Feeling like you're wearing the appropriate thing is a huge part of feeling confident in your clothing. As a former classical musician and orchestra staff member, and current "Symphony wife", and personal stylist, one of the questions I get asked most often is, "What do I wear to the Symphony?"
The great thing about the concert hall is that, while people may have felt intimidated in the past, there's no longer a dress code. (There is one for the musicians on stage but that's a whole other blog post.) The general idea is to look "nice", and there are levels from business casual to dressy that are all appropriate. There are also different kinds of concerts. While a cocktail dress would be appropriate for an evening "orchestral" concert, it would probably look out of place in the sea of toddlers and parents that attend a Sunday afternoon Family Concert.
I don’t think it’s ever appropriate to wear sloppy sweats or pajamas in public, so I’m certainly not going to say they’re ok to wear to a concert. However, I'm here to tell you that you can wear jeans to Powell Hall. You'll want to leave your sweatshirt at home, but with a jacket or nice sweater, jeans fit right in.
If I were forced to categorize the dress code, I’d probably say business casual. Since the phrase business casual is something that people struggle with as well, here’s what it means for the Symphony: for men, slacks and a more casual top (knit top or sweater). Or it can mean jeans, but with a dressier top (jacket or dress shirt). For the women, it can mean a dress, pants, or jeans (with the aforementioned dressier top half).
Need a visual? Here are a few examples:
So now that we’ve established that it doesn’t have to be a “fancy” occasion, one of the great things about going to Powell Hall is that it can be a rare chance to dress up, should you choose to do so. If you're a clotheshorse, a concert is a great chance to pull out a suit, or to wear one straight from the office if it's your daily uniform. (Suit, shoes, tie)
Lastly, as I mentioned earlier, there are many different types of concerts at Powell Hall. For the most part, I’ve been speaking of attending what are called “Subscription” concerts. These are the regular, weekly, straight-ahead classical concerts (like this weekend's Vivaldi Four Seasons). The Symphony also plays live music for movies (The Godfather in March), concerts with video game music (Final Fantasy in May), tributes to rock bands like Journey, and concerts for kids and families. For all of these, the attire is a bit more casual. On the other hand, for the yearly Gala and New Year’s Eve concerts, black tie is totally acceptable.
Bottom line is, it’s hard to mess up. You’re welcome at a concert even if you do show up in your pj’s, I just wouldn’t recommend it. For your own confidence, you know.
What do you wear to Powell Hall?
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