Whether you’re headed to Broadway to see Wicked or Hamilton with your gal pals, or you’re headed to a local auditorium to catch your niece’s elementary school Christmas pageant, you may find yourself wondering what the best way to dress for this winter performance might be. Can you wear your favorite Christmas sweater, or should you dress in formal wear?
We have done the style research and are here to help with this handy Winter Play Style Guide. From professional Broadway plays to your daughter’s first school musical performance, we can help you decide exactly how to dress and style for any winter play.
The key to dressing for any theater performance during any time of year, as you may already know, is to dress in layers. Notoriously chilly spaces, theaters typically set their thermostats to keep the performers — who are working under bright hot lights on stage — comfortable. That is usually true even of small, local, and school theater spaces.
While you won’t necessarily be expected to “dress up” for a small school play, you also don’t want to show up in your favorite sweats either. Business casual is usually perfectly acceptable for a school winter play dress code. Wear a crisp white button-down Oxford under your favorite cashmere cardigan sweater. You can then pair this with either a pair of tailored pants and close-toed heels, or you can opt for a skirt. Just make sure to wear some warm tights under the skirt.
When headed to a play outdoors, whether in a backyard, a stadium, or an amphitheater, layers become even more vital. You’ll want to start with a good base layer, such as a long-sleeved silk or merino wool undershirt and a pair of leggings. Over this base layer, you can wear the same business casual outfit you wore to the indoor play if desired.
If you live in a particularly cold area and there is snow on the ground, you will also want to add some good winter outerwear to this outdoor play outfit. A good winter coat and a pair of warm but fashionable Chelsea boots will only enhance this modish winter style. Top off your look with a warm yet stylish scarf.
If you are attending a professional play or musical performance this season, you may be considering a slightly different style of dress. Although there is no official dress code for most Broadway or other professional off-Broadway productions, most people enjoy the opportunity to get dressed up for the theater. If you are attending a matinee show, it’s not uncommon to see people in jeans and street sneakers, but at later shows, you might even see some formal wear. It all depends on your personal style and the style vibe you want. You can even use the opportunity to try out a new, daring winter style.
You will definitely want to wear a stylish winter coat, as there will almost certainly be a coat check to hold it for you as soon as you are warm and inside, and you will want to bring the outerwear in case you have to wait outside the box office beforehand. You also don’t have to skimp on the stylish winter accessories-fuzzy woolen bucket hats and chunky platform Chelsea boots are all the rage right now.
What if the little ones are coming to this winter performance with you? If you follow the same basic style and dress rules mentioned above, the kids can also have a great time at the winter performance while staying warm and feeling cool and stylish.
If you are taking the kids to a winter play with you, whether indoors or out, remember the winter wardrobe mantra, which is true for virtually everyone in every winter setting: layers, layers, layers. Start with a snug-fitting but breathable base layer. Layer collared shirts, dresses, skirts, and pants over your base. Then, add an insulating layer of sweaters, sweatshirts, or fleece. Finally, you can layer your winter coat or snowsuit if you are spending an extended period of time outside. Don’t forget the kids’ winter accessories, either. Hats, gloves, and scarves go a long way in terms of both practicality and fashion.
That said, a winter play is a great opportunity to get the whole family dressed up. As long as you are layered appropriately for your climate, wear your favorite special occasion dress underneath all those layers and have fun.