Heading to a Broadway show or to the theater? Here’s what to wear to a Broadway show including 40+ of our favorite theater outfits!
What to Wear to a Broadway Show:
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Unlike bars and casinos, there is no official dress code for Broadway shows and people dress however they’d like.
However, this is not an excuse (at least in our book) to look sloppy and lazy. Dressing up and wearing tailored clothing is a way to respect the art, the performers, and the experience of others. Plus, it’s just plain fun to dress up!
The average attendee wears casual to formal clothing, from jeans, dressy blouses, trousers, and cocktail dresses. Considering the possibility that you might go out for the evening before or after the show, dressing nicely is a great way to hit all the bases.
Dressing Up For A Matinee vs. An Evening Show:
Trying to figure out what to wear to a Broadway show during a specific part of the day? A matinee versus an evening show makes a big difference.
Picking the perfect outfit is part of the Broadway show experience. While theatres are not as strict as restaurants and bars, the general dress code (and feel) changes depending on the time of day you’re attending.
Afternoon Matinee performances usually attract a more relaxed and casual crowd. People usually wear jeans and come in groups of families from city day trips. If you’re attending a Matinee performance, jeans with a dressy blouse is a good outfit foundation.
On the other hand, evening performances suggest a bit more formality from its audience, considering that the people might go out for dinner or drinks after the show. Cocktail dresses, dressy blouses, jumpsuits, trousers, and blazers are just some items you can wear for an evening performance. Just note that gala shows, opening nights, and awards nights may have a tighter policy on dressing and might be even more formal.
A good way to dress your Broadway show outfits up or down is to choose footwear wisely. To elevate a casual look, you can add heels. To tone down a formal ensemble, you can opt for open-toed heels, flats, or loafers.
For your carry-on, choose a small purse or bag for your essentials. Avoid bringing a bulky bag or bringing in your shopping bags to the theatre as the spaces between each seat are very limited.
Broadway Show Outfit Ideas
If you’re figuring out what to wear to a Broadway show, you should definitely start wth outfit combination ideas. Here are our favorite theater outfits!
Chic Sweater + Jeans + Heels
If there’s anything certain in a Broadway show, the constant cold temperature from the ACs will leave you searching for warmth. A chic sweater can give you the comfort you need, no matter the season. To elevate the look, you can finish off with some high heels.
Puffed/Dressy Blouse + Jeans + Heels
Dressy blouses make it easy to assemble an upscale and smart casual outfit. In fact, pairing them with your old jeans can make them look entirely new. Two of my favorite dressy blouses are puffed blouses and off-shoulders. Great options for date nights!
Button-Down + Jeans/Trousers + Heels
If you’re feeling a bit more straightforward or if you’re dressing for a whole day trip, something versatile like a button-down and a pair of trousers can get you through the show. It’s also an ensemble that you can get in a restaurant or bar with, so there’s no need to worry about changing. However, you might want to bring pocketable flats if you’re planning to wear heels to the show.
Jumpsuit + Cashmere Cover Up + Heels (add accessories)
If you want to stay minimal, look sophisticated, and be comfortable throughout the show, another cool option you can try is a jumpsuit that is preferably made of satin, crepe, or neoprene.
Avoid fabrics that wrinkle easily and/or look like workwear if you can. Linen is a nice fabric, but it can wrinkle easily especially if you’re going to a show where you’re supposed to be glued to your seats. You can finish by adding gold or silver jewelry and a pair of dainty heels. If you’re wearing a sleeveless jumpsuit, you might want to bring a cashmere cover-up for warmth.
Blazer + Tank Top + Matching Trousers
Looking for a smart ensemble? Matching your blazer with your trousers is a no-brainer, stylish way to put together a Broadway fit. If you can, you can match the color of your suit to the show’s mood. I generally love keeping one lively color, one neutral color, and a pastel suit in my wardrobe. If you’re daring enough, you can wear it without an inner garment or you can opt for a simple white, black, or nude tank top. Finish off with heels or boots.
Turtleneck Top + Pleated A-Skirt + Coat + Close-Toed Flats
A chic way to flaunt your feminine side is by choosing timeless and classic pieces that have been tried and tested by numerous fashion icons. A turtleneck top paired with a pleated A-skirt is one way to emulate the famous Givenchy silhouette. You can add a coat or a cover-up to finish off. A pair of close-toed flats or heels is perfect for an authentic vintage look.
