There are certain occasions when only a white wing collar shirt will do and a night at the opera is one of those occasions.
Although there is no dress code at The Royal Opera House, my friends and I don’t feel like we have had a good night at the opera unless we are properly dressed for the occasion. My favourite choice of white wing collar shirt for the opera or ballet has a pleated front and black buttons with turned, double cuffs.
A self tie bow, unless in a hurry, is the thing to wear with a beautifully made wing collar shirt; it is a habit I have fallen into since University, when you were scoffed at if you couldn’t tie a bow tie yourself. Many a long hour was spent in front of the mirror, learning that skill and it has stood me in good stead over the years since then. Bow ties have also become a little smaller and a tad fiddlier, so I do have a tied one on standby these days!
Covent Garden holds a wonderful atmosphere in the evenings, especially in the summer. There is such an eclectic mix of people, all dressed differently.
We enjoy people watching over a glass of something cool and bubbly. With our dinner jackets and a white wing collar shirt or two around the table, we are often the subject of much people watching ourselves! I love the affect that clothes can have upon a gathering of people. I have found that Covent Garden is one of the few places in the world where all classes and clothing styles can mix together to such good effect.
A night at the opera usually begins with our people watching and champagne in the square, before taking our box on the Donald Gordon Grand Tier, as we did for the recent Bolshoi Ballet evening out. Afterwards we will eat, either in Covent Garden or sometimes at the Hilton, if I am staying in London. It does depend upon the time, as it is sometimes difficult to get a booking for a Theatre Supper, especially at short notice.
If I can share a secret here; quite often wearing smart attire with a wing collar shirt can sometimes get a booking in even the busiest of exclusive restaurants.