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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Dressing for attention (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Starrpower
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I have never completely been satisfied with my ability to dress in such a way that I look like I am an entertainer, yet don't look like a complete doofus. I am particularly referring to events where I may easily be mistaken for someone who is attending the event rather than a part of the event.

For example, if I am doing strolling magic at a "sidewalk days" type event, or maybe a community event in a park. My personna is NOT a "clown" or a "Silly Billy." Nothing against those types, but loud, gaudy clothing and goofy hats is just not for me ... nor are vests! Usually, I will wear nice, but casual clothing (I typically wear a name tag) and let the magic or balloons do the talking. However, I think a "look" could make things easier.

What do those of you who are not the "outlandish" types do to set yourself apart in these conditions?
rossmacrae
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So I'm a "silly billy."

But ANYTHING you wear, from a business suit to bare skin, can be thought of as a costume.

As I told my kids, if you dress in a soldier costume people will say "there's a soldier," if you dress in a baker costume people will say "there's a baker," and if you dress in an idiot costume people will say "there's an idiot."

So if you wear a top hat and cape, people will say "there's a stereotypical, old-hat, behind the times magician." If you dress like "disco Dan," people will say "Copperfield wannabe." If you're performing and letting your props do the talking, do you want to take your casual clothing and "tweak" the look a bit (maybe lots of black, or something a bit dramatic) and accessorize? (As with a rabbit or playing-card pin, a medallion, a hat?)
Al Angello
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My wife buys my clothes, and lays an outfit on the bed for each show. Quite often when I show up at the door people say to me "you must be the entertainment". I always get complimented from women, and ignored by sloppy dressed men. The secret to looking like an entertainer is GET A WOMAN TO HELP YOU DRESS. They are raised with a flair for fashion, and we are clueless.
Al Angello
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
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"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Father Photius
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El Paso, TX (Formerly Amarillo)
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Monk Watson, (name most of the younger crowd won't recognize) used to tell me that the key was to stand out from the audience "a bit" . What you wear should say just that "I'm the entertainer", doesn't matter if it is costume, formal, suit, casual, but it needs to say "I'm the entertainer". Think old timers in country music went a bit overboard in that with all sequins and rhinestones, but got idea across, the newer ones, dress real casually, but still say that. YOu have to "spiff" it up a bit, you can do magic at a formal gathering where all are in tuxedos and if you wear one, you look like just another member of the audience, it must be just a bit "louder" than that. Overboard often makes you stand out too much. So a splash of extra color, or a bit different cut, or the like does a good job.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
Al Angello
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The womans touch is the only way to describe it, and when you have it their radar goes up.
Al
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
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"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Flec
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Search the internet for magicians who do the types of shows you perform, see pictures of them and what they wear?

I always turned up to strolling gigs with a suit and tie, and in the summer, when working outside at very informal events it can be hot, and make you look foolish. I saw another magician wearing shoes (as opposed to trainers, sneakers, etc) jeans, a tshirt and a jacket. he looked casual, yet stood out because he was smart. I now attend barbques dressing like this and never have recieved a bad comment in my testimonials.

plus when outside and wearing sunglasses....if you're wearing all black you get all the jokes about the matrix and the men in black. dress down, but still dress well enough to stand out.

I think the rule I got taught was always go one better than your audience. if they are casual, go smart casual. if they are smart casual, wear a suit. if they have a suit, etc etc. if they are wearing tux's, then its up to you and your act to make sure everyone knows you're not a waiter or a party guest!

Posted: Jan 19, 2007 7:13pm
And stay away from those tacky $1 ties you see in the shops with cards all over them. I saw another magician wearing one of these, and actually heard a little kid magician say "my mommy bought me that tie from wal mart!" you have to be good to cover up cheapness, and you don't want to appear cheap and tacky.

on the other hand if something is part of your act, (spinning bow tie gag, colour changing wasit coats) I guess that's acceptable, as people will know is there for a reason. but you don't want to wear a cheesy tie for no reason.
Starrpower
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Quote:
On 2007-01-19 18:55, Al Angello wrote:
The womans touch is the only way to describe it, and when you have it their radar goes up.

