What to wear to the opera is a commonly asked question among first timers. As a Gentleman Within reader there may come a time in your life when you’re invited to an event like this, if you haven’t already. And when that day ultimately does come, it’s good to have an idea of what to wear for that special occasion.
I myself have not been to the opera, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at least curious. And so this edition of Stylin’ Out features what I’d wear for an evening at the opera.
The opera has its origins in Italy over 400 years ago. Though it’s evolved over the past 4 centuries, an evening at the opera remains a special occasion and it would be wise to treat it as such.
Unsurprisingly, the opera conjures up an image of over-the-top style. Perhaps a velvet tuxedo with coat tails, top hat and a monocle comes to mind. I think Hollywood has a little something to do with it. That’s the thing, while the opera may seem like a black tie event, many opera houses around the world want you to know that you can be yourself and dress comfortably for that special night out. In fact, The Met in NYC doesn’t even have a dress code.
In today’s age everything has gotten more casual, and you can dress up and still be comfortable.
Fall is in full swing here in the Northeastern United States. The colors around us are changing, the temperatures are slowly but surely dipping, and the layers are coming out full force. The look I went with is perfect for temperatures from the upper-50s to the mid-70s.
The style I went with is refined with hints of rakishness. The blazer, necktie, oxford shoes, lapel flower, pocket square and dark wash denim make it a smart look. The blazer passes for casual because if we take textures into consideration, the tweed and suede elbow patch knocks it down a few rungs on the formality scale. The socks also add a dash of playfulness to the fall ensemble.
Overall, it’s a smart casual look. The addition of a necktie ups the formality level. Go sans necktie and it’s more casual.
This is a style that can pass for any modern-day gentleman.
I had the pleasure of shooting at the Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) here in the beautiful Rittenhouse neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The AVA is a premier institution for training young artists as international opera soloists and is home to artists from throughout the United States and across the world. In addition to being the only tuition-free institution dedicated exclusively to the study of voice, the AVA puts on operatic performances throughout the year.
To learn more about the 2017-2018 AVA Opera Season, you can check that out here.
First off, if it’s a date, you’ll definitely want to dress it up a bit. If you’re attending with a friend, colleague or sibling, you can dress it down. Ultimately there are no rules and you should wear whatever you feel most comfortable in. This doesn’t mean to dress like a slob either.
It’s all about the details with this look. I’ve got texture with the tweed blazer. I’ve got a subtle pocket square that blends in with the jacket, yet still has a little pop from the star pattern. A navy necktie is layered overtop of a light mint colored button down which harmoniously blends with the rest of the look.
Finally, the addition of a red lapel flower is a bold statement that adds a richness to the overall look without screaming out. I’ll typically put on a lapel flower when I want to add a finishing touch on an outfit. It’s always reserved for a special night out such as an evening at the opera.
THE POWER OF DARK WASH DENIM
I want to talk about dark wash denim for a second. I’ve always preached that the dark wash jean is one of the most versatile pieces in menswear and when you’ve found a pair with the right fit and wash, there’s endless styling opportunities.
Though wearing jeans to an event like the opera may irk some traditionalists, it’s a move worth making, especially in today’s age where dress codes have become much more casual across the board. You don’t have to sacrifice comfort to look good.
For the opera, I’d recommend keeping your outfit as a whole on the darker spectrum. Dark is sleek and more appropriate evening attire.
And since I’d want to go for comfort first, I’d ditch the tie. But if you’re a tie guy, go ahead…you’ll look fantastic.
Can’t forget the wrist game. I’d put on my best watch, it is the opera after all.
In the end, I went for a more approachable style. A look that any man can pull off with a little confidence. It may not be dressed to the nines, but it’s a casual kind of refined look that can go a long way.
Thats it for Stylin’ Out Vol. 5. I hope enjoyed reading and got some inspiration on what to wear to the opera (when that day ultimately arrives).
All photos are courtesy of Erica Torres, Founder of Erica Torres Photography.
The fat lady has sung. Now onto you. What would you wear to the opera?
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