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The Only Outfit You'll Ever Need for the Club
Note up front: After deliberation and input from you guys, I’m altering my subscription model to $7 a month, with 4 bonus posts per month, a paywalled running “shopping”/wishlist that will be pinned to the top of the Substack (I’ll be starting it today), and one *extra* bonus thing per month (let’s just say I hope you like the sound of my voice). I will still be posting two or so free posts per month. If you are already subscribed to the bonus tier, your plan will remain the same, so don’t flee in a panic! If you’d like to unsubscribe and resubscribe to the new $7/month tier, I would be beyond grateful—I’m doing this because I spend 20+ hours a week on this blog, and I am not in a position to be making as little money as I do off of it, sadly.
Biggest note: if you cannot afford the $7/month, which I totally understand, respond to any of my email sends and I will get you a $2 subscription or comp you, whatever you need. HR is for everyone!
All that being said…
Hi! I never used to go to the club before I moved to Buenos Aires. $17 drinks and people constantly angling to Be Seen in NYC were sufficient turn-offs for me, but once I got here, the drinks were a dollar (US) and change, and there was no risk of Chloë Sevigny or whomever popping in to pick the city’s next It Girl. In the past year of dancing like a maniac and sweating like the active-glanded Jew that I am, I have honed the perfect clubbing/dancing outfit for any climate, season, and gender. The foolproof, weather-agnostic club outfit equation is:
One-piece swimsuit [or rash guard] + track or sweatpants + shell jacket + compression socks + STURDY, ROBUST-SOLED slip-on shoes + small crossbody bag + freaky eye makeup.
Here, I am wearing this exact outfit recipe minus the slip-on shoes, because my Instapumps (more on them below) are beyond filthy from near-constant wear—I need to find a good shoe cleaner or wait until an affordable pair in my size pops up.
Below, explanation as to why each component of the fit works to maximize the ease and enjoyment of Going Out, plus a bevy of shoppable recs you can build your own fit from (though the beauty of this look is that I’ll bet you already have almost every piece in your closet!).
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One-piece swimsuit [or rash guard]
This is the premier way to get bang for your buck by wearing a favorite swimsuit year-round. Why a swimsuit and not a unitard or non-technical-material one-piece? A few reasons: first, this outfit equation takes into account the amount of spillage that occurs in any given night out. A swimsuit will wick away a beer-scented shower, dry quickly, and is designed not to become sheer in an undesirable fashion when wet.
It also won’t show underarm or boob sweat in a clarity as dastardly as would another material in a similarly tight cut, and most one-pieces (including all the ones I’ve picked below) are tight and sturdy enough that, no matter the cut or neckline, they will keep all your flesh bound to your body and covered up—no additional bra-ing necessary, just like you wouldn’t wear a bra at the beach! This all allows you to play with funky cut-outs and adornments with the confidence bestowed by a technical garment while looking extremely sexy doing it. I usually go for swimsuits with very full coverage in front and a dramatic, plunging back. If you splurge on one item out of this recipe, splurge on a HQ one-piece.
Notes: pack a mini hand sanitizer and a mini pack of tissues in your crossbody bag (below), and then when you have to pee, just pull down your pants and slip that shit to one side—you’ll be covered, no matter how grim the bathroom situation is at your chosen den of debauchery.
Also, if you’re not of the mind to wear a one-piece, try a rash guard—as I detail more granularly over here, they will offer the same upsides as a one-piece (constriction, support, wicking, etc.) with a less boob-forward/feminine look. And, as I noted in that post, you’ll be ahead of the trend’s curve, if you care!
The above is the swimsuit I’m wearing in the above-above photo. It’s exceptionally well-made, doesn’t stretch out or fade, and costs less than $30 USD. It’s also a near-perfect dupe of the MNZ Sacred bodysuit, which costs more than 4x that amount and can’t be worn in the water…
Love the above brand, Chromat, for its inclusivity but also its sexy little details—the hip straps?????!
Track or sweatpants
Over your aqueous apparel, slip into a pair of track pants or sweats. Track pants are perhaps ideal, especially in warmer weather, as they offer the same spill-invincibility as the bathing suit and are breezy without looking schlubby, but the right pair of sweats (proooobably not the same grimy ones you wear to sleep, though in the above pic, that’s exactly what I’m doing, lol) is perfect for cooler temps and is also the IDEAL pick for the nights when you have to surgically remove yourself from the comfort of your bed to brave the elements and the weirdos trying to buy you a Heineken (gin and tonic or bust, brother).
