If you’re not a casino regular, knowing what to wear to a casino or preparing the perfect casino dress code can be a daunting task.
To a certain extent, people associate casinos with old Hollywood glamour, modern-day decadence, and celebrity lifestyle, even if just for an evening.
That’s why most people imagine movie stars at private tables, wearing cocktail dresses, bow ties, and diamond rings when deciding on the proper casino attire.
From the Viva Las Vegas to the Wild Westers, many years of cinema suggest that all women must wear elegant evening gowns and men must wear black-tie outfits.
However, wearing an impeccable tuxedo in a Vegas casino during the daytime will make people smile at your overdressed style.
Any casino attire depends on the country, the time of day, and the event you will attend.
Dressing to fit in among the casino regulars, gambling whales, and high-rollers is easier than you imagine if you follow these simple tricks.
In this article, I’ll guide you, step by step, on how to find that perfect casino outfit and look the part.
Casino Dress Code – Main Rules
You must always follow the house dress code and rules.
Start by checking directly with the casino you plan to visit, as each place has its specific dress code.
Different dress codes apply according to the activity you plan to do there, but overall, you must follow the casino’s rules to ensure admission.
For example, American casinos accept slightly more casual outfits than their European counterparts.
Also, casinos are more relaxed toward your outfits during the day and more demanding at night.
The more high-profile a casino is, the more your clothes will be scrutinized by the staff and other players.
Time to start by covering all possible casino dressing codes via 6 categories:
1. Casual Casino Attire
Remember, any outfit choice you make depends on the location/type of the casino and the time of the day.
Whenever you visit the Monte Carlo casino, you must wear elegant clothes, regardless of the day, weather, or type of activity.
On the other hand, with the weather and types of casinos in Las Vegas (where casinos are part of a hotel), the dress code is much more relaxed.
As you can enter the casino from the hotel, there’s no need to pass security.
Therefore, checking and enforcing the casino’s dress code is almost impossible.
Also, as Nevada’s climate is hot most of the year, the most common hotel outfits are shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops; thus, seeing them on the casino floor is not unusual.
However, “casual” does not mean old or dirty clothes; you still want to look nice.
Think of casual wear as the outfit you’d wear on a first date.
Moreover, the casual styles change fast after 6 pm, as visitors dress up to go out – evening dinners, clubbing, etc.
Generally, most Las Vegas casinos expect cocktail attire after 6 pm; women wear some form of cocktail dress, and men wear dark suits.
2. Semi-formal Casino Attire
The semi-formal casino attire is the most popular dress code in casinos worldwide.
Semiformal is slightly more relaxed than the ‘Black Tie’ look and stricter than the formal look – hence the many options and ways to match.
Semiformal is usually reserved for events before noon as the daytime attire is generally less formal, and a collared shirt, dark jeans, and leather shoes are accepted.
However, past noon and before six PM, women sporting semi-formal casino attire should wear cocktail dresses or pantsuits, while men should wear a dark business suit, dark shoes, and a tie.
3. Business Casual Casino Attire
Unless you play online, business casual and smart casual are the most common styles to wear on a typical day.
Business casual is how you dress for white-collar office jobs or holiday parties.
Women should wear more dressy tops while men should swap shorts and T-shirts with a button-down or collared shirt.
4. Business Formal Casino Attire
Business formal is the safest way to dress for any casino, any time, in any part of the world, especially if you don’t know the dress code.
A business casual casino outfit contains clothes similar to those you typically wear at your office.
There’s no issue dressing a bit more formally; it makes you look rich.
But make sure you won’t look overdressed if the casino you visit has a more casual atmosphere.
Moreover, the formal business outfit is equally comfortable and stylish, so you spend the whole day at the casino, from the morning to the evening, without looking under or overdressed.
5. Black-tie Casino Attire
The black-tie attire is a must-have for VIP lounges, memorable plays organized by the casino, night events, and other specific functions.
