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What To Wear To Opera

The cast of Norma (2015); Photo: Ken Howard

The cast of Norma (2015); Photo: Ken Howard

It’s finally the night.

Opera night.

After spending some time researching and reading about which opera to see first, you’ve snagged some tickets and are thrilled to be attending your first opera. But there’s one more thing to figure out before big night out…

Patti Lupone as Samira in <em>The Ghosts of Versailles</em> (2015); Photo: Craig T. Mathew

Patti Lupone as Samira in The Ghosts of Versailles (2015); Photo: Craig T. Mathew

What to wear?

A casual sundress? A nice suit? A Lady Gaga-inspired dress made of meat? Swim trunks and sandals? What’s appropriate and what’s not?

Opera fashion can be as wild and crazy as Paris Fashion Week, or Kirsten Dunst’s outfits in Marie Antoinette, but it can also be a more casual affair. It’s an event impossible to overdress for and also the best place to catch somewhat of a fashion show for free.

There’s really no wrong way to dress for the opera (excluding meat dresses and swim trunks). It’s all about what the opera-goer feels comfortable wearing when it’s all boiled down. A great tip for opera newbies would be to dress up the first time to attend a performance. Don’t go over the top and drop a lot of money on an outfit you won’t wear again, but do throw on a nice dress or suit. It’s not every day you get the chance to dress to impress. Take advantage of it! After experiencing a performance or two and having a chance to see the wide array of outfits worn, then make the call about going a bit more casual (if preferred) for the next trip to the opera.

Another great way to determine what to wear would be figuring out which night or day the show falls on. Opening and weekend night performances are usually the dressiest nights. They’re a great opportunity to whip out more formal dresses with big statement pieces and spiffy suits with the most tasteful of bowties. Weekday and matinee performances are generally where you’ll see more casually dressed opera-goers in business casual or jeans and a nice blouse or button-up.

Check out our What To Wear To Opera Board on Pinterest for style ideas.

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