One of the nice things about Washington, DC is the access to some wonderful live performances. There is a great variety of small theaters throughout the around the city as well the surrounding areas of Maryland and Virginia. Not to mention, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts which preeminent theatrical performances in the city. What amazes me however is how people dress for the theater.           

Gone are the days when people dress for the theater. Only a few years ago, a night at the theater was one of those special occasions to dress to the nines. Women in gowns and men in tuxedos were the norm not the rarity that happens today. Nowadays the dress code seems to be much more relaxed. However that’s not such a good thing.

While I understand that sitting in a darken theater for a few hours is not the ideal time to put on your best clothes, people do it all the time. (Think the Oscars!)  I believe it should be treated like something more than lounging on the couch in your most comfy sweats. The stylish man should strive for something much more than that. So how should one dress for the theater?

Formal attire

Just because people do not do it as much anymore does not mean it’s not appropriate. For opening and closing nights especially for an opera or ballet or if the performance is a benefit or gala by all means don that tuxedo. Think about it. You don’t see the President in a tank top and Birkenstocks (which I love in the right setting) at the Kennedy Center Awards. No tux? Opt for a black suit.

Suited up

For most performances, a nice dark suit is my attire of choice. With many shows during the week directly after work, it’s easy to transition from work to the theater wearing a suit. After a day at the office, you’re ready to go. No costume change needed! Consider a double-breasted suit. It is a little more elegant and suggests you gave a little thought to your attire for your night on the town.

Elevated casual

It is okay to go casual however up your game. Go for nice slacks and a dress shirt, a banded collar works really nicely. Add a blazer but lose the tie for a great date night look. If you don’t want to go for the blazer consider a stylish sweater instead. For summer months, a polo shirt is acceptable but a long sleeved linen shirt is a more stylish option. Just stay away from the statement tee shirt, shorts and flip-flops. Reserve that look for an outdoor concert. That’s ideal for Lollapalooza.

Shop My Look/Details

Double-breasted navy suit – Armani | White French collar dress shirt – Banana Republic | Lace up shoes – Louis Vuitton (black version) | Sailboat cufflings – AusCufflinks,  Gray polka dot tie – Jack Sartori, Socks – Bedford Broome, Nautical pocket square – Grand Frank all in July Sprezzabox