Back in June my mother-in-law gifted me tickets to see Tosca. I had never been to the opera before, and I was thrilled to go. I remember being in FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America….formerly FHA) and hearing from a girl whose grandfather would take her a couple of times a year to the opera. Each time he bought her a new gown – that’s right, not dress but gown. He would take her out to eat, open the door for her, etc. Essentially, she was queen for a night. She had a very bad upbringing from an abusive father, and this was her grandfather’s way of showing her her worth.
I think we tend to believe that dressing well is vanity. It truly should not be. It can be part of the experience and a way to show respect to others. Given that I had not been to the opera, I immediately began to plan what to wear (well, immediately after I wrote a thank you note). None of my post-baby dresses would quite qualify as a gown. The opera we were going to started at 7pm, the height of formality for shows. My husband has a nice three-piece suit that almost could pass for a tuxedo when he uses his bow tie instead of a straight tie – perfect for the opera. I finally decided on a black lace dress that hits about calf-level. While not full-length, it was cocktail-style and would just have to do. I added hose and classic pumps, but I still worried about being inappropriately dressed.
I take dressing seriously, as I do consider it respect for others. One of my favorite (and most well-known) restaurants in New Orleans is Commander’s Palace. Jackets are required for dinner. At Galatoire’s, another classic place, they will provide one for you if you come nekkid, as they worded it to one man. I found this ironic, as they’re next to a strip club on Bourbon St. I digress. I honestly did worry about my dress….until I arrived. Imagine my surprise (and disappointment) when there were men and women in jeans. They looked more appropriate for the bar afterwards than they did for the opera. So, my plea today is to please dress for the occasion. It does NOT have to cost a lot. Actually, one lady wearing a very cute outfit that happened to have jeans as part of it had Jimmy Choos. I didn’t jack them from her, but I sure did imagine myself in them. 🙂 Invest in one or two outfits that are appropriate for nicer events. With many events, operas absolutely included, these actors and musicians are professionals. It brings elegance and esteem to such events.
So, over the next week, I will give examples of what is appropriate attire in various situations. If you have any specific events you want me to make sure to cover, just let me know! I’m happy to do so. Thank you for reading!