Have you ever wondered about what to wear to the theater? And in particular: to the opera, ballet or orchestra?
I think any person in his or her life confronts this thinking through questioning when faced the decision to choose the correct toilet for the theater.
Historically, many elites of higher class and statuses wore their best and expensive attires. It was the prestige that poor people could not afford. But then again, poor people could not even afford the pleasure of attending places of elites.
Nevertheless, why am I referring to this group differences. The reason is obvious, because as time has passed, and the monarchy has been banished, common people also have been able to attend the theaters, although not the theaters of elites. Except there always has been one but. Not many people, even in our days, could and can afford the pleasure to hear masterpieces, for instance, the famous Philippe Jaroussky or Andrea Scholl in the opera house. In other words, we still have these barriers between the necessities that high social class person can afford and low social class individual. The reader may get confused and ask, but what about the garments that you have asked above?
Thus, let me explain the reason of why I previously asked those questions. I have started observing the majority of people while attending the famous theater in Tashkent (Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan), which is big and one of the historical ones. For instance, how all they looked, dressed and which of course one most likely would compare it with the elites of 17th and 18th centuries in Europe. That is to say, no one wore any jeans or tee-shirts, etc. Women wore dresses, whereas men wore suits. Even their wee ones appeared with dress if it was a girl or suit if it was a boy. However when I have attended the Metropolitan Opera, I was amazed to witness the sight of people with different kinds of attires. Some wore jeans and tee shirts, as though they just returned from their daily gymnasiums. However the most interesting part was that, majority of older people dressed up nicely and elegantly. That is, women in dresses and men in suits and this is what I have described about people from the country explained above.
One can relate these differences on power and status differentials, as Marx might say. Indeed, from one point it does make sense if everyone became “equal” then, surely anyone can attend the theaters that cost a great amount of sum. Although, this “equal” term ruins everything when we look at some people who are unable to find a job, and therefore afford a ticket to a theater, or those who have been working for all their lives and still cannot and/or just chose not to attend the theater and buy the needed attires in order to save. In this sense, Marx’s idea of power and status plays a considerable role.