Dungeon Basics: What to wear

Set the scene: you’ve made plans to attend a play party. Most of the details have come together, except you have no idea what to wear. On one hand, it can be intimidating to think you have to wear expensive, revealing fetish clothing. On the other hand, it’s a given that you want to dress appropriately for the occasion and make a great impression. If you’re new to dressing for kink events, here’s what you need to consider.

Is there a dress code?

Leather Harness

Dress code enforcement can range from being fairly lax to strict enough to get you turned away at the door of an event. Therefore, it’s important to know the dress code rules for any event you may attend.

Typically, the event description will state what’s permitted and prohibited as attire for a party. For example, a latex fetish party may require everyone who attends to wear clothing made from materials like latex, PVC, spandex and neoprene, for example. A night out at the code bar of your regional gay nightclub may mean wearing some leather  like chaps, club vests or high-end leather boots like Corcorans, Frye or Wescos.

What’s considered acceptable fetish attire is widely open to interpretation, so it’s best to ask the party organizers exactly what the dress code calls for. Party organizers set dress codes because they want to set a certain tone and style for their event. As I stated earlier, some of these rules can be very strict, like no PVC clothing at a latex event. It’s also a safe bet that a fetish party with a wardrobe most likely won’t allow jeans, t-shirts, or sneakers.

There’s something else to consider when thinking about a dress code, and that’s the atmosphere of the event you’ll be attending. If you’re a fetishist with an elaborate wardrobe, you may not want to go to the same party where folks are wearing casual clothing. If you can’t stand the thought of wearing latex for four hours, then reconsider if you want to be at a fetish formal for four hours. Choose the events and subsequent wardrobes that you’ll enjoy and adhering to a dress code will be a fun opportunity rather than an arduous task.

What if there is no dress code?

Latex and corset
Latex and corset

The opposite of a specific dress code at an event are clothing rules that say basically, “wear whatever”. So, what do you wear when the choices can be anything? If you’re pulling together an outfit for an event, considering your personal expression and what you’ll be doing are a good place to start.

If you’re attending an event, what looks make you feel comfortable and confident? What kind of personal expression is important to you? Simply, what makes you feel good? For some people, an ensemble that you’d wear to dinner with friends  would also make a great outfit for the playspace. For others, an event is a chance to express oneself in a safe, accepting space.

Dressing for an event is often a personal choice, so wear things that make you feel positive and affirmed. One note, if people belittle you or your clothing choices in a playspace, that’s an excellent sign that the venue isn’t inclusive or may not be  particularly safe. Fetish and BDSM should be about creating a safe space where people can openly be their authentic selves, without fear of judgement.

It’s important to note, that you shouldn’t assume  other people aren’t dressing for your sexual gratification. If someone wears something that’s sexy, that’s their personal form of self-expression. Clothing isn’t an invitation to interact with someone in a sexual or inappropriate manner, it certainly isn’t an invitation to push someone’s boundaries. Part of consent means being respectful of how someone chooses to present themselves.

Dress for play

Boots and short dress
Boots and short dress

The other consideration is, what will you be doing in a playspace? That expensive latex outfit I keep mentioning? It may look amazing but be impractical for a rough body play scene, where you and your partner are rolling on mats. If you’re going to do a scene, keep in mind clothing that will work for said scene. Also keep in mind that you may decide to undress down to your underwear or completely nude, so think about what will make that easier. Getting out of a corset or boots that have a bunch of eyelets can take a while and affect the flow of a scene. It’s helpful to be mindful of time and the ease of getting into (and out of) clothing.

Some folks actually wear clothing they intend to destroy as part of a scene, thrift shops can be a great place to pick up expendable looks.

Consider everything

Is the playspace hot or cold? Does your outfit make it hard to receive bondage or does it restrict your arm motion while throwing a flogger? Don’t pick an outfit that’s impractical considering your plans at a party.

Also consider your arrival and departure at an event. Many playspaces have somewhere you can change clothing, so you’re able to travel comfortably and glam up at the venue. Comfortable footwear is a must, especially if you have to walk or travel a distance. I’ve often seen Ms.Pomegranate take sensible shoes to a playspace which meant she didn’t have to drive home in her thigh high boots. Consider a backpack or something you can use to store your phone and other essentials while the party is going on.

Consider carrying a spare set of clothes to an event. If your play is physical and sweat inducing, you’ll appreciate a fresh change of clothes at the end of the event. If you do something like a wax play scene, you’re bound to have flecks of wax still stuck to your body that you don’t want coming into contact with your clothing. Using rope like jute can leave a layer of dust and fibers on you, so be mindful of the mess that playing can make.

When you’re outside the playspace, dress in a nondescript, street legal manner. Baring your ass at a party may be cool, but outside the dungeon it can cause a venue problems with the surrounding neighborhood. Also, being modest outside a playspace allows everyone attending an event to maintain as much privacy as possible.

Au Natural?

Jeans and leather harness
Jeans and leather harness

At times, you may ironically see full or partial nudity as a dress code option. I’ve see parties where submissives were expected to be nude as symbolic to their role in relation to the dominants at the event. Once again, this is a personal decision based on your comfort and sense of expression. If the dress code demands it, you have to determine the level of nudity you’d be comfortable with, which may be where you also consider if an event is for one you want to attend. If various states of undress are permitted at an event, it can be another chance to explore self exploration, perhaps by wearing lingerie or sheer clothing that makes you feel great. Even the addition of body jewelry or shackles can create a fun scene for a look. Whatever you decide regarding nudity, it’s about your personal desires and needs. The role of the playspace is to provide a risk aware, consensual environment for present your body in what manner, with whatever adornments suit you.

Putting a look together

The specifics of choosing various types of fetish clothing is so vast, that we’ll cover the topic in a separate post soon. However, there are a few rules of thumb that you can rely on to help you pull together a look for an event, the rules being:

  • Remember the basics, and present in a neat, hygienic manner
  • Follow the rules if an event has a specific dress code (Or risk not being admitted)
  • Know that great fetish looks can be pulled together without spending a lot of money
  • Dress comfortably and anticipate your level of activity at a party
  • Factor in your arrival, departure and changes at the party when selecting a wardrobe
  • The best outfits are the ones that fit well. Consider spending a few dollars on alterations
  • Dressing for parties is a chance for self-expression and exploration. Have fun with it!

There you have it, some considerations for pulling together an outfit for a night at the dungeon. Whether you’re rocking your favorite onesie or going high cow at a leather event, always keep it kinky.

MrBLK is a blogger, writer, bondage rigger, dominant and certified geek. I've been an event promoter, dungeon monitor and founded the B'more Munch, one of the longest running meetups in the Baltimore area. I draw on disparate experiences as a caregiver, martial artist and fitness trainer to craft scenes that are innovative and fun. When not crafting diabolical plans, I relax by reading comics or swinging kettlebells.

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