Opening night at the opera is usually a very well publicized formal event. In fact, this season is the 50th anniversary for the Minnesota Opera and Nabucco is going to be a VERY big deal. So, ladies and gentlemen, be prepared to look good. Go big or go home.
Such a grand occasion tends to bring back old world glamor so expect women to go all out with jewels, up-dos and ball gowns. Also expect to see some men donning classic tuxedos or white ties and tails. If you’re not comfortable in this style, semi-formal attire is also appropriate. The important thing is to look classy.
So, what do you wear?
Men: You don’t have to bust out the tails and white tie, but if there is anything you should wear, it should include a well-tailored or fitted suit with a tie/bowtie and a jacket. All men look good in jacket. ALL MEN. If you do decide to wear a tailcoat – it must have a cut front that reaches to your waist and there should not be any part of the white vest underneath showing below the front. These coats have a split in the tail and often buttons on either side. The tails at the rear should not fall below your knees.
Ladies: Ball Gown or formal gown. Any color will do. In fact, the bolder –the better! However, you are not at a cotillion, so please avoid the white from head to toe as this is usually reserved for debutantes. A ball gown can be sleeveless, have short sleeves or even long sleeves (suitable for older ladies). It can be one piece, two pieces, long or short. If opting for short, please make sure you are not wearing something that will embarrass you parent’s too much – i.e. – showing more skin than is necessary. This is a formal event, not the prom. Where to shop? Stop in to Saks 5th Avenue Off Fifth, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus or Macy’s for some newer fashions. Want something a bit more unique? Check out consignment shops such as GH2, June or Rodeo Drive for something a bit more price conscious.
Don’t have the funds to drop on a formal gown? No worries! Rental sites are a great way to dress up, without the commitment. Rent the Runway is an online membership-based service that offers thousands of designer dresses and accessories that women can borrow for just 10 percent of their retail value. They have tons of formal gowns from designers such as Bagdley Mischka, Zac Posen, Nicole Miller, Diane von Furstenberg, Vera Wang, Robert Rodriguez, Anna Sui and Christian Siriano.
Even if you don’t have a formal dress, you can still glam up your outfit with accessories. Carry an elegant evening bag to complement your formal dress. A cashmere shawl will add a nice touch to the outfit as well. The opera is also a good opportunity to break out that expensive jewelry you stash away for special occasions. If you don’t have the funds, Bag Borrow or Steal has additional accessories or purses to complete your look and make you look like a million bucks – for only a hundred of bucks.
Remember, whatever you do decide to wear – remember to have a great attitude and lots of fun. People remember the fun-loving couple having a blast more often than what they truly were wearing.
See you on opening night!