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Nutcracker Performance


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As I have not been to any full Ballet Performances in many years (in the US anyway) I was wondering if it would be just over the top to suggest the Hubby put on his Tux and go formal myself? I'd love a chance to get dressed up for a change but I would hate for him to be embarrassed for being overdressed.

I know most people on this forum will probably be in costume this weekend but I imagine you have family members who will be in the audiences too.

Any opinions to share?



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As with basic black and pearls for ladies, a gentleman these days can wear a navy blue or other dark suit and a subdued tie with a white shirt and be correct for any occasion.


If the ballet in question is an opening or closing night, or the first showing in a season of a particular ballet or program, then semi-formal (the tux) is correct. Remember, the dinner jacket is SEMI-formal. "Formal" means the monkey suit (aka "soup and fish"), with the tails, the wing collar, the white bow tie, and so on.

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Where is the performance, what is the company, etc?


At the Joffrey, everything from little black dresses to jeans are acceptable and frequently seen. But, the only people who are really dressed to the nines are the little girls in their frilly dresses and fur-trimmed coats. Ballet and other dance performances are not seen as dress-up affairs for the adults here in Chicago.


However ... this summer I attended a show at the Warner Theater in rural Torrington, Connecticut. I saw more pearls and diamonds there than I ever see here. So who knows?

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It is the Lexington Ballet in KY and the second night.

I guess I will suggest his black (what I like to call G-Man) suit. I may get a dirty look if he sees other men in Jeans but I will just tell him it is a respect thing. He was Military. He will understand that.

I am bringing out the long fake fur in honor of the unseasonable cold we are having.

I love my pearls and I hadn't even thought that far.

Thank You.



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My best guess is that he'd definitely be more comfortable in the suit than a tux. At the ballet in our city, there are the college students in jeans, the high school dance students in dressier clothes, the blue-hairs in furs (but not necessarily dressy underneath!), and most everyone else in dress casual. As Treefrog said, only the little girls are dressed to the nines'---and they look so adorable and full of magic. I've often tried to encourage my daughters (and myself) to dress up even more, (theatre dress--something special and perhaps sparkley), but it seldom goes over. Once we get to the theatre, we seem to be "overdressed" compared to the majority.


DD and I went to the Kennedy Center to see Suzanne Farrell's ballet this summer. We schlepped dressy clothes just for that singular occassion. I was very surprised to see that the D.C. folks dressed up no more for the ballet than the midwesterners!

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Another good look for men that doesn't require a suit is "the uniform", navy blazer, white button-down shirt, red tie, grey slacks, black socks, black loafers. In most situations, that's a sufficiently "casual" look, yet still dressy. For men, having a navy suit and this combination should be the building blocks of a dressy wardrobe :thumbsup: , or so I say, and who am I? :sweating:

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Here in Pittsburgh we also see a wide variety of dress for the ballet but there are often people very dressed up, along with the folks in jeans (usually only a few). My favorites are the young couples who clearly see this as a special night out, the man wearing a dark suit and the woman in a fancy dress. It reminds me not to take the performance for granted. I would encourage you to dress up despite what others are wearing - life is short!

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The only time when Muhrikens wear a tux is opening night at a big-city ballet or "gala." At an evening performance, business attire (american for suit and tie and nice dresses/suits for the ladies) is always appropriate. Weekends tend to be more casual than weekdays, since people typically arrive from work. Also people dress for where they go to dinner before or after the show.


Since formal attire for an afternoon performance would be a morning suit (that grey suit you some times see at weddings) and women wear big hats. people drees more informally at a matinee.


White tie and tails is almost never worn except to the catholic charities' "Al Smith" Dinner in NYC. The Inivitation to such an event always says "black tie" or "white tie" on the invite.


I went to opening night of ABT at city center, NYC saw some tuxes, but no tails. most were in suits.


the next week noone was in a tux.


Funny how the people in the ballet are better dressed than those in the audience, considering the audience is the wealthy elite who can afford ballet tickets.



