Opera is a world-class event that everyone should experience at least once in their life. When the curtain rises, you're treated to unparalleled music and lush costumes on stage while your eyes are dazzled by stunning sets and beautiful lighting. But how do you dress for the opera? The answer isn't as simple as "black tie." It's not even close! There are several levels of formality when it comes to what you wear to the opera, depending on how expensive your seats are - but don't worry, there's always something classy for every budget.
In this guide we'll talk about how different people can dress for any type of seat at an opera performance, with some help from our lead stylist Claudia Merenda.
What are the dress codes for the opera in Italy and the rest of the world?
Italians dress to the nines when they go to see an opera performance. Men traditionally wear a tuxedo, while women wear ball gowns, cocktail dresses or elegant pants suits.
It's not all black tie - there are plenty of options. The main idea is to show that you have confidence in your sense of style - without screaming about it. For example, a bright red Kiton blazer may not be the best option. The normal dress code for men is definitely black, but you can get away with a navy suit also. If you are confident in your sense of style you can also wear some more subtle colours, such as burgundy.
One of the main faux pas that people commit at the opera is that they wear too bright of a colour. This is particularly true if it's an especially formal event, such as an opera at the Royal Opera House, or one of the high-end operas in America.
Even if you don't have the best seats in the house, do not wear something overly casual.
If you really want to dress to impress, we would recommend something like this burgundy Kiton tuxedo jacket.
How to dress for the opera if you're on a budget
A gentleman would wear a dark suit to the opera, but it doesn't have to be specifically a tuxedo. A dark blazer is also appropriate if paired with dark trousers. Not everyone wants to spend $9000 on a Kiton tuxedo, so here are some examples of some great suits that will work very well within most budgets.
Here are some great examples of handmade Italian blazer brands that don't break the bank:
Not on a budget? Check out our article on the best brands for the super rich.
Where to buy an opera outfit online
There are many different places that you can buy an opera outfit from. Opera Outfit offers two different levels of outfits that you can purchase our website for some of the best prices you will find online.
All of our outfits are made of high-quality fabrics which are chosen specifically by some of the greatest tailors in the world. These artisan "Sarti" (tailor in Italian) still use the same techniques that they learnt from their parents or grandparents.
The sartorial companies of Napoli and Italy generally make some of the best opera outfits in the world. Italy, the birthplace of opera is the best place to study if you want to know what to wear to the opera.
Don't want to study? Here's some incredibly examples of the best opera outfits in the world, which will blow the socks off anyone you meet while at the opera.
What shoes to wear for the opera?
Many people wonder what shoes to wear to the opera. It really is up to how dressy you want to be. There is a good chance that you will be wearing a pair of dress shoes. In order to choose dress shoes there's only one question you have to answer... What colour is your blazer and what colour is your suit?
You can wear any pair of dress shoes you want, we have a huge selection of beautifully made shoes which would put the polish on the top of any opera outfit. Here are some examples of dress shoes that would go with a dark blue (navy) or black blazer combination. Santoni is a great handmade creator of dress shoes.
In general you're going to want to pair black with black, or navy with black. Do not try and break the mould, especially if it's the first time you're going to the opera.
What about my socks?
Again there are not many options of what to wear when it comes to socks. You're not going to want to wear anything too crazy, and wearing trainer or sneaker socks is not going to cut it this time. Instead you are going to have to wear some black long socks, or navy blue socks.
Zilli has a great range of socks that are PERFECT for wearing to the opera, and will go with the rest of your suit or opera outfit.
Do men wear suits or tuxedos to the opera?
In fact, this is totally up to you. If you want to wear a tuxedo that's perfectly acceptable at the opera, but you can also go with a suit. The opera is actually the perfect place to wear your newest tuxedo, so don't feel too restricted and think that you can only wear black or navy blue.
Burgundy is a great colour that is perfectly acceptable at the opera. A burgundy tuxedo is probably one of the most elegant things that you can buy, and it is sure to impress anyone that might see you.
With a burgundy tuxedo, you are going to want wear black dress shoes with a black pair of dress pants. Here's a complete burgundy opera outfit for you to stand out in_