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There is a wide range of clothing that DJs wear, and it depends on your style mixed with the consideration of the type of event you are DJing at. It could range from super casual to quite formal. The standard DJ uniform is a t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers.
DJing isn’t exactly a career with many professional reference resources available to browse through. It can be difficult to determine your personal branding and how to present yourself.
If you are new to the industry or aren’t that interested in fashion, I am here for you.
I’ve worked in the fashion industry for years and have been an active member of the music scene throughout that time.
Judging A Book By Its Cover
Every sub-genre of music has its associated style and appearance. If you’ve heard of Berghain and their door policies, you know what I’m talking about.
In general, you need to look like you know the scene and dress the part.
Showing up to a gig looking clean-cut and like you have some understanding of the style of the crowd will lend a lot of credibility to your set.
Let’s face it, we are all human, and we do judge based on appearances, and when you are the DJ, all eyes are on you.
So let’s make sure YOU are an integral part of the audio/visual show!
Dressing for Success
There are certain factors you need to take into account when deciding what to wear as a DJ.
- What style of music are you about to play?
- What is the size of the crowd?
- What is the event or gig you will be playing at, and is there a dress code?
- Make sure you’re comfortable. You will, of course, be moving around!
Dressing for the Music
If you primarily play Techno music, wear black! A black t-shirt and jeans are the unofficial but oh-so-official uniform of the techno community.
Techno music tends to be fast and quite intense. It’s normal to wear darker clothing and be comfortable because you will undoubtedly get a workout from your music.
If you are playing a daytime House set at a festival or a rooftop, it would be fun to incorporate some color into your outfit. Make sure you will still be comfortable moving around, but this is more colorful music to match your clothes to the sounds you’ll be mixing.
A kimono or cool statement item is always appreciated if you play a down-tempo/organic house set to a burning man-ish crowd.
If you are a wedding DJ, aka you are DJing at a formal event, you will most likely need to wear formal attire. A dress shirt and nice pants will do the trick.
You may have to wear a tie, but you should consult the wedding organizers for sure. The same applies to performing at birthday parties or a corporate event.
Repping A Brand
Many DJs affiliated with record labels or other artists will wear some of their branded attire.
A t-shirt from your record label or music-associated company that you like and admire would be a great outfit.
For example, I have seen many DJs in the UK wearing Technics branded shirts.
I attended an All Day I Dream party where a lot of people were wearing their signature cloudy blue sky merchandise.
When In Doubt, Wear Black
If you have no idea what to wear and don’t want to stress picking an outfit, a black T-shirt is your best friend.
For one, you may get sweaty. That T-shirt will not let anyone on to the fact that you are a sweaty, nervous wreck.
Other DJ wardrobe Staples
Among the many DJs I’ve seen perform over the years, there are a couple of staple items that I can point out according to different styles of sound and music.
Bucket hats, for example, are popular amongst house performers and more eclectic-sounding DJs. There are lots of hats worn in the UK DJ and music community, primarily in the Drum and Bass crowd.
My personal rule is that I don’t go out without sunglasses. I usually DJ wearing sunglasses on as well. It makes me feel in charge.
Many DJs wear rings as well. Since the focus will be on their hands most of the time, it makes sense that DJs like to accessorize their hands.
Last but certainly not least, headphones.
Headphones are the essential piece of every DJ outfit. You can wear them around your neck and instantly look like you fit the DJ persona.
Why do DJs constantly wear headphones around the neck?
Headphones are essential to being able to DJ. You can’t mix music well if you don’t have headphones to listen to your mix before throwing it on the speakers.
It is also a way to communicate the message that you are a DJ without having to go around telling everybody.
Do you need special headphones to DJ?
Headphone quality ranges quite a bit. Having headphones designed explicitly for DJing will enable more sound isolation and create better mixes and blends.
Sennheiser headphones are the DJ industry standard. These or any other DJ headphones will allow you to isolate sounds and beatmatch much more accurately.
How does the DJ control the atmosphere?
The best way I can describe the effect a DJ has on the atmosphere of an event is always to remember that you need to create the vibe.
You want to lead by example, and then others will join. If you’re going to see people dancing, you should be dancing yourself!
It’s always a fragile and almost ethereal feeling to interact with the crowd and pick up on specific cues but always try to set the vibe from yourself first.
There are many different styles of dress to take into account when dressing for a gig.
If you know the context of the event you will be playing at; you can make sure your attire is appropriate.
Being a DJ is not the most formal, but it is vital always to look professional and put together.