Though for daywear, I like a wide-legged sweat/track pant that’s not cinched at the ankle, the cinching makes sense for a night outing, as it prevents the hems from draggling in the unspeakable dreck of the dance floor—don’t pick anything fuzzy or absorbent either, per the aforementioned spill-inevitability. Choosing a pair of pants with a bit of jouissance (for track pants, look for reflective, shimmery, or warm colors and interesting detailing like contrast piping, for sweats, bright colors, graphics, and BIG WORDS [bonus points if they’re on the butt]) will perfect the look in the balance between the devil-may-care essence of wearing lounge pants out and the earnestness of caring *just enough* to wear something “fun.” Band merch sweats are a great conversation starter, if you’re lookin’ to start something.
Tip: Bike shorts slide on under tracks/sweats no problem, if you want the option to go legs-out at the function. Also, one of the things I love about the swimsuit + sweats combo is that if your one-pice has high-cut legs and your pants are low-slung, they expose a sliver of hip that reads as casually sensual.
Yadda yadda spills, but also the shell jacket (search “rain jacket” on Etsy instead of “windbreaker,” lest you be swept into 80s ironic hell) is extremely portable, tuck-behind-a-potted-plant-or-something-while-you-dance-able, hardy enough for the brief moments between bar and car if the weather is foul, but light enough that you can tie its arms around your waist or bag strap without giving yourself back problems. The cheaper and less steal-worthy, the better (the ones below are not cheap enough, but you can use them as inspiration or if you’re really rich, I guess)—the ideal club jacket is one that you will willingly take the L and sacrifice to the party gods if someone decides they need it more than you while it’s sequestered in your hiding spot. Bright colors can also be a big help if you’re with drunken friends—they can just follow the neon blur when it’s time to dip!
These can be as silly-looking as you want, because they’ll be hidden under your pants, but they’ll keep your circulation up and, this is probably just placebo, but I feel less likely to roll an ankle or jam a toe while vacuum-sealed in these bad boys.
STURDY, ROBUST-SOLED slip-on shoes
Why slip-on? Less potential for tripping on laces, if you get some detritus stuck in your shoe it doesn’t have to be a whole production to get it out, and if you’re bouncing between shoe-free pregames and shoe-PLEASE dives, there’s less potential for a wave of fatigue to catch up to you than if you had to sit and fiddle with footwear for a few minutes every time you switched locations. They also make bathroom quick-changes easier, if it comes to that.
Put down the Toms, though (can you imagine), these shoes must be thick-soled and have no heel slippage whatsoever. The only pair of slip-ons I’ve personally owned that fit this bill are my Reebok Instapump Furys (I have the first pair below, as per Björk)—they are extremely robust and have a weird pump mechanism I don’t understand that kind of seals your foot in like a very-comfy blood pressure sleeve. They’re also currently unpopular enough that many affordable (and some insanely expensive for no reason) pairs reside on the internet.
Small crossbody bag
This bag should comfortably hold phone, ID (with an outer pocket if possible for easy access to both), keys, money, lip balm, gum, mini hand sanitizer and tissues (see above), and maybe have a tiny, hidden inner pocket for…anything “else” you may want to bring to the club! It should have an adjustable strap so it can be fitted snugly under your arm and avoid the nunchuck-swing-effect that will make you the bane of your clubmates’ existence, and preferably nylon/ripstop/leather to avoid inopportune tears (or, yes, spills. Yes, I’ve leaned all this spill stuff from experience).
Freaky eye makeup
Since you’re going so simple and sleek (I don’t recommend any more jewelry than stud earrings for safety reasons), accessorize with some weird eye situation! This will not only make you stand out from the crowd, but it gives you a shorthand—think about it, someone spots you from across the room, immediately falls in love of course, and can refer to you as “that person with the one black eye” or “that person with painted-on tears” or whatever to their friends as they desperately try to court you. The weirder you get, the more you weed out the actual weirdos with no appreciation for *art.* By going hard on the eyes and leaving your lips bare, you don’t rule out the potential of a spontaneous dance floor kiss (if you’re not interested, by all means, lacquer ‘em up).
As someone who openly stinks at doing makeup, this look from Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, a demonically underrated rock flick, is a go-to for something easy to replicate but impactful, even if you kind of fuck it up like I always do:
The above seems to have been achieved via stamp, which has me itching to go to a stationery store.
A few even simpler looks for the minimalists among us:
I loooove how the shadow bleeds onto the model’s hair.
Finally, here’s the makeup look from the first pic in this post:
Yeah, I don’t know either. Maybe it’s an abstraction of Gojo and Geto (IYKYK).
Be safe, stay hydrated, and have so much fun out there! I’ve discovered I can dance, like, really dance, for about 30 minutes max at this point in my decay, so I’ll be cheering you on from the sidelines.