8 reasons to dress to the nines in WV

Sometimes it is just plain fun to go all out and dress up for a night on the town.

Want to pull out the formal gown or black tie, and maybe even walk the red carpet of a special gala event? You can do that in the Mountain State!

Here are some of the most fun excuses to dress up in West Virginia:

1. Musical theater at the Clay Center

A classic night out: a nice restaurant and a show. Charleston has plenty of places to get your fine dining and musical theater fix.

The Clay Center always has a great lineup of concerts and programs, including some of the biggest titles on stage. Catch icons of Broadway, like “Rent,” “Annie” and the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein production of “Cinderella.”

Charleston also has a great selection of restaurants where you can hang your coat and have a fine meal, like the Chop House or Bridge Road Bistro. Or, you can have a pre-performance buffet meal at the Clay Center itself.

Carpeted hallway with pegasus lamp, The Greenbrier Resort, West Virginia

2. High class living at The Greenbrier

The Greenbrier is one of West Virginia’s oldest and finest resorts, with lavish gardens, mineral springs, a beautiful golf course, elegant casino club and fine dining. It’s even got an underground bunker that was built to house Congress during national emergencies!

If you go to The Greenbrier, though, you’ll want to dress up. The resort’s official policies for most of its restaurants and clubs prohibit casual jeans and men’s hats after 7 p.m., and guests truly dress to impress in the historic main dining room. Men will want tailored suits and silk ties, and women can don their finest dresses to really fit in at “America’s Resort.”

3. Walk the red carpet at the Appalachian Outdoor Film Festival

Most folks don’t think of Fayetteville as a place to get all fancy; you’re more likely to see sandals and board shorts around this rafting town than suits and gowns. But in May, when the Historic Fayette Theater has the Appalachian Outdoor Film Festival, attendees go all out with their fashion.

The inaugural year for this event had a 1940s theme— producers of the outdoor-oriented film entries stepped out of a vintage Packard onto the red carpet, and WWII-type crates and flags decorated the theater lobby. You will not at all be out of place if you dig out your vintage fedora, print dress or tweed jacket.

Carnegie Hall and garden, West Virginia4. Carnegie Hall

Famed philanthropist Andrew Carnegie built a beautiful concert venue in the gracious southern West Virginia city of Lewisburg, and it’s one of only 4 still in regular use today. Carnegie Hall attracts a wide variety of performers to its stage— local and national, rock, bluegrass and classical.

Not all of its shows are necessarily dress-up affairs, but you certainly won’t be out of place if you do go all out. One particularly notable formal event will be the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra’s “Home for the Holidays” concert this December.

5. Go to prom, for a second chance

Second Chance Proms are a great way for adults to have fun, and either re-live or add to your past high school glory days. Every May, “Prom Part Deux” puts on an adult prom at the Charleston Marriott. The event features a cash bar, plenty of DJ’d dancing, a silent auction, and special rates on hotel rooms. You’ll have more fun than you did back in high school!

The Loud in Huntington also has an annual “prom,” where the punch is guaranteed to be spiked and you’ll feel just as at home in a tuxedo t-shirt as that elegant floor-length gown that’s been hiding in the back your closet. The bar rolls out the red carpet and even has professional photographers to snap a memento of your night.

 6. See the symphony

The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra plays all around the state, showcasing the intricacies of fine classical and symphonic music to everyone. They perform their main concert series in the dazzling Clay Center, but they also travel to theaters in Parkersburg, Fairmont and Morgantown throughout the season.

Gourmet finger food, West Virginia

7. A gala evening in Morgantown

Morgantown is the state’s northern hub of fine art, culture and entertainment. If you want to dress up and hit the town, one of year’s best chances to do so is at the WVU Medicine Children’s Annual Gala at the Marriott Waterfront Place Hotel.

Every year, the gala has a different theme, but no matter what it is, you’re in for a high-class night of fine dining, entertainment, dancing and auctions.

8. A bollywood extravaganza

Bollywood is an Indian film genre that features over-the-top music and dancing— its lavish costumes and precise choreography evoke the golden age of Fred Astaire-era Hollywood. The India Center of West Virginia in Charleston has Bollywood-styled productions as part of a big annual gala.

Bollywood Night has become a big deal, and this past April more than 800 folks joined in. The night’s events include dancing, music from India and other parts of the world, and even a feast of both Indian and Mediterranean cuisine.

Where is your favorite place to dress up in West Virginia?

This post was last updated on March 16, 2022