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Mitch Dec 11th, 2002 10:19 PM

Appropriate Theatre Attire
My parents and I will be traveling to London in March and have reservations for a musical in the west end. Being from L.A. I'm comfortable with the "anything goes" attitude here, but would appreciate any advice on what is appropriate attire for attending the theatre in London.

egg Dec 11th, 2002 11:53 PM

You won't get chucked out for looking scruffy but I personally go for smart casual. Going to the theatre is a bit of an occasion so why not make the effort to look nice?

Ben Haines Dec 12th, 2002 03:14 AM

We wear anything at the theatre, from elegant to very casual, and nobody cares. You need not add to your luggage weight in order to adhere to a theatre dress code: there is no such code.<BR><BR>In case it helps, I can say there is no such code for churches or cathedrals, either.<BR><BR>Welcome to London<BR><BR>Ben Haines

Ira Dec 12th, 2002 04:26 AM

Ben Haines wrote<BR>&gt; We wear anything at the theatre, from elegant to very casual, and nobody cares. &lt;<BR><BR> Oh, phoo. I much prefer Egg's message, &quot;Going to the theatre is a bit of an occasion so why not make the effort to look nice?&quot;.<BR><BR> <BR>

Meg Dec 12th, 2002 04:34 AM

Yes, but Mitch would look a right banana in a dinner jacket and bow tie.<BR><BR>Wear the smartest attire you have with you. Mr Haines' point was that nobody will look askance if you DON'T dress up.

fashionfreak Dec 12th, 2002 04:56 AM

Dress up a little. It's part of the event.

Ira Dec 12th, 2002 05:03 AM

Meg wrote<BR>&gt;but Mitch would look a right banana in a dinner jacket and bow tie.&lt;<BR><BR> Doesn't have to be THAT dressy, but should be above the sweat-suit level.

Rich Dec 12th, 2002 06:03 AM

<BR><BR>Don't ya love it when someone like Ben, who lives in London, gives an excellent response and some dufus comes along and &quot;poo&quot;s it. <BR><BR>Rich

Meg Dec 12th, 2002 06:03 AM

Yes, Ira, I quite agree with you there. When I went to see My Fair Lady last summer, the man next to me was wearing shorts and that was really yucky! (Big fat hairy legs spilling over onto both sides of him!) I think he felt embarrassed, too.<BR><BR>As you say - above a certain level and not OTT in either direction. Take heed, Mitch!

Ira Dec 12th, 2002 06:13 AM

Rich wrote<BR>&gt;Don't ya love it when someone like Ben, who lives in London, gives an excellent response and some dufus comes along and &quot;poo&quot;s it. &lt;<BR><BR> Ah, Rich, <BR>It was an excellent response but it wasn't the ONLY response.<BR><BR>

xxx Dec 12th, 2002 06:32 AM

It's true, there is an 'anything goes' attitude about what to wear to the theater in London. ( And that same attitude exists in the US).<BR>But isn't it good for the soul to dress up for special occasions once in awhile? <BR>Why wear the same outfit you would wear to the grocery ? Or in the case of the man who wore shorts to the theater, why dress as if you are spending the evening digging for clams on a beach? &lt;grin&gt;<BR>It is not very difficult to dress nicely .. pressed trousers, a sports coat, a pants suit,a skirt ( whatever is gender appropriate.)<BR>

Rich Dec 12th, 2002 06:44 AM

<BR><BR>It actually was the only response which answered the question &quot;what is appropriate attire for attending the theatre in London.&quot;<BR><BR>The other responses ansered the questions &quot;what do you wish the appropriate dress code was&quot;? and &quot;How do you dress for the theatre in London&quot;?<BR><BR>Rich<BR>

David Dec 12th, 2002 06:49 AM

If you go to the theatre regularly then it isn't such an occasion – wear what you like and be comfortable!

xox Dec 12th, 2002 07:10 AM

Don't take any thing special just for this event. Just go in your traveling clothes! Dress up at home if you want where it is easier to access your wardrobe.

Ben Haines Dec 12th, 2002 09:14 AM

Yes: I did think of discouraging shorts. But these men will go in March, and if they walk our streets then in shorts they will need early medical attention. If replying in June to September I should have put in a word against shorts in theatres.<BR><BR>Meg walks a cliff-edge when she says big fat hairy legs. Months ago I said I thought obese people in shorts looked ugly, and the forum fell upon me from a great height.<BR>Ben Haines<BR>

deep Dec 12th, 2002 09:27 AM

Poor Ben<BR>There's nothing wrong with obese people if they don't dress in order to display their obesity.<BR>I've seen fat women who look great but the secret is to make the most of your good points, great bosom, nice hair and the beautiful complexion that many fat women have.<BR>But shorts and sleeveless dresses just don't look good on fat people. I think they don't look good on the over 50s either.<BR>Right, stop jumping up and down on Ben and divert your tackety boots to me.

