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 now be wondering what to wear. Is there such a 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), making going to the theatre a unique and more memorable experience for you. NYC Theatre Oufit- Red Top Black Pants

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

1. Dress Respectfully

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

Many wonder if you can wear jeans to a Broadway show, and the answer is yes, no problem. For example, if you’ve been sightseeing or shopping and don’t have time to go back to the hotel to change, jeans and a fresh-looking top work. 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 four broadway outfit ideas that are casually chic.

2. Dress in Layers

The theatres are air-conditioned in summer, and boysy likes to crank up the cold so performers do not melt under the stage lights. It can feel like you are in a meat freezer! So if you tend to get out quickly (like I do), 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, and wandering around at intermission, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes. Again, if you are the type to get cold quickly, I would suggest wearing closed-toe shoes in the summer, tucking a pair of sockets, 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 oversized hair band/hair, or a high, wide collar jacket. 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 how 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 chips or snack bags  – drives me crazy.

Broadway theatres pick up every little sound; the most external noises can ruin the magical experience.

Enjoy the show!

Are you going to be doing other sightseeing in NYC  soon? Here’s what to wear in New York in summer.

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

  1. Hi,

    In the “What to Wear to a Broadway Show” section, under #3, wear comfortable shoes – I wondered where that earring in the gold with three blue balls and the blue & white dress came from. I like them both!! If you could let me know, that’d be great. Thanks, Joyce

  2. Thanks for the tips, Deborah! I love the pink top!
    Do you have any suggestions for a masquerade ball? I’ve been invited to one in March 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 post about it in the fall. Stay tuned.

  3. 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 on many occasions.
    I have recommended you to my friends too!
    I will be coming around to New York in September; thanks again????????

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