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 can wear slacks, khakis, a dress shirt, and a tie; a sports coat or blazer is also an option. Women can wear a skirt or pantsuit, a dress, or a blouse and slacks. It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed – so if you’re not sure what to wear, err on the side of caution and dress up a bit.

Going to a Broadway show is an experience to remember. But if you’re not sure what to wear, it can be a little 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, it’s important to note that there is no official Broadway dress code. However, most Broadway shows are dressier than your average night out. That said, you don’t need to go all out with a ball gown or tuxedo – smart casual attire is usually just acceptable.

Or choose something you would wear for an evening out at a nice restaurant or a cocktail party. This is your chance to really shine and show off your personality! Here are a few things to think about when planning your attire:

Is it a Matinee or an Evening Show?

Broadway shows typically have two types of performances: matinees and evening shows; matinees are during the day and evening shows are at night. Generally, people dress more formally for evening shows than for matinee shows.

If you’re not sure what to wear, it’s always a safe bet to dress up more for evening performances. 

Though the daytime shows are more casual, you don’t want to be too underdressed compared to the rest of the audience. Cute dresses, skirts, and blouses are always excellent for matinees, while slacks, gowns, suits, and ties are typically better for evening Broadway shows. You can also make jeans work, but just make sure they’re dressy jeans – no distressed denim or anything like that. 

What Time of the Year is it?

It is always important to dress for the weather, and Broadway shows are no exception. If you’re going to see a Broadway show in the winter, you’ll want to dress warmly.

Think in layers; the theaters can be pretty cool, especially in the winter, so ensure to bring a coat, scarf, and gloves. Conversely, if you’re going to see a Broadway show in the summer, you’ll want to dress lightly. A light jacket or sweater may be necessary for cooler temperatures.

No matter what time of year it is, it’s always a good idea to dress comfortably. For men, this means wearing pants that are not too tight and a shirt that is easy to move in. And for women, it’s always a good idea to wear heels that are not too high.

You’ll be doing a lot of walking, so you don’t want to. You’ll be sitting in a theater for a few hours, so you don’t want to be uncomfortable the entire time or wear shoes that will give you blisters or make you tired. 

Do’s For Choosing Your Attire

Some things to keep in mind 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 in doubt, it’s always best to check with the theater ahead of time to see what their specific dress code is. In most cases, Broadway theaters have a somewhat formal dress code, so it’s best to avoid anything too casual or trendy. Here are a few things to avoid when dressing for a Broadway show:


Unless the show specifically says that hats are allowed, leave them at home. Wearing a hat can be quite annoying for the people sitting behind you as it may block their view.


Broadway shows are often quite long, and you’ll likely be on your feet a lot. Wearing sneakers is not only uncomfortable, but it’s also not very stylish.


Again, Broadway shows are usually dressier than your average night out. T-shirts are generally not appropriate attire for a Broadway show.


Just like sneakers, flip-flops are not appropriate attire for Broadway shows. They’re not very dressy, and they can be quite noisy.


Broadway shows are typically not very casual, so it’s advisable to avoid wearing shorts. They’re not always very flattering. Also, the theater can get quite cold, so you’ll likely be wishing you had worn pants instead.


Broadway shows are typically quite formal; therefore, you should dress appropriately if you plan on attending one. In most cases, this means wearing smart casual or business casual clothing.

You can never go wrong with a nice pair of slacks, a blazer, and a dress shirt. And don’t forget to bring along a coat, just in case it gets cold! To sum it up, if in doubt, dress up a bit more than you would for a typical night out. 

Avoid anything too revealing or flashy, and check the Broadway dress code before you go. Shoes are a crucial part of your outfit, so make sure they’re comfortable and polished.

Finally, leave the hats and sneakers at home! Broadway shows are always a fun night out, and dressing the part will improve the experience.