Singing: What to Wear for a Performance - dummies

Singing: What to Wear for a Performance

By Pamelia S. Phillips

You may not have much choice in what you wear when you perform if you’re singing in, say, a musical theater production. The director usually decides for you, and costumes are made to fit. But if you’re a soloist at a wedding or you just got a gig as a lead singer in a local jazz band, the outfit you wear for the performance can make or break your evening. Consider whether your ensemble may distract either you or your audience.

Noisy jewelry may look really cool with your new outfit, but if you can hear it when you move, leave it at home. Likewise, platform shoes may be in, but maybe you can’t feel a forward flow of energy when you wear them. Spike heels are also tricky, because you may have a long walk across the stage or up to the choir loft.

When you practice, wear the outfit and shoes that you plan to wear for the performance. If you can’t move your arms or can’t breathe well while wearing a certain item, choose something else. Remember, moving your body enough to breathe is important when singing.

Some items that may make it harder to breathe include snug gowns, pantyhose, cummerbunds, and bowties. If your performance attire is formal, the length of the gown or tails on the tux may require that you practice sitting down in the outfit. Gracefully moving the tails aside or adjusting your taffeta takes some practice.

Short skirts may look sexy, but if the stage is much higher than the audience is, the audience may also get a glimpse of your undies. Unless you want someone to look up that sexy skirt, save that outfit for the after-concert party. The same is true for clingy materials that may show every little blemish under bright lights and every little drop of sweat when the big moment arrives.

Take the noisy or bulky items out of your pockets before a performance, and remove watches and glasses. Wearing reading glasses in a solo concert performance isn’t customary. Talk to your director about your options — a large print edition of the music is one option.

If you’re performing in a concert or musical production that involves others, such as a chorale, musical drama, church choir, or local rock band, don’t use perfume, cologne, or personal products that give off a fragrant odor.

The smell of perfume causes some singers to have allergic reactions, such as sneezing, watery eyes, and itchy throats. Unless you’re trying to sabotage the other singers, arrive fragrance free for the concert.