Generally, women should wear long evening dresses and smart shoes (preferably high heels).
On the other hand, most black-time men’s casino attire should consist of a formal white shirt, a black bow tie, a waistcoat, a black dinner jacket, and black leather shoes.
If you can’t picture the complete look, check out Casino Royale, one of the best genre movies ever.
This subcategory of the black-tie outfit is called ‘black-tie optional’ and is less formal than the classic black tie.
For example, women can wear short or medium-length cocktail dresses, and men can skip the waistcoat and bow tie.
The black-tie optional is the most common dress code in casinos across Monaco and other central European countries.
6. White-tie Casino Attire
White tie, also known as the “full evening dress,” is the highest formality for men and women.
Not a very common dress code for casinos, the white-tie dress code is required only for private events.
Unless you’re invited to a private event at a casino, and the invitation clearly states a white tie, you should steer clear of this outfit, or you’ll be overdressed.
Women invited to a white-tie casino evening are expected to wear long evening gowns and accessories to match it – such as tiaras, brooches, gloves, and hairpieces.
Men must wear a black jacket with matching trousers, a white waistcoat, and a white bow tie (hence the name).
The outfit must be paired well with black leather shoes, a stiff-front white shirt, and accessories like cufflinks and studs.
Casino Runway Looks
See below some of the best casino-themed releases and catwalk appearances for more Casino dress code inspiration.
Moschino’s Vegas-themed Catwalk
In 2017, the Italian fashion house Moschino caused a stir at the Los Angeles Fashion Week with its Las Vegas-inspired 1960s fashion.
Top models like Taylor Hill and Miranda Kerr strode the catwalk in psychedelic and neon glam styles featuring wild prints and accessories.
Pastels, sequins, and orange flames were also used in the designs, taking inspiration from casino slot games.
Fashion guru Jeremy Scott designed the chic casino range influenced by the showgirl lifestyle of the golden Vegas years.
Dolce & Gabbana’s Queen of Hearts
Another notable fashion show, inspired by casino card games, took place in Milan in 2017.
It featured a collection named D&G Queen of Hearts, and it looked like something out of Alice in Wonderland.
The backdrop consisted of giant playing cards as models walked down the runway adorned in dresses with playing card designs.
Dresses printed with hearts and other card symbols mixed with heart-shaped handbags and accessories accentuate the casino-style collection.
From floor-length dresses to ballgowns, the Queen of Hearts collection was one of the most impressive ranges seen on the runway for some time.
Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel Casino Catwalk
But among all fashion designers inspired by the casino theme, Karl Lagerfeld’s lavish runways for Chanel collections made it to the fashion history books.
The designer re-created a casino floor for the Paris Fashion catwalk in 2015 and had celebrities like Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, and Rita Ora sit around casino game tables in upholstered chairs.
The casino tables were next to the runway, and the stars played blackjack, roulette, and other similar games.
The extravagant runway show was matched by the models’ beautifully designed clothing range, inspired by 1960s casino glamor.
What to wear to a casino depends on the casino’s location, time of day, and type of experience.
While the style can be casual during the day, you’ll face more formal dress code requirements if you plan to visit private rooms or VIP lounges.
If you know which casino you visit, always check their online guidelines for the most appropriate attire and avoid being turned away at the door.
Dress according to the type of casino you are visiting
I always advise ensuring you do not ignore the casino’s suggested (or expected) attire.
For instance, Monaco casinos are all about glitz and glamour; expect sequin dresses, pencil skirts, and classy heels.
However, Hawaiian and Miami casinos accept casual dress, so expect denim, wedges, and sandals.
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With an AA from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles and over five years of experience in the fashion industry, Susan Kim is the founder of Sum+Style Co. - a Seattle-based personal styling company turned online marketplace focused on innovative K-Fashion (Korean Fashion) styles. Kim's expertise in men's and women's styling for the most demanding occasions has her editorial pieces covered by top fashion and style magazines worldwide.