Fashion Style Tips

What To Wear To The Theatre

23 February 2018

The theatre. Once reserved for the hoity-toity rich way back when, in the days where a woman’s bikini went down to her knees, it’s now much more affordable for us ‘commoners’ and the perfect excuse to get just a little bit fancy. Once you’ve bought your ticket and you’re all set for a night of singing along to the latest musical or admiring Shakespeare’s witty banter there’s only one thing left to discuss; what to wear to the theatre!?

Just like that time you went to your first ‘real’ party or the first time you really ‘hit the town’, chances are you’re a little apprehensive about what to wear. No one likes to be the girl who ‘missed the memo’ and turned up to the party in jeans when everyone else is looking fly AF in formal dresses. Likewise, you don’t want to be the girl tripping over your two left feet in heels whilst everyone else waltzes past in flats. Do you turn up in your old denim faithfuls and risk getting ‘the look’ from rich art snobs or do you wear that cute knee-length number with your red lippy and look entirely over-dressed.

Although there is no ‘set’ dress standard at theatres in Australia, there is an unspoken standard – Smart Casual (but what does that even mean nowadays?). And like most relationships with communication issues, unspoken standards are confusing as hell. Why can’t they just tell me what they want?

Before going totally nuts and channelling your inner Noah from the Notebook (What. Do. You. Want?).  Don’t waste time wondering what to wear to the theatre. Instead, have a squiz at our comprehensive guide and let all your theatre troubles fly away.

Oh, and ermm – break a leg!!

The matinee

If you have tickets to the afternoon show, then you’re granted some leeway because it’s typically a casual affair. And yes, lucky you, that does include jeans. No one will bat an eyelid; in fact, you will probably have plenty of company in jeans and a nice top (go on, channel that inner suburban Karren!). Just make sure they’re clean and sans rips and your mid-drift isn’t taking centre stage.

When in doubt: jeans, white top, heels and show-stopping earrings.

An evening show

An evening show is the PERF excuse for a party dress! Just remember, no gaping fronts! You’re a society girl now darling so save your cleavage for later. Drape your jacket over your shoulders so you feel posh and you can ditch it inside at the cloakroom.

When in doubt: really big earrings (yep they literally elevate any outfit) with a black dress and midcourt heel.

Opening night

Okay, this is the one time where you won’t get away with wearing any ole’ thang. I know it will be a massive sacrifice (eye roll) but you must take the event seriously and give it the utmost respect by getting all glammed up (hard, I know). This, darling, is your moment to shine! Imagine you’re attending the Logies – or the Oscars; a touch of theatrical style will be celebrated at a premier. Cue all your fabulous embellishments, sequins, feathers and floor-length frocks. Take inspiration from our occasion dresses here.

When in doubt: Maxi dress, strappy heels and hair out (just in case you get papped).

Other rules of etiquette for the theatre:

  • No thongs
    No matter how contemporary the performance promises to be, there is no place for thongs or sandals in the theatre. So put that shoe addiction to good use (stop denying it) and give your favourite new pair the fresh air they deserve!
  • Do NOT overspray 
    Don’t be liberal with your perfume, you’re sitting down for an hour plus so your neighbour won’t appreciate the extra spritz.
  • Be ON time
    Arrive early, some theatres won’t seat you even if you’re only five minutes late, so set those alarms and account for traffic because after all that glam you are making it through that door!
  • Turn off that phone
    Besides being rude, many theatres don’t allow photography from the audience, and thus, won’t be too thrilled to see you with your phone out. In addition, even if you think you’re being incognito, chances are you’re not and you’re likely to piss someone off.
  • No excessive chatter
    Save your chattering for intermission and after the show, it’s just plain disrespectful and affects everyone else’s experience of the show – especially when it’s not even to do with the performance.
  • Don’t be afraid to crack a smile!
    Feel free to laugh, cry, cheer and applaud – the actor’s love it! Plus, it will make you feel so much more a part of the experience!

Enjoy the show

And there you have it! All you need to know to ensure your first theatre experience is a winner. So what are you waiting for? Get online, book that ticket and brush off that party dress because you’re going out baby!