Imagine you’re about to do your first large performance. You’re practiced and ready to play. You feel confident on stage! What are you going to wear? Women ask themselves this question every day, let alone where it impacts your musical brand and your business.
So many questions to ask…Is this a recital situation where you’re going to wear all black? Or are you going to choose to show your personality and style? Sometimes as musicians, many of us will have an inbuilt sense of style that guides us. Some of us just need a stylist to interpret our personality and music into a style that we recognize as our own. Everyone has their path!
When I was studying for my degree, I heard all the time that it doesn’t matter what you wear, and despite the fact that I’m known for wearing flamboyant outfits and gowns, during my degree, it was nice not to wear heels, and to just focus on my playing. Even that can be taken too far though! I once wore flip flops and jeans and T shirt to an exam, and lost points for that. I guess I took the instructions that what you wear is not important, a little too far.
I have had situations where a I have been loaned beautiful items to wear, which is amazing, and I’m so grateful for those opportunities! Sometimes however, they just don’t work, for example, very long earrings that will hit the body of my violin… heels that are difficult to walk in let alone dance in… dresses that don’t suit my very curvy figure, or dresses that have such a long train in a material that doesn’t slide along the floor easily, so I know I’m going to get stuck somewhere if I move around the room.
So, when I am choosing wardrobe for my performances, I consider these important factors as a violinist:
- First of all, I need to LOVE IT! It has to reflect my style.
- I need freedom of movement of my arms and shoulders. If I really love it… can I get it altered to work for me?
- If I plan to interact with the audience and move during the show, I consider how I will deal with a long flowing dress or train, and try it on during a rehearsal to make sure it will work.
- If I’m traveling, how will the outfit fair with a long plane ride, and will I need dry cleaning/steaming on the other end? Will it be easily available in a timely fashion before the show etc…
- Is it suitable for the event/concert I will be playing?
- Does it work for my figure?
- Will it easily host my mobile sound equipment? i.e. my wireless transmitter and my in-ear monitors?
Personally I LOVE the colour red! I also love statement pieces, and just being who I am. I love wearing dresses that accentuate my movements on stage and add to the drama! I love pieces that become a part of my show and my trade mark, and it’s just so FUN! My years in theater and dance have definitely taught me that costuming is a large part of the show, and it really is. The way you interact with the audience, the way you tell your story with your instrument and the way that you dress all adds to the experience.
I have definitely had my style crisis moments, but in the end, it wasn’t really a style crisis! They were identity crisis moments after years of being told how I really should sound and what I really should look like. Years after being told I need to be more blonde, thinner/curvier, whatever it was….. I have learnt that how we present ourselves to the world as a huge impact on our careers, and in music, it is even more amplified in my opinion, and when we are sure of who we are as people, as musicians, that the choices become easier. For me, aside from the practical choices that need to be made when choosing a wardrobe that works for stage, discovering and knowing who I am, is the most important thing!
Sophie’s stage wardrobe have included gowns, hair, jewellery and outfits by:
Sophie on the cover of HERS Magazine wearing Canadian designer Chloe Angus.
Sophie on the red carpet at The Toronto International Film Festival 2012, wearing designer Sherri Hill
Shear Luxury, Sophie wears Canadian brand UNTTLD