Theater from the 1920s to Today
Going to see a play or a Broadway musical is something that everyone should experience at least once. It can be a great time out on the town with friends or that special someone. You may not know how to dress or what is too casual and what is too fancy, but that's okay! Many people do not. Fashion has changed so much over the years, what was formal back in the 1920's, might be a little much in today's world.
For example, in the 1920's, any event that people of higher class went to, was always red carpet formal. Men would wear custom suits, bow ties, and dress shoes. Women would dress in a Great Gatsby style. Very flashy dresses, loads of accessories, basically anything shiny. However, if we move on thirty years into the 1950's and the style of dress changes dramatically!
In the 50's men still wore suits, ties or bow ties, and dress shoes. Women, on the other hand, would wear what is called a “Dirndl dress,” a billowy skirt, and and top that could be either sleeveless or have small puffy sleeves. The long slim dress look was also popular and was often worn with short jackets.
The 1990's, all bets were off! The 90's were a time of free expression and people being able to dress and act how they wanted with no judgment. The dress was a little more out there, and a little more casual. Men were still wearing jackets, but more often than not, pairing it with jeans and fashion sneakers. Women wore skinny strap dresses or a high waist long skirt with crop tops.
Today's fashion is a mix of both formal and informal, and often accepting of a more casual dress. Most events will tell you what type of dress is required. You can read a full description online of the types of dress, such as this one from Emily Post: Click to Read on EmilyPost.com
The most common are:
Black Tie: Formal Gowns for Women, Tuxedos for men
Business Formal: Business Attire for men and women, generally dark colors.
Business Casual: Business Attire for men and women, generally lighter colors. Khakis or slacks, button downs or polo shirts, sport coats and ties optional for men.
Cocktail Attire: Semi-formal, bridges the gap between Casual and Formal. Typically something that could be considered “Dressed to impress” while still being comfortable.
Casual: Jeans, Khaki,Sundresses, T-Shirts, and Casual Button Downs
A good rule of thumb when going to a show at the theatre is to dress like you are attending a wedding if you do not have the opportunity to find their specific dress code.
You local theater may or may not be as concerned with how you dress, as long as you get to experience the wonderful plays. They would rather you show up in jeans, than not come at all, from fear of not being properly dressed. Cocktail attire is common for Opening Nights, while you can expect most people to be dressed business casual for other showings.
For more information about on how to dress for your local theater you can always contact them directly.