What to Wear to the Opera – Your Simple Style Guide
Stylish Opera Dress
If you’re reading this post, chances are you’re either planning on going to the opera or are one of my stylish readers and are just curious about what to wear to the opera. In either case, thank you for taking the time to view this post!
Last May I had the opportunity to attend The Ring cycle in Washington, D.C. If you didn’t catch it, take a look at my last post, Opera Attire that is Both Stylish & Elegant, where I shared a little bit about how Peter and I got the opportunity to experience such a one-of-a-kind opera.
Like any special event, it takes some time to figure out what you’re going to wear and try to put together a stylish outfit that you’ll not only feel great in but also receive compliments on. Because that’s what we all want right, to feel fantastic in our outfits?
Deciding what you’re going to wear to an opera may seem no different than any other special event, but I actually found it to be a little more difficult, since the opera is not something that most of us do very often, unless you’re an avid opera attendee. I certainly am not and this was actually my first opera.
I attended the opera at the Kennedy Center. This brought the issue to an entirely different level. Instead of just wondering what to wear to the opera, it was now what to wear to the opera at the Kennedy Center.
Figuring Out What to Wear to the Opera
Opera attire varies greatly based on the actual opera being performed and the venue/city it is held in. The first thing you need to consider when putting together your stylish opera outfit is to evaluate the opera.
Is the opera you are attending a big deal? Was it written about on a major publication or is it sold out? You know a show is a big deal when there’s anticipation leading up to it from more than just the people you’re going with.
After you determine the popularity of the opera, next you’ll consider the location. We attended The Ring cycle at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, a little fancier than a local theater. I looked at the Kennedy Center’s website to see if there was some sort of opera dress code, but found none.
Most venue locations suggest wearing what you feel comfortable in, but that’s so open-ended and leaves most people more confused. “Wear what feels comfortable” can be difficult to decipher, so instead of leaving you without an answer here are some suggestions.
NOTE: Keep in mind that a fashion blogger is writing this and I help people live a stylish life, so I tend to recommend that you dress fancier than most others.
Simple Style Tips
Avoid wearing denim jeans. You might love them and they are very comfortable but just don’t wear denim anything.
Opt for black if you can’t decide on a color. Black is figure flattering, easy to accessorize, and easy to wear.
If your outfit is simple, add a statement piece like large earrings or statement necklace to bring a wow factor to your opera outfit.
Business or business-casual clothing is what most people opt to wear. Think pencil skirts, matching separates, jersey or shift dresses, topped with a blazer.
A dress is an easy solution and a good idea. I saw many women in dresses at the opera. The style of dress ranged from floor-length gowns to shorter full dresses, like the dress I’m wearing in this outfit post. Don’t wear a dress that is too short, too tight, too revealing, or too casual. Think cocktail dress.
Layer on a blazer, cape, cardigan, shawl or fur stole to keep from getting cold during the show. You’re sitting enjoying the opera for the majority of the time, so if you often get cold in theaters an extra layer will help.
Have your hair and makeup match your outfit. My opera attire was sleek without much fuss so I created a cohesive look. I put my hair in a sleek low ponytail and kept my makeup minimal with a bright lip. Remember, it’s the small things that make all the difference.
If you want to and the occasion calls for it, dress up! This was my fanciest outfit of the four outfits I wore to the opera. This was my version of dressing up. While it wasn’t a floor-length gown, there are specific aspects of this outfit that make it fancy, like the tuxedo cape and gold accents.
Remember to wear what fits your personal style. My style is more classic and minimal. I like sleek pieces that don’t need much to stand out. For this dress, all I needed was to add gold accessories. The gold accent in the dress is what made the piece unique.
I hope these style tips help you figure out what to wear to the opera!
I love going to opera and here are few tips how to dress simply, avoid looking silly or “over-the-top”. Black dress or skirt (or elegant trousers)+blouse (or top with jacket) is easy and “safe” look. You can add bold jewelery or fancy handbag. Avoid bright colors, pastels or big patterns, opt for black, navy, grey. Some opera houses requres only-black attaire, so alway check local customs. When in doubt, choose simple yet elegant office-like dress or skirt in black. Also it’s good idea to avoid hats, especaily elaborate with feathers etc, it can be distracting and you have to take it off during the show (your fancy hat can block the view). Remember that stars at the opera are orchestra and singers, they have to be in the center of attention, not spectators. Too bright, quirky, outstanding outfits can be considered as lack of taste/ manners. Generally it’s not good idea to weart floor lenght dresses (if not advised by opera house). Ball gowns, sequins, feathers, see-trought laces are for balls/ parties not for elegant evening in opera or theatre. Also too casual look is a no-no, avoid denim, sporty outfits, leggins etc. When it comes to shoes, it’s good idea to have toes and heels covered, as it’s more elegant than sandals. You can wear balerinas, or elegant hight heels, avoid boots, if it’s winter or very cold you can go to opera house in winter boots and change to heels in cloak room. Most important: enjoy the show, don’t bother too much about your look, in fact people go to opera for the show not to look at you. Choose simple, elegant outfit and have fun 🙂
Deciding what you’re going to wear to an opera may seem no different than any other special event, but I actually found it to be a little more difficult, since the opera is not something that most of us do very often, unless you’re an avid opera attendee.