Thatisbeyond … the modern man’s guide to what to wear to the theatre in the West End.
This is a question that I get asked all of the time!
‘What should I wear to theatre? Do I need to dress up?’
In this day and age, it’s not necessary to dress up for the theatre. Plenty attend wearing their everyday clothes – joggers and trainers, or their work uniforms! I think it says something about how, more accessible the theatre is (although you still need the money to buy a ticket – you can get tickets in advance for the west end for cheaper than a cinema ticket at some theatres.) But I still like to dress up. I’m not saying that a dinner jacket and bow tie are required, but it is nice to make a little effort in your appearance for a special night out.
Fitted jeans and a button down shirt. (Notice I didn’t say skinny jeans!) This dressy casual look is both comfortable and flattering. Getting the right fit in the jeans department is not easy, but mostly it’s about how they make you feel when you wear them. Be brave with a patterned shirt or a bolder colour, and team it with some deck shoes. If you were to opt for this look with trainers, it fails to work. The shoes add to the look’s overall suitability and hold it all together.
The theme of this look… Comfort and fit. It doesn’t have to be a slim fit shirt, but something that fits and isn’t too over sized is definitely preferable in achieving this look. How to spend you money on this look? Focus on the jeans, the right pair of jeans will be with you for years and never go out of fashion, so stay neutral and well fitted. The rest of this look you can easily buy from large high street stores, very cheaply, and no one would ever know.
Why not rock some light chinos and blue shirt (open necked and casual) teamed with a blazer to pull it all together. The preppy look! This is a great dating outfit, it is comfortable but also looks like you have made a suitable effort for the date! I would say that most of these pieces should be staple items in a guys wardrobe and that you can mix and match these to your hearts delight (capsule wardrobe musts!). This look is great for any size male and it is possible by adjusting the fit to dress it up further with a classic tie or thin scarf. Also consider the footwear, brown is good, and the more casual version of this look could easily be rocked with some trendy sandals to a meal by the beach!
Where to spend your money?
The blazer, a badly fitted one could ruin this look. As with any formal wear or hybrid of it, it’s all about the fit and worth spending a few extra quid to ensure it fits well. And as this is a light colour pallette I would also make sure you have a good stain remover on stand by for and spillages from the dinner table!
The summer suit (remember even in winter theatres get real hot) get this lighter weight and less structured cousin of the formal suit, and receive the benefits of the tailoring without the weightiness of a full on tailored suit. Combining comfort and style this is a great option for a lighter, spring/summer look. You can take the into the lighter colour spectrum ignore the black and navy suits and think more linen and khaki. The fabric will determine the shoes… but again this is a great option for dressing up and down with some classic dress shoes or some converse… Whatever takes your fancy!
The casual… Yes it’s acceptable to wear a t shirt nowadays, but make it a good one! I have talked about fit a lot, but even with casual wear it is vital. A bold pictorial print will work as a statement alone, or add interest below that fitted blazer that I have already discussed. Pair this with a formal cut, classic lined trouser and dress shoes – to get the balance of quirk and formality correct or pair with a narrow formal scarf. The options are endless!
The looks that work best are those that play either side of the formal/ casual line, taking a formal outfit and making it more casual or vice versa. In my opinion, theatre is a celebration, and so its worth making the effort, but comfort is also high on my list, sitting through Hamlet with ill-fitting clothing is not fun at all. I know, because I have done it!
So Get out there and see some theatre, and look sharp while you’re at it… casually or formally!