Dress code in SL

The other day I was confronted with a view about SL dress code that I’ve never really experienced before. I was playing at a club where I have played before. It’s a bar and I’ve always felt a sort of relaxed and friendly feeling about it. I was tp:ing in friends and acquaintances from here and there, starting to enjoying myself when suddenly a word exchange of rather harsh nature told me that the owner of the sim had been telling a couple of guys (one of the from my friendlist) in IM:s that they couldn’t dance there in their jeans. They had to adjust to the dress code. The guys refused, not surprisingly, and suddenly the owner of the sim had ejected them.


I felt my partymood sinking down to the level of my boot ruffles and the more I thought about it, the more furious I got. Ejecting is for me something you only do when someone is obviously rude to people or griefing the sim. The situation was also that I have been inviting people from my friendslist and their friends to this sim for a couple of times and I thought in my naivety that the clubowner would be quite happy to have a few people there. We have never really crashed the sim with too many people there…


When I confronted the clubowner asking why it was so important to keep the dresscode the only answer I got was “It’s my rules”. The answer wasn’t in any way enough for me. So I declared how disappointed I was in local chat, stopped playing and left the club.


This situation held so many interesting issues about how we conduct ourselves in SL so I had to give it more thoughts. Here are some of them:


What ejection signals

I believe ejecting is a measure to use only as a very selective instrument for moments when people are rude. If they behave, you must accept that people have taken lots of effort creating avatars looking like they do for a reason!

I am sure that people with a more visual mind than me appreciate the beauty of a harmonising view at their club and I understand if you want a certain “style” of your property, but do you really want to get the reputation of being exclusive and throwing people out when they don’t fit exactly to your dream?

Isn’t it beautiful when you run a club that people of all sorts come to seek out your place? What signals will ejecting people give to the audience? And what makes dresscode so important that you can risk a party for the sake of it?

If you want to have a dresscode, then you need to advertise it very clearly when people arrive, and you have to understand that not all people come for the sake of your club. Some come from random tp:s from friends and may well miss the codes. To be told when you already are at a dancefloor that you have the wrong sort of appearance is an insult. And being patronised in local chat about refusing to change will never make it any better! Perhaps it’s better to tell your visitors that they can remember the dresscode next time please, and let go of your strong principals for the sake of people’s comfort.



Adjustment versus personal expression

I think the world, including SL, can more or less be divided in two sorts of people. People that feel more comfortable with rules about how to dress in a certain place and people that think their own way to express themselves are more important than rules and adjustment.


I belong, not surprisingly, to the second half… I have always found it difficult to adapt to rules concerning my own persona and how I should look. I don’t need to look extremely pretty, BUT, I need to feel comfortable! I am not a big user of makeup and I don’t care too much about fashion, but I want to look like ME. So yes, I avoid certain places in RL where dress codes are announced because I don’t feel welcome there and not at all comfortable. It’s my choice.


In SL however I like to try out new looks and go to places like ballrooms for the fun and laugh of it. I can easily look splendid here and I enjoy it very much. But even here I sometimes just can’t bother to be dressed up. Some people here put tremendous efforts in to looking special and magnificent. I love the diversity and creativity whenever I see it! For me it’s fantastic that I can dance with a furry, a robot and a dragon in the same dancefloor. It makes me happy! And it doesn’t spoil the image of being in a dodgy blues club, a classy bar or a ballroom floor!


Role-play and emersion

A Role-play sim on the other hand is something different for me. Here people gather that are interested in acting out a special kind of place. They want to imagine a story together set in a special setting, be it medieval or space. The dresscode is part of a bigger thing and has a special meaning. Some sims has the possibility for visitors to walk around with OOC-signs so the roleplayers can just ignore them. These are very clever arrangements that helps people not to compromise each other.

Role PLay Costume


Nudity has a certain meaning for us humans. Getting naked is something that causes emotions of some kind. I love the liberty of being able to strip off without embarrassment in SL and I do it when I feel like it. I can understand the need of having special sims where you can be nude and others where you don’t since it can embarrass people or make them feel awkward. I will not go in to detail on this, but I am happy that there are a few places where you can choose nudity or not! Enforced nudity feels like another restriction for me, but I can still understand it because of the strong emotions it evokes on some people.

blonde moments_005



I think these questions are important to address and discuss every now and then and I would of course love to hear your opinions.

What does ejection mean to you? If you got ejected from a place, how did that make you feel?

How do you feel about dress codes? Are they a help or a nuisance? Does different dress codes mean different things in different places to you too?