Little Black Dress + Leather Jacket + Heels or Flats
Nothing can beat a classic little black dress. If you still haven’t decided what to wear, go by the advice of the real fashion icons. A little black dress can be worn on its own or polished with some accessories – and still look sophisticated and stylish either way. You might want to bring a leather jacket or a blazer for a Broadway show to keep warm. You can adjust your cover-up depending on the season as well.
Cocktail Dress + Heels
Tickets usually mention a dress code description that requires semi-formal, cocktail outfits. If you’re attending an evening performance, make it a habit to check the important details written on the tickets, brochures, or posters. As mentioned earlier, although not all evening shows are strict, there are exceptions like the opening, gala, and awards night that you have to consider. For these kinds of events, you would want to wear a feminine and minimally embellished cocktail dress. Avoid the use of excessive jewelry.
I suggest choosing a satin midi dress, a ruffled dress, or a nicely draped cocktail dress and a pair of heels for special nights like this.
Bonus Tip: You can also ‘casual cosplay’ by wearing an outfit inspired by the show you’re attending! You can look up the year of the show to see more references.
Match Your Outfit To The Time Of Year
The last thing you want to happen is to end up freezing in the middle of the show, going out of the theatre in wet shoes, or craving that one extra layer to survive the cold breeze brought by Fall. Broadway theatres can be freezing cold even during the summer, so a cover-up is a must-have all year round.
If the weather makes it impossible for you to wear high heels or a perfectly white maxi skirt, it’s best to leave those pieces for next time. Trust me, dressing down is safer than forcefully wearing hard-to-manage clothing on a rainy night. It’s also safer for the clothes as well.
If you’re wondering what to wear to a Broadway show during a certain season, we’ve got you covered!
Spring Broadway Outfits
A spring Broadway show calls for functional but stylish clothing! Since spring is a season of bloom, it’s always a great idea to emulate the colors and silhouettes found in nature. Puffed sleeves, jeans, and heels would be something I would wear to a Broadway show on a bright spring afternoon.
On colder days, I make sure my back has enough coverage and I have a coat close on hand. You can also opt for a sweater dress if you want something easily put on. For something sleeker and more straightforward, choose a button-down blouse to go with a pair of trousers and loafers.
For your footwear, you might want to pick something more versatile. Loafers, knee-high or ankle boots, and flats are one of the best options. If you want to wear heels, block heels or kitten heels can keep you safe from the slippery walkways. Bring pocketable flats if possible.
For evening performances in spring that require formality, a dress that reflects the season is a good option for Broadway show outfits. Light pastel satin dresses and white cocktail dresses are the best options to put on during this time. Floral embellishments and laces are also great add-ons to a formal broadway outfit.
When it’s spring season, nothing can go wrong with florals! This silky robe dress is perfect for romantic evenings and broadway show dates with your significant other. I love how sexy this dress is without having to compensate for coverage! You know how cold it gets in a broadway theatre.
Plus, this dress gets you ready for a dinner date or a night out. Despite being in a dark color, the prints make the dress stand out in the crowd.
If you’re going to an afternoon performance or a matinee, something as simple and chic as this is enough for an upscaled fit. I love how light, airy, and fresh linen looks with white. I would add a bold pink or pastel yellow purse for a complete spring look. Just take note that linen can get easily crinkled when you sit.
Going for a chic modest look for a spring broadway show outfits? This look is for you! Hit the theatres in a long kimono, a statement belt, and a pair of jeans to keep it casual. Finish off with close-toed stiletto heels and a matching hand-held purse. You’ll surely turn heads with this fit!
Summer Broadway Outfits
Summer is the perfect excuse to wear mini skirts and shorts to the theatre, right? Wrong! While it may seem common sense to wear something showier for summer, limited coverage can make you shiver inside a broadway theatre – even if it’s a hundred degrees outside.
For some reason, people tend to dress sloppier during summer, and I personally think that it is a disrespect to other people’s experiences and the performers to show up in such attire. No matter how hot it gets outside, please refrain from wearing sportswear, sweats, and/or leggings. If you’re attending with male friends, I suggest advising them to skip the shorts or the rubber sneakers.
However, I don’t deny that summer makes it more flexible for attendees to wear whatever they like. You can turn up in backless dresses, sun dresses, and showy cocktail dresses – just as long as you have a handy cover-up/jacket with you.
You also have a bit more freedom in terms of footwear since summers tend to be bone dry day and night. If you’re not very much comfortable with high-heels, I still suggest bringing a pair of pocketable flats with you.
