What to wear to the Symphony?
January 17, 2007 8:58 PM   Subscribe

What should I wear to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra?

The website says "You'll notice apparel ranging from business casual to after-five evening wear. Though you won't see many people in jeans, wear what is comfortable when dressing for a night at one of Dallas' premier entertainment venues, the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center."

Okay...so what do I wear to a premier entertainment venue?

I don't expect to have to wear a ball gown and white gloves, but I know I need to dress up. My husband agreed to wear a dress shirt & tie, but ... I don't wear much except jeans. I never wear skirts or dresses, I pretty much wear jeans. In fact, due to my recent weight gain/loss (I gained ~50lbs and I've lost 13 of it so far) I don't really have any nice pants which fit. My one dressy pair which fit got ruined in the wash. Am I going to have to buy a pair of nice pants for this one night, when I'm hoping they won't even fit in a month? Buying pants is kind of a nightmare for my figure...I can spend a day trying on clothes and maybe pick one item.

If I wore jeans would they kick me out? What if I wore jeans with a really really nice shirt and nice jewelry? What about shoes? I am pretty fashion clueless - I'd just like to look nice so we don't look out of place.

Am I making this into a bigger deal than it is? Ack!
posted by jesirose to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total)
I've been to symphonies and operas at a number of venues around the country, and my experience is that unless it's an opening night/premiere or some special gala event, very few people are so dressed up that you'd look out of place in jeans and a nice shirt. The fact that the website mentions that you should "wear what is comfortable" suggests they're not really expecting evening wear. Look nice, by all means, but don't feel too self-conscious. First and foremost, enjoy the concert!
posted by Bromius at 9:05 PM on January 17, 2007

They will almost definitely not kick you out. I've seen many people in jeans at the San Francisco Symphony. (A lot of the students, granted, but adults too.)

If you do feel like you want to buy something, are you totally opposed to a skirt? I've found that elastic-waist skirts in stretchy materials are actually much more forgiving of weight gain or loss than pants.

But really, I think a lot of these formerly formal institutions are hurting a bit for patrons, and they're much more likely to be happy to see new people there than to criticize them for their attire.
posted by occhiblu at 9:23 PM on January 17, 2007

Also, the standard of dress might change depending on what section you're sitting in -- the more expensive seats are likely to be season-ticket holders and/or the rich, older, committed patrons, and they're more likely to be dressed up than the students who got standing-room places in the back of the hall.
posted by occhiblu at 9:25 PM on January 17, 2007

People show up at the symphony in all kinds of dress these days, although most of the folks in jeans are students. If I were you I would buy yourself a nice pair of pants or a skirt. So what if you lose the weight? You will still have the skirt in case it comes back. Nice looking does not have to mean expensive.
posted by caddis at 9:37 PM on January 17, 2007

I went to the Dallas Opera and while my friends and I took it as an opportunity to wear our homecoming dresses again, you wouldn't have looked too out of place there in nice jeans and a nice shirt. On the other hand, I wasn't really looking, so you might want to play it safe with a skirt.
posted by MadamM at 9:42 PM on January 17, 2007

I've not been to the DSO, but I did go see Phantom at the Fair Park Music Hall last year and wore jeans and an untucked button up collared shirt and felt little discomfort.

Sure, there were children there dressed in three piece suits, but I tossed them off as future Highland Park Homeowner Assoc. BoardMembers and it really didn't bother me.

From the portion you cite from the DSO's website, no, they won't toss you out for wearing jeans. However, if you do wear jeans, I'd definitely make it the nicest and darkest pair you own and try to dress up your upper half as much as you're comfortable doing and have available.

For all of it's reputation, at least in the midwest, Dallas is a pretty diverse city, and unless you're wearing a muu-muu and Birkenstocks, somebody there will be dressed more casually than you are. Most of this depends on what you're going to see, where you're sitting (as others have noted) and how comfortable and secure you are in what you're wearing. If you want total confirmation, feel free to give the DSO a call or shoot them an e-mail requesting firm policy.
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:43 PM on January 17, 2007

I've never been to the symphony in Dallas, but in Montreal (by all accounts, a rather stylish city) I wouldn't feel at all out of place in jeans at the symphony (and can't possibly imagine being kicked out), nor would I feel out of place at any other concert hall I've been to. Wearing a nice shirt seems like it would be more than the minimum. Sure, you can dress up, sip fancy drinks, and make niceties to acquaintances, but you can also just go to enjoy the music.
posted by ssg at 9:54 PM on January 17, 2007

Classical music venues are desperate to reach out to new audiences, because they're afraid that their very survival is at stake. They are desperate not to be seen as scary, snobbish places where you will feel excluded and unwelcome. I promise you that if you show up in jeans and a nice shirt, they will not kick you out. They'll be very glad to have you there.

If you're going to buy something, I wouldn't buy nice pants, because it sounds like buying pants stresses you out. What about a knee-length, a-line skirt? Maybe something like this. (I would go for something a little shorter than that if you're short.) I think they're pretty much universally flattering, especially if you wear a bit of a heel, and you could probably make it work for a while if you took in the waist as you lost weight.
posted by craichead at 10:04 PM on January 17, 2007

Thanks guys.

About the skirt: I just don't do them. The only time since I was 12 I've worn 'not-pants' was for my wedding and homecoming. If it's not a gown, it's pants. I just can't do skirts.

I just got a nice new dark pair of jeans, I will wear those and dress up my upper half. We're in the cheap seats, so I think you're all right that it will be okay.

Wee, going to the Symphony!
posted by jesirose at 10:06 PM on January 17, 2007

I've been to lots of symphonies. Some symphony goers will look at all the people in jeans and think "psh, this is the symphony, not a hootenany in Joe's barn." Most people won't care. You definitely won't be kicked out or ostracised or anything. I always looked at the symphony as a chance to dress up and feel fabulous - if jeans make you feel like you're workin' it, then wear them!
posted by muddgirl at 5:16 AM on January 18, 2007

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