Among the enduring topics within the field sure to garner more than a few opinions, one with the longest legs is dress codes. Holly Mulcahy tackled the topic as it relates to audience dress codes in an article at Neo Classical from 12/29/2014 that generated some intriguing feedback.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s an undeniable degree of trepidation among newbie patrons over what to wear, consequently, they don’t seem to mind basic guidelines. Interestingly enough, I went back through all of the Take A Friend To The Orchestra contributions and discovered that quite a few of the contributors focus on dress codes and their impact on ticket buyers (here, here, here, here, here, and here).
In a number of instances, they were part of a larger point about patron trepidation but this is where having some guidance can be useful and in similar fashion, this is where Mulcahy’s article comes into play.
Worth noting is in one of the comments where Mulcahy mentions that the impetus for the article is the result of being asked so often by potential ticket buyers what they should wear and although she tends to err of the side of caution by first mentioning whatever makes the patron feel comfortable it is always followed up by offering better defined guidelines because many have a tendency to want to fit in whenever visiting somewhere new (emphasis added below).
Certainly, the goal here is to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable and to that end, I get asked all the time by new and regular ticket buyers what is acceptable to wear. More to the point, if ticket buyers are asking, we need to have answers so while I tell people to come in whatever they are comfortable in…some people still want to know what everyone else is wearing, and that is their choice.
Mulcahy’s sartorial suggestions are terrific and I’m curious to know which other patron dress codes you’ve encountered that caught your attention (regardless the reason). If available, consider including a reference URL if it exists at the organization’s website.