I love everything about this Broadway outfit! The off-shoulder top, the shimmering A-line skirt, and the open-toed heels! This kind of pleated skirt is notable because of how it changes with movement and light.
The black off-shoulder top also matches the volume of the lower body, making an illusion of a slimmer and taller silhouette. The open-toed heels tones it down into a smart-casual fit. You can wear this to an afternoon matinee or an evening performance. So versatile!
Now is the perfect time to flaunt ruffles, florals, and flowy dresses! If you’re attending a broadway performance as part of a tourist day trip, this spaghetti strap floral sun dress can keep you looking chic and stylish all throughout the day.
To make the dress ‘Broadway outfit ready’, you can change from your white sneakers/flats to a pair of open-toed high heels. Don’t forget your cover-up!
If you’re planning to go in jeans, a great option for your top is a dressy wrap-up. This is one of my favorite Broadway show outfits any time of year! Since the weather permits flexibility, attending in a sexy chic outfit like this is less problematic than if you were to wear this during fall or spring. Just keep in mind that you still need a jacket inside the theatre.
Fall Broadway Outfits
Wondering what to wear to a Broadway show during the fall? There are way more options during this season.
Fall is my favorite season for a reason: layers! Fall is a time to be creative, absurd, and experimental in fashion. Aside from hitting the functional aspects in your Broadway show outfits, you must also curate them stylishly, making a fun challenge for anyone attending a special event like a broadway show.
People will be dressing up just like you. And to see and experience people come and go is an ecstatic experience. To make this equally exciting for others, you must participate and involve yourself by dressing up.
If you must wear leggings, elevate them by wearing a nice mini skirt, a coat, and a pair of heeled booties. If you must wear a jacket, wear it with a flowy dress or a smart casual fit underneath. Small adjustments like this can make the experience exciting for everyone.
This outfit is a great starting point for a broadway fall outfit. A cozy turtleneck, a matching thermal slit skirt, and a pair of knee-high boots. The beige-white color of this outfit is also a nice way to mimic the season’s color.
Don’t underestimate the power of a quality luxury purse to elevate your outfit. One of the reasons you should invest in one is that you can dress up minimally and still look upscaled.
Want to turn up in a one-piece dress without compensating comfort? A fitted knit dress can help you achieve a daring and sophisticated look while providing warmth throughout the performance. A quality leather jacket is a perfect addition if that’s not enough coverage.
Dressing up for evening performances during the fall is even more challenging than dressing up for a casual matinee show. And sometimes, a modest and sophisticated look like this is enough to stand out and stay comfortable. Rather stick with this than wear a backless cocktail dress with a mismatched jacket/coat.
Winter Broadway Outfits
During winter, it’s not surprising to see many people in broadway theatres in the colors black, dark navy blue, and dark greens. That’s because dark colors absorb heat when it’s cold (especially inside the theatre). That functional reason is a good excuse to wear all black.
If you’re wondering what to wear to a Broadway show during the winter, we’ve got you covered. You can definitely look stylish and stay warm!
Bring out your dark jeans, black turtlenecks, black skirts, and black booties. And just like fall, learn to layer your outfits! Since the limited element here is the color, the best you can do is layer different varieties of fabric and texture. You may want to combine knit with silk and faux fur or leather. For LBDs or Little Black Dresses, you can wear a pair of high-knee black boots and a statement coat. For outfits with jeans, you can wear a black blazer over a black blouse. The possibilities are endless!
If you’re attending an afternoon performance in winter, you can spice up an outfit with jeans by wearing a nice cozy blazer and a pair of black ankle boots. This would have looked nice with black jeans, but I like the contrast of this classic unbleached denim with the black ensemble. To stand out more, you might want to layer gold or silver necklaces and wear gold earrings (as worn in the picture).
Here’s an example of how you can combine two thermal fabrics and make them look good together in your Broadway show oufits! You can pair a turtleneck knit top with a velvet fabric skirt. For more coverage, you can add a leather jacket (another plus point) and wear ankle booties for an alternative. If you want to keep it simple, you can stick with the loafers instead.
Still wanting to wear that summer dress to a winter broadway show? Here’s how you can wear it without compensating for warmth: wear it with a leather jacket and a pair of knee-high boots. I love this outfit because the functional pieces contrast the feminine vibe of the dress. They’re meant to be!
When in doubt, wear a faux fur jacket! If you think your winter broadway fit needs a little more spice, you can easily look fabulous in a statement fur jacket. If it matches your top, the better!