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How Look Like a Million Bucks on Any Broadway Budget



Red velvet seats, gold railings, sparkling chandeliers, an expansive stage, brilliant sets – and spectators in jean shorts. When we go to the theater, why don’t our clothes match our setting? In the words of Pseudolus from the musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, “The theater is a temple, and we are here to worship.” An evening watching live theater on the Great White Way is not the same thing as an evening binge-watching Netflix on the couch, so we shouldn’t dress like it is.

We love binge-watching Netflix, too, just for the record.

We love binge-watching Netflix, too, just for the record.

Dressing up makes Broadway even more exciting and special, especially if you want to get some on-point shots for your Instagram feed. (Theaters make great backdrops for those, just FYI.) It’s a chance to showcase not only your cultural prowess, but also your personal style. We’re not saying you need to start wearing evening gowns to Broadway shows (but if you’re into that, go for it!). You also don’t need to shop at Gucci and Louboutin to put a killer look together. Here are Broadway Spin‘s best tips for dressing up for Broadway without breaking the bank.

Photo: Instagram, @ofakind.

Of A Kind Is Your New Best Friend

Places like Zara, H&M and Topshop are fairly inexpensive, and specialize in of-the-moment styles (usually knocked-off from multi-thousand-dollar designer looks) that work well for a night out in NYC. Nordstrom Rack is another great go-to because you can find clothing, shoes, and accessories from quality Nordstrom brands and designers at amazingly discounted prices. Newcomer Of A Kind prides itself as being “aspirational but not exclusionary.” Featuring up-and-coming designers, a well-curated collection, and an awe-inspiring store on 5th Avenue, this spot is hard to beat for limited-edition alternatives to their fast-fashion counterparts .

Photo: Instagram, @topshop.

Say Yes to the Dress

Dresses are always an easy and comfortable option for Broadway. One of our favorite looks during the summer-to-fall transition season is a girly dress (i.e. printed, silk, ruffles, etc.) with a pair of old-school white sneakers, like Adidas. The combination of feminine attire and active footwear works perfectly not only for an evening at the theater, but also for running around town – so you can trek all day and chill all night. A jacket thrown over your shoulders can complete the look, and give you an extra layer in the often very, very air-conditioned theater.

Dark wash + leather booties = 100. Photo: Instagram, @themondrianshift.

Denim Done Right

While we’re not into cutoff shorts with pockets hanging out for a night at a show (or, well, ever!), denim done right can be a great choice. A darker wash feels dressy by nature, and colored denim – which is having a moment – can add some pop to a normally safe style. Add a pair of leather flats or booties and a tucked-in top for a totally wearable, polished look.

Bejeweled on a budget. Photo: Instagram, @zara.

Don’t Forget to Accessorize

Accessories are a girl’s best friend, even if they’re not made of diamonds. Forever 21 and Zara are two great places to shop for inexpensive costume jewelry. They have tons of bold, fun pieces perfect for layering and stacking to create your own look. Yeah, they’re made of plastic and metal – but your look will be 24k just the same.

No bike shorts to Broadway, please. Photo: Instagram, @kimkardashian.

Please Leave These at Home

Now, for what to avoid for a night on Broadway: the aforementioned frayed denim shorts, your mom’s vintage jeans that don’t actually fit you, a t-shirt from camp three years ago, yoga pants, bike shorts, anything with a hole in it where it isn’t supposed to have a hole, or any footwear that can get thrown in a pool and remain unharmed. We think those are pretty good guidelines for life in general… though we admit to wearing yoga pants… a lot.

Cover shot via our friends at the fabulous @TheMondrianShift