About once a month, someone lands on this blog by Googling “What to wear to the Opera”. I had used that phrase several years ago when I wrote about one of my first experiences of attending an opera. But my entry back then didn’t really answer the Google question. In interest of being helpful and informative, I did some research. Here are the recommendations from several prominent opera companies on what to wear to the performance:
San Francisco Opera says: “Many years ago opera was just for the elite class and royalty, and thus patrons felt it necessary to dress to the nines when attending opera. Nowadays, opera is open to everyone and there is no dress code. People come to the opera dressed in everything from jeans to evening gowns, so please feel free to attend the opera in whatever clothes you feel comfortable.” More info
New York Metropolitan Opera says: “There is no dress code at the Met. People dress more formally for Galas or openings of new productions, but this is optional. We recommend comfortable clothing appropriate for a professional setting.” More info
Washington National Opera: “recommends business attire but has no official dress code for attendance. Opening nights are traditionally more formal than other performances.” More info
Dallas Opera says: “Business attire is the norm, but anything goes, from jeans to your favorite evening gown! You’ll see more formal attire on opening night and at Saturday night performances; the mid-week performance tends to be a bit more casual. However, the rule of thumb is simple: If it makes you feel like a million bucks, wear it!” More info
This is also good advice from the Lyric Opera of Chicago: “Perfumes, hairsprays, colognes, lotions, and other scented toiletries should be avoided or used sparingly when attending the opera, as allergies are commonplace.”
The same fashion advice applies if you are also attending the Theatre, Symphony or Ballet.
The summer opera season has started up again in San Francisco. Last night we saw “Tosca”. We are also seeing “Porgy and Bess” and “La Traviata”.
Want to know what I wear to the opera? Ask my husband; he picks it out. I got tired of hearing “you are not wearing THAT, are you?”