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Topic: Matthew Design
Message: Posted by: Matthew W (Oct 23, 2008 09:28PM)
I NEED a new costume, the one I have is not professional enough.

Here are photos of the two costumes that I have worn.

http://hudsonvalleymagician.com/gallery.html

I want to change it up, but want to stay casual. Vests and tuxedos are not me.

Any pointers or ideas are greatly appreciated.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Oct 24, 2008 08:12AM)
Your idea of a magicians costume is my idea of a costume suitable for cleaning a swimming pool.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Oct 24, 2008 08:22AM)
Matt -

What about trying dress pants and a dress shirt (with maybe a tie) to start with?

When I was first starting out (long, long ago), I wore black dress pants, a white dress shirt, and a black turtleneck shirt over top.

I would also wear a top hat and a cape during my show, but hey, I was a cheesy teen-age magician! The top hat even had a stuffed 3-D bunny pinned onto it, that my mom made for me! :lol: That was back when I was "The Great Donaldi."

Later on, I stopped wearing the top hat and cape. Then, I moved to wearing a grey suit with tie. I had that look for many years.

For the past decade or so, I've worn a black, suit-style tuxedo (no tails), with ironed & starched tuxedo shirt, a bow tie and cumberbund. No ruffles! Occassionally I remove the jacket, and wear a vest, while doing strolling balloon twisting. I'm not telling you to dress like this. I'm just explaining that my look and opinion has changed over the years, as I've performed more and more.

Note - although your customers might not "complain" about your current look, you might not be getting the maximum amount of potential spin off shows and repeat business. People should be able to discern you are a professional, just from your look.

- Donald

P.S. At some point in time, this is what I would do with my shirt. I would walk out in a long-sleeve shirt (a short-sleeve look didn't look professional enough). I would comment about nothing up my sleeves. Then I would pull out of my sleeves a piece of card stock with the word "Nothing" written on it. Old gag. Then, I would roll up my sleeves. Then I would start the show. By rolling up my sleeves I was able to keep myself from getting too warm during the show, but I wasn't resorting to wearing a short-sleeve shirt.
Message: Posted by: Natanel (Oct 24, 2008 01:48PM)
[quote]
On 2008-10-24 09:12, Al Angello wrote:
Your idea of a magicians costume is my idea of a costume suitable for cleaning a swimming pool.
[/quote]

hahaha. +1.
Message: Posted by: sethb (Oct 24, 2008 02:12PM)
With all due respect, Matt, whatever you were wearing in those pictures is not a costume, and does nothing to advance whatever you were doing or trying to be.

Unless you want to go for a very specialized look (ren fair, zoot suit, wizard robe, etc.), regular clothing is perfectly acceptable, but you need to wear something that is as good or better than whatever your audience is wearing. THAT is the mark of a professional.

Shorts are out. While you certainly don't need to wear a tux, a dress shirt or at least a decent polo shirt (with a collar) would be a good idea. Dressing as if you were going for a job interview would be another way to look at it.

People are going to judge you in the first ten seconds that they see you, before you even open your mouth. Your clothes and appearance will do the talking for you in those ten seconds. Think about what you want them to say, then take a trip to the mall and get the job done. SETH
Message: Posted by: Natanel (Oct 24, 2008 02:14PM)
Yeah Im actually not trying to be mean but you need some help. Shoot me a post in the "Ask me about clothing "thread, and I'll point you in the right direction.
Message: Posted by: Matthew W (Oct 24, 2008 02:35PM)
The shorts was a one time thing, and I look back and don't know why I wore them for that show.

It was a talent show, I was focusing more on the act, I guess.

Thanks for the help.
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Oct 24, 2008 08:32PM)
Great advice folks. One point I would like to make is this. Have someone stand by you on stage. Get a total stranger to then pick out the magician. If the person has to hesitate for even a second, then you know you are way off base and need to make a change.

Simply stated,there should be no question who the magician or entertainer is. You shouldlook the part. It is that impression that you are conveying. Being a professional stems from the props to the show to how you act and to what you wear. It is all a big part of the overall brand.

Now with this said, no one says you have to wear a tux. There are many many styles. You just have to find which fits you best. But you need to at least dress one level above the rest of the people you are performing for.