I have a gay couple living next door to me. Do you suppose they could help me as well? They have a killer back yard!
Al Angello
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Collegeville, Pa. USA
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Starrpower
Without being controversial the answer to your question is simply YES. My wife doesn't know how I do any of my tricks, because it's not her thing. There are things in this world that men are just not equiped to handle, and fashion is a big one. Go to my web site, and look at the way my wife dresses me http://www.juggleral.com This beautiful woman has bought me a closet full of costumes.
Al Angello
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
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"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
JackScratch
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Quote:
On 2007-01-19 16:57, rossmacrae wrote:

So if you wear a top hat and cape, people will say "there's a stereotypical, old-hat, behind the times magician."

Behind the times? If the situation calls for it, I am always happy to wear white tie and tails. I don't do stage shows, or I am certain a top hat and cape would fit many of my situations. If I did, and they did, I would wear a proper Silk Top hat and a nice (not costume) cape, and I assure you, I would make it work.

You can't just rule things out like that. When deciding on a look you must first decide what you want your look to "Say" and then find out the best way to make your look say that. I personally offer, and will talk my client through any look they desire, within the framework of my offered styles. I never dress casual. There is no performance venue so "lowbrow" that a dress shirt and tie aren't warranted. A vest is nice, particularly if you opt out of a coat, because it will offer you some pocket options.

All of that is assuming you aren't portraying some variety of character with costuming requirements, in which case you chose whatever the character demands. Our thread starter leads me to believe he has no such costuming demands, thus I would recommend a dress shirt and tie (bow or half windsor), and I really can't recommend a vest enough. It does cause you to stand out from the crowd. Roll your cuffs up and go to your people.
Strangelittleman
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Sydney Aus
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Starrpower - If you know the couple - go next door and talk to them, I'm sure (if there half decent people) they would help out - I dress half my straight friends Smile

Now onto the rest of the thread lol - As has been said though - the simplest rule - figure out what you "audience" is wearing and take it ONE step further up the chain. Example - I recently started doing "strolling parties", young funky people...smart cas basically - so I went in a casual looking suit.

If you have a "target audience" or type of client you most work, it should be relatively easy to figure out what your after and find a style to suit. Your other option is to just "hit the stores" and hassle the sales staff in a shop that sells the kind of "look" your after.
NJJ
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Starrpower - I know what you are talking about. Check out http://www.funnybones.com.au . my kid's character IS a clown like silly guy (in a vest no less!)

But I would never pull out that costume for a corporate do!

For that I have a new outfit...a 1930's style pinstripe zoot suit complete with braces etc.

It is a great look for the performer who wants to look over the top without looking too chessy!
Smarty Pants
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I am new here. Do most of you dress in costume for kids?
Bob Sanders
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There is appropriate dress as a guest and employee. My personal opinion is that wearing a decisively distinct costume on stage is no problem as an employee hired to do that. It is totally out of place off stage with the guests unless the whole works is a costume party.

(Yes, I just got back from Louisiana last week! They seem proud of a football team.)

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
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Scott Xavier
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If you need attention, why dress at all?
TheGiz
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I was told to dress just a notch ABOVE the clientelle who will be there. That seems to apply unless you have a specific character costume. I get turned off by street performers who perform in t-shirts or shorts. That's just me. I want to dress in a way that anyone there would be comfortable having me into their home. I want to book other shows from the performance I'm at.
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johnobryant
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Every show I perform at I dress up. Even if the show is outside, I will where something nice (and I live in south texas heat and humidity). And by the way I try to stay away from outdoor shows.

I try to where color button up collared long sleeve shirt, and a tie. I am a comedy magician, but not too crazy so I keep it neutral. Maybe a red suit jacket here and there...or glittery shoes to make me stand out.

I am very picky when it comes to contrasting colors on stage as well. I don't want anything blending in that shouldn't.

-John
Bob Sanders
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Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
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Look at the publicity photos many magicians use and the term "plan behind" has meaning. The backgrounds kill the effect.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander

PS --- Post production can fix the photo but not the show.
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

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