What to Wear to a Broadway Show – An Easy Guide

Although there isn’t a defined dress code for a Broadway show, you should dress up more than you would on any other night out. Both formal, smart casual, and semi-formal attire are usually acceptable.

Men should consider slacks, khakis, a dress shirt, and a tie; adding a sports coat or blazer works well too. Women might opt for a skirt, pantsuit, dress, or blouse with slacks. It’s always better to be overdressed if you’re unsure, so dress up a bit.

Going to a Broadway show is an experience to remember. If you’re unsure what to wear, it can be confusing. Do you need to dress up? What are the Broadway dress code rules? Fear not! This easy guide will tell you everything you need to know about dressing for a Broadway show.

How to Dress for a Broadway Show

First and foremost, there’s no official Broadway dress code. However, most shows are dressier than your typical night out. You don’t need a ball gown or tuxedo; smart casual attire is usually acceptable.

Or pick something you’d wear for an evening out at a nice restaurant or a cocktail party. This is your chance to really shine and show your personality! Consider these tips when planning your outfit:

  • No official Broadway dress code
  • Smart casual attire
  • Dress for a nice evening out

Is it a Matinee or an Evening Show?

Broadway shows usually have two types of performances: matinees during the day and evening shows at night. Folks often dress more formally for evening shows than matinees.

If you’re unsure what to wear, it’s a safe bet to dress up more for evening performances. 

Daytime shows are more casual, but you shouldn’t be too underdressed. Cute dresses, skirts, and blouses are great for matinees. Slacks, gowns, suits, and ties work better for evening shows. Dressy jeans can also work, just avoid distressed denim.

  • Formal evening shows
  • Casual but neat matinees
  • Avoid distressed denim

What Time of the Year is it?

You should always dress for the weather, and Broadway shows are no exception. If you see a Broadway show in winter, dress warmly.

Dress in layers for theaters. It can get cold, especially in winter, so bring a coat, scarf, and gloves. In summer, dress lightly but keep a jacket or sweater handy for cooler temps.

No matter the season, dress comfortably. Men should choose pants that aren’t too tight and a shirt that’s easy to move in. Women should opt for heels that aren’t too high.

You’ll be walking a lot, so avoid discomfort. You’ll sit in a theater for hours; skip shoes that cause blisters or make you tired.

  • Dress for weather
  • Use layers in winter
  • Ensure comfort

Do’s For Choosing Your Attire

Key points to consider when dressing for a Broadway show:

  • Dress comfortably. Choose clothes that are easy to move in, and make you feel good.
  • Check the Broadway dress code before you go. Each show has slightly different guidelines, so it’s best to be sure before you pack your bags.
  • Play it safe and go with smart casual or business casual clothing.
  • Avoid anything too revealing or flashy. Broadway is all about elegance and sophistication, so leave the miniskirts and crop tops at home.
  • Shoes are an essential part of your outfit – make sure they’re comfortable, dressy and polished.

What to Avoid Wearing to a Broadway Show

If you’re unsure, check with the theater for their dress code. Most Broadway theaters expect somewhat formal attire, so avoid very casual or trendy outfits. Here are a few things to avoid when dressing for a Broadway show:

  • Avoid casual attire
  • No trendy clothes
  • Check theater’s dress code


Unless the show says hats are allowed, leave them at home. They can annoy those behind you by blocking their view.


Broadway shows are usually long, and you’ll be on your feet a lot. Wearing sneakers can be uncomfortable and lacks style. Opt for something both comfortable and fashionable instead.


Broadway shows are dressier than an average night out. T-shirts aren’t appropriate for these events.


Flip-flops, like sneakers, aren’t right for Broadway shows. They’re not dressy and can be noisy.


Broadway shows aren’t very casual, so avoid shorts. They aren’t always flattering. The theater can get quite cold, so you’ll wish you’d worn pants instead.