Appropriate Performance Attire
The dilemma: it’s the night before your performance and you are not sure what to wear. If you are like me, your internal dialogue might go something like this, “I know the standard concert attire for years has been black…JUST BLACK!?” “It is 2018 and this is MY performance! I want to look good. I want to stand out; get noticed!” If this sounds like you, you are not alone. My goal here is to provide a couple simple guidelines to make sure that not only will you sound like a star on stage, but you will look like one too!
First and foremost, black is the standard for any performance. Before you stop reading though, take a moment to analyze the rationale behind this tried and true standby. For some context, remember your purpose as a performer. As performers, to the greatest extent reasonable, we are intended to be the voice of the composer (of course with some room for personal interpretation; we are not robots). Therefore, our attire and grooming should not call attention away from the music; for that is why your audience came in the first place. With that being said, concert black is the standard but not the rule. After all, it is 2018 and many professional performers wear all sorts of stylish, yet tasteful outfits. What are some guidelines to help you decide what is for you?
For both men and women, the idea is the same. Do not let your appearance enter the room before you or your music. When it comes to colors, we have a great variety to choose from. Truly, you can decide on whichever hue, shade, or tone your heart desires with one caveat, PLEASE MATCH YOUR COLORS! Some people have a natural knack for matching colors and patterns, but if that is not you, don’t be afraid to ask a friend, family member, or even consult a color wheel or youtube video. Additionally, if you are performing in a group, outfit coordination is always a good idea.
Grooming: Less is almost always best. Take pride in your craft. Remember, a performance is not the same as attending a party or going out on the town at night, so dress to impress, not shock. For both men and women, avoid distastefully tight or short outer garments. Remember you will be on an elevated surface and you are visible from a different and possibly unflattering angle. Clothes should be additionally clean, and well kept (i.e. Pressed, laundered) . Also, a note for both men and women: excessively tight clothing can hinder the quality of your performance, so practice in your outfit beforehand. Hair and makeup should be done tastefully, orderly and not disheveled. Styling of course varies from person to person, but the principle remains the same – less is more.
If you apply these guidelines, and of course basic standard hygiene procedures, you will not only play like a pro, but your outfit will be a true class act.
-Florian J. Love, A.A.T., Violin Instructor