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What To Wear: Theatre

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The Play’s The Thing

The theatre! The theatre! What’s happened to the theatre? With the Pantomime season well under way, we thought it might be appropriate to discuss dressing for the theatre. And while the gags and fairytale stories might not be quite your thing, we’d like to take the time to discuss what one wears to the theatre. Whether you like operas or musicals, or matinées or evening performances, here is our guide to keeping stylish with a hint of theatricality.

theatre 001

Evening Ensemble

Going to the theatre is a treat. It’s a place where you can forget about the outside world for a couple of hours and lose yourself in some cracking tunes and, more often than not, a tragic narrative. So there’s really no point going all Black Swan when deciding on your attire. Keep calm and follow our three simple steps to dressing for an evening performance at le théâtre.

1. Smart – you’re going to the Opera so a suit, in our eyes, is a must. Besides, it’s always fun to have a reason to dress up once in a while. For most other things, a formal shirt, blazer and trousers will do (if you want to keep the look fresh during the colder months, add a splash of colour by choosing a bold blazer like this green montedoro wool-blend Slowear one!)

2. Trainers – while there is no dress code (this, I believe, is almost exclusive to most venues), it is not okay to wear trainers. There is an array of shoes and boots to choose from, so why not treat yourself to a new pair this season.

3. Accessories – if you don’t have time to change from the office, style your daytime look with a scarf or some gloves. This will give your outfit the Je ne sais quoi it needs.

The Look:

wool blend blazercontrast yoke shirtcotton blend trousers

wingtip brogueyellow floral cufflinktan leather gloves

Matinée Mufti

It is always difficult knowing what to wear to an afternoon performance, as you’ll be most likely shopping and going for a spot of lunch beforehand. Therefore, unlike for an evening performance, this is your chance to go for the more smart-casual approach.

1. Comfort – by this, we don’t mean sweatpants and a hoodie, but pairing a simple shirt and jumper with some jeans or chinos would be fine for most performances; whether it’s a play or the Pantomime. Panto Note: try not to sit too close to the stage if you want your clothes to get remain dry and unharmed.

2. Outerwear – if you think your attire is bordering on the casual side, wear a smart coat or jacket to pull your look together. Then this way, you already look stylish for a post-show dinner.

3. Intermission – unless you’re going to see something without an interval (such as J. B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls), there is nothing worse, in my experience, than having no change for a programme and an ice cream (both musts in my eyes). So, be prepared and take a few coins with you.

The Look:

barbour quilted jacketgreen oxford shirtcotton blend chinos

dr marten bootsantler skin sweaterclassic scarf

Curtain Call

You’re all set! Whether it’s afternoon or evening, La traviata or Wicked, we hope this guide has given you some helpful hints on how to dress for the theatre. As long as you don’t end up looking like an usher, or a cast member (The Rocky Horror Show excluded – as full dress is obligatory), then you’ll be fine. Go on and take a bow!

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  • Chris Bell

    I went to see ‘La Boheme’ with Roberto Alagna at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 1992 in a Top Man jacket from Oxfam, a cream Nehru collared shirt, black denim strides and blue Adidas campus trainers. We were staying in the Elephant and Castle, so it made perfect sense.

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