If you want to go more causal, that is fine. You could do black jeans, a dark t-shirt and a colored dress shirt over that. You could go a bit more formal yet with black slacks, dress shoes and a nice colored dress shirt. There are options open to you to explore but it needs to fit you, be quality and make you look liek the professional entertainer they hired.

Kyle
Message: Posted by: Matthew W (Oct 24, 2008 09:44PM)
I agree that I need to find something else to wear.

I just cant stand tuxedos, vests, ties and zoot suits. Put a bunch of magicians in a room, and they will all look the same, a bunch of vests, a bunch of tuxedos, and a bunch of zoot suits.

This is why I went with what I did.

I am and have been looking for something better.

-Matt
Message: Posted by: The Great Danton (Oct 24, 2008 10:45PM)
What's wrong with a tie? Every businessman in the world pretty much wears a tie of some sort. It gives a professional look.

But of course, it's not 100% necessary. I think you seem to have an idea of what Magicians (or entertainers) wear, and are focused on 'not' wearing that, and are not looking for what you could wear.

Take Natanel and Al's advice, and let us know how much better you feel for doing so once you've done it. =)
Message: Posted by: Matthew W (Oct 24, 2008 10:53PM)
I just don't know what it is about ties and suits that gets to me. I just feel confined and uncomfortable in them. I went with what I did for the comfort, and how I felt it looks.

As far as magicians and vests, tuxedos and the like, I feel it is the stereotypical magician outfit.

I don't want to offend anyone, but that is just my opinion.
Message: Posted by: Dave Scribner (Oct 25, 2008 06:27AM)
Matt, the bottom line here is you don't want to look like someone from the audience that got up and did some magic. You need to set yourself apart from the audience. That doesn't mean you have to wear a coat and tie. As has been mentioned, a nice shirt and pants is all that is necessary in most cases.

I use a "one up" method. If I'm performing outside in a picnic type setting, I wear casual clothes, nice shirt and pants. If the audience is going to be dressed that way, I change to a dress shirt and pants. Mine is black and somewhat silky looking. If the audience is going to be dress more eloquently (very dressy or coat and tie), I'll wear a jacket.

You want to be comfortable but still set apart from your audience.
Message: Posted by: Ken Northridge (Oct 25, 2008 07:18AM)
[quote]
On 2008-10-23 22:28, Matthew W wrote:
Vests and tuxedos are not me.
[/quote]

Matthew,

I think you've really got to ask yourself if you want to make a good living from magic or just have some fun doing shows once in a while. If you just want to have fun, dress any way you feel comfortable. But, as a professional, its not always about you. There are certain things the paying public expects in an entertainer. You may have to wear something that is not as comfortable as you like. My first choice would not be to wear a hot jacket and wrap a tie around my neck either!

If a tux is not for you, how about a compromise like a vest. There are some really nice comfortable vests out there. Check out Daytona Magic. I just had one custom made for me.

PS Forget about what Copperfield, Angel and Blaine wear. There are in a league of their own.
Message: Posted by: Slartibartfast (Oct 25, 2008 08:24AM)
The advice you have received so far is pure gold. I can add nothing except that if you have the urge to post another "But I don't wanna" message, reread the advice until the urge goes away.
Message: Posted by: Matthew W (Oct 25, 2008 10:12AM)
[quote]
On 2008-10-25 07:27, Dave Scribner wrote:
Matt, the bottom line here is you don't want to look like someone from the audience that got up and did some magic. You need to set yourself apart from the audience. That doesn't mean you have to wear a coat and tie. As has been mentioned, a nice shirt and pants is all that is necessary in most cases.

I use a "one up" method. If I'm performing outside in a picnic type setting, I wear casual clothes, nice shirt and pants. If the audience is going to be dressed that way, I change to a dress shirt and pants. Mine is black and somewhat silky looking. If the audience is going to be dress more eloquently (very dressy or coat and tie), I'll wear a jacket.

You want to be comfortable but still set apart from your audience.
[/quote]

Dave,

I absolutely agree with you.

All of my shows so far, have been birthday parties and 'family fun day' type events.

Pretty much all of my audience have been wearing tee shirts, jeans and shorts. So I do feel my clothing choice was a step above.

