Is it acceptable to wear jeans to a symphony concert? Here's what the Utah Symphony thinks

Return To Article

Commenting has temporarily been suspended in preparation for our new website launch, which is planned for the week of August 12th. When the new site goes live, we will also launch our new commenting platform. Thank you for your patience while we make these changes.

  • from Spoleto Charleston, SC
    March 26, 2019 4:57 a.m.

    Giancarlo Menotti brought an entire arts festival to us and changed our perspective in a profound way. There's a relationship between "good/real/classical" music and clothing. We HAVE symphony concerts geared toward the blue jean crowd, both in terms of attendees and in terms of music choices. We have concerts in the parks for kids and during the school year some of our symphonic players splinter off to visit the schools, making good music more accessible whether you own a tux or not. But we do have a loyal group of fans who buy subscriptions for the entire season and these "concerts in the park" are a perk to them, free with their subscription. These are the symphony fans who WANT to dress up, the ladies who want a reason to shop for a sparkly new dress or two, shiny shoes and a matching bag, the gentlemen who know that they will never look better than they do in a black tuxedo with a beautifully coiffed and attired woman by his side. It doesn't have to be either/or. There is PLENTY of room for both!

  • shamrock Salt Lake City, UT
    March 22, 2019 12:59 p.m.

    As long as you're quiet and undistracting, I couldn't care less what you wear when you sit near me in the symphony hall or the theatre. Art appreciation has nothing to do with your clothes.

  • Sequoya Stafford, VA
    March 22, 2019 10:08 a.m.

    I've always resisted being "gussied up," what I considered ostentatious display. "I'm better than you because I got my clothes at Macy's, T J MAX (Name, high end store) and you obviously went to Deseret Industries, Good Will, or J.C. PENNY'S." These latter places actually have some good stuff. But some people just can't afford "high -end." So I'm glad to see all the pretense knocked down!!

  • EmmanuelGoldstein1984 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 22, 2019 8:42 a.m.

    I don't care what people wear. I do care about how they BEHAVE. More than once my wife and I have had an evening at the symphony spoiled because some thoughtless parents dragged their multiple brats to the event, and these brats, sitting near us, were glued to their cell phones and/or whispering to each other throughout.
    THAT's what needs to change. Parents should either leave their brats at home or teach them some MANNERS!

  • Nichol Draper West Jordan, UT
    March 22, 2019 5:53 a.m.

    Allowed to wear jeans? Shows how out of touch this crowd is. If you are talking about dressing down, it is now sweat pants and cargo shorts. For most people jeans are their nice clothes. Most of the country is discussing if it is OK for guys to wear dresses and you are worried about tuxedos? When you accept the girls who do everything in yoga pants except workout and guys in cargo shorts, then you are allowing those who dress down.

  • mrjj69 bountiful, UT
    March 21, 2019 11:02 a.m.

    i went to a local bar when i was visiting Oregon. It happened to be on Oscar night. we were turned away, as we weren't wearing tuxedos. We left, as well as numerous other couples. I looked inside, and noticed there were 4 couples attending. That bar didn't even make enough to pay their help that night. people are past the fluff and glamour to spend the night out.

  • AggieFan4Ever Logan, UT
    March 21, 2019 9:39 a.m.


    Yes, we have spent years and years perfecting our craft as musicians, but we don’t feel disrespected by people who don’t dress up for our performances. Not dressing up is simply not a sign of disrespect. All we care about is that people come to concerts and share the experience with us. What people wear when is immaterial.

    Also, calling us “classy people” may be a bit of a stretch in a lot of cases (especially being a trombone player myself). We’re just as goofy as anyone else, and most of us think that wearing tuxes to perform is just as much of a pain as audience members think it is to dress up to watch.

  • ih8bella West Jordan, Utah
    March 21, 2019 8:27 a.m.

    I think many of these comments prove the point of the article. So stuffy and pretentious. I seriously object to the “dumbing down to the lowest common denominator” comment. Yes, my friends and I dress up to go to the symphony, not because of some rule. We just like to dress up for a night out on the town. But to suggest that if we didn’t we’re part of the lowest common denominator is, well, I already said it. Stuffy and pretentious.
    I think this experiment with the Utah Symphony is a great idea!

  • RDnK Elk Ridge, UT
    March 21, 2019 3:07 a.m.

