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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tips For Picking Stagewear

stage lighting image
Most artists and bands pick the clothes they wear on stage rather haphazardly and never consider what they'll look like under the bright lights. Here are a few tips from The Touring Musician's Handbook on basic clothing choices that can make all the difference in how you appear to your audience.

"Some players who are naturally hip can wear the same clothes on stage that they normally wear during the day, but others pack a few changes of stagewear. You’ll be under some bright lights and may be projected onto a big screen, so here are a couple of things to think about:
  • If you want to wear something other than basic rock n’ roll black, you’re usually better off with rich, vibrant colors, which set up well against the stage lighting.
  • Don’t wear white if you’re fair skinned because the lights can wash you out, and even worse, give you a bit of a ghostly look.
  • If you perspire a lot, silk will show off the sweat. But if silk is really your thing on-stage, make sure to wear something dark that won’t show up the sweat as much. If you do happen to get sweat stains, a little vodka can take the stains out easily (this is an old opera singer’s trick), although you might have some explaining to do to the MD.
A good trick when choosing stage clothes is to always select them under some colored lights so you can get the feeling of how they’ll look when you’re bathed in theatrical lighting on stage. Also remember that it’s an old showbiz tradition (and makes good business sense) that the star picks the first color, so if you know the way she normally prefers to dress, you should stay subordinate to that to keep the peace. And don’t forget that the shoes that you wear can sometimes be more conspicuous on stage than you think, so choose them carefully.

It’s a good idea to check with the MD or tour manager before you pack stage clothing to see if there might be a color coordination of the band to consider. For instance, one show everyone might be all black (or just black shirt) and another white. Obviously, none of the above matters much if you’re playing with an artist that requires matching stage clothes (like Tom Jones or Ricky Martin) or you’re playing in an orchestra that may be touring with an artist, since you normally dress the same."

You can read additional excerpts from The Touring Engineer's Handbook and my other books on the excerpt section of bobbyowsinski.com.

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