Oxford Club Couture

Feathers, latex, or pyjamas: the dress code for Oxford clubs knows no bounds

The beauty of the Oxford nightlife is its humility. Yes, it might be humble in terms of club numbers, humble in terms of having a diverse music scene, humble in terms of good times. But the humility that concerns us today is that Oxford clubs do not enforce any kind of dress code. So throw those heels in the garbage, give the bandage dress to charity, and by all means do not iron that shirt. No shower? Let me just outline Cellar’s policy on that: no problem!* [*denotes joke, we did not contact Cellar about this and imagine the actual official line would likely be somewhat different].

If you’re pondering the necessities of what you must pack, fear not: clubbing in Oxford is a notoriously casual affair. Unlike the metropoli of London and Manchester, where door policies are particularly taxing, Oxford welcomes all. In Oxford, the jeans and a nice top paradigm no longer carries its hidden meanings. People are not afraid to venture out to the club in just a jumper, or jeans, or an Austin Powers lookalike shirt. Of course, there are glimmers of other places: the 90s styling so reminiscent of Bristol and Newcastle can always be seen at the Bully and Cellar like a vestige of a ketty oasis. But what defines Oxford is the authenticity, the modesty of the experience. It does not posture; it just kind of is.

Let me reiterate: THERE IS NO PROBLEM. Friends of mine have entered Oxford nightclub establishments in their pyjamas, in pirate costumes, as pastiches of the late Communist revolutionary Fidel Castro, and their nights, for the most parts, have been better for it. Even if you find yourself with a titty popped out in Bridge, it’s okay. [*again, joke, Bridge probably does not officially condone this].

Indeed, on that note, if dressing down isn’t your forte, then do not stress. A virtue of the Oxford social calendar is that no matter which college you end up at, your time will be littered with themed bops, sports initiations, and formal dinners. Those of you that have a penchant for costume dressing will find their niche in the former two, and those of you gagging for the classic black tie night out  for Instagram will be satiated by the latter. There’s no end to the variety of events that you can dress for. And if none of  this is quite as schmoney as you want, you’re just going to have to wait for ball season. While discussing white tie and black tie is beyond the domains of this article, the density of ball events in Trinity Term should keep you appeased.

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To conclude, the takeaway of this article is one thing: the nightlife in Oxford may be disgustingly middle ground, somewhat grimy and chock to the brim with people wearing makeshift shark costumes (possibly a phenomena that will be further aggravated by the apocryphal renaming of Park End’s Wednesday night event). But, as I stand on the cusp of graduation, thinking back to the many nights where people have nearly been sick on my shoes near the Anuba couches, I know I will look back on these memories fondly and shall miss the experience, in all of its honesty, in all of its glory dearly. Treasure these times, freshers, and if you manage to pull dressed as a lizard or a minor character from hit TV show House or whatever unfeasible challenge the hockey club set you, brava.