    Personally, I Think wearing nice clothing (Sunday Best, which I'm sure is no longer in vogue) is showing respect to the Symphony. I love the ideal of the Symphony wearing Tuxedos, etc. I think dressing "UP" for the performances shows class and decorum. The performing artists deserve classy attendees, because they are classy performers, who have spent Years, perfecting their Musical Abilities. We do not need to lower our standards just because some people think "dressing up" is a pain.! Come on people! Show respect to these artists who have spent a lifetime of learning to play beautiful music!!!

  • My thoughts Spanish Fork, Utah
    March 20, 2019 8:59 p.m.

    Does what the musicians who play the music change the sound of the music because they wear something different? Same for the ones who hear it. Does what they wear change what they hear?

  • Kolob64 Ogden, UT
    March 20, 2019 8:53 p.m.

    I have had season tickets to the opera here for 7 years. I have dressed up or down depending on how I feel and what is going on in my life. The best part of Opera here is the lively audiences which brings out the best in the performers. My mother was an opera buff who traveled all over the world to see operas and said our audiences are the best. That includes people wearing whatever they want.
    Music is meant to be enjoyed. This is not church or a funeral.
    I have not been to the symphony here, but opera prices are incredibly cheap. For the price of one mediocre seat in LA U can get good season tickets here.

  • micaholson Orem, UT
    March 20, 2019 3:38 p.m.

    I have an idea... Might even work better than jeans... Don't charge $50 to $70 a person for good seats! I mean really? I get it that there is a lot that goes into a symphony, and I LOVE listening to good music. But for $100 I'll find something else for my wife and I to do on a Friday night.

  • Utahnareapeculiarpeople Salt Lake City, UT
    March 20, 2019 1:31 p.m.

    It's sorta interesting all the folks who see going to the symphony as a way of showing of their class and to be with other classy people. Almost like the art really doesn't have anything to do with it at all. (To those who just want people to be quiet, and apparently that's a problem even amongst some of the classy folks, that's not really asking too much.)

  • T-money$$$ Salt Lake City, UT
    March 20, 2019 1:23 p.m.

    Perhaps instead of relaxing the dress code to get more tickets sold, they should lower the cost per ticket. I have no problem dressing up for a formal event like the symphony. I do have a problem spending upwards of $30 for a seat.

  • embarrassed Utahn! Salt Lake City, UT
    March 20, 2019 12:37 p.m.

    I don't care what you wear. Just think about how distracting and annoying it is when you crinkle your candy wrapper or thumb noisily through your program after the music starts. smh.

  • Sharkey Layton, UT
    March 20, 2019 12:27 p.m.

    I don't care what people wear but I care very much how they behave. Sit up, shut up, turn off the phone.

  • Hubble65 Sandy, UT
    March 20, 2019 12:22 p.m.

    Long time season ticket holder (but my wife and I pick the ones we go to and share the rest). I have never worn anything more than docker type pants, a button down shirt with a pattern usually (long or short sleeve depending on the season) and a coat or jacket if needed depending on temperature outside. That's what I wear to work and it is good enough for the Symphony. If someone there doesn't like it, honestly, I don't care, I don't hang out with them. The Symphony is time for my wife and I.

  • DaveAbernathy Logan, UT
    March 20, 2019 12:07 p.m.

    I have 2 children who are professional musicians so I have attended probably hundreds of symphony concerts over the years. It always irritated me that there are people who simply don't want to put in any effort to dress appropriately or even behave properly at such events. Talking, going in and out the doors, etc. is really quite rude to the other patrons. Some people live inside a bubble that doesn't allow them to see how their behavior affects others. This is not isolated to attending classical concerts.

    Honestly, this is not a path to getting more customers to the concerts. If the music itself doesn't inspire people to attend then seeing the performers dressed sloppily won't either. There are some things in life that I think we need to take seriously. Relaxing standards just to fill the seats doesn't do that. It's a bit like religion. You're either in or you're out on a personal basis. Easing the standards doesn't change that.

  • NeifyT Salt Lake City, UT
    March 20, 2019 11:22 a.m.

    @MPS - "Think back to the trend that some churches started--that of guitars, drum sets, big amps--because the setting in churches was 'too formal', in a bid to boost attendance. Not a stunning success."

    I don't know about that. When I served a mission (oops I mean "volunteered") for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints years ago; I looked in on one such congregation with a band and playing very up-beat music with clapping and such going on. They had far more attendees than at my church's attendance where the speeches were monotone and the songs sung as dirges.

    Keeping things stuffy and formal doesn't really help people want to be there. It is fine for a church... but for a business that wants people to pay; it just makes them irrelevant!

