Concert Attire for Pianistas – Lose the Black!

Things have been hectic here for the last few days.  Thursday night I went to a play about a pianist, and Friday morning I went shopping with a friend for attire for my Carnegie Hall recital.

The Impossible Dream

Pre cancer I had two or three reliable gowns and tops that I used for performing. When I gained 30 pounds due to steroids during chemo,  I got rid of the clothes that didn’t fit me. I certainly thought it unlikely that I would ever be performing again given the financial problems I was facing. But now, the unthinkable has become my new reality and I am out in retail land, dreaming the impossible dream: that I can find a comfortable, attractive recital gown.

My Dress – My Rules

Guess I won’t be shopping here!

Personally, I have some strong ideas about what works for me on stage. When I announced my preferences at the stores I went to,  these four items knocked out 75% of their formal wear. Good thing I am shopping several months before the big event.

NO BLACK!  I do not want to look like I am part of the piano, and I don’t look good in black. In my opinion, very few people actually look good in black. Additionally, I think the artist should be pleasant for the audience to rest their eyes on. Having everything the same neutral color onstage is boring.  Sorry, gentleman,  I know by tradition you wear black, no insult intended.

No spaghetti straps or sleeveless gowns. I personally don’t find watching the pianists upper arms and shoulders moving around as they play all that attractive – certainly not for anyone past their mid twenties. Now that I am 29, no more strappy looks.

No white – not a flattering look on me.  Plus I don’t like white.

No prints – they don’t look good on video,  and I want to post the video from my performance online.

Form AND Function Please!

Another big issue in concert attire is that it has to be comfortable to play in. Several dresses didn’t have enough give in the shoulders.  One had straps that fell off my shoulders when I took a suggestion of a breath. The saleslady suggested using fashion tape to hold them in place.  Obviously a clueless individual – I don’t want to be the Janet Jackson of the concert stage! Even if the straps stay up,  imagine the pressure of staying calm, centered, and trying not to worry about my dress!

Always important to check that you can sit down in the and walk easily in the dress and that it looks good from the side while seated. For me,  no gigantic slits up the leg, no overly poofy gathered skirts.

For my figure type,  dresses with more interest on the top and a flared skirt work best.  We found one in a beautiful dark reddish purple; unfortunately it didn’t fit.  I loved the style and thought it was really appropriate for the repertoire I’ll be playing.  I hope I find another dress like it that fits!

But I did end up buying a sparkly beaded top in red mostly as a fallback item in case I can’t find a dress I like. Plus it will be useful for run throughs and house concerts.