Black tie: mode opera and I

I went to Glyndebourne this week and, while the performance was fabulous, I have to admit that while looking at the audience milling around I said to my husband: “I feel a blog coming on.”

Glyndebourne: Black tie. Milling around outdoors in the British summer evening and more than efficient air conditioning indoors, so it’s not exactly going to be warm.

People had clearly put in a lot of “effort” – in fact you could hardly hear the singing for all the noisily coloured fabric and the chattering teeth coming from the bare shouldered members of the audience.

I’ve recently written about dressing for black tie – and I know people find it difficult. But really it shouldn’t be.

Here’s what you need to be well dressed for an indoor/outdoor black tie event:

  • little black/green/blue/red/etc. dress – keep it short if you’re under 30; just below the knee if you’re over – long dresses should be kept for events where there is dancing or red carpet as otherwise they can look a bit mumsy.  If you want to cover your legs, evening trousers are more glamourous than a long dress 
  • simple lightweight pale coloured cashmere or wool summer coat, preferably with no buttons (this sort of coat can be worn for dressy occasions – think Ascot and Henley – and also over a pair of jeans);
  • dressy shoes and bag; and  jewellery to add a sparkle.

That way you can be elegant and leave the costumes to the performers on stage.

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