e are debuting a new feature here today, and dubbing it What to Wear. Appropriately enough, it will examine the preferable dress code for any number of social and formal circumstances. Our first entry looks at how to dress when attending arguably the most sophisticated of social functions, a musical performance. This can be as simple as a guitar concert and as ornate as a full opera. The variety of circumstances surrounding the concert means you will want to alter your wardrobe to fit the precise situation.
As a general rule, however, attending a musical performance carries a level of formality beyond most public events. Unless you're attending a rock concert outside, you shouldn't show up in jeans and a t-shirt. A more casual concert, such as a guitar concert or a string quartet, requires basic smart dressing. Wear a navy blazer, some charcoal gray slacks, and a white shirt. If you wish, you may put on a necktie as well, but at this level it's not necessary. If you have patterned trousers or an interesting sport coat, you can wear one of those, but not with the other- and avoid anything too bright or bold, since you will be in a dim concert hall. You'll likely want to wear black dress shoes, though if you are wearing navy or light gray for your trousers you may be able to get away with brown.
For a symphony performance, another level of formality is required. This is the occasion for a suit, if you have it. Even a basic gray or navy business suit is appropriate, though if you have a black suit this is one of the few times it is appropriate. A necktie is absolutely crucial for a full symphony performance, especially on opening night. If you have any particularly fancy items you enjoy wearing- a boldly patterned French cuff dress shirt, a three-piece suit, a grenadine necktie- this is the time to break them out. The situation calls for a high level of business dress.
When attending the opera, your dress code grows even more formal. Particularly on a production's opening night, this is the time for black tie and all its regalia. If you don't have a tuxedo, avoid renting one and simply wear your nicest suit, preferably your darkest suit as well. The opera is the pinnacle of gentlemanly leisure, and a FashionMR should dress appropriately.