What To Wear To A Gentlemen’s Club

September 2016Words by Mr Mansel Fletcher

Photograph by Ms Lauren Luxenberg

Googling any of London’s storied gentleman’s clubs reveals that their dress codes are the subject of intense interest. In a world that’s never been so casual these grand establishments are among the few places where a man remains in serious danger of being repelled at the door for a sartorial infringement. Rest assured, American friends – we’re not talking about the… other… “Las Vegas” type of gentlemen’s club. No, the British variety are a bit like private aristocratic houses, with grand dining rooms, bars, libraries and lounges. What separates them from normal restaurants and bars is that they are, in essence, an extension of their members’ homes. These are places where men will eat, drink, read the paper or have a nap. However, if the old single-sex clubs persist (think White’s, Boodle’s, Pratt’s), there’s long been a place for more celebratory, jovial places, the archetype of which is Mr PG Wodehouse’s fictional Drones Club, as frequented by his comic creation Bertie Wooster. If the appeal of the classic clubs is their constancy then the allure of the livelier spots is their relevance. This point is well made by the differences between their dress codes.

White’s, 37 St James’s Street, SW1

John Lobb
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