What to Wear at the Dubai Opera


A visit to the U.A.E. would simply not be complete without attending the Dubai opera, fully dressed for a glamorous occasion. Gone are the days when the mention of ‘opera’ would immediately conjure up images of a theatrical setting and high-pitched singing that could quite possibly cut right through glass. Now, the opera lends itself to everyone who has an appreciation for the classical and performing arts. The Dubai Opera is home to all manner of shows. From theatre, ballet, and orchestra, to flamenco, concert performances, and even family shows, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Add all that plus the building’s spectacular architecture, and you are in for a must-see show.

Are you wondering what to wear for Dubai opera? Many people just throw caution to the wind and show up in a simple jeans and t-shirt outfit. But, we believe the prestige of the opera deserves something a little more refined like formal dresses for women and posh suits for men.

In this post, we unpack more pointers of how to dress sharply for the Dubai Opera with inspiration drawn from some of the best-dressed people (a few fashionistas included) who have walked the halls of the magnificent dhow-shaped house.

Do you have to adhere to Traditional Islam Dressing?

Dubai is an Islamic state so you would not be wrong to wonder if you are required to dress according to Sha’aria law as the locals do. Lucky for you, the state does not force foreigners (visitors and residents alike) to wear the region’s traditional clothes. In fact, compared to other UAE cities, Dubai is one of the more modern destinations.

The city is home to expatriates from over 200 nationalities with 70% of the city’s population comprising of foreigners. Therefore, it is not a surprise to spot men in shorts and jeans. You may even spot women clad in summer dresses, skirts, jeans, or leggings when walking through the streets of Dubai. However, this is no license to walk around in skimpy outfits. Keep in mind you are in a Muslim region and it does not hurt to be respectful to the local’s culture.

And with regard to the opera, it is a high-end elegant event. Therefore, this occasion has no room for an outfit that is too short, too revealing, or shows too much skin.

Is there a Dress Code to the Opera?

Is there a strict dress code to the Dubai opera? No. Will you be allowed inside if you show up in casual wear? Yes. That said, opera houses have an unspoken rule that expects guests to turn up dressed in their best. We encourage you to keep up the tradition, as does the Dubai Opera. The house’s official stance on dress code is a humble request for everyone to dress up for the occasion. Therefore, make an effort to keep up with the decorum of the iconic venue.

What Can you Wear?

Considering the one-of-a-kind architecture and beautiful interiors of the Dubai Opera, dressing to match the elegance of the house is a tall order to fill. The multi-purpose opera house is made of glass and shaped like the dhow boats of the UAE pearl divers. Interiors consist of wooden floors, velvet curtains, and golden latticework. There are also little touches of elegance everywhere. You won’t help but notice a gigantic glass chandelier with 2900 bulbs, marble finishes, and the naturally lit transparent foyer. So, if you were thinking about ripped jeans and jumper combo, you may want to reconsider. The following outfit ideas make a much better fit.

1. Go Formal

The easiest and most appropriate way to dress for the Dubai opera is to simply go formal. It syncs up well with the luxurious design of the Dubai Opera and will match the mood whether you are watching an orchestra performance or a theatrical production.

For men this entails a tuxedo complete with dress shoes and bowtie or a regular suit. But, if that is too over the top for you, then a more laid back look. A dress shirt, trousers, and stylish jacket would do just fine.

Women are luckier in this department as there are plenty of formal wear options to choose from. If you are aiming for ‘belle of the ball’ look, go with a gown or evening dress. Since the Dubai opera is mostly frequented by foreigners, showing off a little skin is okay. This can be in the form of small plunge at the back, off-shoulder, sleeveless, strapped, or knee-length dresses. Just do not go overboard with see through dresses, a plunging neckline, or extreme low cut that leaves your entire back bare.

Gowns and evening dresses aside, there are other ways to go formal. This include elegant top & long skirt, dress pants with blouse & jacket, modest lace dress, simple cocktail dress, to name a few.

2. Turn Heads with a Chic Outfit

Not everyone can afford a tuxedo or evening gown. That, however, does not mean that you should simply wear the summer dress you packed. With a bit of smarts, you can pull off a chic outfit that will make everyone present (including those dressed formally) stare in awe. And the great thing is that options are endless.

A maxi-dress, hi-low dress, one-shoulder jumpsuit, sleeveless flare dress, two-piece midi dress are a few chic head-turners for women. As for men, dress shirt, tie, fitting slacks (or suit pants), and a bold dinner jacket combination, unique shirt and coat combo with pants, button down shirt with fitting cardigan and suit pants, are all spiffy outfits that work perfectly for the opera.

More Tips on What to Wear at the Dubai Opera


• Keep your Hairstyle Simple
The seats at the Dubai opera are strategically arranged to ensure the person in front of you does not block your view. Nonetheless, you should still be mindful of the person behind you. Wearing a big crazy hairdo or hat can obstruct the view of those behind you. Stick with simple hairstyles like a half-up do, low messy ponytail, or waves for a laid back look, or bun, ponytail, and twist up-do for a more elegant look.

• Wear the Right Shoes
Sneakers do not belong in the opera but everything else goes – loafers, men dress shoes & boots, pumps, ballet flats, sandals, and heels. The trick is to match your shoes to how formal or casual your outfit is. You could also turn your shoe into a statement piece and go all out.

• Match Jewelry to Outfit
Jewelry and accessories is another thing that should match the outfit. Cosmetic jewelry age-old classic pearls go either way while shiny earrings, your classiest bracelet or necklace, silk scarf, or gorgeous cuff links match the classier outfits better.

• Stick to a Clutch Bag
For women, there is no need to haul a huge bag around. It actually takes focus away from your outfit. A clutch or mini bag is simple, classy, and will be enough to hold make-up and other necessities.

Can you Bring Kids to the Opera?

If you are on a family vacation, you may want to bring your kids to the opera. The opera house allows guest to do so but only to family appropriate shows (e.g. musical performances and dance numbers). The Dubai Opera website puts down the age limit of a given show, which you will be able to check when buying a ticket. You may want to find a sitter for toddlers aged below 2 years however, as they are usually not permitted into the opera building.

The good thing with children is that you do not have to rack your head trying to come up with the perfect outfits. Cute little dresses will do for girls while boys can be dressed in a simple pants and sweater outfit, or shirt, jacket, and pants combo.

Final Word

From floor sweeping gowns and statement tuxedos, to knee length sleeve dresses and tie-less suits, there is plenty of leeway for everyone to wear what they are comfortable in to the opera. All you need to remember is that your outfit should be stylish and tasteful.

One thing that can influence what to wear at the Dubai opera is the show you will be attending. Some shows like the gala and opening nights are high-end, while concerts and kids ballet shows are low-key and do not really require one to dress up. To avoid sticking out due to being over or under-dressed, pick out a show first and then settle on an appropriate outfit.

Recent Posts