Looking forward to a trip to the West End soon? Well, it’s as good an excuse as any to get dressed up – especially if you’re making a big occasion of it and going for dinner and drinks as well. But the question is: what to wear? Here a few things to bear in mind if you want to construct the perfect outfit for the theatre…
Consider the type of show
First things first – do your homework. If you’ve been invited to attend the opening night for a major production, you’re going to need to get glammed up. This means going as glitzy as you feel comfortable doing, and it’s generally better to be overdressed than underdressed on these occasions. However, if you’re simply accompanying a friend or family member for a Saturday afternoon showing of a long-running production, you can certainly get away with a casual ensemble. Jeans are absolutely fine, for example. Check what kind of show you’re going to and whether or not it’s a ‘big deal’ kind of event, as this will help to guide your wardrobe choices.
Consider the venue
Next up, consider what you’re going to wear in light of where you’re going to be for the performance. For instance, are you seeing a show in an air-conditioned building? Is it modern or traditional? Factors like this might determine the amount of layers you wear, for example.
Think about the occasion
You’ll also want to chose your outfit depending on the context of your trip to the theatre. If it’s part of a date night with your other half (or perhaps a series of dates with someone new), you might want to wear something that makes you feel a million dollars. An evening out with the girls might have a slightly different vibe, and if you’re enjoying an afternoon with the kids, you’re bound to choose a radically different outfit.
Specific tips for theatre dressing:
Layer up – theatres have a tendency to start off fairly cool, gradually warming up under the glare of stage lighting, live bands, performers and the collective body heat of the audience members. So, make sure you put together an outfit that features layers you can add or remove as it suits you – you don’t want to be sweating in knitwear or shivering in something too thin, it’ll ruin your enjoyment of the show.
Be smart when you’re accessorising – if you’re catching a show in the middle of winter, you’re likely to be wearing a coat, hats, gloves and a scarf in a bid to keep warm on your way to get there: particularly if you’ve walked across London to see a show. But, consider whether or not you need it all, particularly if you don’t fancy sitting with a mountain of accessories on your lap during the performance. Similarly, an oversized handbag might not be the right choice for the theatre seeing as you won’t have anywhere to put it during the show. Go for smaller accessories and leave whatever you can at home.
Cover your toes – this is more of a precautionary tip (as it doesn’t always happen), but it’s possible that someone’s going to accidentally step on your toes as they squeeze past you in the dark in a bid to get to the bathroom. Anticipate the crush by making sure your feet are well protected in closed-toe shoes, or at least remember to tuck your feet under your seat… especially if you’re towards the end of the row!
Hopefully these tips will help you to put together an outfit for the theatre that feels both stylish and practical. Do you have any tips of your own to add? And what do you think of the fact we don’t get as ‘dressed up’ for the theatre nowadays? Is it time to go back to the old days?