Circuit parties attract thousands of queer partygoers every year (particularly younger gay men) eager for a night of dance-inducing house music. It’s comparatively more intense than clubbing, especially when it comes to the no-holds-barred gay fashion from go-go dancers in chest harnesses to bearded bears in leather gear.
Most circuit parties encourage an erotically charged dress code that can be exciting, liberating, and even a little intimidating for first-timers. If you’re feeling clueless about where to even begin shopping, we’ve rounded up some helpful gay clothing advice to steer you in the right direction.
Whether you’re headed for Atlanta’s newer Anubis events or Belgium’s long-running La Demence parties, here’s what to expect at any high-octane circuit scene.
1. Show off as much skin as you want
In this case, less is really more. Besides, you’ll be glad you opted to be nearly naked after bumping and grinding against hot bodies for hours.
Sexy gay apparel is always welcomed here, including mesh tank tops, crop tops, micro shorts, fetish singlets, and body harnesses. Of course, one of the biggest circuit staples is gay underwear in all its forms – leather jockstraps, designer briefs, trunk underwear, etc. There’s really no gay lingerie style that’s off limits.
If you’re uncomfortable with partying in only gay lingerie, you can always wear light layers that can be removed and stored in a small fanny pack throughout the night, like wearing mesh booty shorts over your briefs.
Although mainstream rave stores do supply similar party staples, the best place to find sexy gear that also caters to the queer community is at gay clothing retailers like Differio. Plus, you’ll be supporting gay stores while you’re at it.
2. Check the party’s theme
Before you begin hunting down the “perfect” gay outfit, check if the event has a dedicated theme, which may even alternate depending on the day.
For example, the White Party Bangkok releases a new theme annually (last year’s was Electric Sea). On top of that, there are different themed days, such as military and jock, before leading up to the main NYE event that mandates a white dress code.
You can usually find dress code information on the event poster. Some other factors to consider that may affect your gay apparel options: Will you be indoors or outdoors? Did you book a day pass or festival pass? Will there be a pool?
To get a better perspective of the overall vibe, you can also check official party images, social media, or online forums.
3. Bring a small bag
Don’t worry about catching a cab in nothing but your new gay underwear. There will be a bag/clothes check at the door for a small fee (sometimes even free depending on the event’s policies) so you don’t have to commute there with your cheeks hanging out.
We recommend wearing your circuit outfit underneath your normal clothes and changing at the site. Just remember to bring a small bag so you have a place to store your clothes. More importantly, don’t forget to check out your bag before heading home.
If you prefer to have small necessities on you at all times (ID, phone, credit card, etc), you can also bring a wearable wallet with discreet pockets to stay hands free securely.
4. Wear dance-friendly shoes
Our best advice: wear comfortable shoes because you’re going to be on your feet all night. Of course, there will be areas to relax, but it defeats the purpose of attending a circuit party if you’re not joining in on the unbridled dancing.
It really depends on your gay fashion preference, but you can usually find guys wearing sporty high-top sneakers (the jock look) or lace-up combat boots (the gear look). If your shoes don’t come with much support, you can also throw in some padded insoles for extra cushioning.
We also suggest avoiding footwear materials that attract dirt, like canvas, suede, and cotton. Instead, opt for trendy shoes that are easy to wipe clean, like vinyl and pleather, so you can wear them again at your next event.
5. Don’t wear anything too valuable
Avoid wearing anything that you don’t want getting ruined, dirty, lost, or even stolen. Between the massive crowd, dark ambience, and intense energy, there’s no guaranteeing that your outfit will survive the night totally unharmed.
Moreover, there are plenty of affordable circuit styles online today, even by top gay clothing brands, but we suggest staying on top of sale announcements if you’re on a budget.