Orchestral concert clothes
I've been sarcastic before about André Previn making the LSO wear mustard polo-necks in the 70s.
In that decade our community orchestra wore black and white (tail-less) for gigs (I always enjoyed it), except for the bassoonist who wore a brown suit and yellow shirt with a yellow and brown frill (in typical 1970 style). I could wear my school uniform which was black and white, or maybe I had a spare black jacket without a badge on it.
With hindsight I'd have asked my parents for shirts with bigger collars, but I guess I wore whatever I hadn't outgrown enough to make my lips go blue. About 3 years ago I happened to bump into the conductor and for some reason mentioned the brown and yellow - I had always assumed the conductor had agreed to it. But he said "No, I never said he could wear it, he just did it of his own accord. I always hated it." My 40 year misapprehension made me laugh.
For at least 20 years I wore the tux I had bought (for $50 at a tux rental store during a business trip to San Francisco) for our younger daughter's wedding in 1981 for every performance I played. Then, thankfully, things eased up and our conductors only gave the direction "Wear black!" and I've been wearing a long-sleeve black guayabera shirt for public performance ever since.
I'm also Vince Calegon btw. I'll copy here what I wrote in response to that video.
One orchestra I play in - a university orchestra - performs in tailcoat for our "real" concerts. For various university ceremonies we are asked to dress more informally. I really hate playing in tailcoat; the bow tie gets in the way and I have problems adapting to the shoulder pads. For chamber music concerts I most often play in a black shirt with no jacket and no tie.
I've never been asked to play in a tailcoat. Most of the orchestras I've played in have asked men to wear a black suit and black bow tie. Out of eleven orchestras (including orchestras I've subbed in), there have been only two exceptions: one community orchestra had men wear a black suit with a straight necktie, and one community orchestra had men wear a black dress shirt with no tie and no jacket.
There may be a regional component to this. Most groups in Boston still use some variant of black tie (dinner jacket, bow tie). The BSO is the obvious exception-- they use tails for the evenings and black suits with long ties in the afternoons. And some of the younger co-op groups go for all-black.
Even "white top and black bottom" is hard for some. FOR GOD'S SAKE, IVORY IS NOT WHITE.
Gives a new meaning to "being in your tails", I guess, Gordon. I agree that tails look pretty silly. Maybe stuff like that, Billy Porter's tuxedo-gown and lawyers wearing capes should be left to people that can really rock those looks, rather than forcing the rest of the population to just mess it up.
The men in my orchestra wear white tie and tails for evening classical concerts, white dinner jackets and black (or red at Christmas) bow ties for pops concerts, and dark suits with long ties for matinees.
A lot of the top orchestras wear white tie and tails for night time concerts and as Mary Ellen noted some groups wear white tuxedo jackets for summertime/pops concerts. Traditionally in the US, it’s been a big faux pas to wear a tux in the daytime - same with wearing a lot of white between Labor Day and Memorial Day.
We wore tails for the first 25 years of my career in the KWS but our last conductor changed the dress code to all black for our Signature Series.Daytime shows are dark suit with light solid coloured shirt with a modest tie.Pop shows are tuxedo.Baroque shows can be all black or tails.
Interesting that no one talks about women clothes, why only men? My community orchestra encourages skirts and black shirt for women, although most pretty much wear what they feel like as long as it is black. Men, black sports or tux jacket, white shirt and black tie, no cumberbone. I never seen women wearing a jacket other than female conductors.
Probably because the OP appears to reference only men.
I agree, the white dinner jacket seem to be inconsistent in tone, white being actually quite variable. Some are bordering on light tan and look rather odd.
I don't think any orchestra I've played in has ever said anything more than "all black" or "concert black" for women, with not more specificity than the implicit understanding that it means conservative attire. Most have tended to be much more specific with men's clothing, which tends to look more uniform (at least when black).
White shirt, black pants and jacket, bowtie. Black shoes if you're on the outside. Doesn't have to be a tux, just has to look like one at 10 meters.
One thing I know: I was the reason my youth orchestra back in the day had to officially change their rules so that you weren't allowed back on stage after intermission without all black on.
"Doesn't have to be a tux, just has to look like one at 10 meters. "
Unless you're on TV. We aren't, however!
Erik Williams - Sounds like something I would do, if I had to wear a tux (thank goodness I don't)...
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