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Nightlife Is Back, So What’s Everyone Wearing?

How the pandemic has changed club style.

More than a month after nightclubs have fully reopened, lines for popular Dupont clubs like Rose Bar and Cafe Citron are back to snaking down the block again. But has going-out fashion also returned to the pre-pandemic days? We went out this past hot and humid Saturday night to ask people how they’re dressing now that nightlife is back.

Bernette, 24

From: Northwest (near Chevy Chase)

Occupation: Behavior skills therapist and part-time food service worker

The Outfit: “It’s a hot girl summer,” Bernette says when asked how she chose her ensemble. “When you are sitting in the house and you have nothing else to do but to think about yourself and your struggles, it’s just like rebrand! I wanted to rebrand myself. I wanted to show outwardly how I felt inwardly. I’m going to level it up, because why not?”

Stylez, 33 

From: Landover

Occupation: Barber

The Outfit: A closer look at a Stylez shirt reveals a bold print of melting ice cream, paired with blue sunglasses and a bucket hat. “The drench always been in me. I never lost it. Even if it was the pandemic, I still be me. The same person, never changed. Drenchy is a way of lifestyle. It’s something I came up with. Drench is like, this is all frost right here. My whole ensemble is all frost, and that’s basically drenching.”

Gilda, 26

From: Vienna

Occupation: Makeup artist

The Outfit: “I rolled up in the house and said I want to shake some ass. So I wore something that I will be able to shake some ass.” To balance the casual tee, she blinged up her make-up with face rhinestones and kitten heels. “Usually, I’m very lazy. I will throw on a little dress and go about my day. Never cared to put effort into outfits ’cause it was not happening. But now, I am taking my time, make sure that if I’m going to step out, especially in the middle of a panny, Imma make sure I’m popping out.”

Mauricio, 34 and Jair, 30

Mauricio on the left and Jair on the right.

From: Carver/Langston and Columbia Heights

Occupations: Non-profit worker (Mauricio) and youth educator (Jair)

The Outfits: “I like T-shirts. That’s my thing,” Mauricio says. “I’m wearing a Homeboy Industries [t-shirt], repping, helping out formerly incarcerated people and former gang-involved people in LA, ’cause I appreciate that work. Fuck jails, fucks prisons.”

Jair says his own club-wear style has become more casual during the pandemic, particularly since Ramadan in April: “It’s changed in me finding my own independence in my own expression. I’ve always worn pink. But I think now I wear it more.”

Claudia, 22 and Tatiana, 22

Claudia on the left and Tatiana on the right.

From: Fairfax

Occupations: Personal Assistant (Claudia) and unemployed (Tatiana)

The Outfits: Claudia and Tatiana became roommates during the pandemic and have inspired each other’s fashion choices. “[Tatiana] introduced me to color. She helped me be a crop top person. Because I was always like, ugh, stomach, I don’t want to show my stomach. I’m insecure. But then around her, we’re like, let’s be confident and show ourselves how we want to,” Claudia says.

Tatiana adds: “I have gained weight during the pandemic, it’s been hard for me to find the right pieces, the tops, and pants, and everything. As a curvier person, color makes everything pop, so you don’t see the fat. As women, we need to be more confident with our own selves. You can’t hate on your own body.”

Connor, 25

From: Arlington

Occupation: Student and barista

The Outfit: “This is my favorite shirt because I get compliments on it.” When asked whether his style has changed since the pandemic, Conor says, “I was an all-in bitch before, I am an all-in bitch now.”

Kristin, 18

From: Bethesda

Occupation: Student

The Outfit: “I’ve incorporated more streetwear for comfortability.” Kristin says the pandemic has made her realize comfort and style are not mutually exclusive: “You’re with yourself the whole time. I don’t feel like I need to dress to impress as much. I can dress to impress but still be comfortable.”

Tessa, 22 and Teodora, 23

Tessa on the left and Teodora on the right.

From: Springfield

Occupations: Hairstylist (Tessa) and hairstylist assistant (Teodora)

The Outfits: “Baby blue is kind of a moment,” Tessa says of her heels. “Little black dress, you can’t go wrong, I thrifted it for two bucks and then my necklace is my mom’s. It’s giving me ’90s. That’s the vibe… [I’m wearing] more of just what the fuck I want to wear. I’m more creative with it. I’ve become more comfortable in my style because I stopped caring what people think.”

Teodora: “I’ve always been more of a casual person. I feel most comfortable when I am wearing something that is comfortable. Since the pandemic, I think my style has changed. I did a lot of shopping over the pandemic. I’m definitely wanting to wear more fun pieces. I’ve been putting on my best outfits now that we are able to go out.”

Elyzha, 22

From: Richmond

Occupation: Writer and HR intern

The Outfit: “Every day, I dress in a way that expresses the way I am feeling.” Elyzha says the pandemic hasn’t changed her style: “I dress for myself, even if I am in the house. My main priority is me.”