May 6th, 2019, 12:00 PM

You Can’t Come In Here Dressed Like That

By Valeria Sarto
fashion, paris, nightclubs, paris nights
Discoballs at Pardon, Paris | Photo: Valeria Sarto
Or can you?

Much like New York City, Paris does not sleep. The streets constantly bustle with action, whether that be at a local brasserie, an indie bar or a discotheque. The City of Lights attracts all to fill the streets and savor what it offers – and oh does it have a lot to offer!

Paris presents another form of entertainment: checking out the city’s “dress code.” Constant inspiration in style is evident in all corners of the street, and offers an amusing spectacle. As one of the fashion capitals of the world, a burning  question comes to mind: what  is  the culture of fashion in Paris’ night life?

It all came to me when a group of us from AUP were rejected from L’Arc , a nightclub  near the Arc de Triomphe because some were wearing sneakers. Clearly, we were not acquainted with the club which we seemingly stumbled across because it looked “cool.”

Written on their website description, one can be warned: “if you feel concerned about a snobbish or exclusive environment, this might not be the place for you.” This upper-class establishment asks its attendees to make sure they feel like they belong. Especially because “other guests and servers alike can sense if you feel you are too low class for the venue, which makes it uncomfortable for everyone.”

It is important to mention that right after we were rejected, a group of men in sneakers were let in – but not just any sneakers, the Balenciaga sneakers. On an adventure around Paris through its different nightclubs, this is what I've determined as a few dress codes- or lack of them.


Casual Attire at Pardon in Paris. Image Credit: Valeria Sarto

Fashion heavy, or not? To each their own. Recommended by AUP senior Katerina McGrath, Pardon is a low-key spot filled with a young crowd and cheap booze. Attendees are dressed in super casual attire throughout. Simply put, almost everyone is in their favorite tee or top and slim pants. Some pump it up with yellow pants and a funky jean jacket, while others are dressed in relaxed flowing monochrome dresses. Plaid and patterned button downs were spotted here and there. 

This is a spot to go dancing with friends and not have to get all dressed up. Don't be fooled though- Pardon is open until five in the morning, and the crowd insidiously grows. The sound of techno and deep house fill the room as everyone carelessly dances to the local musicians. This is a locals spot at which they feel very comfortable.

Hotel Bourbon

Street Style Posh at Hotel Bourbon in Paris. Image Credit: Valeria Sarto

It is surprising that in the mist of this beautifully decorated discotheque, the bar at Hotel Bourbon is quite empty on a Saturday night. Don’t be fooled! Take a look behind the door that looks like the entrance to the kitchen. A striped staircase leads you down to the disco ball where people are dancing to the music. A blend of disco and techno, Hotel Bourbon is a real discotheque – pun intended. Upon walking in, girls with their hair curled and done up are waiting for their drinks. Slouchy boots, as spotted on the runway, especially at Celine, were paired with a simple black slip dress. YSL and Chanel bags were spied among the crowd. According to Hotel Bourbon, silky bomber jackets are still in style in Paris. People dress up, people dress down, they look funky and most themselves. Individuality is evident at Hotel Bourbon.

La Gare

Classic Looks at at La Gare in Paris. Image Credit: Valeria Sarto

Looking at the map, La Gare seems like it is in the middle of nowhere. As soon as you get off at just about the last stop of the Metro line seven, La Gare brings you a novelty in the outskirts of the city. A soothing little home propped up along the railroads welcomes you to the sweet sounds of jazz. Think jazz bar: whatever comes to your mind about the people, what they're wearing, how they look - that's La Gare. It's clear everyone comes by to listen to the intermingling of sounds from the saxophone, bass, trumpet and violin. The jazzy atmosphere fits the fashion at La Gare as classic looks fill the room. Typical top hats and tarnish brown blazers or sleek coats are worn by men and women alike. No one is particularly dressed to impress as much as they are to feel comfortable and let the jazz take them somewhere else. Simple pants, a top, sneakers and a nice coat are perfect for that careless "let the jazz move you" feel. 

Cantada II

Back to Rock & Roll at Cantada II in Paris. Image Credit: Valeria Sarto

Two kids waltz into an absinthe bar that is filled with skeletal figures, voluptuous nude paintings, and red walls. A mix of individuals at Cantada II fill the space, some fitting the “punk rock” look and others simply jamming out to the classical rock that plays on the loud speaker. Once inside, it is as if a time machine took you back in time to the '80s. Not to be stereotypical or anything, but the style at Cantada II fits its title as a punk rock bar. Long hair, tattoos, piercings, chains and band tees are everywhere. A typical skinny skater boy with the boy version of a scene haircut, gauges and skinny jeans chitchats with his girlfriend for hours. Nonetheless, they're all with a beer in hand and enjoying their setting. Earlier, Cantada II hosted a comedy show in their basement called “Sauf Complications, Je Suis Mort!” The owner, friendly as ever, welcomes you and updates you on the dark humor that filled the air with laughter downstairs.


Animals in the Jungle at Jangal in Paris. Image Credit: Valeria Sarto

An energy reminding me of home, specifically of the music at Rockwell in Miami Beach, consumed me once inside Jangal. Hip hop music filled the air, even oldies. Cue: “Kiss Me Through the Phone.” This throwback automatically gets everyone moving, as if they aren't already. A hub of diversity in the petit club, everyone has their own style. This is the epitome of hip-hop meets street style. Jangal is a super trendy place, and everyone has their own look. Some are dressed in "typical" club attire with tight mini skirts, a crop top and heels. Others are dressed more funky, mix and matching reds with crazy prints. It is almost like they planned to get the whole club on theme. Funky animal patterns and short tops, glasses in the club, nobody gave a f***. 

Le Carmen

Parisien Chic at Le Carmen in Paris. Image Credit: Valeria Sarto

Le Carmen is the most beautiful club I have entered in a while. The white ornate walls are filled with streaming lights from the disco ball and a red hue. The bar is lined up with an array of gin for your choosing. Ask the bartender dressed in all black and a beanie to make you something special with their rose gin, and he’ll dance while making it. As for the music, as lame as this sounds, the DJ got me fallin’ in love tonight – but seriously. With long bleached blonde hair, white nails and a bleached tee, she filled the room with great energy.  A mix of French music, Katrynada, Drake, indie alternative, and oldies blended together like a symphony. Silky textures are a go-to for dresses, jackets and tops while others decide to dress in a Balenciaga t-shirt or a boho skirt and flowy top look. The fashion and energy at Le Carmen is true Parisien chic. 


Rowdy After Work at Medellin in Paris. Image Credit: Valeria Sarto

Ah, Medellin. A club meant to relay a Colombian-feel. I hoped for some reggaeton to bring back some Latino roots. From hip hop to reggaeton, mainstream music plays all night. Entry is quite selective. The bouncer either keeps you waiting in line to your death (yes, this is a hyperbole), or he likes how you look and you’re in. Girls with tight jeans and small little tops wait outside batting their eyelashes at the bouncer. The men look like they just got off work and seriously need a drink. For a place called Medellin, the Latina look is everywhere - and with it comes the dancing.

One thing is for sure, Paris has its own individuality. Especially in fashion and style. The city might be characterized with a sleek classical look of sneakers, jeans and nice outerwear. The true looks, though, come to life in the night time. And only nightlife gives us a glimpse into the authentic taste of fashion in Paris.