? Wear a statement watch, necklace and rings? Or have some fun with different colored and patterned ties, bowties, socks and pocket squares?

Your wallet, belt and bag are also great opportunities for trying something different and a hat could take things to another level entirely…as long as it’s not strict black tie, which is when it’s best to go simple or chic.

Tip: Casinos are all about glitz and glamour, so feel free to go wild on the bling. Just keep things classy.

10. Make Sure You Are Comfortable

This is key.

Try everything on in advance so there are no surprises on the night. Limping around the casino in uncomfortable shoes or clothes is a recipe for disaster and the quickest way to ruin the evening — no matter how good you look.

Casino resorts can be huge and, if you’re having fun, the night may be long. So, make sure you’re comfy.

Tip: Although comfy, we suggest avoiding jeans and lounge pants (at least on an evening), sportswear, swimwear and anything that’s unclean, torn or covered in offensive images.

11. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Brown and black brush.
Image: Unsplash/LinaVerovaya

Make sure your outfit shows its best side with a little prepping. Even if you’re going with an old, tried and trusted outfit, rather than new duds, you can make your garments sparkle with a little TLC.

Try getting your apparel steamed or ironed through a hotel service or a local launderette, especially if you’re travelling. And take advantage of a shoeshine service or buy some shoe polish yourself, for those oft-neglected feet.

Treating yourself and your clothes like a red-carpet star will make a world of difference to your confidence. Wear it well.

Tip: Leave enough buffer time if you’re getting your outfit professionally cleaned or ironed. There may be a big wait time, or they could be shutting early one day – you never know – so by leaving sufficient time you don’t have to worry.

12. Keep it On a Hanger

If you’re travelling and living out of suitcases, make sure you hang your outfit up and, preferably, keep it in a garment travel bag until you get to your hotel.

Make use of a wardrobe, hangers or your special travel bag to keep your casino outfit crease and stain-free — especially if you’ve just had it cleaned or ironed.

You’ve come too far to fall at the final hurdle.

13. Avoid Rookie Errors

When purchasing or renting your outfit, find out if your clothes and shoes need any special care or attention, or if there’s anything they should avoid contact with. And always check there are no smudges, rips or dangling tags before you leave.

Also, if you’ve never worn an outfit such as a complex dress with difficult straps or a tux before, make sure you know how to put them on.

It may sound simple, but trying your new clothes on in advance will help avoid a last minute panic, so make sure you have someone to fix your tie and cuff links, or zip you up, if needed. In a pinch, YouTube videos for instruction can be useful.

Common errors for casino novices to watch out for include:

  • Forgetting to leave the bottom button of your tux undone.
  • Wearing an actual black tie to a black tie event.
  • Wearing a clip-on bow tie instead of a hand-tied option.
  • Leaving new pockets sewn up.

14. Add The Finishing Touches

Assorted makeup products on gray surface.
Image: Unsplash/Element5Digital  

Last but not least, add the final touches.

Many casinos have a hotel or spa attached where you can find a salon for professional makeup and hairstyling services.

Alternatively, you could always head to a makeup counter and order a quick beauty routine from an assistant or sample some tester fragrances to if you can’t splash out on a signature scent.

These extras should leave you looking and feeling like a million dollars in your casino outfit.

Understanding What Dress Codes Require

There are quite a few types of casino dress code. You may come across some of these terms, so we’ve decoded the lingo for you.

White tie/full evening dress/dress suit/tails

Rare at casinos, this typically includes:

  • White plain or pleated button-up evening shirt with a wing collar and double cuffs
  • Black tailcoat
  • White bowtie
  • Cufflinks
  • White evening waistcoat
  • Black trousers
  • Black socks
  • Black lace-up shoes

OR

  • A full-length dress suitable as formal evening attire
  • Fine jewelry
  • Small evening bag, evening coat and, occasionally, gloves
  • High-heels or flat shoes of fine, matching material

Black tie/dinner jackets/tuxedos

This often includes:

  • White evening shirt with a turn-down collar and double cuffs, or a plain white silk shirt with buttons (no ruffles or frills)
  • Black dinner jacket
  • Black trousers
  • Cufflinks and studs
  • Black bow tie
  • Black socks
  • Black lace-up shoes
  • Cummerbunds
  • Optional black waistcoat
  • White handkerchief

OR

  • A long evening dress or skirt (doesn’t need to be black)
  • A fitted cocktail dress with tights
  • Fine jewelry
  • Evening bag and evening coat
  • High-heels or flat shoes of smart material

Formal

Usually involves:

  • A dress or evening shirt
  • Suit
  • A tie
  • Black lace-up shoes

OR

  • A cocktail dress or pantsuit of any color
  • An evening bag and evening coat
  • High-heels, flats or pumps of smart material

Semi-formal

You can wear:

  • A dress or evening shirt
  • Blazer
  • Smart shoes

OR

  • A cocktail dress or pantsuit of any color
  • High-heels, flats, pumps

Smart casual/dressy casual/casual chic

  • A dress or evening shirt
  • Slacks, khakis or chinos
  • Smart shoes of any color

OR

  • A casual, mid or knee-length dress or skirt
  • Smart trousers
  • A blouse or shirt
  • Heels, flats, pumps, sometimes smart boots

So there you have it – we hope you liked our guide on how to dress for a night at the casino, from start to finish!

Sources:
https://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/article/white-tie-dress-code
https://www.debretts.com/expertise/etiquette/dress-codes/
https://www.fashionbeans.com/2016/common-black-tie-mistakes/
https://www.pinterest.co.uk/ajrpage/casino-dress-code/
https://www.abouttimemagazine.co.uk/style/fashion-tips-what-to-wear-to-a-casino/
https://www.marieclaire.com.au/casino-dress-code
https://www.thespruce.com/semi-formal-attire-guidelines-1216504
https://www.dmarge.com/2018/08/difference-formal-semi-formal.html