If I was hired for something more formal like a bar mitzvah, catered event, or the like, I would wear a suit.

For the shows I do now, I don't think I am dressed like I am going to the mall, or cleaning a pool( huh? ). I know it is not the best option, but it works for what I do right now.

-Matt

PS, I was asked to do a bat mitzvah. The party is medieval times themed, I'll be wearing a suit, but the mother wants me to wear a jester hat. How can I talk her out of it. I think it is going to make the 13 year old audience to lose a little respect for me. I doubt the DJ or servers will be in medieval garb.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Oct 25, 2008 10:13AM)
Hi Matt -

Here's another motivation for "dressing up".

Not only does it make a big impression on your customer and your audience, but it makes a big impression on the ladies.

Many years ago, when I had a job in child care on the side of doing shows, I would occassionally dress up in a nice shirt and tie (with dress pants), and sometimes a suit, for work. Instead of the usual jeans and T-shirt. I got more attention and compliments at that time, especially from the ladies (I worked with many ladies while working in child care).

And also, whenever I've had a girlfriend or wife in my life, they also paid more attention to me when I was dressed up.

I became "more" handsome (perception is everything.)

Sure it might seem like a bit of a hassle. But after you get a few compliments and a bit of attention, focus on that, and it will be worthwhile.

Dressing up is a part of earning more credibility with all sorts of people.

Often, when dressed up, we take on a different sort of character, too.

- Donald

P.S. My post is not meant to be sexist or offensive. I'm just saying that others appreciate our effort.
Message: Posted by: Alan Munro (Oct 25, 2008 03:10PM)
I recommend looking through a number of men's magazines that have fashion sections in them. Also, look up information about celebrities who have a similar body type to you and present an imagine similar to what you would like to present. Notice how their stylists dressed them. Pay particular attention to the photos of them at events in which they are promoting their latest project - they don't normally leave their look to chance at these events. Keep these photos in a folder on your computer for review. When it comes time to go shopping, have a female friend, not a relative, go shopping with you. Also, review the photos with her before going shopping. Retain veto power over her choices, if some of her recommendations are too far out. She may even find things in your closet that will also work for giving you the right image.

Being casual is okay. But, if you don't stand-out with a unique look, from the audience members, you won't look the part. For casual gigs, I wear button-down shirts without a tie, as well as mock turtle necks and single colored tee shirts, with a sportcoat. For hot outdoor gigs, I'm considering an unbuttoned and lined camp shirt over a tee - the camp shirt may be modified so that it has extra pockets. I currently wear a vest over a button-down shirt for these gigs.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Oct 25, 2008 03:39PM)
Alan
What a great idea, so GQ will help me dress. I personally have always watched TV anchor men for combinations that work well. That is where I learned to do the single winsor knot with a dimple, the double dimple is beyond my skill level. I have always watched Rick Williams a Philadelphia ABC anchor man, and Ali Velshi from CNN is my idol. I realize that both of these men have fashon consultants, but TV anchor men, and my wife is where I get my color combinations from.
Message: Posted by: Mysterious (Oct 25, 2008 03:44PM)
My two cents is looking like a typical magician is not necessarily a good thing nor is looking like the people in your audience.
I say go with your own style, whatever you like. Just look professional and stand out from the crowd.
Message: Posted by: Dave Scribner (Oct 26, 2008 06:50AM)
[quote]
On 2008-10-25 11:12, Matthew W wrote:
[quote]
On 2008-10-25 07:27, Dave Scribner wrote:

I use a "one up" method. If I'm performing outside in a picnic type setting, I wear casual clothes, nice shirt and pants. If the audience is going to be dressed that way, I change to a dress shirt and pants. Mine is black and somewhat silky looking. If the audience is going to be dress more eloquently (very dressy or coat and tie), I'll wear a jacket.

You want to be comfortable but still set apart from your audience.
[/quote]

Dave,

I absolutely agree with you.

All of my shows so far, have been birthday parties and 'family fun day' type events.

Pretty much all of my audience have been wearing tee shirts, jeans and shorts. So I do feel my clothing choice was a step above.

