Just say no to jeans at the ballet

March 20, 2009 at 5:47 pm (if I ruled the world)

Aside: If Nilsa did Blogsecret again, I’d post about work. And there would be expletives like “chauvinist fuckwit” involved. /Aside

Dancing Roommate and I had a difference of opinion this morning. She’s going to the ballet with a male friend and plans to wear a dress. I mentioned that I think that’s nice as I feel wearing jeans to the ballet is disrespectful to the dancers. She thinks that the arts need to be democratized and that wearing jeans helps to do that. I disagree. I am all for democratizing the arts, but I don’t believe that that goal requires casual attire.

1) Buying “nice” clothes is no longer only for the wealthy. A simple dress or slacks and blouse can be obtained for $20-50 at one of many discount stores like H&M, Forever21, or Marshalls.

2) If someone can afford the price of a ticket to an SF Ballet performance, then I would think s/he could also afford a $40 dress or slacks and shirt.

3) As with most things, there are different levels when it comes to dance performances. The company associated with the studio where I take classes had a performance recently and tickets we $20. The sets, costumes, advertising, and caliber of dance was at that level. San Francisco Ballet tickets are approximately 3-5 times as much and the sets, costumes, advertising, and caliber of dance reflect that. I think the audience’s attire should reflect it as well. I don’t think that jeans are inappropriate for every dance performance, but just as you would dress to eat in a very fine restaurant, I think you should dress to attend a very fine performance.

4) Most of the people I see attending dance performances in jeans are wearing designer jeans. There is nothing democratizing about spending nearly $200 on denim.

5) As I’ve said before, I feel that everyone should show with their clothing that they have taken some time to present a polished face to the world. Not every day, not in every situation, but when appropriate. If I have an important meeting, I dress for it. I may be old fashioned, but I feel that it conveys respect for the person sitting across from me and respect for the work we are going to do. Dancers who have spent their lives training to perform with a renowned company like SF Ballet deserve the same respect, both for the position they’ve attained and for the work they are going to do.

What do you think?



  1. SoMi's Nilsa said,

    There are some other fine bloggers who have taken on Blog Secret stuff on a more regular basis. Let me know if you need me to direct you to one of them.

    I used to care a heck of a lot more about my clothes. But, even since I gained some weight, got a dog and bought a home, I have chosen to divert my money elsewhere. Now, my goal is to eventually be nominated to go on What Not to Wear. =)

  2. WendyB said,

    You are right. Dressing respectfully is not something you have to be wealthy to do. People always managed it in the past. Hence the concept of “Sunday best” — good clothes that everyone had for church even if they had nothing else. I don’t know why people developed this idea of jeans are okay for everything and that’s all anyone can afford.That’s some lazy bullshit, if you ask me.

  3. peterdewolf said,

    It would take a decent amount of convincing (or an adorable nose scrunch) to get me to attend the ballet in the first place, but if I was attending, I’d want to class it up a bit.

  4. fabulous girl said,

    With you 100% (unsurprisingly).

  5. BS said,

    Nilsa: I get that, but I’m guessing you still have something besides jeans that you could wear to the ballet.

    Wendy B: My feelings exactly.

    Peter: Just one little nose scrunch? My you’re easy.

    FG: I assumed as much before ever writing this post. 🙂

  6. Anonymous said,

    I disagree. Lurking about cultural events in a $40 dress is not chic or fashionable. I am seeing the American ballet perform swan lake tonight in London after work in my jeans which is a perfectly stylish option for people under the age of 35. A pair of dark skinny jeans, cool blouse/jacket and a silk scarf is a much smarter way to dress.

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