Orchestra Concert Attire for Females; What to Wear?By Candace Chappell ASTA Student Chapter President at Eastern Michigan University From Livonia, Michigan
As a female cellist in my early 20s, I often run into problems when shopping for appropriate concert attire. Sure, there are a lot of places that sell black clothing, but the difficult part is finding clothing that is appropriate in a more formal setting. Crop tops and short shorts are everywhere, but it can be a real task to find a black shirt and bottoms that look uniform enough to blend in with an orchestra, and are stylish and comfortable enough to feel confident performing in.
The reason for dress requirements in orchestras and groups alike is to make sure that no one stands out. With the exception of a soloist playing a concerto, every member of the group must blend together in order to look and feel like a team. It also ensures that making music is the main goal of the group, and that there are no distractions. Here are some suggestions for finding attire that suits your taste and yet is appropriate to wear in a concert hall.
Tops: Long or ¾ sleeve blouse, or a t-shirt with a sweater to cover the arms. Should be more conservative in style, should not have a deep v neck or plunging necklines or backlines. Shirt hem should be long enough as to cover the entire stomach. No translucent/transparent material.
Bottoms: Back slacks or dress pants- no sweats, leggings, or yoga pants. Belted if necessary. Skirt or dress hems should be at or below the knees when sitting, and black tights or nylons should be worn with these. Cellists note: If wearing a skirt or dress, floor length is recommended. Be sure the skirt is full enough to allow room for proper and comfortable posture.
Shoes: Closed toe, black dress shoes with a modest heel or no heel. No slippers or sandals. Cellists note: Avoid any heel as it changes how the instrument rests on the body.
Accessories: Here is where you have a little more freedom to make your attire more unique. As long as the jewelry you choose is modest in size and conservative in color (silver, gold, or black), wearing your favorite piece is no problem. Just make sure bracelets and long earrings do not get in the way of your playing.
Although there are many guidelines that female musicians should follow to put together an appropriate concert outfit, it is possible to find something that works. As you shop for clothing, ask yourself: “does this look appropriate to wear in a concert?” Just use your judgment and these guidelines and you will find something that is perfect to wear.
MASTA Notes CO-Editor, Jonathan Glawe