-Matt

[/quote]

Matt, I was looking at the photos of you performing in shorts. I believe that is where the "pool boy" comment came from as well. The other photos show you in a shirt and slacks. The only suggestion I'd make for that is to button the shirt and tuck it in. You're still looking like one of the "audience" with the loose shirt look.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Oct 26, 2008 03:56PM)
After a recent conversation with Matt I believe that he has given up his previously held beliefs on style, and fashion. I am both surprised, and relieved, because one sloppy magician can give us all a bad name.
Message: Posted by: Matthew W (Oct 26, 2008 04:09PM)
Al,

Where did you get your sparkly vest?

I remember seeing a link here on the Café to a place that had all different types of shirts and vests like that.

I am looking to see if they have other colors like blue or red, or possibly black as a short sleeve button down shirt.

-Matt
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Oct 26, 2008 04:29PM)
Matt
I have about five sequened vests. I found that with a department store T shirt, a sequened vest, and black dress pants work well. If you wear a tux shirt instead of a T shirt you are ready for a real formal affair without a tie. I found my vests by Googling "sequened vests". If you go to my web site you will see me in my purple vest, and a black T shirt. http://www.juggleral.com Go to my photo gallery and you can see how my wife dresses me. 20 years ago I had no fashion sense at all, but the more I listened to my wife the more women complimented me. You mentioned that no one ever complained about your clothes, but I have women all the time tell me that "I wish I could get my husband to dress like you" and we all know that the mom's controle the family entertainment budget. I look forward to meeting you this Sunday at MM 4.
Message: Posted by: Big Daddy Cool (Oct 26, 2008 10:20PM)
Matthew,
I have not read every post here, but I can guess that they all have a common theme. Probably there are some valid points, but I'm guessing that not once has the underlying of issue of WHO you are on stage come up.

You and I have similar body shapes and knowing how to dress is only part of it. Here is what I am willing to do. PM me and I will give you my phone number. Call me and I will be happy to coach you pivately.
Message: Posted by: martin king (Oct 27, 2008 01:25AM)
Matthew,

I haven't read through all the posts so I appologise if I'm repeating what's already been said.

1. As I'm sure you're aware and has probably been already pointed out, you MUST always dress one class above your audience. (My mentor, James Prince, who works at top class corporate functions where most of everyone is in 'black & white', wears a wedding day style 'costume' to go one better than them)

So far all your audiences have been wearing shorts & t-shirts, etc.

2. You're uncomfortable wearing suits, etc.

So here's a compromise for the audiences you've been performing for...

Wear the best quality jeans and t-shirt you can buy and wear a suit jacket with it (and some patent leather shoes...NOT trainers).

Hope this helps,

Martin.

P.S. Please, oh please, (I'm on bended knees begging you), DON'T wear sparkly/sequin suits! You may have heard the Paul Getner story...Paul Gertner was at a trade show talking to a client when some bloke in a green(?) sparkly and sequined suit walked up and introduced himself to Paul. The client asked the suited newcomer if he was a magician, to which the reply was "Of course, what else would I be?...". The client replied "Well, I figured that you were either a magician or a DORK!" The suited newcomer magician immediately slunk away with his tail between his legs!
Message: Posted by: Ken Northridge (Oct 27, 2008 05:56AM)
Martin,

I don’t know that I would put the universal ban on sequins so quickly. There are venues where this is perfectly acceptable and admirable. Your targeted audience and character play a part also. And.....what if you are a dork? :)
Message: Posted by: Hansel (Oct 27, 2008 06:21AM)
[quote]
On 2008-10-24 09:12, Al Angello wrote:
Your idea of a magicians costume is my idea of a costume suitable for cleaning a swimming pool.
[/quote]

LOL
Message: Posted by: Matthew W (Oct 27, 2008 06:23AM)
I haven't worn shorts to any shows but that one talent show.

Not saying it is OK to wear, but I have seen some people in this thread wearing shorts at a performance. I honestly don't think they are that bad as long as they are at least nice.

