The Occasion: A Night at the Theater, the Ballet, or the Opera
Old etiquette: All about puttin’ on the ritz.
New etiquette: You’ve got a pretty wide berth. Still, spiff it up!
What to wear: Once upon a time, these evenings out were considered a license to dress to the nines. Nowadays, though, you’re more likely to spot jeans and an I Heart NY T-shirt at a Broadway show than formal wear. But just because you can be casual doesn’t mean you should be. “You paid a fair amount for a nice evening out, so why drop the ball when it comes to your outfit?” says wardrobe consultant Amy Lindquist. On opening night, “go for broke and dress as you would for any black-tie occasion. Otherwise, dress as for a cocktail party: a sophisticated suit or a tailored shirt, trousers, and heels,” advises fashion stylist Joseph Williamson. But recognize regional differences. “In Burlington, Vermont, we would not show up to the ballet in an evening gown. But plenty of people in New York City do,” says Post. “Know your town and what’s expected.” And if ultimately you feel that you absolutely prefer to be in jeans, choose a pair in a dark wash with no holes or distressing.