What to Wear Clubbing in Rio De Janeiro

Party drink
Party drink | © pexel
Sarah Brown

As the day turns to night, Cariocas (residents of Rio) leave the beach, brush off the sand and get ready for a night out. Clubbing Rio-style is a relatively laid-back affair. Cariocas go out late at around 9PM to sip beers and chat before listening to live music, dancing at a nightclub or joining a street party. To party like a local, here’s what you should wear out clubbing in Rio.

What Rio lacks in large, throbbing nightclubs as in sister-city São Paulo, it makes up for in street parties and thriving botecos that appreciate both the outdoors and Rio’s welcoming social side. The result is understated, low-key clothing, a factor of going out to have fun rather than showing off fancy brands or clothes. Cariocas channel their efforts into getting a toned body, sun-kissed skin and shiny, long hair. It’s this natural beauty that effortlessly makes locals stand out, minimizing the need to get glammed up.


Keep it casual

What women wear depends greatly on where they will be partying, yet the majority wear shorts or skirt with a pretty top combination. Dresses are often short yet floaty in a flirty-chic look. Typical footwear includes flip-flops, delicate sandals, ballet pumps or slim-fit trainers. Swap the high heels for wedges if you want extra height as it’s rare to see girls in heels. Less is more in Rio, a factor of the hot climate and abundance of beautiful bodies – so now is the time to make the most of the crop-top fashion trend.

Hair and make-up

Women tend to wear their hair down and swinging at their waists, or casually looped up in a high bun. Most Cariocas straighten their hair after extensive hydrating treatments, making it look flawless. Keep make-up to a minimum – a hint of blush, some mascara and a slick of lipstick is usually enough. Complete the look with salon-ready nails – a trip to the salon is a weekly task in Rio and most Carioca nails always look immaculate.

Natural hairstyle and make-up

When to get glammed-up

The best places to get dressed up for are the clubs in Barra da Tijuca. Here, women are on par with São Paulo with high heels and mini skirts, yet make-up tends to still be casual. Nightlife venues such as Palaphita Gavea also come with higher expectations of dress code and flip-flop-clad ladies will not be allowed entry.


Low-key style

In following with the women, men keep it casual. Leave the panama hat and printed shirts at home to avoid the gringo look, as it’s known in Rio, and head out in boardie shorts, a simple t-shirt and flip-flops. Leave hair natural and don’t add much gel. The slicked-back look is not in style in Rio.

Casual men’s style

Shirts and shoes

For more fancy events such as the clubs in Barra da Tijuca or Palaphita Gavea, use dark-colored jeans, a smart t-shirt or crisp shirt and either black trainers or shoes. Men in Rio tend to have fit, toned bodies and they won’t let their hours at the gym go unnoticed, with a preference for short sleeves to show off those muscular arms and fitted t-shirts to hint at their six-packs. Team with a winning smile and you’re good to go out like a Carioca man.

Important accessory: a smile
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