What to Wear to a Broadway Show: 4 Casually Chic Outfits

No trip to New York would be complete without seeing a Broadway show. If you’ve been lucky enough to get a ticket to one of the hottest shows in town, you might be now wondering what to wear. Is there such thing as a Broadway show dress code?

Surprisingly, there is no Broadway dress code for the theater – except for opening nights and galas which usually consist of business or cocktail attire.

Other than that, anything goes, which can be rather unfortunate when you have some people turning up in sweats, tank tops, skimpy shorts, and flip-flops. Don’t be one of those. It’s still worth it to wear something nice to a Broadway show. It’s a sign of respect for the actors (who can see you), and it makes going to the theatre a special and more memorable experience for you. NYC Theatre Oufit- Red Top Black Pants

Some general dressing guideline to keep in mind for dressing for the theatre would be:

1.  Dress Respectfully

Business casual or even casual is fine. For example, an informal dress, or pants/skirt worn with a nice top is perfect.

Many wonder if you can you wear jeans to a Broadway show, and the answer is yes, no problem. For example, if you’ve been sightseeing or shopping and you don’t have time to go back to the hotel to change, then jeans and a fresh looking top works. It’s o.k. to dress informal,  so long as you also look neat and pulled together.

The easiest way to do this is to combine casual pieces like jeans with more sophisticated pieces like a pretty blouse or a fabulous bag or pair of shoes. This is casually chic.  In this post, I’m showing 4 broadway outfit ideas that are casually chic.

2.  Dress in Layers

The theatres are air-conditioned in summer, and boy do they like to crank up the cold so that performers do not melt under the stage lights. It can feel like you are in a meat freezer! So if you tend to get cold easily (like I do), definitely bring along a jacket or sweater so you can add a layer or peel one off if necessary.NYC Theatre Outfit - White Jeans, pastel Blouse outfit


3.  Wear Comfortable Shoes

There’s a lot of walking to the theatre, standing around the theatre, wandering around at intermission so be sure to wear comfortable shoes. Again, if you are the type to get cold easily, I would suggest wearing closed-toe shoes in the summer or tuck a pair of sockettes, or fold up flats into your purse, just in case.

NYC Theatre Outfit- Blue seersucker sundress

4.  Don’t wear Anything that Obstructs the View

This is not the time to wear a hat, some big hair band/hair or a jacket with a high, wide collar. Be considerate of the patrons sitting behind you and don’t ruin their view.


NYC Theatre Outfit - Tan Wait tie cropped pants, off the shoulder top

More important than the way you dress for the theatre is the way you behave in the theatre.

Theatre etiquette includes:

  • No whispering
  • No giggling
  • No talking
  • No texting, checking messages, phone calls
  • No perfume or fragrant deodorants
  • No fall asleep and snoring
  • No blowing your nose
  • No munching on food loudly, and my personal favorite…
  • No unwrapping plastic candy wrappers or crinkling chip or snack bags  – drives me crazy

Broadway theatres pick up every little sound, and the simplest noises can ruin the magical experience.

Enjoy the show!

Going to be doing other siteseeing in NYC  soon? Here’s what to wear in New York in summer.

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3 thoughts on “What to Wear to a Broadway Show: 4 Casually Chic Outfits

  1. Thanks for the tips, Deborah! Love the pink top!
    I was wondering if you have any suggestions for a masquerade ball. I’ve been invited to one in March that’s for a charity benefit and I’ve never been to one before (no idea what to wear). Can you do an article on some ideas on what to wear to those?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Ginny, Well that’s a new one. The first thing that comes to mind is a gown or cocktail dress in black with gold or black with red or black with emerald green, all those very dark, opulent Phantom of the opera colors. I will put this on my list and do a post about it in the fall. Stay tuned.

  2. Thanks Debbie for all your tips on dressing for us over 40 gals! I dare say, you are the best fashionista I have come across. Your tips have helped me a lot in my dressing to many occasions.
    I have recommended you to my friends too!
    Will be coming around to New York in September , thanks again😊👍

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