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Guest sally-mandy

Laschwen, I think it's touching that you think most of us on the forum would be in costume this weekend. Not moi!! Maybe next year...I did learn that our local company that does the Nutcracker always needs parents for the party scene. (It's off subject, but do these characters ever actually dance?)


As to dress, my ex-military hubby wore jeans to our daughter's opening night performance two weeks ago. (But pointed out that they were his NICE jeans.)

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I think it's more a personal choice thing. It's halfway to being a costume party. We've attended symphony, ballet, and opera fairly regularly for two or three decades, and it has always seemed to me that the ballet crowd dresses the most individually. There are always a few in jeans or even sweats, and there are always a few tuxes. I've seen women "of a certain age" wearing Bozo the Clown wigs with ball gowns, I've seen slips masquerading as dresses, I've seen men in crushed velvet suits with long capes. An old friend, now deceased, used to always wear a tux to the ballet as a matter of principle.


So I think that being over-dressed (or underdressed, or weirdly dressed) is at least as appropriate as being "properly" or conventionally dressed. Maybe more appropriate.


I'm not especially adventurous myself. Nowadays (since I retired from the corporate life) I just wear a turtleneck with a suit or sports coat. But I keep thinking about getting a tux - it's the only thing that would tempt me to put on a tie again! I wouldn't wear it to the symphony, and rarely if ever to the opera - but almost always to the ballet. Or maybe alternating with jeans, t-neck, and sports coat.

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Getting people to come out and support the ballet these days is so difficult, most ballet companies simply don't care what patrons wear, as long as the tickets are bought and the seats filled and (hopefully) the patron dollars flowing. The audience I see is dressed in a full range of attire, from formal to sloppy. You should both wear something that makes you feel comfortable (physically and socially) and good about yourselves to enjoy a night out at the ballet.

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Getting people to come out and support the ballet these days is so difficult, most ballet companies simply don't care what patrons wear

So true. Reminds me of my answer to a family inquiry about the dress code when I was hosting a holiday dinner. I said "How about clothes? No, let's make it _clean_ clothes."


All the same, it is nice when people dress up a bit. Of course, at the place where I take classes, when everybody (not performing) gets dressed up for a performance, it can be hard to recognize people.

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Thank You All:

I laughed out loud at some of these responses....clean clothes...

It turns out Hubby wore a Grey Camel hair sport coat and turtleneck with nice trousers and he was comfortable except for the stifeling heat in the auditorium.

Of course he brought along stuff to study for his (Monday...today) statistics exam before the performance began and during the intermission. He is such a hot date during exam time.

I saw all sorts of outfits. There were little girls in frilly dresses with special hairdos and wearing "Herman Munster" soled Mary Janes. Go figure.

There were a few jeans. I did not notice any Tuxes but there were plenty suits.

I got one of those "looks" from a "blue Hair" in a real fur while I stood there in my fake one.

We ran into my teacher, the company director, and my hubby got to meet him. Of course my teacher took a second to recognize me with the big coat on and my hair down.

I guess wearing "anything" is becoming the norm but I prefer dressing up at least as nice as for church out of respect. I wouldn't be comfortable going in jeans.

As to the part about expecting most to be performing I believe it can be real for me next year now....I could be one of the Party Dads. There were lots of girls in male roles. One of those costumes will more likely fit me than any of the womens dresses too.

The adults from my class who participated did dance, but nothing too advanced.


I hope everyone here has a great Nut experience this year, if you haven't already, from whichever side of the curtain you happen to be on.



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Guest sally-mandy

thanks for the report, Laschwen. The company that does the Nutcracker in our town has a special day each year when school classes can go for a weekday performance. I'm accompanying my daughter's class tomorrow (get to save on the ticket AND wear whatever I want!). I plan to scope out what the grown-ups in the performance are doing. Then next year, maybe I'll be brave enough to try...

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Then next year, maybe I'll be brave enough to try...



Sounds like a good plan. Enjoy!



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