NYC Nightclub Fashion Throughout the Years – Inspiration for Going Out!

Iconic places and iconic styles to inspire your next going out look!

Now that we’re getting ready to go out again  we wanted to highlight the eccentric social scene of New York City and the fabulousness that it effortlessly delivers. These were the places to be on a Friday *Thursday night and the different styles of the times. Consider it inspo for your #postquarantine nights out! Whatever your “scene” you’ll find it below!

*Back in the day when no one went to Brooklyn, Fridays and Saturday nights in NYC were derisively called the “bridge and tunnel” nights meaning people from the outer boroughs and New Jersey went to the clubs so those who lived in Manhattan stayed home. Also a shoutout to the not mentioned below Sound Factory with DJ Vasquez from the ‘90s that stayed open until 4 pm Sunday afternoon and was where the people who worked in nightlife from bartenders to sex workers went to party after they were done on Saturday night.


Get Glam!

The style inspo & clubs to bring out your inner “it girl” and party like Paris!

Studio 54

Setting the scene for everything glitz and glamour, most people think of shine, metallics, and sparkle–obviously. It was really everything, anything and more. The star studded club regularly saw Cher and Grace Jones killing the fashion game among so many other celebrities.


Bungalow 8, brainchild of the original Queen Bee of nightlife Amy Sacco, was nearly impossible to get into (even Paris Hilton has been denied), making it an incredibly popular location in the early 2000s. The fact that it was immortalized in “Gossip Girl,” “Sex and the City,” and a P. Diddy lyric didn’t hurt either. High end and very exclusive, a night out here meant being surrounded by tables of celebrities. With the city opening back up we have no doubt Sacco is already planning another opening soon. We’ll be waiting…

GET THE LOOK: A head-turning dress and heels will do
From left to right: Faux Fur Trim Black Dress on Depop, Betsey Johnson Pink Dress on Poshmark, Black Velvet Sparkle Mini Dress on Depop




Everyone knows CBGBs for being the notorious 80s hardcore punk club on the Bowery. While it fully became the birthplace of punk, the letters actually stand for Country Bluegrass & Blues– the type of music founder Hilly Kristal intended on having. Being a crucial part of NYC’s underground music scene and punk subculture, bands like The Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads, and The Misfits all had a turn on stage.


Known for the “anything goes” atmosphere, the Mudd Club was a punk rock venue that welcomed artistic expression. Not only did some amazing fashion come out of here, but music, art, and really anything creative. Keith Haring even had a curated space for artwork there. They had a short run (1978-1983), but it was considered the best place to end your night and after seeing a band at CBGB. They even threw dress up parties that pushed ALL limits.

GET THE LOOK: All you need is some (second hand) leather and a DIY-punk attitude
From left to right: Second Hand Motorcycle Jacket on EBAY; Upcycled Safety Pin Tank on Etsy; Vegan Doc Martens Boots


Unstoppable Club Kids

Palladium’s doorman Haoui Montaug stands with his assistant Yehjong Son, going over the guest list,1985. It’s all about the look.


From left to right: Genetalia at the Tunnel (1993), Tunnel nightclub bathroom in the 90s; From left, Michael Alig, Richie Rich, Nina Hagen, Sophia Lamar and Genetalia. Photos by Steve Eichner.

The various clubs of Peter Gatien became hubs for the Club Kids’ creative chaos, hotspots for rising hip-hop and rap stars like DMX and LL Cool J, and the home of rave culture. The creative communities of the ‘80s and ‘90s thrived in these environments.


From left to right: Red Hot (August 3, 2019); Glitterati (February 2, 2019), Night Cult With Dimond Saints (Oct 19, 2018); Cabronis (January 23, 2019) Photos by Kenny Rodriguez @Kennyrodz

A space for performance and expression, House of Yes is the Bushwick nightclub that is a hotspot for themed dance parties (costumes required) in addition to the circus, theater & cabaret performances. The space was designed as a temple of expression, and forms the creative base of House of Yes operations– which stemmed from founders Anya Sapozhnikova and Kae Burke’s original ‘House of Yes’ in East Williamsburg, a space where they ran a circus theatre and creative event space, hosting aerial classes, and rented rooms to artists, musicians, and dancers.


From left to right: KUNST party at Brooklyn’s Verboten (2014) by Santiago Felipe; “80s Copa Babes in pastels” from Susanne Bartsch Facebook; TMPL opening (march 2016) Photo by Driely S.

The queen of NYC nightlife, Susanne Bartsch, has hosted (and still is–stay up to date on her Instagram) some of the most fabulous parties of New York. Her first party was in 1986 at an underground club below the Chelsea Hotel and the weekly parties only became a haven for club kids to experiment with their “self-couture,” as Bartsch calls it.

GET THE LOOK: Get creative and do the most!
From left to right: High Waisted Metallic Disco Shorts on Depop; Beaded top on Depop; Destroy platform boots on Depop


The Art Student

Quirky or Queer We’re Here!


From left to right: Lady Wrestling featuring Tom Scully, Tish And Snooky Bellomo (1980) by Harvey Wang; Alexa Hunter (early 1980s) by Robert Carrithers; Basquiat and Haring.

A night out at Club 57 didn’t mean ‘clubbing’ in the usual sense. Instead, this was an underground art club. It was a space for creativity and culture, whether that was an obscure movie night, a punk band playing, a fashion show or explicit art exhibit or even a ladies’ wrestling match– the possibilities were endless. In the basement of a Polish church at 57 St. Marks Place, Club 57’s five year run (1978-1983) was a weird but remarkable mix of DIY and clubbing, perfect for the downtown artists.


From left to right: Dancerteria by Robert Carrithers; Madonna performing by Charlene Martinez; Young club-goers at birthday party for designer Betsey Johnson (1980).

Basically the opposite of Studio 54, Danceteria was the inclusive disco of the eighties. Similar to Mudd Club’s vibe, the place had it all happening– bands and DJs, performances, art exhibits, film screenings, video art, comedy, fashion shows… an all around flourishing scene of culture. Not only was it the place where Madonna had her first live performance of her career in 1982, but it was the melting pot of the club scene… since the party lasted all night, in came those leaving every other club around.

GET THE LOOK: Nothing says art students like a vintage and thrifted wardrobe that looks effortlessly cool and unique.
From left to right: 80’s colorblock tee on Depop; 60’s Sleeveless Kitten Bow Mini Dress; Funky Jewelry Pants on Depop

Be fabulous, have fun, and stay safe on your nights out!

–Leah Flannery

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