What To Wear To An Opera

In this day and age, very few people attend the opera regularly, so if you are going, you may be wondering what to wear to an opera. When you think about what to wear to the opera, the first image that probably pops into your mind is of Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in "Pretty Woman." Don't worry. You don't need to wear gloves and borrow diamonds just to attend. In general, something like a little black dress would be always be appropriate for a woman, and a man can always get away with a decent suit. You can always go dressier, and depending on the venue, you may be able to get away with more casual attire, but jeans and flip flops will never be appropriate. Here are a few tips about what to wear to an opera.

  1. Location, location, location. What you wear to an opera is partially dependent upon where you're seeing the opera. Europe is dressier than the US, but continental Europe is dressier than the UK. The East Coast of the United States is more formal than the West Coast, and San Francisco likes to dress up more than Los Angeles. Location really determines exactly how casual you can go rather than speaking to how formal you can go.  Nobody is going to stare if you wear a tuxedo to a opera in Los Angeles, but they might if you wear dockers to the opera in Paris.
  2. Weather. Some people, especially women, have formal clothes and jewelry they almost never get to wear, and the opera seems like the perfect venue to show them off. Even if you're going to the opera, you'll still look silly if you're wearing a fur in August in LA.
  3. Comfort. Neither you nor the person sitting next to you is going to enjoy the performance if what you're wearing to the opera is something that makes you miserable. You neighbor would appreciate your choice of jeans and flip flops if it turns out that you pull and tug at your clothes and shift in your seat all evening to get comfortable.

If you're still worried about what to wear to an opera, you can always go to a major department store, explain the event to the salesperson, and ask her for some help.