Is it your first time going to the theater? Theater is one of the few places that still applies traditional rules that uphold modesty. The actors, decorators, stage crew, and directors involved in the production work long hours to deliver a slick and professional performance that audiences are expected to show respect. If the theater director doesn't specify it, you don't need to wear a full formal dress. However, knowing general guidelines for proper attire can improve the mood so you can enjoy the evening better.
Method 1 of 3: Formal Dressing
Step 1. Choose a formal outfit that makes you stand out
In some cases, such as opening ceremonies and special “black tie” events organized by the theater, guests in attendance must wear formal attire. For an occasion like this, you need to choose the most elegant outfit from the wardrobe. Black and white clothes will usually be the best color choice to attend an event like this.
If the show is advertised as a “black tie” or “white tie” event, or if it is an event that is considered formal from the start, such as a premiere or opera, in this case the audience is expected to wear formal attire
Step 2. Wear appropriate clothing for this special occasion
Nowadays, the rules of formal dress have changed. The best approach is to dress as if you were going to dinner at a fancy restaurant, or attending a professional event. If you are a woman, choose a long skirt or a trouser suit. However, formal wear such as a tasteful evening gown will give you a more alluring look. Men should wear well-fitted suits in dark or neutral colors for the evening; Long sleeve shirts with ties and neat pants are usually acceptable.
For a more formal theatrical event, you can wear what you would normally wear to a wedding, funeral, or charity event
Step 3. Add accessories to the outfit
Complete your formal look by adding a necklace, bracelet, watch, or other piece of jewelry. Wear closed-toe shoes with matching socks or stockings, even in hot weather. Bring a handbag or small bag suitable for carrying important items (bags that are too large will take up too much space and annoy others, it's best to leave them at home). And, of course, respect the actors and the rest of the audience by activating silent mode on cell phones and other electronic devices and saving them until the show is over.
- Jewelry that is too big or too much will stand out and distract from your elegant outfit.
- You are allowed to use binoculars if the show is in a large enough space, or you have difficulty seeing from a distance. Because they don't make any noise and don't emit light, like phones and cameras, binoculars are considered a normal accessory for the theater.
Step 4. Wash and style your hair
Hair also plays an important role in appearance. Messy, tangled, and dirty hair will spoil any neat set of clothes. So, make sure to wash your hair the day before the event or in the morning. Buns, loose curls, and straight hair are highly recommended hairstyles for women. Men should style their hair with pomade, comb it back or part it, or tie long hair neatly.
- Check out specific guides for different ways to style your hair according to its texture and length.
- As silly as it sounds, hats and hairstyles in a high ponytail can block the view of the audience sitting behind you. As a general rule, hats should not be worn indoors and you should consider other onlookers when styling your hair.
Method 2 of 3: Dress Casually
Step 1. Choose acceptable casual clothes
In this context, the term "casual" does not refer to the same thing as in the general context. So, don't dress casually! While casual clothing may be more suitable for certain events, you are still expected to dress your best even if you don't have to wear formal clothes. As a spectator, you agree to be part of a carefully organized event. Shorts, t-shirts, singlets and sandals would be considered inappropriate here: imagine “dinner at a rather fancy restaurant”, not “chilling out with friends after work”.
Step 2. Wear simple and comfortable clothes
Do you remember the clothes your mother chose for Easter celebrations or visiting relatives? Get inspired by mom's casual style. Men can wear cloth pants, a polo shirt or button-up shirt, and loafers or boat shoes. Women seem to have more options: a simple blouse and skirt is a good choice, or you can also go for a summer dress or a knitted sweater and tights, depending on the weather.
Whatever clothes you wear, make sure they feel comfortable. You have to sit for a few hours to watch. So, choose clothes that do not press the skin and are not too tight
Step 3. Take advantage of the weather conditions
Many choices of clothing and accessories that are worn based on weather conditions. Make sure you take advantage of it. Dry seasons work best if you wear light colors like pastels and light fabrics. When the weather is cooler, opt for a thicker material and adopt a layered style of clothing. Cardigans, corduroys, boots, and linens are important elements for enhancing a fashion style based on the weather conditions.
The temperature inside the theater can be colder or hotter in certain weather. Wear one more layer of clothing that you can take off if necessary
Step 4. Clean yourself
Just because it's not a formal event, doesn't mean you can ignore preparations that make your appearance look appropriate. Make sure your hair and clothes are clean and tidy. Tuck the hem of the shirt into your pants and don't wear miniskirts or dresses, or tops that reveal cleavage. In the theater, you will sit among the rest of the audience. So, consider reapplying deodorant. If you want to wear perfume or cologne, just spray a little, because the smell of perfume that is too strong can annoy those around you.
Don't forget to brush your teeth, trim your nails, and put on clean socks and wash your face and hands. It would be embarrassing if other viewers were annoyed by how you look or smell
Method 3 of 3: Dressing for a Specific Stage
Step 1. Know what is expected of you
Not all theaters require the same level of formality to the audience. Pay attention to the type of performance you will be watching and determine the most appropriate style of dress. For example, a show aimed at children will likely not require you to wear very formal attire. On the other hand, if you're going to see a local opera show, it's a good idea to consider a fancier outfit. In this case, you must pay attention to the context before making a choice of clothing. Black tie events and premieres usually require formal attire, while you can wear more casual attire for small musicals or amateur plays.
- It is advisable to do a little research or contact the theater manager before the show to see if they have a specific dress code.
- If you're not sure what to wear for a particular event and can't find a guide to follow, casual clothing is usually a safe choice.
Step 2. Buy or wear promotional items
If you've seen the show before, or the gift shop is selling promotional items before the show, buy a t-shirt or hat to show your support. Many long-term or family-directed shows will appreciate having fans come in wearing staging-related items. These products are usually unique and exclusive to the show only so you won't have a better chance of wearing them.
Step 3. Put on the costume and paint the face
You should avoid this for premieres and more serious shows, but for more well-known shows, like The Lion King and Wicked, it's a good idea to use it because it can be a lot of fun, especially for kids. Dress up or dress up your child according to their favorite character and have fun completely involving yourself in the performance. However, make sure you don't go overboard with costumes and accessories, as your appearance can distract other viewers.
Before buying tickets and deciding what to wear, do your research to see if the show recommends the audience wear costumes and accessories. Even if recommended, be natural and don't give in to the temptation to overdo it or make a fuss during the performance
Step 4. Wear everyday clothes
In rare cases, you are allowed to come with your usual everyday clothes. Small shows and amateur shows usually don't have a dress code, and jeans or sneakers won't be a problem. Remember to research in advance about the dress code that applies to a particular play or theater, and enjoy the now rare opportunity to present yourself at a formal social event.
Even if everyday wear is allowed, it never hurts to dress well. Your appearance reflects a lot about your personality, make sure your clothes make a good impression
- Depending on the season and the number of people in the theater, the temperature can be a bit hot or very cold. Bring a jacket that you can easily put on or take off.
- Don't obsess over what you're going to wear. Try to present yourself well and enjoy the show!
- If you have no previous theater experience, you may not understand the etiquette of following the established dress code. Look for information beforehand.