What to Wear to the Opera – Your Simple Style Guide

Stylish Opera Dress

If you’re reading this post, chances are you’re either planning on going to the opera or are one of my stylish readers and are just curious about what to wear to the opera. In either case, thank you for taking the time to view this post!

Last May I had the opportunity to attend The Ring cycle in Washington, D.C. If you didn’t catch it, take a look at my last post, Opera Attire that is Both Stylish & Elegant, where I shared a little bit about how Peter and I got the opportunity to experience such a one-of-a-kind opera.

Like any special event, it takes some time to figure out what you’re going to wear and try to put together a stylish outfit that you’ll not only feel great in but also receive compliments on. Because that’s what we all want right, to feel fantastic in our outfits?

Deciding what you’re going to wear to an opera may seem no different than any other special event, but I actually found it to be a little more difficult, since the opera is not something that most of us do very often, unless you’re an avid opera attendee. I certainly am not and this was actually my first opera.

I attended the opera at the Kennedy Center. This brought the issue to an entirely different level. Instead of just wondering what to wear to the opera, it was now what to wear to the opera at the Kennedy Center.

Figuring Out What to Wear to the Opera

Opera attire varies greatly based on the actual opera being performed and the venue/city it is held in. The first thing you need to consider when putting together your stylish opera outfit is to evaluate the opera.

Is the opera you are attending a big deal? Was it written about on a major publication or is it sold out? You know a show is a big deal when there’s anticipation leading up to it from more than just the people you’re going with.

After you determine the popularity of the opera, next you’ll consider the location. We attended The Ring cycle at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, a little fancier than a local theater. I looked at the Kennedy Center’s website to see if there was some sort of opera dress code, but found none.

Most venue locations suggest wearing what you feel comfortable in, but that’s so open-ended and leaves most people more confused. “Wear what feels comfortable” can be difficult to decipher, so instead of leaving you without an answer here are some suggestions.

NOTE: Keep in mind that a fashion blogger is writing this and I help people live a stylish life, so I tend to recommend that you dress fancier than most others.

Simple Style Tips

Avoid wearing denim jeans. You might love them and they are very comfortable but just don’t wear denim anything.

Opt for black if you can’t decide on a color. Black is figure flattering, easy to accessorize, and easy to wear.

If your outfit is simple, add a statement piece like large earrings or statement necklace to bring a wow factor to your opera outfit.

Business or business-casual clothing is what most people opt to wear. Think pencil skirts, matching separates, jersey or shift dresses, topped with a blazer.

A dress is an easy solution and a good idea. I saw many women in dresses at the opera. The style of dress ranged from floor-length gowns to shorter full dresses, like the dress I’m wearing in this outfit post. Don’t wear a dress that is too short, too tight, too revealing, or too casual. Think cocktail dress.

Layer on a blazer, cape, cardigan, shawl or fur stole to keep from getting cold during the show. You’re sitting enjoying the opera for the majority of the time, so if you often get cold in theaters an extra layer will help.

Have your hair and makeup match your outfit. My opera attire was sleek without much fuss so I created a cohesive look. I put my hair in a sleek low ponytail and kept my makeup minimal with a bright lip. Remember, it’s the small things that make all the difference.

If you want to and the occasion calls for it, dress up! This was my fanciest outfit of the four outfits I wore to the opera. This was my version of dressing up. While it wasn’t a floor-length gown, there are specific aspects of this outfit that make it fancy, like the tuxedo cape and gold accents.

Remember to wear what fits your personal style. My style is more classic and minimal. I like sleek pieces that don’t need much to stand out. For this dress, all I needed was to add gold accessories. The gold accent in the dress is what made the piece unique.

I hope these style tips help you figure out what to wear to the opera!

Stay Stylish,

Shop the Look

[show_shopthepost_widget id=”1662435″]

Outfit Details

Heels from Klub Nico // Slate & Willow Dress from Rent the Runway // Tuxedo Cape from BCBG Max Azria // Inge Christopher Clutch from Rent the Runway // Elizabeth & James Bracelet from Rent the Runway // Kenneth Jay Lane Earrings from Rent the Runway