Broadway Dress Code: What to Wear to a Broadway Show
Related Read - The Style Guide to Afternoon Tea Dress Code
Related Read - Resort wear for women explained
What is the Broadway Dress Code?
What can I wear to a Broadway show?
The simple answer is anything. Most theaters no longer have dress codes, so it doesn't matter what you wear. As long as you have a ticket for your performance, you'll be allowed into the venue. Both formal and informal clothing is accepted.
From casual t-shirts, jeans and flip-flops to a cocktail dress or tuxedo, the spectrum of audience style is so broad that there is no specific dress code. However, for special performances, including first previews, opening nights and gala nights, it may be worth polishing your dress shoes and ironing a shirt for an effortless "smart-casual" outfit.
If going to the theatre is a special occasion rather than a regular occurrence, you may want to dress up in a formal outfit and shoes. Overall, it’s best to be in an outfit you feel comfortable in, though — you don’t want to spend a few hours sitting down with blistered feet.
Attending a Broadway musical in New York City during the summer
Attending a Broadway musical in New York City during the summer is an exciting experience. You want to look your best and stay comfortable while enjoying the show. Here's a high-quality outfit suggestion that will keep you cool and stylish:
Dress: A sundress is perfect for a Broadway show in the summer. Choose a dress that is light and airy, with a fun print or bright color to add some personality to your outfit. Make sure the length is appropriate for the occasion.
Shoes: Comfortable shoes are a must when attending a Broadway show. Opt for a pair of sandals with a low heel or flats that are easy to walk in. Avoid wearing high heels or uncomfortable shoes that will make it difficult to enjoy the show.
Jacket: Although it's summer, it can get chilly in the theater, so bring a lightweight jacket or cardigan to keep you warm. Choose a jacket that complements your dress and adds a touch of elegance to your outfit.
Accessories: Keep it simple with accessories. A statement necklace or earrings can add some sparkle to your outfit, but don't overdo it. A small clutch or crossbody bag is perfect for carrying your essentials.
Hair and makeup: Keep your hair and makeup simple and natural. Opt for a low-maintenance hairstyle like a messy bun or loose waves. Keep your makeup minimal and fresh, with a touch of mascara and lip gloss.
Overall, the key to a high-quality outfit for a Broadway show in the summer is to keep it simple, comfortable, and elegant. You want to look your best without sacrificing comfort or practicality. With this outfit suggestion, you can enjoy the show in style and stay cool and comfortable.
Are You Seeing a Matinee or Evening Show?
Related Read - Floral Dresses and Fashion Outfits for Woman High Tea
Related Read - Handpicked Boutique Sundresses for 40 plus women
Do certain shows require certain outfits?
Again, you can wear anything you want to a show. There are some productions in which you may want to consider if your outfit could impede on the full experience. For example, if you're seeing an immersive show in New York, you may want to wear clothes that you can move in. Some immersive shows even encourage you to dress for a certain theme or time period to feel fully part of the atmosphere. That said, it can even be fun to wear a show-inspired outfit to a non-immersive show; for example, wearing a white or black dress when seeing Van Gogh.
What Time of Year Are You Attending the Show?
How Dressed Up Should You Get?
Ladies’ Dress Code
I love dressing up no matter if I am watching a show at night or in the daytime. I treat going to the theater like a date night. The aim is to feel good about my outfit.
I love to wear a dress to the theater and depending on what you are comfortable with anything from a mini to midi a to maxi dress will work.
A good piece of advice is always have a shawl, warm scarf or a jacket with you, even some summer nights can get chilly. Air conditioned theaters can be cold especially at night.
Anything that makes noise or flashes light (Phone, smart watches, iPad) is distracting at the theatre, avoid them.
Gentleman’s Dress Code
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a men’s fashion expert. Over the years, I’ve seen men wearing different levels of outfits at the theater.
Please either leave the baseball cap at home or take it off once you’re inside the theater.
If it’s summer, please don’t wear shorts and sandals to the theater—even if it’s 100 degrees out. It annoys me to no end seeing sloppy dressers at the theater, and a lot of the culprits are men.
Also, wear nice pants and a button-up shirt or chic sweater. Or if you want to be a bit more casual, wear a T-shirt and put a jacket over it for an upscale vibe.
Instead of sandals, opt for a pair of classy and clean sneakers or loafers during the summer and a pair of nice boots during the colder months. I’ve even linked a few of my boyfriend’s favorites below to help you visualize what’s appropriate for the theater.
Also, if you’re going to be checking the time during the show, please just wear a watch.
Nobody likes being distracted from the show when their neighbor is checking the time or text messages on their phones.
When in Doubt, Follow These Outfit Rules
- Dress respectfully
- Dress comfortably
- If you wear jeans, make sure they’re a dark wash with no holes
- Don’t wear any hats or hairstyles that may ruin the view of the person behind you
- Avoid wearing too much perfume (some people are allergic)
- Bring an extra layer to combat the aggressive air conditioning
Broadway Dress Code Exceptions