Casino attire has long been an interesting topic for fashion lovers, but has also been subject to a lot of outdated assumptions. If you aren’t one to frequent in-person casinos, chances are you have Hollywood-tinted impressions of how men and women dress up to sip cocktails and play poker together. These impressions have been built up by decades’ worth of films such as Ocean’s Eleven or Casino Royale from the James Bond franchise. And to be sure, if you’re headed to one of the few particularly elite casinos around the world — Monte-Carlo and its royal family comes to mind — formal evening-wear wouldn’t look out of place.
Generally though, a sparkling gown or fancy dress would leave you feeling a bit overdressed these days, because a few developments over time have made modern casinos a great deal more casual. In this article, we’ll take a look at how casino fashion has evolved into a relaxed style, and what you can do to dress a bit more like a sophisticated high-roller.
The Evolution of Casino Style
In the early 2000s, the world witnessed the burst of publicly visible amateur poker players. It was around this time that tournaments from the World Series of Poker became a major television event, and we all watched amateur players raking in millions of dollars, crammed together at massive clusters of tables and playing during daytime hours. These players exhibited a collage of casual styles — some wearing hats, some wearing sunglasses, many sporting headphones, and very few in suits. Amateur players of this era soon became known as professionals, and effectively came to dominate our image of poker play and casinos more broadly.
Another development was the popularization of online casinos, which have become much more dynamic than many people realize. Instead of lone gamers spinning digital slot reels, online casinos offer a highly social environment more closely resembling a real-world casino. Poker and other table games are held in real time between players; the bingo games on Foxy Bingo involve full chat rooms in which players can interact as if in actual bingo rooms. Still, people are enjoying this entertainment from the comfort of their homes, in their most comfortable attire.
Even movies have helped to change the casino vibe a little bit. Films like 21, The Hangover, Mississippi Grind, and Molly’s Game have all come out in the years since Ocean’s Eleven and Casino Royale, and have shown us a greater variety in types of gambling venues and the style within them. While there have been some elegant individuals in these movies, the prevailing impression between them is that anything goes.
So by now you get the idea: At most modern casinos, you can dress a lot more casually than many might expect. But what if you want to glam up and channel Hollywood’s version of casino wear? Here are some key tips to consider.
Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you buy from my link I might make a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay. See the full affiliate disclosure here.
Pay attention to your shoes
It pays to have a pair of good dressy heels, trendy sandals, or even a pair of fashionable boots on hand. Any of these is preferable to athletic shoes at a casino — even if you’re wearing jeans or casual pants. The shoes, at least, should be somewhat fashionable. Take inspiration from where you’re headed to. If you’re going to Las Vegas, for instance, why not try on more flashy footwear à la performing resident Lady Gaga? Gaga’s shoe game is subtle enough not to overshadow her knockout Jazz Age and cabaret looks, but still capture the overall allure of her style.
Focus on the fit
Some casinos really do call for casual attire (rather than just accept it). In these venues you might be perfectly happy in jeans, a t-shirt, and a baseball cap. But even when this is the case, make sure that the clothes fit your build and overall style. A put-together person can make the most of a casual outfit, and well-fitting clothes are key to that — so stay away from baggy pieces or loose layers.
Layer with accessories
Another good way to elevate your style at a modern casino is to accessorize a bit. Statement pieces like a sparkling pair of earrings, a luxury watch (like Daniel Heckmann) or a cool clutch purse can add a classy touch to the jeans and t-shirt combo. As we mentioned in our article on ‘How to Dress for the Job You Deserve’, a stylish blazer or jacket can make you look more professional and polished as well. You can lean into fun, bold colors, or go for more powerful ones like burgundy and purple to intimidate your game opponents.
Err on the side of looking ‘extra’
Lastly, we recommend going overboard rather than under. That doesn’t mean you should stroll up to a beachside hotel lobby card table wearing a ballgown and an updo. But when in doubt, opt to be slightly overdressed. There are still some who players adhere to a higher level of fashion in casinos, and it’s better to be among them than to be conspicuously casual.