Concerts, Operas, and Ballets Dress Codes in Europe

David Manley  ·  16 / 1 / 2017

A tuxedo or jeans? A ballroom gown or mini-skirt? Hard to decide, when you are abroad? Let us guide you through contemporary concerts, operas, and ballets fashion rules in Europe.

First of all, it depends on the concert. Many concerts are intended for tourists, especially those where the tickets are sold on the street or via flyers left in hotel lobbies. Usually, these concerts take place in a church, synagogue, or palace. In this case you can wear casual clothes; in fact, you should not dress nicely unless you want people to assume you are one of the musicians.

If the concert is at a major concert venue, and/or it is a performance by one of the major opera companies, orchestras or ballets, then the more formal dress is suggested. For women a cocktail dress is appropriate, or at least a nice pair of slacks and a blouse. However, do NOT wear high-heels if you plan on walking to the concert hall, as you must walk on cobblestones. For men a jacket and tie is appropriate, or at least slacks, a button up shirt, and a jacket or nice sweater. Jeans, shorts, t-shirts, mini-skirts, etc. are definitely not appropriate, although unfortunately, you will see some tourists wearing them. But you will also see that they get plenty of ugly looks from the locals.

A ballroom gown or tuxedo, on the other hand, would be overkill. The exception to this is the Salzburg Music Festival, where many patrons do dress more elegantly. However, it is not necessary – you will be fine following the guidelines noted above.

Good luck with the right fashion choices and see you in Europe!


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