-Matt
Message: Posted by: JeffWampler (Oct 27, 2008 01:38PM)
Umm...wow...ok matt, if you haven't already call john (big daddy cool), he'll help you out...

all the advice given here is pretty sound...it took me a long time to realize that money spent on your show clothes (costume) is money WELL spent...if you look like a professional, your audience will treat you like a professional...if you look like a bum, you have to work harder to prove you're not...

performing is a hard enough job already...no need to have to fight extra hard for the audience to accept you...
Message: Posted by: cougar (Oct 29, 2008 09:30AM)
[quote]
On 2008-10-27 07:23, Matthew W wrote:
I haven't worn shorts to any shows but that one talent show.

Not saying it is OK to wear, but I have seen some people in this thread wearing shorts at a performance. I honestly don't think they are that bad as long as they are at least nice.

-Matt
[/quote]

Matt,
If you agree that you don't want to be represented this way maybe it is best to remove the "shorts pictures" from your site. Just a thought.
Message: Posted by: Big Daddy Cool (Oct 29, 2008 10:01AM)
[quote]
On 2008-10-27 14:38, JeffWampler wrote:
Umm...wow...ok matt, if you haven't already call john (big daddy cool), he'll help you out...

all the advice given here is pretty sound...it took me a long time to realize that money spent on your show clothes (costume) is money WELL spent...if you look like a professional, your audience will treat you like a professional...if you look like a bum, you have to work harder to prove you're not...

performing is a hard enough job already...no need to have to fight extra hard for the audience to accept you...
[/quote]

Thanks Jeff!

Matt, I didn't mention - this is coaching at no charge. Because costuming isn't just about putting on nice clothes, it is about putting on the RIGHT clothes, and there is no way anyone here can give you the correct advice without talking in depth with you about what you want to accomplish and who you are on stage (or want to be). So, call me. I'm here to take the time to help you be the best you can become.
Message: Posted by: Drew Manning (Oct 30, 2008 01:12PM)
Matthew, I would second the ideas of those who suggest taking a female shopping with you. You may think it's humiliating to let a woman help pick your clothes, but women tend to have an eye for that sort of thing.

It may feel odd at first playing Ken doll, but it works. 90% of the clothes in my closet purchased in the past 3 years were chosen for me by my wife. She gets to shop and I come out looking good. When we go out, my wife often notices other women looking at me. That never happened when I was picking all my own stuff :lol:

Most women (unless they lack taste or you make them mad) will not choose things that aren't flattering for you. Sometimes you have to step outside your comfort zone when it comes to fashion to get a fresh look.

As for suits or even jackets, give them a try. It takes time to get used to wearing them, but once you do, you'll find it not so bad. When I was 18, I worked for a stock broker for a few years. It was shirt and tie everyday and suits a couple times a week if I was going to be seeing clients. After a few months, I had trouble being comfortable in jeans and t shirts on the weekend because I felt underdressed. That went away with time too.

My point is, if you want to make a chagne, you have to be willing to step outside your comfort zone a bit and find a few people you trust to give you honest feedback on what works.
Message: Posted by: Natanel (Oct 30, 2008 01:18PM)
I am going to strongly disagree with the idea of having a female shop for you. They are the second worse person to make clothing recommendations for you (after a commissioned salesman.) You would be much better off having a male friend who knows a bit about clothing take you shopping.
Message: Posted by: Drew Manning (Oct 30, 2008 01:23PM)
All my male friends are slobs :lol:

I figure since I'm married, I only need to catch my wife's eye and as a general rule, she doesn't let me look mismatched or like a slob :)


As I'm always looking to learn, why do you feel that women make bad shopping companions? I will agree with the sales person thing for the obvious reason.
Message: Posted by: Natanel (Oct 30, 2008 01:47PM)
Nothing against the gentler sex, but it is highly important to have clothing fit as well as possible and be comfortable. This is very difficult to achieve without you picking it out yourself.

Women's fashion tends to change much more rapidly then mens, and is more about design and flair then men's fashion. This is wonderful in the world of womenswear, but can be really tacky with men's clothing, which should be more about fit and quality. IMHO Girlfriend shopping is largely responsible for sartorial atrocities such as True Religion jeans and Kenneth Kole square toe shoes.
Message: Posted by: Drew Manning (Oct 30, 2008 02:05PM)
They may also be responsible for the fit of Perry Ellis pants then. Every pair I have ever tried on both slacks and jeans seem to hug my crotch and make it very prominent. I think it's the woman's answer to the tight sweater :lol: