What to Wear to the Opera: 5 Classy and Comfortable Outfit Ideas

June 15, 2018 by Blair Donovan

Figuring out what to wear to the opera can turn into a high-pressure task, especially if you’re a first timer and don’t know what to expect. You’re in for wonderfully dramatic performances, magnificent costumes, and obviously wow-worthy vocals, but what does all this mean when you’re mapping out how to dress? The sophisticated scale associated with this art form naturally means you need an equally high-class outfit. Essentially, leave the jeans at home. An opera dress code calls for a much more formal take on your standard weekend wear. But one thing’s for sure, you don’t have to pull out all the stops for the sake of the show (read: no ball gowns needed, unless you really want to).

Thankfully, there’s no one size fits all answer for what to wear to the opera matinee, so you can let your fashion flag fly, as long as it’s on par with the event’s formality. Think modern cocktail dresses, patterned midi skirts, or even bold pants. And, because tickets to the performance itself probably cost an arm and a leg, spare some expenses in terms of your wardrobe by renting a completely new ensemble just for the occasion. Whether you’re an opera rookie or have been too many times to count, check out these five looks to help guide your opera attire decision making. Then, sit back, relax, and comfortably enjoy your night at the opera.

1. Fun, Flirty, and Date-Night Ready

DRESS: ML MONIQUE LHUILLIER, EARRINGS: SLATE & WILLOW, BAG: TORY BURCH

Going to the opera with your significant other to celebrate a special occasion? For a fashionable opera outfit that still lets you feel comfortable, turn to cocktail or maxi dresses. Avoid anything that’s too short, especially since you’ll be sitting for the duration of the performance. But even with a longer hemline, you can still maintain a playful and feminine vibe, by opting for a printed look or ruffled detailing that exude the ultimate date-worthy vibes.

2. Experiment with Your Style

TOP: SHOSHANNA, SKIRT: TOME, EARRINGS: NOCTURNE

Don’t limit yourself to just dresses. You can also pull off the classy, sophisticated vibe of the opera by wearing a skirt. By opting to wear a top and skirt, it gives you more leeway to pick out a few new pieces, as opposed to just one, that you can creatively style to your heart’s desire. Like dresses, skirts come in many unique styles and silhouettes that are perfect for a formal event like going the opera.

3. Polished, Professional, and Incredibly Stylish

TOP: HALSTON HERITAGE, PANTS: SLATE & WILLOW, BAG: LOEFFLER RANDALL

Coming straight from work? You can get away with wearing pants to the opera if you style them correctly. Think business casual. You’d be surprised at how easy a pair of trousers or culottes are to dress up. Tuck in the top in for a more refined (and flattering) look, and top it off with sleek accessories.

4. Conveniently Cool and Deceptively Comfortable

JUMPSUIT: TRINA TURK, EARRINGS: GORJANA, BAG: LOEFFLER RANDALL

The effortlessly easy throw-on-and-go jumpsuit can make an appearance at the opera as well if you don’t want to wear a dress. You’re guaranteed an original look that’s more than appropriate for this theatrical musical performance and, if you find selecting clothing layers the bane of your existence, the entire outfit is essentially already taken care of for you.

5. Glamorous But Not Too Over-The-Top

DRESS: SLATE & WILLOW, EARRINGS: KATE SPADE NEW YORK, BAG: REBECCA MINKOFF

Although you’re definitely not required to sport a gala-worthy gown for your opera attire, some women do use the opera as an excuse to dress their absolute best. If you want to wear a glamorous formal dress, let the frock claim dominance as the focal point of the outfit, and avoid letting any accessories overshadow it. Keep jewelry to a minimum, but definitely add some sparkle for an extra wow factor.

Whether you want to dress to impress in a floor-length gown, or keep things cool in an easy jumpsuit, there’s not one strict way to dress as an opera goer. Dress for your comfort level, and enjoy the show.