  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    March 20, 2019 10:51 a.m.

    Fair is fair, though old boy. There should be one concert night devoted to tiaras n' top hats, huge strings of pearls, monocles and large sticks attached to the backs of concert goers--harrumph. I daresay Beethoven didn't always compose in his Wrangler cargo shorts, what what.

  • NeifyT Salt Lake City, UT
    March 20, 2019 9:52 a.m.

    Among so many portions of the article I wish to comment on, these two phrases sum up my perspective.

    "'There’s too many rules, there's too many traditions (and) it's not flexible or welcoming,' Counts said. 'I don't believe that it truly is that way, but I think that perception exists..."

    Well is it or is it not "truly that way"? Are there rules or are there not? I know if I were to want to pay good money to hear great music performed by (I assume) accomplished musicians; and I got turned away because I wasn't up to their dress standards... I would certainly never even bother wasting my time. I can always listen to such music on the radio or over the internet for free. Why pay money to some elitists who don't like the way I dress?

    I know I certainly wasn't wearing a tux the last time I went to see the Utah Symphony. I doubt I was even wearing my "Sunday's Best" as I went with other school children. I may have been somewhat dressed up that day I don't remember, but certainly not a full suit-coat nor a tie as I never wore those things at that age.

    Maybe I am a little crazy, but to even hear that they expected tuxes; tells me now I would never attend their elitist works!

  • AggieFan4Ever Logan, UT
    March 20, 2019 9:47 a.m.

    As a professional musician I think this is fantastic. I’ve never once been on stage playing with any ensemble and cared even a little bit what people in the audience were wearing. Getting rid of the stigma that you have to dress up to go to the symphony will make it more accessible and desirable for those who would otherwise really enjoy such a performance but may not feel like they’re “classy” enough to attend. Maintaining a certain level of formality does nothing to enhance the musical quality of any performance.

    Music is meant to be enjoyed, and it’s enjoyed best when you’re comfortable. No one should have to worry about what to wear, and no one should be judging anyone else based on what they’re wearing.

    I might still skip this performance seeing Andrew Norman on the program, though... he’s a fantastic person but I can’t stand his compositions lol

  • MPS Kirtland, NM
    March 20, 2019 9:23 a.m.

    A big part of the fun of a concert is participating as part of an event. That means wearing nice attire, having a certain decorum, planning ahead for wonderous music.

    If I want to enjoy music where I clap where I want, wear what I want, I stuff in the ear buds and crank up the Ipod.

    Concerts in jeans is dumbing down to the lowest common denominator.

    Think back to the trend that some churches started--that of guitars, drum sets, big amps--because the setting in churches was "too formal", in a bid to boost attendance. Not a stunning success.

    Sadly, I think live symphony and opera are on life support. Wearing jeans is not going to be a wonder drug. Prognosis for the patient is extremely guarded.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    March 20, 2019 9:08 a.m.

    I have really enjoyed some of the Symphony's outdoor summer performances at the base of the ski slope. Certainly a time and place for less casual wear.

    And I think a brand new pair of freshy pressed Wranglers, worn with dress boots, a nice dress western shirt, and a western sport coat is plenty dressy for the symphony. Not a look I pull off. But for those who do, looks fine.

    Generally speaking, I think business casual or better is appropriate for venues such as the symphony: at least some slacks or dockers and a button down shirt with some kind of jacket.

    For me, personally, I prefer to enjoy the chance to dress up a bit once in a while. Suit and tie or even full formal wear is my preference for such events where the young kids were left with a sitter.

    That all said, I think it is great to expand the types of presentations the symphony does. Most of the great movie scores we love so much are done by full symphonies. The outdoor concerts are fun. I'd love to catch one of their movie nights. So give it a try. Just retain the traditional, more formal events as well.

  • cmbennett1 Stafford, VA
    March 20, 2019 8:01 a.m.


  • Fullypresent Salt Lake City, UT
    March 20, 2019 7:59 a.m.

    Many of the younger generation and some of the older have no class about these things. Some attend like they just crawled out of bed in their holey jeans. They do the same at Eccles Theatre and other nice places. They have taken the class out of classless. It is an opportunity to dress up a little even in casual business attire and be a respectful audience to great artists that sacrifice a lot to bring these arts to our community. After they are there they chat, play on their cell phones so others can't enjoy it. I'm not that old. But, was raised with some manners and respect. The younger kids could use a lot more of these 2 things. Aome older adults are now following their bad example rather than modeling something better for them.