Jul 252009

Your Theatre Breaks issues dealt with one by one. This is one of a series of articles for Theatre Breaks Magazine FAQ which each deal with a specific question about planning, booking and enjoying theatre breaks. Today, What to pack for theatre breaks

Packing for your theatre break - photo credit Dwight Sipler via flickr

Packing for your theatre break photo credit Dwight Sipler via flickr

Theatre Breaks Suitcase Panic

First time I went on a theatre break I  hauled out the suitcases and stared at them for a long time. I was thrilled  we were off to London for a romantic weekend to see a show. I’d been looking forward to it for ages but then I started to worry.

” What do people wear to the theatre in London these days? Do we need to dress up? What do I need to take? Oh dear, what if I pack the wrong stuff and end up looking silly?”

If you’re feeling like I did then let’s see if I can help sort out those nasty ‘what ifs?’ about what to wear on your theatre breaks.

Do we need to dress up?

Not unless you want to! There is no strict dress code for any of the theatres in London. If you like to dress up and make it more of an occasion, that’s fine.

Most people wear ‘smart/casual’, some people may even be wearing jeans, few will be in full evening dress.

Do wear something comfortable, that won’t crease and is not too hot. The theatres are warm places even in winter.

If you do want to dress up

  • For women a day dress is fine. If you do want to wear an evening dress think cocktail dress rather than gown. It’s hard to beat a *LBD, ideally in something that doesn’t crease too badly.
  • A shawl, pashmina, or short embroidered cardi is usually enough to keep you warm outside.
  • Shoes should be comfortable enough to allow for a stroll round theatreland after the show. Heels should not be too high unless you are used to them.
  • Take a small handbag and don’t feel you always need a raincoat and umbrella. (It took me about 18 months after moving here to realise that I rarely needed my umbrella!)
  • On a cold night add a warmish coat but leave it at the cloakroom. It’s a real pain for you, and those around you, when you have to juggle it inside the theatre.
  • For gents a suit or smart jacket and trousers will be perfect. Ties are definitely optional. There’s no need for an evening suit unless you really want to make an impression.

*LBD =little black dress

5 ‘must haves’ for your theatre break

  1. Comfortable flat shoes for traveling and for sightseeing.
  2. Smart shoes for the theatre, still fairly comfy.
  3. A smallish handbag that you can wear crosswise – handy, leaves both hands free and easy to manage. This will also be more secure on crowded tube trains or buses. Needs to hold purse, keys, camera, tube map, bottle of water (optional) & not much else.
  4. Double points if your evening bag meets the same criteria!
  5. Dark glasses,  look glam even in winter and are vital in case of a slight case of morning after syndrome!

Final Word on What to Pack for Your Theatre Break

What ever you decide to take and wear remember this is your theatre break. London is a very anonymous place and mostly no one will notice or care about your choice of clothes. Wear the kind of clothes you feel happy and comfortable in. If you like to dress up for social occasions then do so, if not you can still enjoy your casual style theatre break.

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