Valentino Says Brits Are Scruffy Theatre-Goers So What SHOULD You Wear?

30 November 2012 by

Valentino; lover of Downton Abbey, the Queen and all things British, except, it seems, our tendency to head out to the theatre looking like the great unwashed. The designer told journalists: ‘What disturbed me a lot, I can tell you is when I go to the theatre in New York or London- less in France or Italy. I start to look around and suddenly I saw a person in front of me. I swear to God, in a T-shirt, not very well cut. Not very clean. And Bermuda shorts and flip-flops.’

Oh my, the horror….

Hmmmm, is anyone else feeling a little sheepish? Unlike Valentino, there might have been the odd occasion when I have slipped on a pair of trainers at the end of my working day and raced to the theatre in the same crumpled clothes I’ve been sitting at my desk in all day. I don’t imagine that he arrives wild-eyed and clasping a scrunched up budget ticket either- but such is life.

I’m told that expecting to be collected from work by a chauffeur and carriage, and delivered; still fragrant and immaculate at the door of the Royal Opera House, is a bit high maintenance in this day and age. No one is sadder about this than I am. However, Valentino has a point. Going to see a show is still an occasion and getting it right can be a sartorial balancing act; no one wants to turn up dressed looking like Waynetta slob but don a fur coat and make like the Dowager Duchess and you will look like you need to get out more.

To help, Grazia has drawn up some basic guidelines to bear in mind when ‘doing culture’

Don’t under-dress

  1. Flip flops (The man has a point. Displaying a thong- of any variety- is unacceptable)
  2. Daisy Dukes (not the time or the place)
  3. Jeggings (please, this is high-brow, no name fusing)
  4. Beanies (you need your ears to hear)

Don’t over-dress

  1. Evening gowns (yes it’s fun to dress up but this is a step too far)
  2. Tiaras/ Diadem (as above)
  3. Creative hats or fascinators (you won’t be popular with people behind you)
  4. Corsets (best left to those on stage)

Jeans are acceptable since the English National Opera announced that it would encourage audience members to wear them to some performances, but you might want to dress them up a bit. Avoid body-con- way too sexy unless Jude Law’s on stage (and then everyone knows what you’re up to).  Remember, this is one of the few occasions when it’s acceptable to bring out your binoculars in public.

Now, just try not to fall asleep, wake yourself with a snore and shout out that you may as well be in front of the telly- as veteran director, Sir Peter Hall, did recently. Not. Good. Form.

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