Lori Dec 12th, 2002 11:05 AM

I lived in LA for many years and went to the theater often, most people were decently dressed (smart casual). I go to London every year and see a number of shows and always dress &quot;business casual&quot;. The overwhelming number of people in the theater will NOT look scruffy, sure there are always a few, but 99% are dressed decently. By that I mean dark pants on men, sweater &amp; shirt. Some sports jackets and some suits. My husband wears black pants with a shirt &amp; sweater. He does not travel with a suit or sports jacket. For women I always say a pair of nice slacks and sweater/blouse will take you anyplace. A blazer can top off the outfit. <BR><BR>Would you want to be a performer and look out at row after row of scruffy looking people? I think if they are doing &quot;their job&quot; for you the least you can do is dress decently too. You don't need to pack anything special in your luggage.

Sherry Dec 12th, 2002 03:46 PM

My husband and I will be attending theatre in London on December 23. I have packed to wear a black sweater and lace skirt set that, together, look sort of like a cocktail dresss (informal/semi-formal), and my husband had planned to wear a sports jacket and tie. Is this okay or will we be overdressed?

Ben Haines Dec 12th, 2002 04:10 PM

For Sherry: This is ok and you will not be overdressed. As this lively correspondence shows, people wear what they choose to wear.<BR><BR>For Lori: In work with schools, actors are at pains to tell children that theatres are friendly places, welcoming to all. I think that what they like are full theatres of relaxed and appreciative people, and if the lack of a dress code encourages new people to come that is fine by them.<BR><BR>Ben Haines<BR>

eee Dec 12th, 2002 04:28 PM

It makes me sad to think that so many people never go to the theatre for fear of not dressing well enough. I say dress as well as you want to or can afford to. Having a bit of self-confidence helps.

Patrick Dec 12th, 2002 05:43 PM

I always used to dress up for the theatre, but have given it up in London. I usually wear fairly dressy slacks and a sport shirt. The seats are generally too small and uncomfortable and the temperature is usually far too warm for a coat and tie for me. I'd rather be comfortable. On the other hand, I always wear a sport coat to the National, otherwise I'd freeze from their air-conditioning.

Kelley Dec 13th, 2002 07:45 AM

Mitch, I went to see The Lion King this past summer in London. I assumed that it was a special occasion like it is in New York where you dress &quot;smart Casual&quot;. We were in for a shock when alot of people were in blue jeans and Tshirts. I still felt like I was dressed appropriately for the theatre, but just know that if you want to wear your jeans,then you will blend right in. Dress however you feel best when going to the theatre. I will still dress the way I did the last time. It just felt more approriate.

Ira Dec 13th, 2002 08:26 AM

Sherry writes<BR>&gt;I have packed to wear a black sweater and lace skirt set that, together, look sort of like a cocktail dresss (informal/semi-formal), and my husband had planned to wear a sports jacket and tie. Is this okay or will we be overdressed?&lt;<BR><BR> Sherry, you are my kind of people.<BR><BR>

Mitch Dec 15th, 2002 02:40 PM

Thanks everyone. Believe me scruffy isn't on the agenda. I would expect London to be a more formal city than L.A. I don't go to the theatre in jeans here and I won't be in London either.<BR><BR>I appreciate the responses.<BR><BR>Mitch

Duke Dec 15th, 2002 03:28 PM

One of these days people will get out of the mode that they have to dress as if they are worried they will spill something on themselves. Truly good clothes are more comfortable that those stupid jeans and tshirts that most people are wearing now. It is a really amazing thing to watch. I see all these idiots carrying bags out of the malls of America and wonder what is in those bags and when is the time to dress where you look decent. Maybe Brittney Spears could answer that........

Bob Brown Dec 15th, 2002 06:56 PM

I just love it when Ben gives an authoritative answer, and then all of the pseudo intellectuals fall out of the woodwork with totally superflous, and often inane commentary. It is just about as comical, in an attempt to be serious, as a fat, fill-in tenor I saw Saturday at the Met doing battle as Manrico. <BR>(And if you have to ask who Manrico is, the answer will not do you much good.)<BR><BR>And to add a little fuel to the flames. Obesity is elective! At least in Western culture.<BR>

kate Dec 16th, 2002 03:09 AM

To try an avoid the &quot;what I think we should all wear&quot; argument, here's my observations on what people actually wear and what is considered acceptable:<BR><BR>1. Anything (except perhaps shorts and a bikini) are acceptable, and you will see everything from jeans to cocktail dresses.<BR>2. During the week, most Londoners will go to the theatre straight from work, so will generally be dressed in &quot;smart/smart casual&quot; - ie not jeans and t-shirts (although I do often wear jeans to work and so have worn them to the theatre, I tend to team jeans with smart boots, top, wool coat, pashmina etc so don't look like a scruff).<BR>3. On a Saturday night most people would treat it as a special occasion and make a little more of an effort.<BR>4. Unless it's the first night of the latest ballet at the Royal Opera House, anyone would feel very overdressed in black tie or twinkly cocktail dresses.<BR>5. You'll see many tourists who have either:<BR>a) gone straight to the theatre from slogging about the museums all day and so are very casually dressed or<BR>b) have gone home to change first and are dressed quite snazzily.<BR>Aim somewhere between the 2, and you won't feel out of place.<BR>

Kavey Dec 16th, 2002 06:02 AM

Ditto to all of Kate's post. And to Ben's initial one.<BR><BR>Kavey<BR>(Another Londoner, who goes to the theatre here from time to time)

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