Much love and peace out brothers and sisters! Yours truly/Fiona


10 thoughts on “Dress code in SL

  1. i totaly agree with you Fiona. We are who we are and it’s the beautiful thing. Diversity make humanity and creativity. My only rule in SL and i know you are like that is to be respectful to each others and of course if they are respectful too. For other things, the rule is freedom !! I feel connected with you 🙂 ZIgsZags


    • Oh sweet Zigszags! Thank you for your comment. Yes, the diversity of SL has always fascinated me. But the inclination to create small “cultural islands” here and there is also interesting to examine. If we look on it on a deeper level I think anarchy is difficult for most people to take in. We humans need some kind of organisation and order to feel ok and secure. But within that we have very different levels on how much chaos and irregularities we can grasp before we feel uncomfortable. I for my sake like to live on the limits there. I love to play with limitations and to explore boundaries and to try to understand why we need them and why people are so keen on obeying rules about dress and behavior. I think it’s about comfort and belonging. Whatever it is I love to explore it!


  2. This is a really thought-provoking blog entry, Fi, thank you! Dress codes function as the rules of a game, and players of games have to agree to abide by the rules or the game ends. It’s not as if the stakes were as high as in RL, where being excluded for one’s appearance may present an actual hardship- say from a public market or workplace. Self-expression also isn’t always enough justification for doing as one pleases either; there are and always have to be restrictions on self-expression. Who gets to decide exactly what restrictions apply other than the owner/manager? There are always alternatives to participating in any given SL event if one wishes to play a different game with different rules. For those who enjoy the immersive approach to SL, I imagine it’s disruptive and detracts from the enjoyment of a fantasy if, say, a raccoon arrives to dance at a fancy dress ball (as well as inconsiderate, maybe even aggressive on the part of the raccoon.) I’d have to say that while being ejected would be an unhappy experience, I hope I’d recognize that it was the result of my own choices- including the choice to refuse to exit graciously- and accept it as the prerogative of those whose sim I was visiting to enforce their own rules and not as an arbitrary attack on my person. If I can’t accept that my actions played a role in the unpleasantness I always have the option of boycotting the sim and encouraging others to do the same…


    • Hi Marie! Thank you for commenting on the subject! I can agree on the immersive aspect of what you say, of course. But really? How strict do we need to be? isn’t it nicer to let some newcomers stroll along in their self-expression and instead try to be more welcoming and generous? Simowners that put strict rules on their sims are also in to some kind of self-expression if you think about it. They want to express their idea about a special place. BUT the difference is they also want to impose their special style on others if they apply strict dress codes. The balance between “me myself” and “others” is a tricky one and I think it’s very healthy to dare to discuss it! SL is an anarchy in one sort of way, but in the other way it consists of small countries, the sims, that can be ruled by more or less democratic methods. (although democracy is a huge effort here in a world where our actions are pretty much hidden) This subject is huge, and I think I will address it later in a new blog post.


      • Hi Fi- If I have a sim and it’s a bowling sim, I expect bowlers to bowl by the rules of bowling, not tennis. If a tennis player wants to bowl in my sim, s/he’ll have to learn how to bowl; s/he’s not going to bowl by tennis rules. S/he may leave my sim and go play tennis at a tennis sim. SL is a big place. I’m not making rules for SL, I’m making rules for my sim. If my rules seem strict, well that’s a relative term and to me they seem reasonable. If no one likes my rules, then my sim will be empty and I may need to re-think my game. That’s up to me. It’s my sim. (And it’s neither and anarchic state nor a democracy.) Love this kind of examination of the underlying structure/philosophy of virtual worlds! When we’re limited only by our imaginations, what can we not do? Thanks again for this forum!


  3. I think there are some interesting thoughts and the comments are wonderfully adding to the mix here! There is one aspect to this triggering event that I feel is important however, and that was that the event was flavoured by the inclusion of Fi as DJ, and of course a DJ pulls in the followers of their unique brand and style of presentation and music.

    So in one sense this can be viewed as a mini-culture clash between the desired style of the venue and the style of Fiona-as-DJ which is rather more relaxed. I fully appreciate Marie’s comments too however – its a bit of a conundrum – but in my mind I feel the Venue style is in fact moderated by or combined with the host & DJ style where that DJ is invited to host an event, and to me it feels like the Venue owner has not recognised that. Maybe ejection rights should rest with the event host rather than the venue owner, as ejection criteria might vary from event to event.

    (Whimsical must declare her bias: she is madly in love with her partner/wife/psych ward bed-mate Fiona!)


    • Yes my love! An culture-clashes are soooo interesting to discuss and study! I love how SL provides us with a concentrate of human behaviour where we can explore, debate and try out new stuff about each other! And the more I discuss this matter I feel: Hey you peeps out there! Be careful with the excluding ejections!!! They are not very nice and can cause unease and provoke conflicts rather than settle them!


    • That’s a useful thought, Whims- that maybe during a DJ’s gig, her rules should be the ones that govern the host sim… More likely, though, the question of what rules apply will need to be settled in advance by conversation between the owner and the DJ. Not all venues will be compatible with all shows… Thanks for participating in this interesting conversation!


