How to Dress for the Opera

Posted By on May 13, 2015

Dress standards for the opera has gone down in recent years. Some attendees attend in jeans and a button-up shirt now. However, some have been wondering if this is too relaxed.

When the opera originally opened, women usually wore formal dresses that were floor length. Men would wear suits with coat tails and shirts tucked in. Accessories included pocket watches and gloves, pearls and rings.

The Vienna Opera house still houses traditional events, such as the Opera Ball. For this reason, the more formal attire is still the dress code – at least, the expected dress code.

The recent debate has opened up a line of questions for tourists, who opt for whatever they happen to throw on that morning. For those doing both a tour of the house and seeing a show in the same day, that may be the only option. It’s not necessarily looked down upon, but there is a reason that they often dress up for the opera.

Suggested dress for the Vienna Opera house today is that the women wear a long dress. Sleeves is up to the woman. Men should wear suits, dress shoes, and bow ties. A traditional tie isn’t the right thing for this kind of event. This is more often for those who actually have a seat in the audience. For those with a standing seat, a shirt and good shoes are recommended. If there is a suit or dress that isn’t worn often, this is the time to wear it out.

For women, natural make up is recommended. Pre-dinners are often starting in the daylight now. The idea is to be seen and to see. If it is opening night for any opera, wear something that is particularly out of the range for the person. If it is not opening night, a basic black dress is okay. Opera length pearls are always recommended. Short or long dress is the woman’s preference on any night but opening night.

Men’s dress on opening night is black or white tie and tails. A tuxedo is the best thing for opening night – especially if it’s traditional in style. If it’s not opening night, the men can wear a black tie suit or a suit dark in color.

Other things to keep in mind are often for the traveler. While formal dress is recommended, a traveler cannot carry that much, nor will they have the most expensive tickets. Freshly washed clothes that are the best that were brought will often do for the traveler.