Hello, lovely readers of my mum’s blog. From the few times I have written as a guest on this blog, you may rightly deduce that I think it is wrong to judge a person on how they look without first judging them on what they do. I think to measure a person’s worth on their outer beauty (or perhaps lack of it) is both shallow and wrong. This is one of the many reasons that I am opposed to cat-calling. That being said, you see before you the musings of a young lady who is decidedly miffed because of a certain trip to Covent Garden that my family and I took on Friday evening.
When my parents, brother and I arrived at the entrance of the Royal Opera House to see the beautiful opera, La Bohéme, we were dressed in this manner:
My brother wore a purple and white shirt with stone chinos and black shoes; my father, a shirt with a small floral print that incorporated blues and purples, sand chinos and smart shoes; my mother, a spectacle of summery grace and style in a green silk tea dress with a coral pink cardigan draped elegantly over her shoulders. I wore a vibrant-orange maxi-length number with a denim jacket to add a touch of Bohemian chic to the outfit (at least that was the intention) and custom designed shoes from the company Upper Street Shoes. We all looked like we were going to see an opera.
However, to my bitter disappointment, others had not taken such pride in their appearance. We were confronted with several opera-goers in jeans and trainers and it bloody annoyed me, as the title of this piece may have indicated.
Look, I understand the struggle. It’s a pain to get all dolled up in suits and/or dresses. You have to coordinate colours and patterns and various other factors that you never knew existed but still had to Google because of the certainty that someone else knows about them and will instantly judge you as a lesser being for not sharing their knowledge. You’ve already spent a fortune on the tickets and it is so much more convenient to just leave it. I know the struggle.
But come on. We can do better than that, can’t we? I remember watching My Fair Lady as a younger lady, and being entranced by the beautiful dresses and elaborate featherage of the opera-goers. It made the thought of going to the opera so exciting, so stylish. As an older young lady, I now find outfits such as this:
perhaps a bit much, but I still think that a certain standard needs to be upheld, and here’s why:
Firstly, it’s the opera. It’s an occasion. You wouldn’t turn up to a job interview in a mustard yellow mankini and neon pink flip flops. For one thing, those colours clash. For another, in most professional environments at least, you’d be escorted out by men with tasers. So don’t turn up to the opera in cargo-shorts.
Secondly, making an effort shows respect for the performers in the show. As a person who has helped create a lower school play, I can understand how much goes into a show. The opera was fantastic and I feel as if one way of showing your appreciation for the time, energy and money that goes into a show is to dress up and put effort into how you look. If you show that the performance deserves the extra time that it takes to apply makeup or whatever the male equivalent is, then that is like a standing ovation. It’s a thank you. It’s a sign of appreciation.
Thirdly, assuming that the opera is a black tie or at least a formal event actually makes everything easier. There’s no more ambiguity. You know that the items of clothing that you need to take from your wardrobe are the fanciest items that you own. For men, it’s even easier. Just put on a Dinner Jacket and you’re sorted. But this only works if everyone does it.
That night there was an awkward mixture of ‘black tie’, ‘smart’, ‘smart casual’, ‘dressy’, and ‘I only remembered that I was going to this five minutes before I had to catch the last possible train and today is the day I do the washing so I’ve thrown on the first thing I saw’. This makes the question of what to wear to the opera even harder to answer and so to those who still care after reading the whole of this blog, I repeat the title.
Bloody hell, everyone. Sort yourselves out. If you still don’t know what to wear to the opera, here is my advice for everyone. Watch the film Moonstruck. It not be the ideal film for non-rom-com lovers, but there is a scene where Nicolas Cage takes Cher to the opera. If your outfit seems to fit in with theirs, then you are on the right track. And if that doesn’t help, well, at least you’ve seen the film Moonstruck.