Whether you’ve been waiting your whole life for your first Broadway show or are being dragged to your first show by an enthusiastic fan, you want to look good. Here’s the good news — on Broadway, almost anything goes fashion-wise. Most theaters don’t have dress codes. Wondering what to wear to an upcoming Broadway show? Then, check out these ideas.
1. Make your own kind of music.
You don’t have to bend your sense of style to see a Broadway show. Instead, you can wear almost whatever you want. Most Broadway audiences strike a variety of style notes. Some come dressed to the nines in tuxedos and formals, while others (tourists and New Yorkers alike) roll in in flip-flops and shorts.
2. Dress up for special performances.
That said, if you’re going to a special performance, you should put on a little extra shine. This includes previews, opening nights, and gala nights. In other words, if the tickets to your show weren’t easily available to the public, you might want to polish your shoes, get your hair done, and try to look a little spiffy.
3. Think about where you’re going before and after the show.
Because anything goes on Broadway, you don’t necessarily have to think about what you should wear to the show. Instead, think about where you’re going before or after the show, and then, let those activities dictate your wardrobe. If you’re going out to a fine dining establishment, men might need to wear a sports coat and tie, while cocktail dresses may be perfect for the women in your group. If you’re hitting a matinee and then going on a long walking tour of the city, you might prefer to wear something a little more comfortable with tennis shoes. Whether you go fancy or casual, don’t forget that this is an event that you’ll probably want to capture for Instagram or the family scrapbook, so dress accordingly. Even if you’re not into photos, one of your friends is likely to snag a few shots.
4. Coordinate with your friends
You can wear nearly anything to a Broadway show, but you don’t want to show up in a sports jersey while the rest of your crew is in formal gowns. Reach out to your friends before you go to the show, and coordinate what you’re wearing. You don’t have to all come in the same palette — unless you want to take some family photos after the show — but it’s nice to be in a similar spot on the casual-to-formal spectrum.
5. Think about the show.
It goes without saying that the most important part of this experience is the show. Some shows require you to dress a certain way. For instance, you want to be comfortable for long shows and able to move for immersive productions. In other cases, you may want to emulate the long-standing Rocky Horror Picture Show tradition and wear something that gives a shout-out to your favorite character. In all cases, remember that the show is on the stage — don’t wear any hats or outfits that draw focus away from the main attraction. Other than that, just have fun with your outfit choices, and most importantly, get ready to sit back and enjoy the show.