Dressing for Success!

Dress: Ann Taylor, Shoes: Clarks

Being a musician poses some unique wardrobe challenges – making sure you can see the pedals when playing the organ, ensuring that your skirt isn’t too short when playing the piano, making sure shoes aren’t too tall for singing, etc. I think one of the greatest challenges I face, though, is the “audition outfit” when I’m auditioning for operas, choirs, etc. There are several things you have to think about when selecting an outfit: is it flattering? Does it make you stand out? Is it appropriate to the venue? Is it appropriate to the roles you’re auditioning for? And, most important, does it make you feel confident and fabulous? That’s a tall order for one dress! At the moment, this blue silk cocktail dress is my first-choice audition dress – it’s comfortable, easy to move in, and makes me feel great.

The concept of “dressing for the role” (ha!) in an audition is a new question for me, now that I’m auditioning with mezzo repertoire. When I used to sing as a soprano, it was pretty much a given that the arias I’d be taking to an audition would be sung by female characters. However, now that I’m a mezzo, the whole “pants role” issue is a significant one. Many mezzos choose to wear pants for auditions when they perform arias sung by male characters. However, the thought of wearing pants to an audition just makes me feel…weird. I’m such a dress/skirt kind of gal, I’m afraid I would feel under-dressed and unprepared in pants. That being said, in one of my recent auditions, I presented two arias sung by male characters, and sang them in a floor-length dress. It felt really strange. Any advice/suggestions?

One last note about this outfit – I had to commute via train to get to this audition. It was a big concern of mine, since I didn’t want to soil the delicate silk of the dress while using public transit. My solution was this fabulous knee-length coat:

Coat: thrifted


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