  4. Thank you for playing the devils advocate in this Anasyro! We do need to turn things upside down to get to the very essence and importance. So, yes, of course the club owner was in her right to do whatever she wanted. Simowners, club owners create their own rules. But rules must always be questioned and debated. If strict rules makes us feel uneasy and not welcome to a place, then we must ask if the rules are ok or if they need to change. And even if we apply strict rules to a place there are more gentle or less gentle ways to make people follow those rules.

    And DJ Fiona’s take on the dress codes on this very sim were “Ah, yeah the dress code, but is that really so important? I mean we are after all good friends here”, since I had always felt very at ease and treated very kind and friendly. (Although I thought it was ok to follow the rules and I dressed according to it since I thought it could be a fun thing to look a bit more “posh” for once. I am talking on behalf of my tp:ed in friends now, not really knowing where they ended up). So the strict dress code suddenly for me became a way to see how different views I and the simowner have about hospitality and generosity, and that made me upset and sad really. I have also asked the club owner to come and comment on my blog, but the only answer I got was “If it ever happens again, I will do the same thing. Thanks”. So there is no room for discussion as it seems which really scares me.

    The question “Are we playing a role in SL?” is yet another thing effecting how we make up and apply rules. My answer is: “Yes we are always playing a role”. I impersonate myself in a avatar on a screen and there is still no way to exactly copy how I look and move in RL that we can apply to our avatar. The fact that we often communicate through written text also makes us talk and act a little bit different than in real life. But every now and then I witness little clashes when people have difficulties in agreeing to what degree we role-play in SL. I can never be sure how close a persons actions in SL are to his/her real life persona and therefore we are all playing roles, no matter how much some people underline that they are themselves here. And there are also degrees on how deeply we all involve and engage in SL as a world. Some are here “for a laugh” and others are deeply serious and very committed and has a perception that SL is as real as the world outside. So this makes the question of role-play extra interesting and I will most likely come back and discuss that in more blog posts since it’s a huge question and a very interesting topic.


  5. Thanks my dear friend Fiona for replying to my comment earlier in this blog. I consider it an invitation for me to keep on commenting and suggesting something specific in the end.
    First of all, lets see what we do agree on. The whole discussion about playing a role in both worlds is a relevant issue, but not decisive if it comes to your argumentation. In your comment you now make it explicit what motivates you to claim that “rules must always be questioned and debated”. We do,as you (and Whims) very well know, agree if it comes to gentle ways of dealing with others and being hospitable and generous. But that is not the issue right now. The issue is what you give as arguments in favor of your claim that ‘the Law’ should always be questioned. (I call it ‘the Law’, because it is a not debatable and absolute rule promulgated by someone in charge.)
    The arguments you use are from an individual point of preference understandable, but not reasonable. The only arguments you use are: I feel upset and (like my friends) not being treated in a hospitable and generous way. So? I can imagine the sim-owner sighing and replying: “you have no idea Fiona how upset I am when others can’t see how much fun it is to exercise my dream for the time being”. Every owner of a sim/parcel has to deal with the distribution of degrees of freedom regarding the ones that participate and visit his/her sim/parcel. I myself have to deal with that almost every day. I can’t escape the question: how far do I permit them to deconstruct my dream, my personal and virtualized expression of the values I believe in: my Law.
    Recently I experienced such a disaster. For personal reasons I had to leave SL for some time and discovered afterwards that my companion at the A&CC had removed her stuff and left the place unbalanced and ruined. I had offered her all the possible freedom to realize her part of a common dream, but she left me upset and on the edge of leaving SL altogether. (You and Whims did notice that no doubt.) I had to fight the urge of becoming a dictator. Being a sim/parcel owner is a horrible job Fiona. Your main need/task is to share your dreams, to attract people to participate in them, to integrate other ones dreams into yours and give away control, fighting the fear you are gonna be disappointed in the end.
    Your argument that you are upset and therefor need to question the Law is invalid and based on a misunderstanding of the logic of a sim/parcel. The only effective argument you might have used in that situation is simply pragmatical and ironical in nature: “Dear sim-owner, being that rigid regarding dresscodes will motivate a lot of people not to participate in your dream. So, if you maintain that strategy, you might get lonely in here. I wish you the best of luck, but I am gone, together with my friends, who prefer some personal space. Take care!”
    Your beloved sim-owner does not only have the formal right (TOS), but also the personal right to express herself, the way she does. The only compassionate question here is: Is it gonna work for her? Will it provide happiness and satisfaction? Is it productive or the opposite?
    Suggestion: So dear and stubborn Fiona, you are looking for a place (almost) without rules to have your daily/weekly/monthly DJ-event? Well, you already did receive the key months ago. You have all liberty to express there, can show the ones in charge (!) your dreams and realize them at the very spot you will be standing. I challenge you! You will be begging for rules!

    Liked by 1 person

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