Last Friday I attended the Philly Pops Bond And Beyond performance. The musicianship was excellent and I highly recommend going to a Philly Pops show if you have the opportunity. It should come as no surprise, but I am a big fan of dressing up for the arts (orchestra, ballet, musicals etc). Yes, that means at least a jacket, but more likely a suit and tie. I was even tempted to go the whole way and don a dinner jacket to match the level of dress of the performers. It should also not come as a surprise that the average level of dress of the attendees was below a suit and tie. Most gentlemen were in a simple button up shirt. Some donned suits or jackets. And unfortunately, some simply wore a t-shirt and jeans. Horrifying. We can do better Philadelphia.
Although a man should not need an excuse to dress up I think it is prudent to briefly justify my cause here. Now, before I delve more into the subject of what to wear to the orchestra I should note that most orchestras seem to have dropped their dress codes (including the Philadelphia Orchestra, however, the New York Philharmonic takes a more formal stance), no doubt in an effort to attract more attendees. So you may wonder, why do I rally against the wearing of jeans and t-shirts and favor dressing up? In short, the issue boils down to matters of respect and formality (with a dash of tradition). First off, the performers at such concerts are always in black tie and sometimes white tie. They take the time and care to dress themselves up, why can’t you? These people have dedicated their lives to the mastery of a given instrument and I think it shows a little appreciation and respect to dress up for these individuals. Lastly, we have my beloved idea of tradition. From what I know of history, it was required and thus customary for the attendees of theater and music to dress up for the occasion. But in our current de-formalized state of affairs the custom seems to be slipping into extinction. Let’s just hope the music doesn’t follow suit.
Keep up the good fight,